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Catholic Schools for Non-Catholics?

studious momstudious mom 176 replies30 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
edited July 2010 in Parents Forum
So how does it feel to be a student at University of Dayton, Notre Dame, Xavier, Boston College, or other Catholic schools if you're not Catholic?
edited July 2010
47 replies
Post edited by studious mom on
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Replies to: Catholic Schools for Non-Catholics?

  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 4094 replies80 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,174 Senior Member
    Friends of DD who went to Catholic U in DC were not Catholic and DD looked at it herself. Although Catholic groups and tradition is strong on campus there were a great variety of folks with varying beliefs there and all seemed comfortable.
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 656 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 678 Member
    This was a concern for my daughter when we visited BC. She talked to two students who said they are basically agnostic and that religion has not been an issue at all. In fact, they said that they don't even know what religion most of their friends are. Interestingly, both students said they arrived on campus atheists and are now more agnostic. The male student said he attended a retreat that was non-denominational, just "spiritual" and that it was life-changing for him.

    We did not get that same response at Villanova. Our tour guide (and this may have been her personal opinion and not necessarily true of the entire campus) said that Sunday Mass is one of the biggest social events of the week. For her, religion was very important and a fundamental part of the campus life.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6006 replies213 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    I was concerned about this with Georgetown. When the tour guide was discussing religious life and the various student groups, he only mentioned the Catholic ones, a Muslim one, and Hillel. So S asked the tour guide if there were Protestant groups on campus also, such as Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship or Campus Crusade. He said no. Turns out he was wrong, but that indicated to us that S might have some difficulty feeling at home. Also, we wondered if the Protestant groups were downplayed since they're kind of competition in the sense that more people leave the Catholic church for Protestant churches than for synagogues or mosques.
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  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    Former schoolmate of my S goes to BC. He's Jewish. He is thriving there.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73033 replies3180 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,213 Senior Member
    DD will be a senior at Santa Clara University, a Jesuit school. She is not Catholic. It has NEVER been a problem.
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  • worried_momworried_mom 2157 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,205 Senior Member
    GFG, I'm very surprised to hear about your Georgetown experience. Maybe you had a brand-new tour guide -- or he was just having off day. I certainly hope he was an anomaly!

    Jesuit schools (BC, Georgetown, Fordham, Gonzaga, and Santa Clara, among others) tend to be among the most liberal and tolerant Catholic schools, and are known for being places where non-Catholics are explicitly welcomed.
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  • EngProfMomEngProfMom 253 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Catholic schools that would be most welcoming for non-Catholics would be Jesuit Schools (correlating with Jesuit traditions of service and education and international orientation). Also might consider schools that are in larger cities, i.e. U of St Thomas in Minneapolis is, I hear, pretty good. In religiously-oriented schools that are in rural settings or perhaps even suburban settings the social dynamic could wind up accentuating the religious identity aspect of the school. Certainly this happens with other denominations.
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  • sryrstresssryrstress 2504 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,513 Senior Member
    It has never been a problem, at all, for S at Notre Dame.
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    My Lutheran kids attended a private Catholic high school. There is no issue what so ever. They were required to take religion classes, but they were more global in their subject matter. I believe college religion classes are the same.

    Look at the stats, I'll bet only 30% of the kids at the colleges you mentioned are Catholic.
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  • DejaDeja 539 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 551 Member
    During our tour of Georgetown last August, I remember our tour guide telling us that about 50% of Georgetown students identify themselves as Catholic.
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  • hoosiermomhoosiermom 739 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 757 Member
    DD looked at UDayton. It is 65% Catholoc. They do have a nondenominational service once a week (not held in the large chapel on campus though). It seemed that a non-Catholic could be very at home there.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 32863 replies3607 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 36,470 Super Moderator
    DW attended Xavier in Cincinnati and had to take religion classes, but those can be chosen. Her favorite was religions of the world.
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  • sunshowers23sunshowers23 247 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    I just graduated from a Catholic high school and I'm going to a Jesuit University. (I'm also an atheist.)

    When it comes to people "identifying" themselves as Catholic, it basically means that that's what they grew up in. Most young people aren't religious, even at Catholic schools. In my graduating class only a handful would describe themselves as "religious." And even if they were, it didn't matter. You never talked about it.

    In most Jesuit colleges you only have to take one or two theology classes in your core. I'm guessing they are more open to differing opinions than high-school professors.

    The biggest obstacle you face when going to a Catholic university is a political/ethical one. I don't think any Catholic college prescribes birth control. At Georgetown, the school won't officially recognize H*yas for Choice, a group that hands out free condoms and, as the name says, is pro-choice. (They do recognize the pro-life group.) Some schools have archaic rules regarding guests of the opposite sex. My school won't allow guests past 3:30 in the morning. My friend who's going to Notre Dame told me that no one of the opposite sex is allowed in your room at any time. (Of course this also implies that the school doesn't acknowledge it's gay population...) Catholic schools also tend to have stricter alcohol policies than other schools. Out of all the Catholic universities I've looked at, Georgetown seems to be the most liberal out of all of them.
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  • notre dame ALnotre dame AL 1638 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,674 Senior Member
    Never been a problem for our student at Notre Dame, either! Will be a Sr this fall and while one parent is Catholic, student was raised protestant. The academics have prevailed and we feel the education and price tag have been well worth it.

    PS--^^ the friend is incorrect about students of opposite sex being in the dorm rooms. The rules aboout parietals fall more along the lines of no one of the opposite sex in the dorms after midnight M-Thurs and 2 pm on F and Sat nites, I believe.
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  • abasketabasket 18724 replies843 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 19,567 Senior Member
    Xavier is a Jesuit school and though we are Catholic many people we have spoken to did not see not being Catholic to be a problem. I believe the focus is more on service than specific religion itself.
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