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Christendom enhances academic offerings

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Christendom College in Front Royal has always had high academic standards for admission and for its students to persist through its rigorous liberal arts program and graduate. In recent years, the college has received increased interest from students with very high standardized test scores, who want to immerse themselves in a rigorous program of studies, but also to work closely with faculty mentors in a collaborative manner. This past fall, the average SAT score for incoming students was at an all-time high of 1240.


In an effort to meet the demands of these academic-minded students, Christendom’s department chairs wanted to find a way to help prepare them for greater success at college and afterward. In the fall of 2016, academic dean Ben Reinhard spearheaded the Advanced Studies program, which gives select students the opportunity to do extra work, including research projects and private tutorials with faculty members.

“Advanced Studies was born out of a desire to give students who wanted more, more,” said Reinhard. “We wanted to provide students with an opportunity to expand their studies in more depth outside the confines of what a normal course allows.”

Students who meet a certain SAT threshold may join Advanced Studies, but students who show a certain dedication to academic life also can apply. Professors design contracts for the students to enrich the student’s academic experience.

During each semester, students might take on extra reading or writing in a course. In a Latin class, for example, a student might do additional reading beyond their normal translations. In an English class, a student might read more than just Beowulf — they could also dig more into the culture of Anglo-Saxon England.

“The program is about more than just reading extra material,” said Joseph Brutto, director of the program. “It’s the personal tutorials with professors that make this a really enriching experience. Christendom is already known for the personal connections between students and professors, and Advanced Studies makes this possibility even more fulfilling for the student.”

Advanced Studies students are getting even more out of their classes.

“While I’m a philosophy major, I have been able to participate in advanced studies programs in both English and political science as well, and in both cases I have discovered that, not only did my love for the subject increase, but I found myself marveling at the incredible depth of the science I was studying, as I realized how much more there is to uncover and learn,” said junior Joseph Kelly.

Students are at an even bigger advantage in preparing for post-graduate studies in helping students hone in on what they want to study, and help with crafting graduate school applications.

The program may be only two years old, but the positive results are showing already, especially in the research projects that students are undertaking of their own accord. The range and depth of these projects has been a joy for history professor Brendan McGuire, who has helped students on their advanced studies projects.

Students at Christendom already have great relationships with the faculty due to the size of the school and the generosity of the professors with their time. Advanced Studies is taking that to another level, resulting in students with an even greater academic prowess and an even greater thirst for knowledge.

Programs like Advanced Studies are helping the college recruit and educate the best possible students, while also preparing students to help restore academia as a whole. Christendom students are stepping up to help lead the charge, fulfilling the mission of the college in the process.

Smith is the public relations officer for Christendom College.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018