Thomas Aquinas College boasts one of the most interesting founding stories of any American college. The school was founded through the efforts of a group of Catholic teachers who wanted to improve Catholic higher education in the country. The teachers believed that Catholic higher education was on a decline and wanted to create a school committed to traditional liberal education. The first freshmen class was welcomed into the fledgling school in 1971, and the institution has remained faithful to its founding ideas since that time. Although the school is only four decades old, the school has built an excellent reputation alongside generous donations from friends, benefactors, and philanthropists. Although the school experienced a rather chaotic beginning and relocation, it has since enjoyed sustained growth and popularity.
Thomas Aquinas College Accreditation Details
The Western Assoc. of Schools and Colleges is the regional accrediting organization in California, and they have accredited Thomas Aquinas College. Attending a school accredited by the WASC or a similar accrediting body ensures students can choose a school that offers degrees that are held to a high standard and which allow graduates to continue their education in graduate school if they so choose. The college is also affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church; however, it also features a lay administration, which means members of the board are members of the Roman Catholic Church but are not working within religious life.
Thomas Aquinas College Application Requirements
Thomas Aquinas College is a small school with fewer than 400 students attending classes. The school offers a liberal arts degree, which the school maintains allows graduates to enter virtually any profession, as well as move on to graduate or professional school. Students must submit several common application materials such as standardized test scores, an essay, and the official application. For SAT scores, students usually have scores on the math portion that range from 510 to 800 and scores on the Critical Reading portion that range from 5700 to 800. Generally, accepted scores for the ACT include a 20 to 22 on the math portion and 23 to 24 on the English portion. The essay portion of the application is considered a vital piece of information the student will submit to the college because it ensures the college administrators can get to know a prospective student before admission to determine whether the applicant is a good fit for the college.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Thomas Aquinas College is a private school and charges the same tuition for all students whether they live in California or are from out-of-state. Tuition for one year at Thomas Aquinas College is $24,500, and room and board fees come to $7.950. One of the interesting facets of tuition at Thomas Aquinas College is that all the books for a student’s classes are included with the tuition and are distributed at the beginning of each semester. Students are expected to supply their own pencils, paper, and notebooks, but expenses for those basic school supplies are usually expected to be minimal. Students are also expected to have around $500 in “pocket money” that will go toward things like toiletries and entertainment, as well as some funds for transportation.
Thomas Aquinas College states that it is committed to providing affordable education to all students seeking a Catholic liberal arts education, but the college is not subsidized by the Catholic Church or by the State of California. Therefore, its financial resources for aid are limited, and the school can only provide aid for demonstrated financial need. Fortunately, the school does have several benefactors who donate money to ensure students who might not otherwise be able to afford college can attend. If a student finds that the financial assistance available from his or her family is insufficient, he or she is encouraged to apply for aid through the school’s financial aid office. Some of the types of aid available include Pell Grants, California State Scholarships, student loans, and benefits from the Veterans Administration.
Over the years, Thomas Aquinas College has acquired a significant number of accolades and awards, as well as positions on various “top” lists of the best colleges in the country. The Princeton Review dubbed the school the “Highest Possible Rating for Academics and Value,” and the school was also awarded the “Financial Aid Honor Roll” by the Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report labeled the school a “Best Value,” as well as a “Top Tier” school. Kiplinger’s listed the school as one of the “100 Best Values in Private Colleges.” Students frequently graduate from the school and go on to graduate programs with almost 40 percent of students moving on to graduate or professional school.
Although Thomas Aquinas College is relatively new compared to many of the venerated institutions of higher learning in the United States and California, the school’s administrators have worked diligently to ensure the quality of its programs and curriculum. All students at the college take the same classes and receive the same degree. The school encourages students to participate in community service projects in the local community and also restricts the number of classes a student can take each day to three, so no student feels overworked or overloaded. Small class sizes and a small overall student body ensure students, faculty, and members of the community remain friendly and appreciative of one another.
The school is located in a rural setting, and many people consider the school to offer a “one-of-a-kind” experience with its uniform curriculum and broad selection of topics. Students will study a variety of topics that include history, science, theology, math, literature, and politics. In addition, students enjoy an interesting classroom experience in that classes aren’t designed as traditional lectures but as discussions. The school uses the Socratic method of study to present topics and fuel student learning. One of the goals of the college is to inspire well-rounded graduates by nurturing the spiritual, physical, and artistic talents of each student.
Students who wish to enjoy a unique college experience unlike almost any other in the country will want to consider Thomas Aquinas College. Students should be dedicated to their faith and want to further their connection to God and the Church through a unique education experience. The best way for a student to figure out whether Thomas Aquinas College is the right fit is to contact the school’s administrators and arrange a visit to the campus.