All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are required to sign up for a Minimester course that will take them out of the classroom to experience learning in real and concrete ways. Some of the Minimesters include significant travel and others are based right here in Chicago. In the following pages, you will see Minimester courses that have their basis in science, history, the arts, literature, language, culture, and more! We are confident that the Minimester courses will enrich our students, and open them up to new, indelible experiences. We believe that the experience of these classes will help them to become not only better students, but better people.
Each Minimester course is about the equivalent of a week, or 30 hours of learning time. Many of the Minimester courses will take place at the traditional end of the school year and some take place over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter breaks, and some take place on select weekends throughout the school year. Your son will want to take into consideration his preferences and other commitments (e.g., family, athletics, job, finances) when choosing his Minimester course.
More detailed information for course offerings that include significant travel and cost will be made available at family meetings, as well as from the course instructors. Please feel free to contact them by email with your questions.
The Minimester courses that follow are arranged by Tier – there are Tier I, II, III, and Tier IV courses available to our students and they are catalogued, more or less, by price. Final prices may vary depending on how many students sign up for a course. The listed prices are estimates. The final cost will be given at the end of the registration period. It is important to know that deposits for courses are non-refundable after deadlines - please be aware and mindful of these deadlines.
Please use the Minimester Registration Form to indicate your choice of Minimester. Note that some courses require that a $50 deposit be made at the time of registration. Tier IV courses require that you only submit your Minimester preference. Please see the Registration Form for further detailed instructions.
Please also see the Minimester FAQ’s that follow.
What is Minimester?
Minimester is an offering of a wide range of 30-hour (minimum) courses incorporated into the school calendar in various ways to offer our students education through high-interest experiences and indelible “life lessons” outside the traditional classroom.
Are Minimester classes required for all students?
Minimester classes are required of every freshman, sophomore and junior. They are not required for seniors, but in some cases seniors may be permitted to take a Minimester class, if space and timing permit.
When will Minimester classes be taken during the school year?
We will officially schedule Minimester into the school calendar during the last week or so of the school year. Many Minimester classes will be offered at that time. However, Minimester offerings are flexible enough to accommodate every student without disruption to his extracurricular activities and commitments outside of school, such as athletics and part-time jobs. Some Minimester classes will be offered on weekends or during school breaks such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. A student should consider his own calendar of commitments when choosing his Minimester class each year.
What types of classes are offered in Minimester?
A wide variety of interests will be addressed in Minimester classes, ranging from the culinary arts to international travel, science to theater, college visits to business to adventure—and many points in between. Some classes will include overnight (even international) travel, and others will include no travel or a series of day trips. Minimester classes will be focused on a wide variety of topics of interest sure to appeal to any Rita Man.
How will my student choose his Minimester class?
Students will use this catalogue, of approved Minimester classes, complete with course descriptions, expected per student cost, dates, travel information, teacher(s) and other pertinent information. The school administration reserves the right to deny the request of any student his chosen Minimester class for any reason that is communicated to the student and his family.
Is there a cost associated with Minimester?
Yes, in most cases. The cost passed along to families is intended to cover the cost of running the class.
We have divided our courses into four tiers according to per student cost. Tier I classes involve significant travel, possibly overseas, and carry a per student cost of over $1500; Tier II classes often involve domestic travel or other activities that cost between $750 and $1,500; Tier III classes may involve less costly travel but still require hotel or some other type of reservation.
Tier IV classes generally take place closer to home and are options that are low-cost or free.
Students who commit (with parental permission) to Tier I and Tier II courses may have the option of a monthly payment plan.
We understand that Minimester classes may require a sacrifice for your family, and the ability to absorb the cost is unique to each family. That is why we are committed to two fundamental principles: there will be a wide range of options to accommodate families of all economic means; and, we will assist families in making a determination about which Minimester classes are affordable for them, based on their tuition and financial aid status.
Who will be the teachers of these Minimester classes?
St. Rita faculty have conceived of and researched all the Minimester offerings, and they will be the teachers of the courses. In some classes, there may be two or more teachers. We will also utilize non-faculty volunteer chaperones as needed to maintain an acceptable and safe student- teacher ratio. Any non-faculty chaperones will be fully vetted (Virtus-trained and background check) and approved by the administration.
What are the advantages for our students?
St. Augustine said, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a
page." Whether it is travel across the globe or the country or Chicago—or the figurative ‘travel’ of learning by new experiences—we believe the Minimester courses will enrich our students and open them up to new, indelible experiences. We believe the experience of these classes will help them to become not only better students, but better people. In addition, we believe colleges will look favorably on these classes, especially if a student chooses his Minimester carefully and demonstrates personal growth from the experience. The likelihood is high for a Minimester teacher to be a positive recommender of a student in his college and scholarship applications or for other pre-college programs.
Will Minimester classes be graded and count for credit?
Yes, Minimester classes will be graded and will count for a quarter- credit (.25) per year. This grade will appear on the transcript and will count toward graduation and GPA.
Do other high schools offer Minimester?
Yes, across the country (and around the world!) high schools offer different versions of the Minimester, which is also known as third semester, project week, January term and other names. These schools include Augustinian schools, as well as other Catholic, private, charter and public schools.
Why are Minimester courses required to be 30 hours?
A typical week of school includes about 30 hours of instruction, and we want our Minimester courses to approximate that. Some time is allotted for travel, and some courses will necessitate using more than 30 hours.