Students considering a myriad of colleges may be tempted to place them all in the same mental “boxes”: Small liberal arts college. Technical school. Big state university. Catholic institutions. But a Catholic university is much more than the religious beliefs and practices of Catholicism; it is about a way of life—a life dedicated to both rigorous, well-rounded education and service to the global community. The campus community is welcoming and supportive. People of all interests, faiths, and backgrounds are invited to learn in a stimulating environment conducive to helping them grow into thoughtful individuals ready for life’s challenges.
Catholic universities focus on the education of the whole person. Most offer strong liberal arts courses, insisting that all students explore philosophy, theology, literature, and the arts, regardless of their majors. This type of integrated learning helps students develop creativity as they learn to make connections between various disciplines and formulate multifaceted ideas. Students build the capacity to understand complex challenges and to address them from different perspectives.
More importantly, at Catholic universities, young adults of all faiths and backgrounds develop an unmatched passion for learning. In an environment where they feel free to explore new areas of study and express their ideas openly, students actually enjoy learning and interacting on an intellectual level with their peers and professors. They emerge from their classes with a curiosity for a number of different subjects, often seeking knowledge outside their course materials. The desire to learn becomes an invaluable tool as students continue their education and advance their future careers.
This intellectual inquisitiveness fosters one of the most important tenets of Catholic education: the pursuit of truth. As they exchange ideas and seek answers about God and life itself, students learn more about themselves, other faiths, and each other. Their campus becomes a tight-knit community and a safe haven in which students can freely explore their evolving ideas about spirituality with the support of the deans and other faculty members.
One of the most important principles of any faith is the promotion of the common good. Faculty and students at Catholic institutions believe all lives have value and that helping the less fortunate is a spiritual duty. Thus, these schools encourage involvement in the local and global community. Most Catholic universities have a long-standing tradition of service learning, offering rich and varied opportunities for credit-earning community service. Students learn that wanting to make a difference is not enough; creating change requires direct involvement. Traveling to near and far places, they personally seek social justice in their own communities and throughout the globe. By interacting with people from different parts of the world, students foster global connections and learn to respect all cultures and religions.
As a result of this integrated, culturally aware style of learning, students have the ability to contemplate problems from all sides and are trained to look objectively at international issues. Instilled with a sense of justice, students from Catholic institutions also learn to consider ethical objections when addressing the complex problems of the day. These qualities imbue students with the skills they need to become major leaders in politics, science and medicine, business, and many other fields.
Choosing a Catholic university isn’t just choosing an excellent education. When you choose to attend a Catholic schoool, you are choosing the kind of person you want to be—a person dedicated to learning, service, and making the future a better place.