When it comes to applying to colleges, it may be intimidating to apply to religious-based schools. Over the years, you’ve probably heard family and/or friends tell you about crazy myths that go along with religious universities. These myths may include stories such as you can’t have any fun, there are a lot of rules, and you must be a certain religion to attend a certain school. We’re here to tell you that those stories and just what they are ––stories.
When deciding on a college to attend, it’s important to base your decision on more than just crazy myths that you think might be true. Base your college decision on whether you like the class sizes, the campus, the food, the professors, and even the students on campus. Here are seven myths about religiously affiliated colleges that you just definitely shouldn’t believe.
1. Religious colleges have too many rules
Rules? What rules? This is probably one of the biggest myths related to religious colleges. Yes, some of them are private and religion-based schools and have some rules, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun. All college students know how to have fun and that doesn’t change anywhere you go.
Sure, there may be rules about curfews and sneaking boys into the dorm, but you can create your own fun outside of the rules. Get off campus on the weekends and enjoy the city your school is in or have a movie night with some girlfriends. College is supposed to be the best time in your life, collegiettes. You shouldn’t waste your four years sitting inside doing nothing!
Katherine Gleaton, senior at Presbyterian College, says that her college is just like any other school and that insane rules don't really exist. "PC has no liquor or glass bottles or tobacco on campus," Katherine says. "Religiously, it's not strict and you can do what you want. It's just like any other school."
That being said, don't decide against a religoius college because you think they have insanely strict rules. They're still colleges that give you a wonderful education, pre-collegiettes.
2. You only go to a religiously affiliated college if you’re going to become a priest/rabbi/theologian/etc
Just because you are attending a religious college doesn’t mean you to have to study religion.
There are plenty of 18-year-olds who attend religious colleges and are studying to become whatever they want. Every religious college has a variety of majors from education, to business, to journalism, to performing arts. Don’t listen to the stereotype. Many students attend religious colleges because the student body and campus appeals to them!
3. Religious colleges are either all-women or all-men
This is so far from the truth. While there are some all-women colleges and all-men colleges still out there, a lot of religious colleges are co-ed ––this is the 21st century after all. If you think that you’re supposed to act super conservative in class and around campus, don’t worry, ladies. You will definitely see boys around campus and you can treat them just as you would at a normal college.
4. You won’t get the “real college experience”
If you think that the “real college experience” includes sex, drinking and drugs, then you might need to reevaluate what a college experience actually is. Yes, those things are a part of college life, but a real college experience isn’t solely about those things. Your college experience should include getting involved with campus organizations, attending sporting events, making friends in the dining hall and pulling a few all-nighters.
No matter where you go, every college student has the same experience of being a full-time student. Attending a religiously affiliated college does not define your college experience. You make your own experiences!
5. If you attend a religious college, you must be conservative
As stereotypical as this is, this isn’t true. Religiously affiliated colleges all over the world accept all kinds of students from different races and political views. The great thing about college is that you are exposed to a myriad of different people. Yes, religious colleges tend to be more conservative, but you are still allowed to express your own beliefs at that college. This is America, after all! Nobody is forcing you to change your political views in college.
Sara Walden Hanna, an alumna of Presbyterian College, says that before she attended her college, she thought that all the students would be the same. “To my surprise and delight, I found that the students at PC were some of the most diverse, unique and wonderful people I had ever met,” Sara says. “I made friends from other countries with different cultures and customs. My school is extraordinarily accepting and it taught me so much about friendship, family, and community. These qualities helped me, as a Christian, become stronger in my faith.”
Diversity at a religious-based colelge is amazing! You expand your knowledge and meet more people. The more the better, right?
6. It’s mandatory that you attend services all the time
There are religious events that are held on campus, but these events are never mandatory.
Sammy Martin, a junior at Emmanuel College, says when she started her time at a Catholic college, she was afraid she was going to be forced to go to mass all the time. Sammy says that this is far from the truth and that they’re welcoming of students of all faiths.
“I've actually chosen to attend some of them [even though] I am not Catholic,” Sammy says. “I've also come to appreciate the prayers said before some of our traditional events, such as the Senior Cap and Gown ceremony at the beginning of senior year.” Sammy is glad she made the choice to attend Emmanuel. Even though she isn’t a very religious person and attends a Catholic school, she says that she’s comfortable there and doesn’t feel like the odd one out.
At some religious-based colleges, you’ll probably have to attend events on campus. But just remember, there is more to your college than these events!
7. Female college students only attend a religious college to look for a spouse
This myth is definitely not true. While many couples are fortunate enough to meet in college, female students have other focuses and responsibilities in school than looking for a husband. Since many people believe that you are looking for a "MRS degree," ignore that theory and do what makes you happy.
Believe it or not, many female students want to receive a degree to get an insanely successful job after college. Collegiettes, don’t let this myth and stereotype scare you out of attending a wonderful university that will give you a fabulous education.
Yes, there are some myths out there that might try and sway your decision about attending a religious college, but just remember that they aren’t true. You should choose a college based on what you like and what makes you feel the most at home. Good luck, collegiettes!