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Choosing a university for a four-year degree is a critical decision that impacts not only education and career prospects but also one’s character and identity. Many members of certain faiths find themselves at odds with the default culture on college campuses. For Roman Catholic students and non-Catholics alike, attending a Catholic university is a viable option. These institutions typically have policies and campus cultures influenced by Church teachings, strong academic records, and various extracurricular activities.

Enrollment at many Catholic universities is thriving despite an overall decline in college enrollment since 2010. Some notable Catholic universities in the United States include Providence College in Rhode Island, Thomas Aquinas College with campuses in Massachusetts and California, The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Christendom College in Virginia, Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, Ave Maria University in Florida, and Benedictine College in Kansas. Each university has a unique focus on academic excellence and adherence to Catholic teachings.

Providence College, founded in 1917 by Dominican friars, emphasizes understanding for its own sake and aligning with the truth that orients individuals towards a good life. Thomas Aquinas College boasts a curriculum focused on the classics, with students studying original works and engaging in discussions through the Socratic method. The Catholic University of America, the national university of the Catholic Church in the U.S., has a strong graduate and research center and is located in Washington, D.C., near iconic landmarks. Christendom College emphasizes Catholic teaching and implementation of Church norms in higher education.

The Franciscan University of Steubenville, founded by members of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, aims to help students grow in wisdom and understanding while acquiring skills to fulfill their purpose. Ave Maria University, established in 2003 by Tom S. Monaghan, focuses on restoring Catholic higher education amid secularism. Benedictine College, located in Kansas, adheres to Roman Catholic beliefs and natural principles, preserving the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Benedictine Order’s tradition. The University of Dallas offers a core curriculum rooted in Western civilization, and the University of Mary, founded by the Benedictine Sisters, educates servant leaders with moral courage.

John Paul the Great Catholic University, established in 2003 in California, serves artists and innovators, focusing on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Other Catholic universities across America include Boston College, University of Dayton, University of Portland, DePaul University, University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine University, St. Bonaventure University, Saint Louis University, Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, Villanova University, Loyola Marymount University, College of Saint Mary, Belmont Abbey College, College of the Holy Cross, and more. Each institution offers a unique approach to education while emphasizing Catholic values and teachings.

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