The following material encouraging high school students to investigate the possibilities for attending a Catholic College is from Marriage and Holy Orders: Your Call to Love and Serve. Share the information with the students and have them investigate information on Catholic colleges at the National Catholic College Admission Association.
There are over two hundred Catholic colleges in the United States. They have undergraduate enrollments of all sizes—from under 1,000 students to over 20,000 students. They are also located in every region of the country in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Some Catholic universities also have renowned medical and law schools and offer several other professional and graduate degrees. Besides these basic facts, there are some other reasons for you to consider attending a Catholic college. For example:
• Community environment. At a Catholic college you won’t be treated like a number. You will meet new friends of many different racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. You will be supported by caring professors and staff.
• Moral environment. Don’t be fooled, students at Catholic colleges are not perfect and make their share of immoral choices. However, the policies of the institution itself will be geared to promote Christian morality (e.g., speaking out for the right to life for everyone, from the unborn to the aged and infirmed.)
• Global environment. One of the marks of the Church is that it is catholic or universal. The first universities were Catholic and connected to monasteries. There are Catholics and Catholic colleges worldwide and many of the Catholic colleges in the United States have excellent study abroad programs. Also, courses are taught from a global perspective where solidarity with the entire human race—especially the poor—is stressed.
• Faith environment. Whether it is a crucifix in a classroom, a priest or religious serving as a rector in a dorm, a required theology course, or the celebration of the sacraments on campus, a Catholic college offers the opportunity to continue to practice the faith you first learned in your family and will want to practice in your own life and family in the future.
Father Bernie O’Connor, OSFS, a Catholic college president, wrote that preparing students for life is the number one reason for a student to attend a Catholic college. He added: “We know what makes a successful marriage, we know what is required for a happy and productive career, we know what it takes to care for children, we know about the struggles of the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the forgotten.”
If you are not able to attend a Catholic college, most public colleges sponsor a Newman Club, named after John Henry Cardinal Newman who was raised in the Anglican Church of the early nineteenth century before converting to Catholicism at the age of forty-two. In the past, it was rare for Catholics to attend non-Catholic colleges. The first Newman Club was sponsored at the University of Pennsylvania in 1883, insisting that its members not become “clannish or narrow in a religious sense.” This motivation continues today as Newman Clubs have an inter-faith focus while including celebration of the sacraments, RCIA classes, and catechetical studies more specifically for their Catholic members.