Campus without borders

Senior Corin Magee prepares for a global college experience.


Catherine Allen

Corin Magee, 12, works on her coding program in Saied Moezzi’s computer science class.

Seven cities, four years, 360 students. Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute offer college students online classes in diverse settings, from London to Buenos Aires. By this time next year, senior Corin Magee will be one of those students.

Minerva’s undergraduate program is based in San Francisco, where Magee will spend freshman year, before living in a new place each semester, including Taipei, Seoul and Berlin.

“From a cultural point of view, over half of the student population is international,” Magee said.  “I’m excited for all of [the cities]. Every location is so different and amazing. If I had to pick [a favorite] I would choose Hyderabad because Indian culture is so beautiful. Not to mention they have amazing food.”

Throughout the international campus, classes consist of 19 students and video calls that are recorded for future use. With a more personalized class setting, professors can ensure each student participates and understands the material.

“They offer a unique style of teaching that focuses on learning how to learn instead of memorization,” Magee said. “While I personally don’t mind memorization too much, I find it difficult to apply outside of the classroom. When working in computer science classes in high school, I found that learning by practice and trial-and-error was substantially faster and stayed with me for longer. For me, it’s always better to physically or mentally practice applying knowledge in order to better understand it and effectively learn it.”

The hands-on experience is further supported by global companies, such as Google. In fact, the average Minerva student will have one to three internships under their belt before graduating. With an intended major of computer science, Magee predicts this experience will help her achieve her goals.

The old model of teachers imparting knowledge for the student to accept is outdated. We need to learn how to discuss and work through problems on our own.

— Corin Magee

“I want to work with people around the world to develop life-changing technology,” Magee said. “By working on a global scale and being taught by real-world professionals, I’ll be able to get the knowledge I need to pursue these goals.”

Beyond Magee’s major, Minerva offers a wide range of other studies, such as natural sciences, psychology and humanities. Compared to other colleges, Minerva gives each student more time to pursue what appeals to them the most. Moreover, professors of these various courses may actually teach more effectively than others.

“Instead of a list of crazy generals, every freshman take the same four classes,” Magee said. “Then you have no more requirements before choosing whatever interests you. All of the instructors are highly qualified in both their subjects and teaching. Because they are given neither tenure nor research incentives, they can focus 100 percent on their students.”

While people have gotten comfortable with the current education system, Magee supports her college’s purpose of changing higher education around the world.

“The old model of teachers imparting knowledge for the student to accept is outdated,” Magee said. “We need to learn how to discuss and work through problems on our own. You can learn any fact using the internet. What school is for is to learn what to do with that knowledge and how to use it.”

As she learns by doing, Magee has developed public speaking, writing and leadership skills throughout her two years in Debate. She has also spent time volunteering in our community by working with special needs kids to create original theatrical productions. In doing so, Magee has represented Minerva’s core value of community involvement.

“[Getting] good grades is an important part of high school, but not necessarily the end all be all,” Magee said. “It doesn’t matter what specifically you do as long as you show passion and dedication to your cause.”