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Secular or Catholic? How much is it worth?

multimommultimom Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
edited June 2012 in Christian Colleges
My son's been offered a full ride to our state school, which is very good in his chosen major, and complete tuition to a Catholic LAC. There are a few other colleges we haven't gotten complete scholarship offers from yet. He wants to go to a Catholic college to be with others who share his values (we're Catholic), but I'm starting to wonder how much that experience is worth. Would you (assuming "you" are Christian) pay for the religious school or go to the free secular one?
Post edited by multimom on

Replies to: Secular or Catholic? How much is it worth?

  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    As a Christian, I wouldn't go to a Christian school. I already know that culture - I'd be headed to college to learn to see the world through different sets of lenses.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    multimom, I'd guess you're not intimately familiar with the culture on secular, public campuses these days? A week on that campus, take your pick, would undoubtedly stun you. Does that mean you would not "survive" it, learn somethings, or even "grow" in your understanding? Nope.

    Conversely, does that mean you would not be potentially alarmed, concerned, illumined about YOUR answer to YOUR question? I'd bet a pile of lucky charms you'd have your answer.

    This is not nearly so simple as gadad might suggest. His perspective and yours might come to substantially different conclusions about the value,i.e. "worth" of some additional R&B costs vs. the "worth" of your son's education and nurture. I've been to both and there is, dare I say it, a "world" of difference between these 2 universes. And there is a very good reason one is able to charge more than the other. Most often one gets what one pays for, relatively speaking.
  • WendyMouseWendyMouse Registered User Posts: 740 Member
    You say the state school is better for your son's chosen major, but I don't know anything about the Catholic school, other than it's an LAC. If it's one of those very highly regarded Catholic LACs, eg Holy Cross-- hands down, pay for it, as your son will be getting the small classes and serious body of students which makes for a better educational experience than many state schools. i'd say the reverse if the LAC doesn't have your son's major or anything like it.
  • multimommultimom Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Thanks for the responses so far. All of the schools he is considering offer his desired major. If he gets a complete tuition offer to a particular LAC we're waiting on, I think he'll go there. Otherwise we're looking at a very small (questionably) Catholic school at the extreme of our distance circle vs a state school within an hour of home.

    Also, he's applied for several small local scholarships which we think he has a good chance of winning and would help pay for room and board.

    He's the eldest of five kids, so we don't want to mortgage the house just yet. We can contribute a modest amount, although nowhere near what financial aid projects.

    And, whistlepig, you are right. We need to explore the state school more. It was his safety and we just haven't spent much time there.

    First choice is obvious, but pending. It's deciding between 2 and 3 that has us stumped.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    Another thought on this one.

    There is a reason that not so long ago, the majority of students attending college preferred the smaller LACs. Today, some 85+% are attending the publix. Now, one might conclude it is a matter of preference. Most studies show it's a lack of choice due to cost factors. So each has to conclude personal definitions of worth, value, net cost, life lessons, etc.

    And remember ... misery loves company, my point being the more of the masses attending massified education, the more who'll swear it's the cat's meow when all it really may be is affordable ... or maybe a bit less expensive.
  • ManoriteManorite Registered User Posts: 305 Junior Member
    My suggestion would be to define the decision as one specific school vs another, rather than religious vs secular, large vs small, or public vs private. These are all different factors that should be considered (along with distance, major, finances, etc), with the weight of each factor being a personal choice.

    Definitely take your son's preferences into account, but also be very honest with him about your financial situation. If he does have strong Christian values, I think he'll make the right choice.
  • laplatinumlaplatinum Registered User Posts: 529 Member
    I can only speak to the Jesuits, who are considered the renegades of the Catholic Church (for like 400 years, but we survive and thrive still!). The Jesuit mission keeps everyone focused on service and leadership, but not in a confining way. All faith traditions (or none) are welcome, and even the religion classes offer an array of choices. Jesuits are known for challenging the status quo and for debate and discourse.My son is in the same situation as yours: a top UC versus top Jesuit institutions. He's very likely to go Jesuit. From my own experience being Jesuit educated, he will leave his institution with a strong moral core that will guide him in a world that is quite brutal.
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,578 Senior Member
    Curious to hear what the OP has decided. For our two oldest kids, we paid for the Catholic LACs. We have 5 more kids to put through college and we need to re-think our finances.
    So kid #3 is going to a state u. that is offering him a full ride. We have mixed feelings about this, but we need to take control of our budget. Kid #4 will also likely go public with big scholarships. Then we can save for kids 5-7, who seem less likely (at this point) to win the big merit aid. (Our kids have been homeschooled and attended public high schools). H and I are both graduates of public high schools and non-Catholic colleges. Still, we see the benefits of being schooled with those who share your values--especially for college students. (Tune in next year to see how this works out for kid #3. . .)
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 5,116 Senior Member
    Well, the good thing on most college campuses is that there are usually Christian and Catholic support groups for those who want them. Too, if the school is in a decent sized metropolis, there will be choices for local churches.

    For our oldest son, heading to MIT in the fall, it's critical that he be already connected with an on campus Christian group-in his case, it appears to be Campus Crusade for Christ-as well as a local church *before* he arrives. Now, he'll have to attend several recommended churches in the area before he makes a decision, but having those two things in place are a must for him.

    The good news of the Gospel is that God is sovereign, omnipotent, and omnipresent, and He's on every college campus, no matter how dark. As our pastor told me, "They should be afraid of *him* (my son) because he's a spy coming into enemy territory."

    Our Christian kids will face many battles at secular campuses but they will not face them alone. We serve a mighty God who loves his church and loves his creation. Our kids will have the privilege of being friends with a wide variety of student, both Christian and non-Christian. How wonderful!

    Originally, we had thought our son would be at a Christian college but God had different plans.

    May He be glorified even by our imperfect college kids as they go out into the world.
  • multimommultimom Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Ds was awarded a complete tuition scholarship to his first choice, Catholic University, so he has decided to go there. We are able to contribute some towards room and board and hope he will be able to make up the difference with his savings, another small scholarship, and summer jobs. It is a wonderful fit for him and he loves it there. I can't say the same about the public school, so it seemed like the obvious choice.

    Now we're ready to use our experience and start in on the next one.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    I'd speculate that it's not how one enters this experience but rather how one exits. And sometimes it's not apparent until some miles down the road.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 5,116 Senior Member
    Yep. It's good that God's view isn't myopic like mine is. Psalm 90:4
  • KKmamaKKmama Registered User Posts: 2,971 Senior Member
    It's not difficult to find Christian (right, left, or middle) friends at a secular school. They aren't the dens of iniquity that they are sometimes made out to be.

    It is also not difficult to find drinkers/potsmokers/partyers at Catholic schools and many that are related to protestant Christian (not ultraconservative) schools.

    I had one kid at a state school and one attends a Catholic university.

    It's my opinion that "protecting" our adult children by guiding them into conservative Christian schools may not always be in their best interest. They have to learn to work with and socialize with people of many different faith backgrounds, and resist temptations at some point. College is a good time to do that. Encountering people of other faiths doesn't always drive them from the religion of their parents - sometimes it affirms their faith.

    My daughter attends Mass a couple of times a week at school and is great friends with the priest. She has frequent dinner dates with a few of the nuns. But she will never accept some of the tenets that they hold dear; she's become a stronger protestant by attending a Catholic school - good little preacher's daughter that she is.
  • ManoriteManorite Registered User Posts: 305 Junior Member
    It is also not difficult to find drinkers/potsmokers/partyers at Catholic schools
    Ah, but did Jesus say anything against these practices? If I recall, he turned water into wine so there would be more to drink at a party. And while smoking pot is illegal, and thus you wouldn't necessarily want your kids doing it, it seems to be a morally neutral action in Christianity, so there's no reason it should be less prevalent at a school that tries to follow that morality.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    lol ... I think Manorite is definitely off-spring to Adam n Eve. In fact, I think he oughta start his own cult/church! Some most fascinating logic that merits close examination in a philosophy and maybe a math class. I'd skip any religion or theology, when he's seemingly got that down pat ... :eek: ;)
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