Soka University of America: Educating students to change the world

By JULIA HLAVACIK,
West York Area High School

Soka University of America is located in beautiful Aliso Viejo, Calif. Among its many positive aspects, the college undeniably has a very beautiful campus that sits on 103 acres of flowing, well-kept land.

Soka was founded in 1994 and is a very selective liberal arts college. All students are required to travel abroad for at least one semester during their college career, and the cost is built into the tuition. Students whose families make less than $60,000 a year are eligible for a full-ride scholarship and need to pay only for books and room and board.

Soka is unlike most colleges because it offers only a Liberal Arts degree. However, students may choose to concentrate in environmental studies, humanities, international studies, or social and behavioral sciences. This might limit a prospective student’s options, but this one major holds true to the school’s stated mission, “to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.”

The school’s primary goal is not to prepare a student for getting a job, but rather to prepare a student to become someone with the power to change the world. Liberal arts coupled with study abroad offers students a platform from which they can grow into a “global citizen.”

Name: Soka University of America

Location: Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Size and type of campus: Rural campus

Student/Faculty ratio: 9:1

Number of undergraduates: 431

Most popular majors: Liberal arts

Degrees offered: Liberal arts

Web site: www.soka.edu

Tuition: $27,214 (according to website, for 2012-2013)

Athletics (what division): NAIA

Average SAT score: 1730

Public/Private?: Private

Acceptance rate: 32 percent

Retention Rate: 90 percent

Source: www.soka.edu, collegeapps.about.com

About Matt Eyer

Breaking News Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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3 Responses to Soka University of America: Educating students to change the world

  1. Wendy Harder says:

    Nice profile, Julia! Soka University appreciates being included in your blog. We would add that Soka University focuses on BOTH empowering our students to help make the work a better place — and on finding a job. We currently have graduates working at the World Bank, United Nations, Peace Corp and many Fortune 500 companies and educational systems. Limited options? It’s amazing where a BA in Liberal Arts at SUA can take you. Here are some of the universities and graduate programs that have admitted SUA grads:
    American University
    M.A. International Peace and Conflict Resolution
    M.A. International Service
    Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program
    M.A. International Training and Education Law
    Antioch New England Graduate School
    M.A. Teaching (Waldorf Method of Teaching)
    Berklee College of Music
    Professional Diploma Program in Performance
    Birmingham University, UK
    M.A. Media, Culture and Society
    Boston University
    M.A. Global Development Policy
    M.A. Economics
    M.A. Screen Writing
    M.A. Mathematical Finance
    M.A. Public Health
    Bradford University, UK
    M.A. Conflict Resolution
    Brown University
    M.A. Public Health
    Brunel University, UK
    M.A. Media and Communications
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    M.A. Urban and Regional Planning
    Carnegie Mellon University
    M.S. Public Policy and Management
    M.A. Entertainment Industry Management
    Chapman University
    Law
    Chicago School of Professional Psychology
    M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    City University of London, UK
    M.A. Media and Communication
    Claremont Graduate School
    M.A. Teacher Education
    M.A. Public Policy
    M.A. Economics
    Ph.D Economics
    MBA
    M.A. in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods
    M.S. Human Resources Design
    Ph.D Interfield in Political Science and Economics
    Columbia University
    M.A. Social work
    Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program
    M.A. Japanese Language Pedagogy
    M.A. Public Health
    M.A. Environmental Science and Policy
    M.A. Public Administration
    M.A. Regional Studies – East Asia
    Columbia University Teachers College
    M.A.Elementary Inclusive Education / Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
    M.A. Arts and Humanities—Teaching English and English Education
    M.A. Philosophy and Education
    M.A. International and Transcultural Education
    M.A. International Educational Development
    M.A. Educational Psychology
    M.A. Psychology
    M.A. Psychology of Education
    M.A. Counseling and Clinical Psychology
    Cornell University
    M.A. Public Affairs
    M.A. Applied Statistics
    Drexel University, Earle Mack School of Law
    Law
    Duke University
    M.P.P. Public Policy
    M.S. Environmental Management
    Emory University
    M.A. Public Health
    Evergreen State College
    M.A. in Environmental Studies
    Florida Coastal Law School
    Law
    Florida State University
    M.A. Asian Studies
    George Mason University
    M.A. International Commerce and Policy Program
    M.A. Social Work
    M.A. Public Policy
    M.S. Conflict Analysis and Resolution
    M.A. Education, Counseling and Development
    Georgetown University
    Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program
    M.A. Conflict Resolution
    Ph.D Economics
    George Washington University
    M.A. International Affairs-Asian Studies
    M.A. International Education
    M.A. International Development Studies
    M.A. Public Health
    Goldsmith University, UK
    M.A. Media and Communication
    The Graduate Institute, Geneva, SZ
    M.A. International Studies on Political Science
    Harvard University
    M.A. Statistics
    M. Ed Human Development and Psychology
    M.A. International Education Policy
    M.A. International Studies

    That’s just through the “H’s”…but I think you can see that a BA in Liberal Arts from Soka University can open many doors!

  2. mila says:

    I think you summed it up well but basically stated what they want you to think. They want you to think they are preparing you to change the world. But really, what kind of a college can do that? It is something that only the individual can learn on his or her own. There are courses here that help people think out of the box but at the end of 4 years, it turns out that most students become arrogant and quite the opposite of critical thinkers. I guess it is a symptom of a college education in general. So don’t think this school is any different from others. Peace is just a motto that makes the school and its students look good. These students pretend to care during class but don’t demonstrate these values in daily life. And of course, we can not ignore that most students are part of a buddhist group that has the resemblance to a cult. They are very proud of their religion in a way that they will dish out criticisms of other cultures without thinking critically about their own.

    • Scotty says:

      Hello Mila,
      I would like to say that as a recent graduate of SUA, your assessments of the students and university are incorrect. The kinds of jobs and projects my classmates and I are involved in now seek to live out the mission and spirit of Soka. Far from being arrogant and not critical thinkers our alumni are working in all sorts of vital roles around the globe, many as part of NGOs while many others are currently attending some of the world’s most prestigious and demanding graduate programs. As for your assertion that SUA students pretend to care in class but do not live out the values, I would have to say that if you had an opportunity to really know and interact with SUA students you would find this is as far from the truth as it could be. And finally, my four years at SUA demonstrated that students from every religious and cultural background have or develop great cultural sensitivity.

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