Catholic Universities Should Accept Catholics!

My niece has gone to Catholic schools all her life (kindergarten through senior year high school). She is the number 1 student in her senior class at her Catholic high school. She is involved in student government and in a variety of other extra-curriculars. She is involved in her parish. She is selflessly involved in community service.

Despite all of this, her number one choice, Notre Dame, has rejected her application. What sense does it make to have Catholic universities, if Catholic students in excellent standing and of quality character, are not accepted? What message does this send to her and to other young Catholics who are exemplary students?

She may very well be the valedictorian at her graduation in a few short months. What should she say to her classmates? “Use all of the gifts God gave you. Serve others. Persevere in your studies. Live Catholic values. But, oh, by the way, it doesn’t make any difference to certain Catholic universities.”

Pray that Notre Dame reconsiders her application (which she is appealing) and pays more attention to its Catholic mission than to NCAA sports.

About Joe Paprocki 2758 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

7 Comments on Catholic Universities Should Accept Catholics!

  1. Does she live in the area of Notre Dame? Colleges select only a certain percentage of locals, no matter how good. Another question…Was she accepted into another school on the same level? Some same level schools consult with each other and share their lists and won’t accept the same applicants.
    BTW, being Catholic has absolutely nothing to do with an acceptance into a Catholic college. Both my daughters were accepted into great Catholic schools but being Catholic didn’t get them in.

  2. Lauretta, thanks for your thoughts. No, my niece lives in Chicago. I really don’t know about her other acceptances. I realize that being Catholic does not get one into a Catholic University, but isn’t it ridiculous that the number one student at a Catholic high school would not be accepted into a Catholic university?

  3. I agree it is puzzling but having been through this with my two very bright girls, I’m not surprised. Having been rejected from the “big” schools, they chose smaller, excellent universities and are both thriving. I believe that trusting in God is the key and God often has a way of telling us when we are making a mistake. Of course I hope your niece is successful in her appeal if this is truly what she wants. She sounds like a great girl. There is so much pressure at this point in their young lives. Somehow they get through it but they need lots of support and advise!!

  4. This is a result of secularism in our life. Why should Notre Dame or any other “Catholic University” talk the talk but not walk the walk. Maybe if she was a young man who ran a 4.2 forty and played cornerback she would get a full ride! It disturbs me that we fund this inderectly.

  5. Joe,
    Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Some Catholic Universities are so far off center that they actually lead “good, Catholic teens” away from the Church. Students who attend state schools frequently hook up with their Catholic High School buddies and attend local (traditional) parish Masses. Students attending some Catholic universities frequently see many exceptions to the rule. (Other denomonations encouraged to receive Communion, Prayers of the Faithful skipped, etc.)
    I am sorry for your neice’s disappointment. Unfortunately, many good students are turned away from all universities because of the so-called need for sports stars, integration or other arbitrary criteria. Please tell your neice, “Sometimes, I thank God for unanswered prayers.”

  6. Thanks, Mary Ellen. I saw my niece yesterday and she is handling the situation very well. She is open to alternatives and has a very good attitude so I was very happy to see that.

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