Soka University Inquiry

<p>It just got chartered in 2001, and has already made it into the top 50 LAC's in the country (according to US News and World Report.) However, nobody knows about it! Obviously, the campus is gorgeous, it's small, unconventional, and awesome.</p>

<p>Why does it fly under the radar so much? I emailed the admissions representative and never got a reply. Could an alum, admissions rep, or someone with knowledge of this school let me know more about the criteria for admission (they admit about 1 in 3 but are only like 24-28 ACT composite so their methodology must be unconventional,) the social life, etc...</p>

<p>I live within walking distance of the school, know three current students (actually just hung out with one last night), and have been to the campus many times. </p>

<p>Soka is probably the most beautiful school I've ever seen and within the community enjoys a good reputation, particularly because it always hosts cultural events and a massive haunted house. One thing you should be aware of is that it's tiny. No I don't mean tiny like most liberal arts colleges are tiny, I mean tiny as in less than 500 students enrolled and no other colleges nearby. Academically it's fairly distinct because there's only one major offered and a few concentrations allowed. Some students report feeling a bit underwhelmed by the course offerings, but others like the sense of community that a university which is entirely focused on liberal arts creates. </p>

<p>Though Soka isn't technically affiliated with Soka Gaokkii (sp), a radical sect of buddhism, much of its funding and educational philosophy comes from the sect. As such, many Soka (although certainly not all) students are fairly religious and the party scene is close to non existent. There's also a massive international presence relative to the size of its campus. I think something like 40% of students come from abroad which seems about right based on what I've seen when I go to campus. </p>

<p>Academically I've heard mixed things. The friend I hung out with today said classes are easier than at my high school, but I've heard other students rave about it, so maybe her experience is out of the norm?</p>

<p>Financially, my friend received an incredibly generous aid package. She's going there for less than what a Cal State would cost, and I don't think she's particularly poor.</p>

<p>Just thought I'd point this out in my incredibly disjointed opinion of Soka, but Aliso Viejo is not a college town in any capacity. Public transit is extremely poor and the town center, although it has some impressive offerings, isn't the "hippest" place. Most high school and college students in Aliso Viejo drive to nearby Irvine when they want a more active scene</p>

<p>@whenhen, would you say that there are students there who enjoy partying and go out on the weekends? I'm not a party animal (if I were I wouldn't be looking into schools with less than 500 people,) but I do like to party and have a good time. I want a school where I can focus on my academics during the week and try to set myself up for a killer grad school, while getting the full liberal arts "renaissance man" experience (I'm a bit of a polymath,) then go party on the weekends (I'm a total work hard, play hard kind of a guy.) I know that Aliso Viejo is close to some schools (like since it's in Orange County it's not too far from Chapman,) so do students ever drive down to parties there?</p>

<p>Maybe. The girl I hung out with doesn't drink much, more of a stoner, and she was comparing her party scene to my friend's at UCSB. So I have no idea if they party (I'd presume at least some do since it is a residential college) since the college in question was UCSB.</p>

<p>Also, Soka is not close to Chapman. It's about a 30 minute drive away (45 with traffic). I was invited to a Fourth of July party at the school, but declined due to the distance. Given how different the schools are, I can't imagine that Soka students would ever interact with those at Chapman unless they were high school friends. However, UC Irvine is much closer, and I'd assume that some students occasionally go to the school.</p>

<p>@whenhen, thanks for the awesome answer!</p>