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catholic vs. non catholic

beccabeebeccabee Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
edited March 2010 in College Search & Selection
what are the pros/cons of attending a catholic school if i'm not catholic (i am christian, just not catholic)? does it affect my academics, or even my chances of admission? thanks
Post edited by beccabee on
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Replies to: catholic vs. non catholic

  • Nighthawk17Nighthawk17 Posts: 179Registered User Junior Member
    I do not believe that your non-Catholicism will be a factor at all, in admissions, academics or social life.. The admissions officers want diversity. The Catholicism at most Catholic universities is barely noticeable.
  • SikorskySikorsky Posts: 5,851Registered User Senior Member
    The Catholicism at most Catholic universities is barely noticeable.

    I suspect it's barely noticeable to Catholics. In some colleges the Catholic influence may be somewhat more obvious to non-Catholics.

    Not all Catholic colleges have a reputation for being equally Catholic, either. Notre Dame is commonly thought to have a much more Catholic culture than, say, Georgetown.

    But here are some things I know of that have struck non-Catholics in Catholic colleges and universities:

    Some non-Catholics (particularly non-Christians) find crucifixes in classrooms a conspicuous reminder that the school is Catholic and they're not.

    A friend of mine who went to law school at Georgetown was nonplussed when she couldn't get contraceptives through student health.

    When my sister went to Xavier in Cincinnati, all students had to take classes in philosophy and theology.

    Whether YOU would notice these things, only you can say. But I don't think you can really generalize about "Catholic colleges." Look at 'em, by all means, because many of them are very, very good, but I'm afraid only you can really say whether any particular college will be "too Catholic" for you.
  • beccabeebeccabee Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    you said that your sister had to take theology course... do you think this would be true at most catholic schools? thanks for your tips (:
  • Nighthawk17Nighthawk17 Posts: 179Registered User Junior Member
    Most Catholic colleges probably have a core curriculum that includes a Theology class. At Boston College, for instance, there is a core requirement that includes a Theology class, but they offer a broad spectrum of Theology classes, some of which sound like sociology or philosophy classes, more than Theology classes. No one will try to convert you!
  • beccabeebeccabee Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    haha, okay sounds awesome. i don't have a problem with taking theology classes, so that would be okay. i'm just a little worried that the school would be more conservative than my taste. i've heard that jesuit schools are more left sided?
  • MidwestMom2Kids_MidwestMom2Kids_ Posts: 6,673Registered User Senior Member
    Generally speaking, the Jesuit colleges have an open-minded feel to them. (I think this is because Jesuits as an order are inquisitive and open minded.)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,374Registered User Senior Member
    When my sister went to Xavier in Cincinnati, all students had to take classes in philosophy and theology.

    Typically any required theology classes at Catholic colleges are ecumenical in nature. The required classes are not "how to be Catholic" classes."
  • SikorskySikorsky Posts: 5,851Registered User Senior Member
    NightHawk and Mom are right about the broad nature of the theology classes...at least as far as I know. I did not go to a Catholic college myself.
  • SchmaltzSchmaltz Posts: 3,114- Senior Member
    There are thousands of non-Christians going to Catholic schools in the U.S. If there was pressure on them to become Catholic, you can be sure that anti-religious newspapers, magazines, and web sites would be broadcasting the dirt to the masses. There is usually a wide variety of theology courses to choose from...many being more historical or philosophical than religious. You're far far far far far far far far far far far far far more likely to have a radical left-wing professor of history, political science, or sociology try to force his propaganda on you, even at a Catholic college, than you are likely to have anybody try to do anything religious with you.
  • ghostbusterghostbuster Posts: 1,590- Senior Member
    Most Catholic colleges, with some exceptions, like Notre Dame, have an approximate student ratio of 60 percent Catholic and 40 percent non Catholic. Of the 40 percent, a high percentage are protestant, with a number of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and agnostic students as well.

    Catholic schools will challenge you to learn more about yourself, as well as the world around you, including tolerance for other religions. They are distinct in that they are not secular, though many secular professors may teach there.

    At Fordham for example, there are many Jewish, Protestant and others in their faculty ranks.

    Nobody should ask a Catholic college, faculty member or student to apologize for being Catholic. When we took tours of colleges and if that college was Catholic and if someone asked that question, and if the tour guide gave a mumbling apology or downplayed the Catholic nature of the school it was an IMMEDIATE turnoff to us. Why hide what makes you special? If its not for you, fine. But don't shy away from a Catholic school because you are not Catholic.

    Nobody will proselytize you. Some students have converted ON THEIR OWN. Some have even entered the Priesthood. But that is a very personal and subjective situation.

    Being nonplussed about seeing crucifixes on walls in a Catholic college is peculiar it seems to me. What did that person expect?

    I am Jesuit educated. I had a professor, a Jesuit Priest who had a Tibetan Prayer rug hanging from his window in the Jesuit residence on campus.

    The Roman Catholic Church is 2,000 years old. It has a rich and colorful, if sometimes violent and awkward, history. The study of human history through the ages must by necessity include Church history. Embrace it.

    Catholics on Catholic campuses will respect you and your views. They may not agree, or they may strongly disagree....but they will be respectful. So long as you are respectful of Catholic beliefs and heritage, you will have a wonderful experience. You may come away from that school with a new found respect for the Church.

    On a more personal note, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., the only Roman Catholic Jesuit Cardinal in the United States was in residence at Fordham until his death one year ago. He was a highly respected theologian, friend of the Holy Father, the Pope, and many others. One of his doctoral students wrote a tremendous and moving epitaph/story about Cardinal Dulles, following his death. This student obtained his Phd at Fordham and is now the Lutheran Pastor in residence at Princeton. One of the most amazing things he said in the epitaph was how Cardinal Dulles taught him how to love and respect the Roman Church even from the outside looking in. I think that epitomizes beautifully what a Catholic and Jesuit education can do for you.
  • beccabeebeccabee Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    thanks so much on this insight. i'm very open to anything and was just wondering what to expect.
  • ghostbusterghostbuster Posts: 1,590- Senior Member
    God bless. wink. :->
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Posts: 5,481Registered User Senior Member
    Generally speaking, the Jesuit colleges have an open-minded feel to them. (I think this is because Jesuits as an order are inquisitive and open minded.)

    I've found this to be true. Georgetown's religious influence is much, much less noticable than Notre Dame's, where I think like 80% + of the students are Catholic. Georgetown is pretty strict about drinking in the dorms though, and the no contraceptives at student health thing may bother you. It all depends. You'll probably become used to these things once you've arrived on campus though, and your own religion (or lack thereof) will in all likelihood be a nonissue.
  • beccabeebeccabee Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    glassesarechic, where would you place boston c on this scale of notre dame and georgetown?
  • Nighthawk17Nighthawk17 Posts: 179Registered User Junior Member
    Boston College is similar to Georgetown and Fordham on this spectrum. All three are Jesuit colleges. I have heard that Notre Dame, which is not a Jesuit college, is more Catholic. All four and others are great colleges.
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