The Complete Saint Johnâ€™s University (MN) Review:
Having spent an entire Junior and Senior year of high school searching for the perfect-fit university for me, not once did I select "rural campus" as an option. It wasn't until the middle of my Junior year that I had even heard of Saint John's. After this acquaintance, I decided to tour it during Minnesota's Private College Week, and I fell in love with the campus; I felt very at home (despite it being in the absolute middle of nowhere). One thing that drew me to Saint John's was the GREAT academic scholarships. The scholarships actually make the private school quite affordable in respect to other private schools (itâ€™s still rather expensive).
Unfortunately, after the excitement of being at college, meeting new people, and being away from home wore off, the reality of the school started to set in. The social life here is completely ridiculous (and I donâ€™t mean off-the-hook, great time ridiculous). An example: My girlfriend was up here for the first time on a Friday night in early November, and as I showed her around the campus, she just plainly asked, â€œWhere are all the people?!â€ At that point, I realized that the majority of the student body was in â€œtownâ€ (if you want to call it that) getting completely drunk and â€œhooking up with chicks, dawg.â€ I have never seen such disrespect for women in my life. I cannot say that I was incredibly surprised, as I am sure that this is the unfortunate case at many universities, but I did not expect to have to hear how a guy accomplished getting a â€œcompletely wasted chick in his room last nightâ€ every single time I took a shower or walked through the hallways of my dorm. This was especially unsettling considering how much Saint Johnâ€™s stresses the importance of respect and dignity. So as far as the social life goes, if youâ€™re not looking for every weekend to be filled with â€œpartiesâ€ (essentially a keg or two of nasty beer and hordes of sweaty people), there are few other options.
The town of Saint Josephâ€™s (where SJUâ€™s sister school, CSB, is located) includes a wonderful assortment of pizza parlors (but thatâ€™s about it). There is one cafÃ©, which is actually pretty nice, but the rest of the city consists of bars, grocery stores, liquor stores, and a couple gas stations. This is NOT the place to immerse yourself in social diversity, nor to enjoy a bustling nightlife full of things to do other than keg parties. Overall, the social life is pretty rough here.
Arguably one of the most important aspects of a university is the academic rigor. Having been an A student in high school, I feel like I kind of short-changed myself in coming to Saint Johnâ€™s. There are a good number of very intelligent people here, but the students settling for mediocrity considerably outnumber them. In every class that I have been in, it is a common thing to hear a resounding, â€œDude, did you study for this test?? Naw, man.. I was up playing Halo until 3 in the morning last night.â€ That being said, if you are looking for an academically driven university, this might not be the place for you.
As far as the student body goes, it has been difficult, but I have met some GREAT people here. After the first week of school, I just decided to stop asking people where they were from, because it was literally safe to assume that they grew up in a small town in Minnesota (and if not, the topic would come up eventually). To be brief, there are many â€œniceâ€ students here on campus but many of them lack substance. They grew up on a farm, they are here studying business, and they want to get drunk this weekend â€“ end of story. But donâ€™t get me wrong â€“ there is a good number of very interesting people if you take the time to search.
All in all, I have had a pretty negative experience at Saint Johnâ€™s, and I will not be coming back next year. At this point, I have decided that this University is a PERFECT fit for much of the student body if you: 1) Donâ€™t care that it is in the middle of nowhere, 2) Had relatives graduate from Saint Johnâ€™s, 3) Are a â€˜Bâ€™ student from Minnesota and desire to go to a private university, 4) Love the outdoors enough to actually live in them 24/7, and 5) Love to cheer on division III sports. In conclusion, this university is absolutely fantastic if you match the above criteria, but if not, look for a more diverse and academically rigorous university that actually has a city!