Your Questions About the Student Experience at Minerva Answered

Oct 7, 2017

In case you missed Natalie Kanter, Class of 2019, answering common questions on our Instagram Stories, don’t worry — you’re in luck: we’ve compiled some of the top takeaways from her responses.

As one of Minerva’s Global Application Mentors, Natalie supports students during the admissions process, so she knows firsthand what prospective students are thinking about as they evaluate Minerva. During her Q&A, she also shared some of her own experiences — as an applicant and as Minerva student — which you can read about below.

Four Years, Seven Cities

What is “city as campus”?
Natalie: City as campus is the way that Minerva students don’t have a campus but instead use the city as a means to get everything we need. That means that when we’re taking class, we go to different local coffee shops to take class on our computers. We don’t have a meal plan or a dining hall, so instead we get to learn all about local cuisine, and engage at different restaurants, or cook our own food…. For me, I really love to dance. So instead of participating in dance on a campus, I get to go meet people at dance studios around the city.

Understand the better approach to “campus”

Do you have to travel to all seven cities while studying at Minerva?
N: The global rotation at Minerva is a super, super important aspect of the experience; it really helps to facilitate gathering a global mindset, getting involved in a new city, and truly understanding “city as campus” — so it is super super highly encouraged to go to every city. It also means that you get to live with your fellow students, learn together, and experience all of these fun and new things together. So yeah, come!

What is a civic project?
N: A civic project is when Minerva creates a relationship with a company, an organization, or even a government in the city where we’re living in so that Minerva students can create some sort of project that is both meaningful to the student and meaningful to that organization or company, [in the form of] a finished product for them.

Discover experiential learning

What’s an example of a civic project?
N: One civic project I personally participated in when I was in Berlin, was with a local organization — an NGO — called Kiron. Basically, [Kiron] helps refugees gain access to higher education for free. So me and a team of four other Minervans worked together to create a MOOC —a series of online videos— that show [refugees] how to learn online best.

Read more in Civic Project Case Study: Kiron

A Superior Education

What are relationships with professors like at Minerva?
N: So you might expect your relationship with your professor to be very different from a normal school, but it’s actually, I think, much more improved. That’s because our classes are capped at 19 [or fewer] students, so the professor has the chance to form a really great relationship with you, knows your name, and even knows your thought process.

What majors are offered at Minerva?
N: We have five colleges at Minerva: Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Computational Sciences, Business, and Arts & Humanities. You declare your major at the end of your second year. All of this information — and more — is available on our website!

Explore Minerva’s five colleges

What is learning on the ALF like at Minerva?
N: You might think that [taking] online classes is very strange or different, but actually, learning online at Minerva is really fantastic because we have active seminars. On the Minerva ALF — or Active Learning Forum — you can see all of the students live, with their faces, as well as the professor, and it’s a very active dialogue. So you’re constantly speaking to your professor, and to your fellow classmates and you’re constantly learning from one another — it’s never a lecture. It’s always super engaging and exciting.

Discover active learning


What are some tips for the Accomplishments section?
N: So there are a few ways you can make your Accomplishments as good as they can be. I think the first tip is to make sure that your Accomplishments are about things you are passionate about. In a lot of other traditional applications you might feel compelled to write about academics, but [Minerva’s] doesn’t have to just be about academics. The Accomplishments can cover a time when you showed a lot of leadership, or a passion project, or a sport, or really anything that you feel very strongly [about], that you’ve committed to.

Another tip is to make sure you add a lot of detail and information. If you were the leader of a group, for example, how many people did you lead? What initiatives did you take, and what impact did [those initiatives] have?

Learn about the Accomplishments section, which is unique to Minerva’s admissions process

What is Binding Enrollment?
N: Binding Enrollment is a really good option for you if you know that Minerva is your top choice school and that, if you got accepted to Minerva, you intend on enrolling. [To select Binding Enrollment] sign up on the application and once you submit all admissions requirements you’ll get a notification within four weeks. It’s super fast! If — hopefully! — you get accepted, you’ll have up to 10 days to submit the enrollment deposit. Binding Enrollment is a really fast way to come to Minerva if you know that it’s your top choice — so good luck!

Learn more about Binding Enrollment

How does financial aid at Minerva work?
N: So, Financial Aid at Minerva is actually extremely generous. About 80 percent of the students in my current class are on financial aid, and it is for any student at all — it doesn’t matter if you are from the U.S. or not. Our financial aid comes in either low interest loans, work study, and/or scholarships. And it is all need-based, so it doesn’t have to do with your merit, your past academics, or your applications —solely your need.

Discover Minerva’s approach to financial aid

Can I reapply if I get rejected?
N: If you didn’t get into Minerva the last time you applied, you can apply again as long as it’s a completely new academic year. You can only apply for Minerva once per year, but you can apply for as many years as you want. I know some students that are in my class that applied the year prior and got rejected, then applied again and got it— so definitely apply again if you want to come to Minerva.

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your thoughts. If you enjoyed reading Natalie’s answers and would like to tune in to our next live Q&A, visit our Facebook page for information on upcoming lifestreams. If you are interested in applying to Minerva, you can start an application for free on our website.