The final stop of our DC college tour was the Catholic University of America. My colleague Sherry and I took the metro from downtown DC and in less than 25 minutes we arrived at the university stop, which is just two blocks from campus.
As we walked onto the insulated campus, the magnificent National Basilica commanded our attention. It is the largest Basilica in North America. CUA was founded in 1887 and is the only higher education institution in the U.S. founded by bishops and directly associated with the Vatican. In 2008, the university had the honor of hosting Pope Benedict XVI.
There are approximately 3,600 undergraduates at CUA. Students can choose to study in one or more or the nine undergraduate schools. Sixty-percent of the students enroll in the college of arts and sciences. The nursing and social work programs are very competitive; students can fulfill their clinical and fieldwork hours at one of the three nearby hospitals. CUA boasts to have the only accredited architecture program at a U.S. Catholic institution. CUA offers several five-year dual degrees, including a combined civil engineering and architecture degree.
Students are required to enroll in a first year experience seminar and complete four common core courses: theology, English and two philosophy classes. All schools within the university have a morality, ethics and service component. Students are encouraged to study abroad. The CUA Rome program is popular and students from many disciplines have the opportunity to intern while abroad. The university also has a partnership with Oxford University.
The Catholic University Student
Most CUA students hail from the Mid-Atlantic States. Approximately eighty-percent of students are Catholic and more than fifty-percent attended a parochial high school. Mass is not mandatory, however, many students choose to attend mass and residence ministries offer mass in dorms. CUA students are dedicated to service, and all registered student organizations have a 50-hour group service component. CUA athletes compete in the Division III Landmark Conference. Greek life has a small presence. Students told us that they enjoy their DC location and often visit downtown museums, shops and restaurants.
Housing is guaranteed freshman and sophomore years. Juniors and seniors who want to live on campus may enter the housing lottery. All on-campus housing is single sex by building and security is tight. The new Monroe Street Market, an upperclassmen apartment and retail complex on the edge of campus, is nearing completion and is sure to be a great addition.
Admissions and Financial Aid
Students may apply online through the Common Application or Catholic’s own application. Admissions takes a holistic review. The ACT/SAT is required and a foreign language subject test is recommended. Interviews are highly encouraged and are offered on and off campus. Ninety-percent of all undergraduates receive merit and/or need-based aid. Sibling discounts and parish scholarships are available to eligible students.
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