I am a rising freshman student who just graduated HS a few weeks ago, and picked his college of choice months ago, and I chose the Catholic University of America. I originally picked the school due to it’s location in Washington DC, the fact that it had a pleasant, suburban campus, they gave a good financial aid package (though other schools I applied to did as well), and the fact that they had a library and information sciences grad program I am maybe interested in, as well as the fact that despite being a Catholic university, I as a non-religious person would not have to attend any religious events, aside from taking a few theology classes, which I don’t really mind. However, after doing some late research a couple months ago and looking through the code of conduct, I discovered that the university has a couple of morality rules that I am unsure if I agree with, as well as that LGBTQ organizations at least do not seem to be supported on an administrative level. Due to this, I have been having second thoughts about my decision, and to make it worse, my parent has been rather inconsistent on the possibility of a transfer to another institution if I gave it a few semesters of trying my best and still was not happy there, ranging from being semi-understanding and telling me to research how my credits would transfer to another school, to becoming extremely aggravated that I am having doubts about my decision at all after all the work she put in to help me pick a school and before I have even started attending, and that I should’ve done more research and asked more questions when visiting, even though I would have had no idea to ask these questions at the time, since I have had no prior experience with either private or religiously affiliated schools before, and as such I was not aware there were any significant differences between public and private schools, and it did not occur to me to see if there were.
I am unsure how much of this is just the general worries of going off to college in general, and if I would be getting this same feeling about a different aspect of another school if I had chosen another one instead, or how much of it is from this specific choice and the things I have discovered. I currently plan to give it a fair chance and at least two full semesters as I try my best academically and socially, and if I end up not liking it still, I plan to bring up the topic with my parent at that time, as perhaps they might be more supportive if they had seen me trying my best and still not liking it, as opposed to me talking about transferring before I have even started attending yet.
I am wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar situation in their college journey, and if so, what they did about it and how it was resolved.
go to college.
See how it goes.
It may not be perfect, but it will likely be fine.
If it is bad, you can deal with it at that time. Do not stress about maybe what ifs before they even happen.
FWIW, my son and I visited CUA in 2020 when he was a senior. Though we’re both agnostic, we both thought the Catholicism would not be an issue. In fact, my son currently attends a Catholic university and has no issues regarding religion on campus.
Don’t get too hyped up about it.
… But, if you were to consider going to a different university, what would it be?
It is not unusual to have some nerves and second guessing. I would go to CUA with the intent of staying 4 years and see how things go.
You chose your school - go and love it. Take advantage of the opportunities. Cement change if that’s something you want to do.
Don’t worry about later transfers. If it doesn’t work out, you can worry about that later. Note - many schools are not as generous with merit aid or need aid later on.
Hopefully your gut told you right the first time and you’ll have a wonderful experience.
In the meantime, take advantage and get engaged/involved.
If you have one foot out the door, you’ll more likely than not have a poor experience.
If I did end up wishing to transfer, I would try to apply to schools such as George Mason University, Drexel University or Rowan University, as they all would provide good internship opportunities while not being, well, religiously influenced at the administrative level, I suppose is the best way to put it. I personally would like to get into George Mason the most though if I did attempt to transfer, as it would allow me to stay near the DC area, which would be very good for internships in my currently chosen major of history, although I have yet to actually visit GMU.
Are you a member of the LGBTQ community? If so, I would give serious thought to this issue.
Your mother might have put a lot of work into helping you apply to college, but it’s not her who will have to attend for four years.
I normally advocate for giving a college a fair chance. In this case, it sounds as though you might have been trying to appease your mother. And if you are LGBTQ, I think your instincts shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s late in the game, but you can consider a few options.
- Contact the universities you were accepted to. See if they will consider admitting you with your previous aid package.
- Take a gap year and work. Apply to a new set of colleges and start as a freshman next year. This is not a big deal and gap years are very common.
- Look at the NACAC list of colleges still accepting freshmen, though getting FA at this stage might be hard. College Openings Update - National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
I don’t recommend starting college, realizing CUA is not for you, and trying to transfer. You will quite likely not get the same financial deal, transferring is stressful, and you will need to ensure any credits you have will be transferable or it will end up costing even more.
If the financial aid is crucial to your decision, you should consider Drexel a long shot as a financially affordable option. Drexel may offer a lot of need-based aid to you, but it will still be very expensive. In our situation, my son was accepted by Drexel and offered a generous amount of financial aid – however, Drexel remained unaffordable to me.
If you’re a Virginia resident, GMU will probably be a more affordable option for you. If you’re not a Virginia resident, GMU will probably not offer much financial aid.
I missed the possibility that you might be a member of the LBG community. I agree with @Lindagaf that if you are that it makes sense to dig deeper into the situation at CUA. Whether the reason is LBGQT, race, nationality, religion or whatever, It makes sense to make sure you feel accepted and wanted (not just tolerated) on your campus.
There are schools that are still accepting applications but I agree that if there are other schools that you applied to and were accepted at, and would rather go to, contact them.
My daughter went one semester to a school she thought she loved but then realized the program she was in was not as academically challenging as she would like. In December she contacted a different school she had already been accepted to when she applied for fall of 2022 thinking maybe she would transfer this fall off 2023 and they said come on in spring. So she transferred and started there Feb of 2023 and has been happy at the new school. My point being, even though it seems late, you never know until you try. Contact one or more of your previous acceptances and ask if you can still come. You won’t get first pick on housing or classes and you will probably have to forfeit a deposit at CUA but you might be able to start off at a school you’re more excited about.
I don’t know anything about CUA but there are some decent schools on that list I linked. University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a good school I’m familiar with and they have department of library and information science. Also very LGBTQ friendly.
Also, I’m not clear if you were given merit aid or financial aid, but merit aid is typically reserved for freshmen because it is an enticement. Transfer students typically don’t get merit aid. If merit aid was a big factor in your decisions, you should not start at CUA and attempt to transfer.
Totally agree you need to be welcomed from day 1. Just looking at the above link to schools still accepting I was surprised to see Gonzaga. They have a pride index of 4/5 and in the Washington area.
I hated the conservative LAC that I went to 30 years ago, and ended up transferring after a semester to my mediocre-but-adequate state university. However, it was in a microtown in the middle of nowhere. There was no place to escape the misogyny of the time and demographic. If you can, wait it out for the first year. You might find that there is a thriving LGBTQ community on campus–you might be able to “make do” with people you’ll meet from other colleges and in DC in general. If you need a good financial deal, though, you want to transfer in the regular admissions cycle–that’s the impression I get, anyway. Good luck! and I hope you love CU and are just having jitters. P.S. I also see one person recommending that you not start there at all. That is a decent idea too, if you are extremely worried. That way you’ll be applying as a first-time freshman next year.
FWIW, back in the day one of my close friends transferred into CUA and had an amazing experience. Loved it again when she revisited with her own children just recently.
I’m in the camp of starting with an open mind at CUA. Your peers are likely to be very welcoming and accepting.
Have you tried Facebook etc to connect with students/organizations on campus to see what the culture is like?
Gonzaga is in Washington State. OP is looking at schools in Washington, D.C.
I know several people that are part of the LGBTQ community that attended there for graduate school. Also , in general , in the DC area there is a lot of support and I believe under 21 clubs that support the community. So I would give it a shot and see how you feel.
I think it’s not unexpected that there might be a line in the sand, as far as formally “supporting”, that administration might not want to cross, while they possibly might still be tolerating and permissive towards individual students and the community as a whole in practical terms.
I also would not be surprised if one could get bigotted reactions (which of course stand out) from some individuals at any college, even if a substantial portion of fellow students might be supportive.
However, for yourself, I would “draw the line” if any moral codes make you feel that you would not be allowed to be yourself and force you to spend four years suppressing your true self.
Maybe reach out to their LGBTQ organization “CUallies” on social media (https://twitter.com/cuallies, CUA LGBTQ+ Law Student Assoc. (@cualaw.lgbt) • Instagram photos and videos, …) to see if you can get feedback what daily life looks like at CUA?
OP- reaching out to the LGBTQ organization is a great idea.
There are lots of colleges where the LBGTQ organizations and alliances don’t get financial support from the administration (for example) but where the student body, health services, Deans, housing office, etc. are enormously supportive and affirming. So make sure you’ve got an accurate view (not just from an “official policy” on a website) on what daily life is like.
Hi, OP here again with responses/more information,
My tuition for this upcoming semester has already been paid, so I don’t have a possibility of pulling out and going somewhere else at this exact point in time, and my parent would not allow it regardless as they believe I will be fine and that I am simply nervous. I cannot really discuss the subject any more with them currently, as they either get dismissive or snap at me, and when they do I cannot make any headway.
I am unsure of exactly what I am(leaning pretty close to bi, but have not felt romantic attraction towards anyone), but I feel I am not straight, which is one of the main reasons why I am somewhat concerned about attending the school (I am also not out to my parent, as they believe bi people are simply confused and end up picking one or the other eventually and so they don’t really exist, to them it’s either straight or gay/lesbian/asexual, and they don’t think I am because I have not gotten much face to face social interaction the past couple of years, and pretty much just assume I am straight, even when I have told them I do feel attraction to both men and women.)
They did give me a good financial aid package, which was one of the reasons I decided to attend (however, looking back, other schools, namely George Mason, would have cost about the same and they gave me less money), and while it was not an overwhelming factor in my decision, it was one for sure, and I would still like to get the maximum amount of aid available to another school if I did end up deciding to go there, as while we do have money saved up, it is not unlimited and any aid received from schools would go a long way.
I am living in southern New Jersey, and was accepted to Drexel, George Mason, and Rowan beforehand.
I would like to try and stay in the DC area for the good internship opportunities, however it is not the end-all be-all in what I want from a college.
I do want to give CUA an honest shot, as I simply do not know what it would be like yet, and I don’t want to accidentally write off what could be a great experience simply due to before-school nerves, especially with the positive feedback I’ve heard here and elsewhere, however my recent discoveries when doing late research that I didn’t know to look for before that set off some of my nerves in the first place have made it a bit more difficult to keep an open mind over the past few weeks, although I still wish to try and go with an open mind, and try my best.
I have contacted the LGBT organization, and while they say while the campus is very socially conservative in some pockets (although I don’t have a real issue with that, as I know college is full of a diverse array of opinions) and the school is tied directly to the Vatican, so it is unlikely they’ll do anything to counteract that, there are several places of open and accepting people on the campus including themselves and the center for cultural engagement, some clubs, as well as a group therapy weekly session for LGBT people to discuss topics and build a support network. Although when it comes to how the general student body is, or how any office outside of the counseling center is, I am still unsure, although they have also said there are accepting people all over.
You can’t leave and you might have had these thoughts at any school.
So go in. Take advantage. Just know, many struggle at first so give it time. Being homesick is common.
Also, you can get good internships anywhere from anywhere.
My daughter goes to C of Charleston and just landed one today in Silver Spring (right outside DC) and has two more interviews lined up. She’ll be in DC for the fall. So if you weren’t in DC you could still intern there.
But for now, stick it out. It’s likely a winner for you. You picked it for a reason. But the great thing about college in DC is that it’s not just the school that is your campus.
If it’s that bad and I don’t mean just the first few months as so many have that - then you can revisit.
But so many go to schools they don’t want to go to and then say - I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. Others go to the dream and transfer. So one never knows.
But have a great attitude, focus on school and meeting people.
Your romantic life will happen with who and whenever the time is right. No reason to force anything.
Good luck to you. Let us know how your first semester went in 6 months.