When I first visited New College Franklin as a sophomore in high school, I knew I wanted to attend. Now that I am here, I cannot even begin to say how much I have been blessed by being a part of the NCF community. The professors and the student body are everything to me.
One of the great attractions of New College Franklin is the overall environment. The whole atmosphere of New College is one of community, which is essential in a college. The sense of having a place that feels like home is exactly what New College is. The students are friendly, encouraging, and helpful. They are quick to answer questions about the college, the curriculum, and life as a student. Whenever I visited, I would find groups of students sitting in coffee shops studying, gathering for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the weekends, or playing frisbee in the park. They are people of fellowship and I am happy to say I am now one of them.
The fellowship of New College Franklin is only one of the many things I was attracted to. Another benefit to attending NCF is the curriculum. The classes implement the Socratic method, which is a discussion-based method for learning and gaining knowledge in a group setting. This class setting is attractive to me. I can discuss the material with my professor and wrestle through the reading with my classmates without simply being lectured and then left to fend for myself. But the greatest benefit of the curriculum is that they do not simply train you for a specific task. Rather, they prepare you for life. The whole point of classical education is not to provide you with enough information to succeed in one area, but to excel in every subject. It forces you to interact and communicate. It shapes and grows who you are as a whole person.
Kate Deddens writes:
Grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric are in a balanced relationship with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom; that knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are in a balanced relationship with truth, beauty, and goodness; and that truth, beauty, and goodness are in a balanced relationship with humility, harmony, and hierarchy. Thus classical, Christian education is diffracted through intellectual characteristics into transcendent and aesthetic principles and into realms of virtue. Becoming educated through the classical model causes students to follow that trajectory in learning. This is why classical education hones the skills that produce the arts of the truly educated, free man. (Kate Deddens, Classical Educator)
Now, although this was on the topic of the Trivium (the first three liberal arts), it relates the same principles gained through studying the Quadrivium (the four higher liberal arts), as well. I hope that through my time at NCF I will be able to accomplish everything Deddens mentions — and more. I have already gained and accomplished much in the few months that I have been here, and I am eager to learn more.
Socrates once said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” I believe Fr. James Thornton explains this quote perfectly,
What [Socrates] meant is that the truly educated man is humbled by an understanding that whatever knowledge his education has conferred upon him, that knowledge is always limited, since learning is a quest that is never finished, never complete, but continues until the very end of one’s life.
I did not choose New College to learn a task and leave, but to be filled with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Upon finishing, I will not know everything, but I will continue on with the joyous quest.
In New College Franklin’s “Mission & Objectives,” they state,
“Therefore, the ultimate aim of New College Franklin is to raise up and send forth Christian leaders of orthodoxy and orthopraxy who are able to know, preserve and then pass on to future generations a heritage of Trinitarian life in the Lord.”
This is the ultimate reason I chose NCF. I believe New College will encourage me as I live my life fulfilling the commandments of Christ Jesus, nourish me as I struggle through life, and serve as a refreshing reminder every day to faithfully continue in my walk with God. As I have said before, and will continue to say, I have been greatly blessed to be a part of New College Franklin. I have already grown in my relationships with others and with my Savior in the few months here.
I hope that if you are interested in New College Franklin, you will definitely consider coming and checking us out. Our next Prospective Student Weekend is in March (18-20). We would love to have you!