Written by Traecy Hobson. Our last stop on the Colleges of Rochester Tour was St. John Fisher College, which is located just a few minutes from downtown Rochester. The wooded, park-like setting is pretty, and overall the campus has an intimate feel. Enclosed bridges connect most of the buildings. This is a welcome addition during the frigid, snowy winter months.
It was raining when we arrived on campus, but the weather did not dampen our experience. We were warmly welcomed by faculty, administrators and students and treated to a wonderful breakfast as several students relayed their very personal experiences at St. John Fisher.
This small liberal arts college was founded in 1951 as a Catholic, all men’s college. Its mission was to educate first generation young men. Today, St John Fisher is a coed, faith-based institution that is no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church. It remains to be a “character-based, valued-based institution.” One constant, however, is that St. John Fisher continues to be dedicated to offering an accessible college education to bright, first generation young adults. Approximately one-third of all students are first generation students.
There are five schools within the college: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Pharmacy and Nursing. Students can select from 30 majors or 11 pre-professional programs. Nursing, physical sciences and business are the most popular areas of study. The pharmacy program is nationally ranked and admission is very competitive. Business majors can opt for a five-year MBA program.
Both administrators and students told us that experiential learning is encouraged. All freshmen are required to take a research methods and writing class. Undergraduate research opportunities are plentiful, and many classes have a community service component. Although study abroad is promoted by the administration, currently just 10-percent of all students study abroad.
Ninety-percent of all freshmen live on campus, and nearly 50-percent of all students reside in on-campus housing. Living and learning communities are popular here. There are many on-campus clubs and activities to choose from during the week and on weekends. Students look forward to Thursdays when food trucks traditionally come to campus. Students here like to give back to the community. Students I talked to are very involved with the Courage Bowl — a student-run community service event that benefits Camp Good Days and Special Times, a camp for adults and children whose lives have been affected by cancer and other life altering challenges. St. John Fisher student athletes compete in the Liberty League or the Empire 8.
Currently, the student body of 2,700 is relatively homogenous. Eighty-percent of all students went to high school within a hundred-mile radius of campus. Less than 15-percent of the students identify as students of color. The school is working to bring more diversity to campus.
Admissions and Financial Aid
Admissions is looking for students who have earned a “B” average or better in challenging high school courses. Submitting SAT/ACT scores is required. All students are automatically reviewed for merit aid.
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