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Non-traditional student wants to major in Critical theory/Philosophy

lingonberry_jazzlingonberry_jazz 10 replies1 threads New Member
edited September 6 in College Search & Selection
Hi!

I'm a 25 year old non-traditional transfer student who wants to major in some variety of critical theory and/or philosophy. I've attended community college intermittently and have a 3.3 GPA. I plan to transfer in as a sophomore. I'm not very familiar with the college application process and I'm really thankful for any advice! :blush:


I'm looking for a college that is supportive and hands on. The environment I'm looking for is non competitive and emphasizes a healthy work balance. My top priority is focusing on my critical thinking and writing skills. I'm looking for a school where the majority of my classes are small and discussion based (preferably classes would try to implement the use of primary sources.) I have been accepted to St. John's College :smiley: While I love the program I am concerned that it is too rigorous and they do not offer long term study abroad.

I know I will be challenged at whatever school I go to but my mental health really depends on a proper sleep schedule and time to decompress. A college culture that usually consists of late night study sessions to keep current with school work wouldn't work for me. I am open to any non-traditional schools as well!


Location: Willing to consider anywhere in the U.S. or abroad. I would love to get my entire degree abroad but academic quality comes first. (Which is why I'd like to study abroad).

Financial aid: Since my list may be limited I don't want to cut out any schools at this stage because of financial aid. I will look up my EFC and compare later.



Here is the list of schools I'm looking at so far. I realize some of these schools are competitive to get in with my stats. These are schools that stood out to me when researching the learning environment that I'm aiming for. Feel free to comment if they seem too out of reach. Thank you!


St. Olaf (liked the great conversations option)

Macalester College ( I liked the concentration in critical theory)

Whitman College

Kenyon College

Cornell College (I like the block plan)

Bard Berlin (I like the interdisciplinary approach)

Quest University ( I like the interdisciplinary approach)

Concordia University (liberal arts college in Quebec)

Mt. Holyoke (interested in critical social thought major)

Bryn Mawr

Oberlin College (really seemed to push the discussion based format)
edited September 6
34 replies
Post edited by Erin's Dad on
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Replies to: Non-traditional student wants to major in Critical theory/Philosophy

  • lingonberry_jazzlingonberry_jazz 10 replies1 threads New Member
    Hello CC! :smiley: I'd really appreciate any help with my college list! Thank you!
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  • itsgettingreal21itsgettingreal21 409 replies6 threads Member
    If you think St. John’s may be too rigorous, I don’t understand your list. All of those schools are more rigorous than St. John’s. I also don’t think you are competitive for the US schools on the list (I’m not familiar with the foreign ones). Also, as a non-traditional student, your choices are also unusual in that they are all residential schools with a traditional student body. You’d have to dorm with 18-22 year olds.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4294 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Evergreen State in Washington? Open curriculum, public liberal arts college, with a lot of "non-traditional" students, that is, people who are not full time students aged 18-22.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 3123 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "I plan to transfer in as a sophomore."

    Most colleges accept transfers as a junior, are you sure the colleges on your list would allow transferring in as a sophomore? Check that first.

    "You’d have to dorm with 18-22 year olds."

    Not necessarily, a transfer student could stay off campus, especially if op can provide a note from a professional saying off-campus is required for mental health reasons. No college will challenge that.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85049 replies758 threads Senior Member
    Also, as a non-traditional student, your choices are also unusual in that they are all residential schools with a traditional student body. You’d have to dorm with 18-22 year olds.

    However, residential colleges vary in housing arrangements.
    * Some have separate frosh versus upper-class housing (frosh are likely to be more rowdy as this may be their first experience living away from parental supervision).
    * Some have substantial numbers of upper-class students living off campus.
    * Some of those named by the OP are all-women, so probably less rowdy in the dorms.
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  • lingonberry_jazzlingonberry_jazz 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @itsgettingreal21 I definitely want a challenge at school but I do need a healthy work life balance. Would you say the rigor of St. John's is below average for most LACs? Their great books program seemed pretty rigorous to me.

    Do you have any suggestions for what type of schools I should target instead? I also would prefer a school that guarantees housing for all 4 years. I don't mind living with younger students but I'd prefer to be closer to class and not deal with a landlord. I do like that the women's colleges on my list have programs for older students and it seems they have their own housing too! Thank you for your advice!


    @Midwestmomofboys Thank you! I will check out Evergreen State

    @theloniusmonk I will check! I'm pretty sure I'm a transfer student because I have over 50 credits but a good chunk of them are in construction or technical skills so I doubt they'd transfer. Thank you!

    @ucbalumnus Hi! I'm fine living off campus but would prefer guaranteed housing all 4 years. It makes things smoother for me. I'm not too worried about living with younger people but I know I would get last priority in housing as a transfer student. I also love the programs available for older women at the women's colleges. They seem to have housing specifically for non traditional students. Thank you for your advice!
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  • merc81merc81 12177 replies207 threads Senior Member
    edited September 19
    In recent years St. John's has registered a standardized scoring profile similar to other highly regarded schools such as UNC–CH, so I'm not sure on what basis its academic rigor has been questioned.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9
    edited September 19
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85049 replies758 threads Senior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    In recent years St. John's has registered a standardized scoring profile similar to other highly regarded schools such as UNC–CH, so I'm not sure on what basis its academic rigor has been questioned.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9

    Curricular rigor is not necessarily dependent on standardized test scores.
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  • boudersbouders 2799 replies195 threads Senior Member
    Concordia U in Montreal is not a liberal arts college. It has 36000 undergrad and almost 10000 graduate students. You won't get a "supportive environment" similar to US colleges in any Canadian university. You won't get guaranteed housing for 4 years either.

    Quest University applied for CCAA protection (like bankruptcy protection) in January of this year. It may not be around in a few months. https://questu.ca/ccaa/
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  • merc81merc81 12177 replies207 threads Senior Member
    edited September 19
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    merc81 wrote: »
    In recent years St. John's has registered a standardized scoring profile similar to other highly regarded schools such as UNC–CH, so I'm not sure on what basis its academic rigor has been questioned.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9

    Curricular rigor is not necessarily dependent on standardized test scores.

    Yes, but the introduction of available data, in which the OP can see schools in an objective context, can serve as a counterbalance to unsubstantiated opinion.
    edited September 19
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  • lingonberry_jazzlingonberry_jazz 10 replies1 threads New Member

    @bouders I had no idea about Quest University. Thank you for the heads up!


    I am interested in the liberal arts college at Concordia. Their BA in western society and culture seems similar to a great books program which I really like. Don't worry :smiley: I definitely don't expect the support or housing overseas to be the same as schools in the US!

    While I really wanted to pursue a degree abroad, my desire for small discussion based classes and a tight knit community has pushed my focus to the US. Are liberal arts colleges more popular in the US? I definitely had a hard time finding similar types of LACs abroad...
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85049 replies758 threads Senior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    merc81 wrote: »
    In recent years St. John's has registered a standardized scoring profile similar to other highly regarded schools such as UNC–CH, so I'm not sure on what basis its academic rigor has been questioned.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9

    Curricular rigor is not necessarily dependent on standardized test scores.

    Yes, but the introduction of available data, in which the OP can see schools in an objective context, can serve as a counterbalance to unsubstantiated opinion.

    Neither an unsubstantiated opinion nor data that is not particularly relevant to the unsubstantiated opinion are convincing.
    · Reply · Share
  • happymomof1happymomof1 31020 replies199 threads Senior Member
    You do not decide if you are transferring in as a sophomore or junior. The institutions on your list will each decide how to place you, and how many credits they will accept. If you are admitted you will also receive a transcript analysis indicating which courses are likely to be accepted. Unless you are transferring to a place that has a formal transfer ageement with your community college, you probably won't know for certain which credits are accepted or as what until after you enroll.

    Make an appointment with the Transfer Advisor at your community college, and get help with your applications. The whole job of the Transfer Advisor is to help students like you find good places to continue their educations.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2228 replies25 threads Senior Member
    You need to make sure that you think through your housing choice. What are you going to do if housing closes during breaks? Some schools may have housing for non traditional students that remains open. But you will have to check with each school.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3787 replies14 threads Senior Member
    I also don’t think you are competitive for the US schools on the list

    Certainly Cornell College (which is in Iowa) is not out of reach. Cornell offers a schedule like Colorado College - once course at a time.

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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 474 replies7 threads Member
    edited September 20
    All the colleges on the list may be reaches.

    Naropa University? Has "contemplative psychology" and creative writing.
    Eckerd?
    Portland State U? (their philosophy major can be done in hydrid format with some inperson and online by the looks of it which might work well for you?)
    College of Idaho? (students can choose a flex path for courses and they have village apartments, being on campus but not technically "dorms").
    edited September 20
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 4280 replies189 threads Senior Member
    Are you a veteran?
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  • lingonberry_jazzlingonberry_jazz 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @happymomof1 I really appreciate your thoughts. You are right. I have reached out before but they didn't have much info about LACs. They did discuss my state school which was really helpful. I contacted them and did a tour. I didn't like that many classes were on the larger side. I definitely want to apply to some LACs.

    @Eeyore123 Thank you for those thoughts. I definitely will ask. I do plan to go back home during breaks. I want to make sure to see them.

    @2plustrio Thank you for those schools! I will definitely look those up. I have heard of Naropa! I love how its alternative approach. I will look up the others and see if I can contact some of its older students. Thank you so much!

    @circuitrider HI! I am not a veteran.


    So the schools I've listed are all reaches. I will only pick 2 or 3 to apply to. Does anyone have suggestions on matches or safeties? Thank you :smiley:
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  • merc81merc81 12177 replies207 threads Senior Member
    To be clear, do you already have an admission offer from St. John's College in Maryland?
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 474 replies7 threads Member
    From your list, St. Olaf and Macalaster are good fits and seem to have a program you are truly interested in. Doesnt hurt to try applying.

    Cornell College could be a match so for sure try that one as the slower pace may be a good fit as well for your type of learning.
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