If you’re researching Catholic universities in Florida, you may have already decided to attend a school with a Catholic perspective. But if you’re still on the fence, we’d like to share their unique benefits. We hope these five reasons will inspire you to pursue your studies at a Catholic institution — and perhaps join us at St. Thomas University.
1. You’ll Experience a Catholic Community
For those raised in the Catholic faith, a Catholic university or college provides a familiar and comforting environment. If you want to attend Mass, go to Bible study, or simply enter the church for quiet contemplation, a Catholic campus offers a place for young Catholics to feel at home. This is especially helpful for students who feel nervous about embarking on their college journey.
However, this certainly doesn’t mean that non-Catholics wouldn’t feel welcome. The National Catholic College Admission Association (NCCAA) points out that, “Catholic colleges and universities foster faith development for students coming from all traditions. This richness of perspectives contributes to a powerful learning environment. It also develops graduates who can speak respectfully with people from faiths different than their own.”
So, when we talk about experiencing a Catholic community, it goes beyond simply being surrounded by fellow Catholics. It’s about being in an environment that’s rooted in ethical behavior and supports an open mind and many perspectives. The St. Thomas University mission statement reinforces this commitment.
St. Thomas is a Catholic university with rich cultural and international diversity committed to the academic and professional success of its students who become ethical leaders in our global community.
2. Your Education Will Follow the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
The tradition of higher education is woven into the history of the Catholic faith, with many of the first universities connected to monasteries. Despite Catholic colleges and universities’ academic excellence, they’re sometimes disregarded by students because they believe traditional beliefs will take precedence over the pursuit of knowledge.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Catholic intellectual tradition is based on the idea that faith and reason can co-exist. We believe each has the potential to solve today’s complex problems.
You won’t find a Catholic university that isn’t evolving. We draw from the past but engage with every discipline and with all forms of belief and nonbelief. The Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities explains, “Because the tradition is a living one, scholars are invited to examine contemporary issues and to help the body of Catholic thought grow and adapt.”
Your education won’t be limited by attending a Catholic university. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to view multiple viewpoints simultaneously. Catholic education emphasizes critical thinking – a skill in great demand once you graduate.
3. Your Studies Will Come to Life Through Service
As a fulfillment of their faith, Catholic colleges and universities have a tradition of promoting justice and opportunities for all people. Students are encouraged through their curriculum and campus culture to deeply understand social issues and participate in service opportunities.
At Catholic colleges and universities, you’ll find that the call to service is much more than a way to build up your resume. It will give you a broader perspective and a compassionate heart, which you’ll carry out into the world upon graduation.
St. Thomas University students are encouraged to take their research and skills from the classroom into the community. Our students give back through volunteer community engagement projects that tackle issues of inequality and poverty. The values, knowledge, and skills you’ll gain will benefit and be applicable to all areas of your life.
The St. Thomas University Center for Community Engagement connects the university’s teaching and research to the social questions of our world.
4. You’ll Have a Diverse and Inclusive Perspective
The Catholic Church in the United States is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the country — a trend very likely to continue according to recent research by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fortunately, Catholics are prepared to adapt. The report noted there’s “widespread majority agreement that having people of different cultural backgrounds enriches the parish.”
Similarly, Catholic universities are also a welcoming environment for people of all cultures, incomes, races, and genders. They lead the way in both study abroad programs and international student enrollment. This is a clear advantage in our global society. The Catholic perspective will offer you an opportunity to listen and understand those different from you and respectfully reach consensus. These soft skills are invaluable in today’s workplace.
Pope Francis offers a clear sense of the Catholic Church’s approach to diversity:
“Unity does not imply uniformity; it does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way. Nor does it signify a loss of identity. It means knowing how to listen, to accept differences, and having the freedom to think differently and express oneself with complete respect towards the other who is my brother or sister. Do not be afraid of differences!”
Among all the Catholic universities in Florida, St. Thomas University offers a truly global academic experience. Our programs take advantage of Miami’s unique location as the Gateway to the Americas. You’ll be surrounded by students from over 80 countries, each bringing their unique perspectives to our classrooms.
5. You’ll Have the Catholic University Advantage
What’s that, you ask? We believe the four reasons we’ve just talked about contribute to our strong numbers compared to public institutions. Let’s take a closer look. According to the Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities:
- Catholic colleges and universities have a 44% graduation rate compared to 25% at public institutions. In addition, black and Hispanic students are graduating from Catholic schools at higher rates as compared to all public and private institutions.
- Catholic higher education institutions have a retention rate of 77%, which is 9% higher than the national average.
- The national average for student loan default rate is 14%; Catholic colleges and universities have half that number.
- 96% of first-year students at Catholic institutions received financial aid, averaging $16,852.
- The national average for faculty to staff ratio is 18:1; Catholic colleges and universities average 12:1.
Although there are several Catholic universities in Florida, we hope you’ll consider St. Thomas University. If you’d like to get a high-quality education within an environment of intellectual curiosity, service, and diversity, our admissions staff is ready to answer your questions. Contact us today!