Having spent 14 years studying in a traditional educational system in my home country, the Philippines, I had grown accustomed to a life of structure and rules. So, when considering how and where to spend my university years, I was eager for something different, something that would not only challenge me academically, but broaden my perspective. So, when I learned about Minerva, I knew I wanted to apply.
Imagine my elation when I found out I had been accepted! Fast forward to Ascent, Minerva’s weekend for admitted students in San Francisco. Over the course of the weekend, I was introduced to a groundbreaking style of education unlike anything I had experienced before.
For one, I learned about Minerva’s unique curriculum by speaking with the faculty, who are experts in their fields ranging from the arts & sciences to business and technology. The Deans of Minerva’s Five Colleges discussed academic programs, their approach to course design, and explained how the curriculum and seminar courses help students to develop and apply their independent thinking skills, instead of just absorbing information through large lectures like at other universities. I was excited to see that the interdisciplinary curriculum and flexible degree paths would also allow me to take electives and pursue topics that I am interested in, rather than the rigid major trajectories at most schools. Following the first-year courses where I will learn critical and creative thinking skills, if I really want to major in two different fields of study, like social sciences and art while also pursuing other academic interests along the way, I can.
During Ascent, I also got to partake in Civitas, a Minerva tradition where Minerva students and various San Francisco leaders and organizations engage in an open dialogue to address complex questions about modern society. Civitas gave me a first-hand example of how Minerva focuses on bridging class learnings with practical applications. By wrestling with questions such as “Can we do better than democracy?” and “Does photography have the capacity to change people’s opinions?” with influencers across industries, I already felt like I was an active member of the discussion, instead of someone playing a passive role.
Minerva’s focus on preparing students for the future is another reason I am so excited about beginning next year. I’ve seen that Minerva doesn’t stick to the status quo: the curriculum and plentiful opportunities for real world application will give students both the skills and the experience to adapt and be successful in a world that’s constantly changing. At Ascent, I got a taste of these real-world opportunities during a learning session focused on understanding San Francisco’s rising water levels at the Exploratorium, a renowned science museum.
Ascent was a great introduction to what living and learning in each of Minerva’s seven cities will be like. But Minerva’s Professional Development Agency provides yet another resource for ensuring we will succeed: students receive personalized and dedicated support, connecting us to internships at top organizations, and actively develop opportunities to make sure we have work experience long before graduation.
Ascent weekend wasn’t all business, though: Minerva introduced me to the community I will be joining next year: a family of students from around the world. Together, we climbed San Francisco’s hilly streets, bonded, and shared each of our unique backgrounds and stories. These are students, like you and me, who genuinely want to change the world for the better.
Ascent convinced me that Minerva is a place where anyone is welcome: all it takes is an open mind, a determined will, and a desire to change the world.
It’s true — I have spent my life thus far learning “by the rules.” But some rules are made to be broken.
Join Carlos in Minerva’s Class of 2021. Complete your free application by March 15, 2017.
To learn more about Minerva Schools at KGI, view their page here.
Carlos is in the honors class of the current graduating batch of the Ateneo de Manila Senior High School. His hobbies include reading, song writing, playing musical instruments, Dota 2, Ultimate Frisbee, board games, and debate. He enjoys spending time with his friends and reaching out to the local community through regular fund drives and tutoring programs. He hopes to change the world for the better, one funny joke at a time.