Collegiate Education Question


#1

Hello, I am wondering if anyone has some advice on education and environment. I currently attend a large public university(about 30,000) students and am close to finishing my second year here. I can't help but feel a calling/longing to go to a Catholic university that would make it easier for me to follow Christ. There is a catholic college in mind that I have visited before and is very nice. After my visit I decided to give my current school another year to see how it played out. Does anyone think that someone who is trying to take their spiritual life seriously should really consider transfering, or should I try to make the best of the environment I am in now?


#2

Well, I was actually in the same boat as you, and it turned out fine for me (I'm graduating this year and I'm on my way to the seminary). I go to a large state school like you, and I felt kind of adrift in my faith; I wanted to transfer out to Steubenville after my sophomore year. But I stayed, because my school is so much cheaper, and now that I'm graduating I realize that I made the right decision. I got a fabulous education here and I don't regret it at all, because I focused my time and effort on my spiritual life.

I think you should look for a Catholic group on campus or spend more time at the local parish. Maybe try some spiritual direction from your pastor. If your field of study has a decent program at your current school, you should consider staying; I would not have been able to pursue my major if I had transferred, and this major has literally changed my life.

It all depends on you. If you focus on your spiritual life and try to meet people your age who are of the same faith, you may very well be glad you stayed. :)


#3

[quote="TheSupplanter, post:1, topic:315597"]
Hello, I am wondering if anyone has some advice on education and environment. I currently attend a large public university(about 30,000) students and am close to finishing my second year here. I can't help but feel a calling/longing to go to a Catholic university that would make it easier for me to follow Christ. There is a catholic college in mind that I have visited before and is very nice. After my visit I decided to give my current school another year to see how it played out. Does anyone think that someone who is trying to take their spiritual life seriously should really consider transfering, or should I try to make the best of the environment I am in now?

[/quote]

Greetings and welcome to CAF! :wave:

I have been in both environments (large state school and small Catholic school). I would say the key is to know yourself and know what you have available. Having a spiritual director doesn't hurt.

I think a lot can depend on personality. Some people thrive when their beliefs are being challenged whereas, if they lived in a Catholic bubble, they'd get lazy and their evangelistic zeal would atrophy. Others really need a strong support group and the benefit of positive peer pressure ("Did you make it to daily Mass today? How about Confession this week? Let's do a Spring Break Mission Trip!"). You have to ask yourself where you fit in.

I wouldn't necessarily let the faith aspect be the sole determining factor. You are also in school to get a degree. ;) Depending upon your field, sometimes the large school offers the better program. But then again, sometimes it doesn't. You have to weigh those options carefully.

I would also recommend getting involved in whatever Newman group your school has (a school that size surely has one). I experienced my most profound conversion at the large state school because there was a strong, vibrant Catholic community. Practically speaking, not much changed when I went to the Catholic school. I had the same access to daily Mass, daily Confession, Catholic ministries, and Catholic friends at both places. The main difference was the Catholic school had better teachers. And more priests. :)


#4

If you are convinced you want to practice your faith at college, just do it. Find the college's Newman center or FOCUS group and volunteer, meet people, become a part of that crowd.

If you are looking for a different level of education, however, it might be a good idea to transfer. Are you experiencing false teaching and/or anti Catholic professors? These might be good reasons to switch.


#5

I just heard this morning an interesting discussion I forget the name of the people discussing but it was on Catholic Radio.

The point was simply an argument between a Prof. and student about how the country is going.

The student pointed out that it will be going on the upswing because Conservative young parents in the last 10 years seem to be quite open to Life, vs their liberal counterparts.

The Prof. agreed, however stated that the problem was that the Conservative parents are and will continue to send their children to the deathtrap of conservative thinking being public Universities.

A large portion of the public U. population within the first 2 years reject their raised in Church (family, creeds, etc.).

I went to a Catholic University, but that was not a plan at the time, quite the miracle actually. But absolutely, I would promote it.

You will still run into the same things that happen anywhere between young kids, perhaps maybe not at the level of a public school.

The key is the professors are not against you. Rather, are more of a help than a hindrance to the growth of the person.


#6

Catholic Universities=$$$$$

:(


#7

I agree, especially with the bolded part. I attend a public university and we actually have students transfering in from Catholic universities (usually because of financial reasons) who then say that it is tons easier to practice their faith at our public uni. A downside is that professors aren’t very lenient about missing class for events like March for Life.

So true. :frowning:


#8

[quote="pollynova, post:6, topic:315597"]
Catholic Universities=$$$$$

:(

[/quote]

Yes, I feel dizzy just looking at the tuition fees :(

In my city, there is a well-known Catholic University that teaches theology and philosophy. The tuition fee for full time studies is 2.2K/semester as opposed to 22K in the states. Wow, ten times cheaper!

Catholic elementary and highschool are free here ... Otherwise I have to send my kids to regular public schools :(


#9

[quote="llenadegracia, post:7, topic:315597"]
that it is tons easier to practice their faith at our public uni. :(

[/quote]

Why???????????????????


#10

[quote="Joe_5859, post:3, topic:315597"]

I wouldn't necessarily let the faith aspect be the sole determining factor. You are also in school to get a degree. ;) Depending upon your field, sometimes the large school offers the better program. But then again, sometimes it doesn't. You have to weigh those options carefully.

[/quote]

Absolutely.

Don't go somewhere "just because it's Catholic" if it doesn't meet your particular needs.

And the poster below is right about the cost of Catholic colleges. You could get the same or better level of education at a big state university and save a lot of money.


#11

Lots of good input here, definitely diggin it. As for the professors here, I've only had one unpleasent experience in a sociology class where the professor announced to about 300 students that Catholics practice cannabalism at every mass. In that same class he denounced all religion, especially christianity, as a way to keep poor people poor and rich people rich(Obviously has never read the Bible or heard of Charity/Almsgiving). Anway, I do like it here, although it can be frustrating to strive for holiness when around you is so much immorality(drinking, permiscuity, etc.) Happy Lent! Praise God!


#12

[quote="mayxanh, post:9, topic:315597"]
Why???????????????????

[/quote]

Just to add to that, I found it easier to practice my faith at a secular institution because people tend to keep their faith private and I prefer it that way. At a Catholic college (as another person suggested) people are really "in your face" about it. That's just my experience.

[quote="ffg, post:5, topic:315597"]

I went to a Catholic University, but that was not a plan at the time, quite the miracle actually. But absolutely, I would promote it.

You will still run into the same things that happen anywhere between young kids, perhaps maybe not at the level of a public school.

The key is the professors are not against you. Rather, are more of a help than a hindrance to the growth of the person.

[/quote]

One of the supposed selling points that Catholic colleges use is they "really care about you as a person" and that wasn't my experience either. My experience was that they cared about the athletes and students who were well-connected. But again, that's just my experience.


#13

[quote="TheSupplanter, post:11, topic:315597"]
Anway, I do like it here, although it can be frustrating to strive for holiness when around you is so much immorality(drinking, permiscuity, etc.) Happy Lent! Praise God!

[/quote]

I'm laughing to myself because I saw plenty of "immorality" in Catholic college. In fact if you weren't into the drinking culture you'd be made fun of.


#14

[quote="TheSupplanter, post:11, topic:315597"]
Lots of good input here, definitely diggin it. As for the professors here, I've only had one unpleasent experience in a sociology class where the professor announced to about 300 students that Catholics practice cannabalism at every mass. In that same class he denounced all religion, especially christianity, as a way to keep poor people poor and rich people rich(Obviously has never read the Bible or heard of Charity/Almsgiving). Anway, I do like it here, although it can be frustrating to strive for holiness when around you is so much immorality(drinking, permiscuity, etc.) Happy Lent! Praise God!

[/quote]

I had professors describe themselves as "recovering Catholics." I had one who said that the Church taught Original Sin resulted from the "lechery of the conceptual act". I had another claim the Catholic Church began on some random date in the 400s. :rolleyes:

Don't even get me started on my philosophy class on the morality of abortion. :p

These things are present at secular schools, but they're present in the wider culture as well. If cost and/or program considerations are such that it makes more sense to stay put, just consider it a learning experience in what others -- who are very different from yourself -- think and believe.

Yeah, the binge-drinking-casual-hook-up culture is very frustrating to be forced to be so near. It took me two years of college before I finally found a group of like-minded students who didn't go for all that stuff. What a breath of fresh air that was!

That's why I recommend hanging around the Catholic center (in whatever form it may take on your campus). If you really want to up your chances of finding those people, go to daily Mass and look for the people that are your age. :)


#15

I guess to put it into a positive light, where sin abounds grace abounds all the more right? And after recently reading the Imitation of Christ, I'm pretty sure that Thomas mentions that a change in environment doesn't make much difference. Did anyone else see that?


#16

[quote="mayxanh, post:9, topic:315597"]
Why???????????????????

[/quote]

We have a decently strong Newman group, including a full-time campus priest and chapel that is located on-campus. The chapel is owned and ran by my diocese so my university really doesn't have much of a say in what we can and can't do? Not that we do anything bad, of course. We are affiliated as an official club through the university and receive benefits such as being able to set up booths in the dining hall.

My university is located near a Catholic university which also coincidentally is considered one of the top party schools in the US....I'm decently familiar with their campus ministry program (they have multiple times scheduled for daily Mass and Confession...something not possible with my Newman group because we have 1 priest). Don't get me wrong, there are definitely a lot of really awesome young Catholics at they're school and I definitely envy that they have multiple Mass times every single day and tons of similiar opportunities...but their Sunday Masses (even the ones at super college-friendly evening times) have about 50 people. Just last week I went to Mass and multiple people were texting. Now, obviously that's not enough information to base an opinion of the entire university's ministry program........but I guess what I'm trying to get at is that nobody is forcing anyone to attend Mass at my public university. Nobody forces anyone to go to the service opportunities. Nobody forces anyone to go on our retreats. Not that that happens at the nearby Catholic university, I doubt anyone is forcing anyone. But I think because there is such a Catholic environment (statues, regular daily Mass, chapels in dorms) people tend to blow it off as just a part of life. My friends at that university who are practicing Catholics say that trying to take a step further in their faith is difficult because they're unable to share about their faith journey with a large population of campus because the general campus finds moving forward in faith as a strange and foreign concept.

Now...is this the same for everyone? Absolutely not. Everyone has different experiences. I only wrote a few quick thoughts about my experiences and the struggles of my friend at the Catholic university.

Joe 5859 really hit the nail on the head, too.

Best wishes.


#17

As for my advice, either choice isn't bad but make sure you know, as others have noted, that just because a school is labeled "Catholic" doesn't mean it may be better suited. I attend a well-known Catholic university and it's basically a secular university - the hook-up culture is rampant, drinking is very common, etc. The only difference is that Catholics likely may up a higher percentage of the student body.

It has been mentioned that people are more "in your face" about being a Catholic at C. colleges, but in my experience this hasn't been the case. I'm the only active Catholic out of my friends, and the churches here are generally empty. I keep my faith to myself, like I would do at any secular school.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.