Why go to Ateneo de Manila University? An old jest says, “If you’ve got the money and the brains, go to Ateneo.” This is a typical joke of university students; nevertheless, it is not without basis. Over the years, Ateneo has developed a reputation as a superior higher-education institution in more ways than one.
If you’re not entirely sure why you should consider Ateneo University as an option, do read on for the things that make Ateneo a good university option and why you should go and file that ACET application.
As I mentioned in another article of mine, the Ateneo University bears the distinction of being one of several Philippine Universities mentioned in the Times Higher Education Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, 2008 Edition.
Even without this honor, though, Ateneo’s reputation for quality education has already preceded it. My mother, a Maryknoll alumna, once told me that you could always spot an Atenean in her day by looking for two telltale signs: a distinct English twang and a ginormous pile of books.
Admittedly, the English twang has mixed with Filipino over the years, yet the books and the brains are still very much there.
The Ateneo University has apparently undergone a bit of a renovation process lately. For example, older complexes such as the Social Science Buildings have also received much-needed facelifts. Besides that, some nice new buildings have sprung up in recent years- one of which is the John Gokongwei School of Management.
Aesthetically speaking, the Ateneo campus is ideal for those philosophical, peripatetic sessions. While not as large as, say, the UP Diliman campus, Ateneo still has its share of tree-studded walkways and wide open spaces.
The University Church is always a good place to stop by for some quiet contemplation or emergency prayer session when exams come up. The Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex is also a nice place to work off a sweat, or even to vent those primal emotions once in a while (and believe me, there will be times when you will need to do so.).
“Heading Down the Mountain”
As Ateneo is a Catholic University, you can expect to go through some form of social outreach program as part of your education. This may sound like a double-edged sword for some, but the good news is that the program can potentially exercise your compassion and empathy muscles like no other one can.
A good case in point is the course on Theology of Liberation. It has a mandatory outreach program that requires students to spend some quality time with the underprivileged for a few days. Students will then be asked to process the experience and share their thoughts and insights about it, and perhaps even do something about it if possible. It’s amazing what you can learn if you’ve never been exposed to this kind of thing before.
The Jesuit Training System
Perhaps the one thing that makes an Ateneo education stand out most is the Jesuit philosophy behind the college education that they provide.
You see, the Jesuits have a rather unique approach when it comes to education. They believe in the soundness of a strong core curriculum as an academic foundation. While Ateneo does allow for specialized training, it is not interested in being overspecialized. Allow me to explain.
The Ateneo Core Curriculum requires that each and every student receive basic to intermediate training in various subject matters including Mathematics, English, Filipino, Philosophy and Theology.
The point of the whole thing is to provide the student with at least a general competence in a variety of subjects, so that no matter where he or she is placed, that student will always possess a certain degree of knowledge in something other than his or her field of specialization.
It’s basically an exercise in versatility. If you think of an Ateneo graduate as a specialist with a primary and a secondary specialty, then the core curriculum subjects make up that person’s secondary specialty.
The First Step
The points I’ve mentioned above are some of the many good reasons for choosing Ateneo as your source of tertiary education. Granted, it an Ateneo education is no easy trek (both academically and financially), but you will find the results to be well worth your effort in the long run.