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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can a graduate do with a liberal arts degree?

    Because students at Thomas Aquinas College receive a truly liberal education, they leave campus well-versed in the skills necessary to learn and thrive in any profession or endeavor. Roughly a third of the College’s alumni go on to graduate or professional school. Graduates flourish in most every discipline or career imaginable, from education and law, to medicine and business, to architecture and technology. To find out more about what a liberally educated student can do, just read about our alumni.

  • What standardized-test scores do applicants need to be admitted to the College?

    The College accepts the SAT, ACT, and/or the Classic Learning Test (CLT). There are no absolute thresholds that either guarantee or preclude admission, however the following guidelines may be helpful in preparing your application.

    • SAT: For SAT tests taken prior to May 2016, applicants’ test scores have generally ranged from 510-800 in Math and from 570-800 in Critical Reading. Most successful applicants’ scores were above 550 in Math and above 600 in Critical Reading. For the new SAT, offered for the first time in May 2016, the College Board has published a concordance. The College plans to use this concordance as an aid in evaluating these scores.
    • ACT: Successful applicants generally score above 20-22 in Math and above 23-24 in English; scores in or below those ranges can be cause for concern.
    • CLT*: In 2016 the College adopted the Classic Learning Test (CLT), and will accept scores from the CLT in lieu of SAT or ACT scores. CLT publishes a concordance which the College plans to use as an aid in evaluating scores.

    *For California residents only: To be eligible for the Cal Grant, the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) requires students with transcripts from non-accredited and/or independent homeschools to submit either an SAT or ACT score in lieu of a GPA by March 2 of the year in which the student plans to enroll. CSAC does not accept the CLT in lieu of a GPA. The College requires that financial aid applicants who are California residents apply for the Cal Grant as a part of a complete financial aid application.

  • What is the College looking for in its application essays?

    The purpose of the application essays is to assist the Admissions Committee in getting to know applicants personally and academically, and to determine whether they are a good fit for Thomas Aquinas College. The first essay, for example, helps to establish that an applicant understands the nature of the College and is prepared for the demands of its unique curriculum and pedagogy. Meanwhile, the essay about a book chosen by the applicant enables the Committee to see how a student would likely read a book within the College’s curriculum. In both instances, the Committee is not so much looking for brilliance or originality as it is for answers that are thoughtful, well-organized, and to the point.

  • Does Thomas Aquinas College accept credits from other colleges or universities?

    While many students at Thomas Aquinas College have attended college and/or earned credits elsewhere, because the curriculum here is fully integrated and builds sequentially, credits from other institutions are nontransferable.

  • Why does the College not offer majors and minors?

    Thomas Aquinas College’s four-year, classical curriculum is wholly integrated. The classes that make it up thus reference and reinforce one another, across disciplines, enabling students to develop an ever-greater understanding of nature, man, and God. Because this integration is essential to the degree the College offers, a B.A. in liberal arts, all students take the same set of courses.

    Upon completing the degree, the College’s students have undertaken four years of coursework in philosophy, theology, math, science, and seminar (where modern philosophy, history, literature, and other works are studied). They have also studied two years of language and one year of music. Thomas Aquinas College is the only College in the United States to require study in all seven major academic disciplines, as outlined by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

  • In what ways do the California and New England* campuses differ?

    California offers year-round sunshine, mission architecture, and a nearby beach. New England boasts four seasons, red-brick colonial buildings, and centuries of history. Both campuses will have their own culture and, in time, distinct traditions, but they share the same program of Catholic liberal education, employing the same curriculum, pedagogy, and commitment to what St. Anselm called “faith seeking understanding.”

  • Can students transfer between the two campuses?

    Students who enroll at one campus are required to complete their course of studies at that campus, although transfers may be permitted under certain rare conditions.

  • Is there a cost difference between the two campuses?

    Tuition and room & board are the same at both campuses, and both offer need-based financial aid. In New England, as in California, there is no charge for books or other fees.

  • Is the application process different for home-schooled students?

    No, although home-schooled applicants may choose to request that a parent write one recommendation as the primary educator, unless another teacher’s recommendation is available.

  • Does the College offer financial aid or merit scholarships?

    Financial Aid is available on the basis of need. For more information, see here. The College does not offer merit scholarships, but does accept outside scholarship funds.

  • Where do the College’s students come from?

    Thomas Aquinas College students come from all over the United States and abroad. Roughly 35 percent hail from California, and 40 percent from states east of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Can non-Catholics attend the College?

    Although the College’s curriculum and community life are animated by fidelity to the teaching Church, non-Catholic students are warmly welcomed. In fact, some 5 to 10 percent of Thomas Aquinas College students are not of the Catholic faith. However, in order to receive the full extent of religious-liberty protections under Massachusetts law, the College may admit only Catholic students to the New England campus. The California campus remains open, as always, to students of all faiths and religious traditions as long as they are respectful of the College’s Catholic mission and are willing to abide by Catholic moral teaching.

  • Do all the students live in the residence halls?

    Yes, with the sole exception of married students. The College’s intellectual life is essentially bound up with its community life, and is all the richer for it.

  • Are all the residence halls single-sex?

    Yes, and they remain off-limits to members of the opposite sex at all times.

  • What do students do outside of class?

    Athletics, theater, music, and hiking are among the most popular activities, but there are many, many others as well. To learn more, see Beyond the Classroom.

  • Does the College have a sports program?

    Because academics are paramount, the College does not engage in the demands of intercollegiate athletics. It does, however, offer an intramural sports program that is highly popular.

  • Why does the College call its professors “tutors”?

    Classes at Thomas Aquinas College are conducted by way of the Discussion Method. There are no lectures, no didactic discourses, no simple memorization of others’ conclusions. Instead, students propose, rebut, and defend ideas until — through discussion and critical argumentation — the class discerns the meaning of a text and, more important, its veracity or error.

    As such, it is not the role of the Thomas Aquinas College faculty to “profess.” Their function is both more modest and more demanding: They gently guide classroom conversations through skillful questioning, so that students can diligently work their way toward the truth. The tutors do not offer their own opinions and theories, but help bring to light those of the greatest thinkers and authors of Western civilization — the true “teachers” in the College’s unique curriculum.

    Because there are never more than 20 students in a class at Thomas Aquinas College, members of the teaching faculty can tailor these discussions to the needs of each group. They thus serve as a sort of personal guide in the pursuit of wisdom — “tutors” in the truest sense of the word.

  • What sort of medical care is available on campus?

    Part-time, on-campus nurses provide minor medical care. A College courier service can also bring students, free of charge, to off-campus doctor’s appointments during daily scheduled courier runs, or to nearby hospitals for emergency and/or major medical treatment.

Admissions FAQ 2016e
Br. Robert Nesbit

“It was at the College when I began to take my faith seriously. The community life, all the people, the faculty, the staff — and the Mass — all that really helped.”

– Br. Robert Nesbit, O.S.B. (’07)

“Thomas Aquinas College knows this — that the life of the mind involves the spiritual life as well — and that is why I have always thought of this institution as a college in the image and likeness of John Paul II.”

– George Weigel

Papal Biographer