Catholic colleges – What difference?

by | Jun 27, 2013 | Uncategorized

catholic collegesThe research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) released what for some might be counter-intuitive results of a study of the impact of Catholic colleges on faith and vocations.

Here are some of the highlights taken from

  • The study documents that a Catholic college environment provides significantly more opportunity for students to discuss their faith in an academic setting in ways that a non-Catholic college environment does not. Over half (51%) of those who attended Catholic colleges report having discussed faith, religion, and prayer “frequently” during class, compared to only 11% of those who attended non-Catholic colleges.
  • Similarly, Catholic-college attenders are substantially more likely than their counterparts to report having discussed these topics with professors outside of class (43% to 9%, respectively), and with students outside of class (62% to 40%, respectively).
  • While 58% of those who attended a Catholic college report that a particular college course was “especially influential” on their vocational discernment, only 27% of those who attended a non-Catholic college report likewise.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents overall state that a priest, sister, or brother professor had a “significant positive influence” on their vocational discernment. Those who attended a Catholic college are much more likely to have been exposed to priests, sisters, or brothers during college. While nine out of ten of those who attended a Catholic college report having had a priest, sister, or brother as a college professor (88%), college administrator (93%) or campus minister (90%), substantially fewer of those who attended a non-Catholic college had a priest or religious as a professor (18%), administrator (15%), or campus minister (59%).
  • Of those who attended a Catholic college, 91% report that Mass was available daily during college, and 90% report that they attended Mass at least once a week. Of those who attended a non-Catholic college, less than half (49%) report that Mass was available daily, and 79% state that they attended Mass at least once a week. Men at Catholic colleges are also more likely to report having engaged in a devotional practice during college, and to have engaged with greater frequency in a wider variety of devotional practices, than those who attended a non-Catholic college. The only exception to this is with respect to Bible study, where non-Catholic college attenders report slightly higher levels of engagement in this particular practice.

A question followers of Vincent dePaul and Louise might be interested in is what impact do these findings have on shaping attitudes toward the least of our brothers and sisters.

Photo above courtesy of stevendavy from Flickr Commons.

Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church’s self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. Follow CARA on Twitter at:caracatholic.

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