Harvard’s acceptance rate for the class of 2020 is only 5.2%, but if you think that is competitive, the acceptance rate at the for-profit college startup Minerva Schools is only 1.9%. What makes this school so difficult to get into? The school’s tough admissions policy and unique take on education so says Minerva CEO Ben Nelson.
“We are an institution that is set up to find and then train people who are going to make what we refer to as decisions of consequence. Those types of decisions that have impact on others much more so than they have impact on themselves. To find people who have the intellectual curiosity, the raw intellectual horsepower, the humility, the passion around having to be able to succeed in those kinds of environments is extremely hard to find. So we reject something like 10 valedictorians for every 1 that we admit.” Nelson told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Nelson talked about the unique qualities that are attracting students to the school.
“Minerva is an extremely intensive environment, so all of our classes have fewer than 20 students in them, you get personal attention throughout, not just your class environment, also in career support, immersion in the city, students live in 7 different cities across the next four years, they start in San Francisco and then they live all over the world,” Nelson said.
Nelson then weighed in on another important factor for students and their families, the cost.
“Tuition at Minerva is only $10,000. Now you still have to pay for room and board, you have to live and you have to eat, so the total price tag is about $28,000. But that’s well under half the total price tag of a traditional Ivy League university where the majority of your classes will be lectures.”
Nelson also discussed how not having a sports program allows the school to keep its costs lower than many of its counterparts.
“Universities got into this crazy amenities race where everybody has to build a nicer football field, lawn and everything else,” said Nelson.
He then discussed the school’s unique teaching style.
“We teach differently in a couple of different ways. So, number 1, lectures are banned at Minerva, professors cannot talk for more than 4 minute at a time because the idea is that you want to engage students in fully-active learning…,” Nelson continued, “The other way we do it differently is that we do our courses on a proprietary platform that we’ve built, so even though all the students live together we don’t go to a physical classroom, they are actually in a very immersive environment which makes the teaching much richer.”