Suggestions for catholic colleges?

My 16 year old son will be a senior at a Franciscan Catholic high school. Very good student, want to keep him in Midwest for college due to age, will be entering college at 17. It would be good if the college was strong in music as well as sciences as well as education in religious studies. He is conservative, with strong values. Has not been out in the world much though. Any ideas for very academic colleges with strong focus on community service and values, and shaping of the young adult character and religious formation?

Absolutely 100%- I would recommend Franciscan University of Stuebenville in OH. 4 of my siblings went there. Great school that attracts great Catholic kids…

I’m an alumnus of Loyola University Chicago…so they get my vote. While the Jesuits often get their share of, shall we say “uncharitable” charecterizations, I found the Theology department, campus ministry, and ‘hierarchy’ of the university to be very loyal and sound - in a “Catholic sense.” Very good in sciences, very good in theology, and good in music.

Chicago was a great world to explore - opened tons of doors. I came from farm fields and didn’t have much “exposure” either. But if he was raised well, as you indicate, he’ll find his way. :smiley:

I second this! I’m a Junior there right now. I have to say it’s amazing, they really give you a great Catholic formation, even if you aren’t studying Theology. While it’s not perfect, I have to say it’s a great choice if you want an authentically Catholic school.

If finances are an issue I would recommend looking into transferring community college classes, as the scholarships are pretty hard to get and even if you get one they are on average minuscule. Also, there are a lot of grants that are available, just make sure to look into them yourself, as the school won’t necessarily tell you about them. This has helped make Franciscan more afordable for myself.

The Newman Guide is a book you might want to pick up:

The Register has this survey available:

I recommend kage_ar’s recommendations.

I would also suggest, because he is so young, that you consider your local community (junior) college until he is at least 18, maybe even 19, provided they are accredited by your accreditation board (North Central) and meet your state requirements for general education subjects. You will be able to keep an eye on him, as he’ll live at home. As he is so young, and not accustomed to being out in the world, this would be a nice transition.

You will save a ton of money, as where he takes his general ed. subjects, as long as they are accredited, just doesn’t matter. He can even do the two year course, then take an associate degree with him to one of the better Catholic schools listed in the Newman Guide. Some 4-year schools offer AA and AS students who transfer a full ride, based on the fact that AA/As students have already achieved a degree.

My husband is a freelance philosophy professor with a decided conservative bent. He teaches all over the Chicago area. Students pay $450-$700 a semester hour, $1350-$2100 per course before books, with 3 semester hours being the usual credit of a course, to take his courses in Intro to Philosophy and Ethics, if they take his couses in a private school. Tuition to take the same courses at a junior college- with the same texts, same study aids and same instructor- cost about $110 a semester hour, or $330 for the course before books. New books run anywhere from $50-$200 per course. Used books are not always obtainable.

He finds many Catholic students from Catholic high schools at the junior colleges, even his own nephews upon occasion. :rolleyes:

As I am privvy to too much information on Catholic colleges in the Chicago area, I can’t say too much. I can’t, and he can’t, recommend any of the Catholic universities at which he teaches except University of St. Francis in Joliet. It is literally in the shadow of St. Raymond Cathedral, is accessible around town by bike, and has been working on improving its orthodoxy as well as its safety over the past five years- before the Virginia Tech and NIU tragedies. Oh- and the neighborhood has some of the best pizza in Illinois;) .

We have also visited Loras College, which has a nice, stable, orthodox Catholic community. It is in Iowa.

But if you are looking for an authentic, orthodox Catholic college that is accredtied, must be sleep-away from home environment, where he will be safe to some degree from underage drinking and harming his faith, I think you are shipping him to Steubenville, Ohio; Warner, New Hamphire; Naples, Florida; Belmont, NC; or Santa Paula, CA.

I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville and it was a good experience. I think that going away to college is necessary. It is not known for its music department, but the math and science departments have gotten some recent funding. My husband also graduated from there and felt that the accounting theory that he learned there was more solid than most of his peers (he completed the CPA exam in his first try).
Both of us switched our majors once we got there (most people don’t know exactly what they are going to want to do at 16). We also both transferred credits from other colleges…this saves money on freshman classes (which were mostly review).

I might get blasted for this, because it’s a Jesuit school, but two of my daughters went to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, and, while there were some heterodox teachers (as is the case in all Jesuit schools…some much more so than others) they felt it is a pretty orthodox school on the whole. Likely the composition of the student body has much to do with that. Most of the student body comes from the Midwest. It’s less expensive, too, than most Catholic schools, though all Catholic schools are so expensive one has to wonder about the wisdom of going to one if one comes out owing sums so large they are difficult to repay, or make graduate school financially impossible.

I have never heard anything bad about Benedictine U. in Atchison, Ks, and a lot of good. Its student body, too, hails largely from the Midwest. My understanding is that, like Rockhurst, it is less expensive than most.

I’m not claiming that Midwestern students are somehow inherently better people to be around. But such people tend to have been raised in a more conservative moral environment. Sometimes small differences mean a lot.

And, of course, there is University of Dallas. My son attended a Catholic law school where a number of the students had gone to U. of D. I have never heard anything but good about it. I do understand it’s pretty expensive, though.

You’re looking for a school strong in music and the sciences? Which sciences, and what is he planning on studying?

I think he should seriously look into the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College. Notre Dame gets a bad name these days but people very often fail to see the good that is there. There is a strong group of students involved with the campus ministry at ND and the daily Mass attendance is very high. Plus, the intellectual life at Notre Dame surpasses many other Catholic schools. This year there was the 4th annual Eucharistic Procession that was attended by at least 600 people (down a little from the year before only because it was the same weekend the Holy Father was in New York!). I know Notre Dame was left out of the Newman Guide but I did not read the short epilogue section explaining that decision. My advice is to actually look into the school yourself, talk to people in the departments (for instance, the theology department actually DOES have good professors, don’t let the big names throw you off), talk to Campus Ministry, etc. You may be surprised.

If you cannot afford ND (which is completely understandable - tuition is out the roof these days) then look into Holy Cross College across the street. I’m not suggesting that he pull a Rudy and transfer once he makes the grade but rather take advantage of all that Holy Cross has to offer. This school is very up and coming. It has 4 year programs (as opposed to the past when it did not) and a very strong community of students there.

Look into both. And if you have any daughters have them look into Saint Mary’s. I’m quite the proud alumna from there. :slight_smile: Of the three that one is the the worst condition when it comes to Catholic life but the faith is alive and well there so it just needs more people who are active enough to pick the school back up!


I am an alumna of Fordham University. I highly recommend a Jesuit institution. About him being 17, it is not uncommon for high school graduates to begin college at 17. I knew a few people who turned 18 during freshman year (fall birthdays).

Benedictine College in Atchison, KS is very very orthodox. It’s a small school in a small town. I very much recommend taking a campus tour there.

I second ND. I did a grad degree there in Theology and the department is top notch. Their music department is great and with the new DeBartolo Center for the Perfoming Arts it is a wonderful place to study and perform. They now started an MA in Sacred Music. And their science departments can be beat. Also they have a new science building that is state of the art. They get a lot of funding and scholarships and generous financial aid packages are available.

The theology department is getting more and more orthodox and campul liturgies are wonderful. The SUnday morning “Hallmark” mass is more traditional and the SUnday night “folk Mass” with the famous ND Folk Chior is standing room only. The dorm masses, and there are chapels in every dorm, are very well attended. If your son can make the grades, look into it.

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