For the second part of your application we ask you to read this description of life at SSU and simply express what it would mean to you to live in this kind of community. This is not a test; your response just helps us to understand why you’re interested in SSU and what kind of academic and personal goals you might have for your time here. We’re looking to admit the applicants that really want to join us here. You can respond in one of the following ways:
- Write a paragraph (of approximately 250 words) on the form below, or
- Create a brief video presentation and send it to [email protected], or
- Request to share your thoughts with us over the phone – contact us with a time that would suit you.
(Note: if you are applying for the Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice, you do not need to respond – your application is complete.)
St. Stephen’s University is the smallest university in Canada, only accepting up to 30 new students each year. This allows us to create a unique liberal arts university in which everyone knows each other and professors share daily life with students. Instead of the anonymous culture that is inevitable at a large university, at SSU we’re interested in you as a unique person. We want SSU to be a place where you can be who you really are and figure out who you want to be – acceptance is at the core of who we are, and we welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds and stages in life’s journey.
This personal approach is what enables us to challenge and support you as you master the skills and complexity of a university education. Our aim is to create a learning community that includes outstanding faculty, caring staff, and students who support each other on a journey of expanding their understanding of the world and finding confidence in their place in it. This emphasis on shared and experiential education has enabled our alumni to be well-prepared for graduate study or for a broad range of careers.
While we have identified ourselves as a Christian university in the past, we no longer feel that it is an adequate description of who we are. SSU is a liberal arts university with degree programs in humanities and social sciences, and we feel that we have a unique strength: a broad and diverse Christian heritage has led us to be intentional about including space to explore ways in which spiritual traditions contribute to our search for meaning in today’s world. We give students the opportunity to explore and develop their spirituality as part of their educational experience; to us this is a vital element of learning and growth, and is as important to our community as intellectual development. We love to tackle deep questions of faith, identity and meaning as an integral part of our liberal arts program. We ask these questions from a position of open-mindedness, and we don’t dish out pat answers – we think the questions are often more helpful, and being over-certain of answers can limit learning and growth. One of the hallmarks of a liberal arts degree is critical thinking – the analysis and evaluation of an issue to form an opinion. At SSU we help students form, question and express their opinions and worldviews, fostering an environment in which we all respect and learn from those with differing opinions and worldviews.
So our doors are wide open to anyone who would like to respectfully join our community, whatever their background or faith perspective, and we highly value that diversity. We don’t require engagement in any religious practices, but there are a variety of optional activities in which students can choose to participate. Our professors are often quite open about their faiths, but their job is to teach students HOW to think, not WHAT to think, and a variety of worldviews are represented in their teaching. We try to create an environment where everyone is free and equipped to think and make decisions for themselves, respectful of everyone else in the community.
And then of course there’s the travel. Rather than sticking you on your own in a foreign country for a while, charging you an enormous amount of money and calling it a travel program, you’ll travel the world with your whole class (and professors), and it’s affordable. We travel because we believe it is an incomparable path of transformative education, shedding light on our worldviews and opening our minds to new perspectives. It’s also an incredibly memorable and enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We invite you to join our community: Be Yourself, Journey Together, Expand your World.
Submit your response right now and once we have your transcript, your application is complete! Just ask your guidance counsellor at your school to fax your transcript to 1.855.466.1783 or email it to [email protected]