A lot of people have very strong opinions on whether a young Catholic should attend a Catholic or Secular College. Here I am going to share my view. Please don’t get offended if you don’t agree with me; this is just my opinion and that’s all.
Many people will argue that a young person should only attend a Catholic College. I do see where they are coming from. A Catholic college strives to help its students advance in the Catholic faith. It does this by offering classes rooted in Catholic tradition and values, which is definitely a very, very good thing. Additionally, a Catholic college offers a Catholic oriented environment by having daily masses, other primarily Catholic students, and the support of the entire college in your Catholic faith.
When most people think of a con for attending a Catholic College they primarily think about the huge expense. Yes, that is definitely an issue! Not everyone is granted huge scholarships, and even after some are, it can still be expensive, especially adding plane tickets to the bundle. For many middle class families, especially if several children are attending college at the same time, a Catholic College is simply far out of the budget.
Another obvious reason some frown upon attending a Catholic College is that most people don’t live very close to one. Many young people would find it difficult to leave home and their family, even if they could afford it. Not seeing one’s family for several months is extremely hard for many people, and should not remain unconsidered and shrugged off as immature.
Something some people may not have considered is that a Catholic College can be a harmful shield against the real world. This of course can be good and bad. But I can’t help but say that if a young adult is not solidly formed in his or her Catholic faith, then something is wrong.
A Catholic college definitely can help reinforce one’s faith…but it also can harm it. I am not saying that this will happen to all, or even most, people. I am just saying we should take this into consideration. A person might attend a Catholic college and, especially if this person lives on campus, assume the whole world is pretty much just like it is at the Catholic college. When he or she enters the real world it can be a shock. He or she may react by being very naive when he or she enters his or her calling in life, and this can harm the person. Again, I am not saying that this will happen to every person who goes to a Catholic college; it is simply a consideration.
Moving on to a secular college. A secular college’s disadvantages are very easy to identify. Its courses are often not aligned to a Catholic viewpoint. The students and professors can be very worldly and, bluntly put, not good people. But not all people at a secular college are like that. There are some very good professors and virtuous students who are striving to live in the world, but not of it. Even if most of the professors and students at a secular college are in need of virtue, this does not mean a person cannot grow in holiness while being a student there. On the contrary, a person can develop a spirit of fortitude, courage, faith, and numerous other virtues just by defending and holding fast to his or her Catholic faith. If a person is living with his or her family, then the family can help him or her in any difficulties that may arise in living out his or her faith.
So, I am not against Catholic colleges at all; they can be truly beneficial for some people. However, I am defending the Catholic youth who decide to attend a secular college for whatever reason. It is not an “easy path to lose your soul”. On the contrary, it is an excellent place to experience the real world as a strong, devoted Catholic, and maybe bring a few wayward souls to Christ while you’re at it.