There are 221 Catholic institutions of higher learning in the United States. Of these schools, 28 are Jesuit colleges and universities, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).
What exactly does Jesuit mean?
Back in 1534 (yes, you read that correctly), the Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Xavier and several of their peers, without the permission of Pope Paul III, which eventually was granted in 1540. The order’s purpose was missionary work, and its members were called Jesuits. Jesuit training sought to prepare the souls, bodies, and minds of men (women were not permitted) for the ministries they would eventually build. Today, the order’s focus is teaching God’s message and importance of service to others with the love of Jesus Christ.
As a religious order of the Catholic Church, members of the Society of Jesus were adamantly against the Reformation. Today, however, Jesuits are considered slightly more flexible than Catholics, the latter of whom operate under the Catholic Church’s regulations. Still, Jesuits are engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Like Catholics, Jesuits work in education, research and cultural pursuits, but with emphasized community service in the form of retreats, ministry in hospitals and parishes, sponsorship of social ministries, and ecumenical dialogue.
What exactly does Jesuit mean?
The answer is simply that Jesuit schools are run by Jesuits. The priests of the Society of Jesus are committed to spreading the gospel through ministry in education, social justice, and apolistic endeavors. Jesuit schools promote liberal arts values via learning, critical thinking and academic standards. These schools are based on Catholic principles and are accountable to their local bishop. Jesuit schools fall under Catholicism’s proverbial umbrella, but they exist as a more liberal subcategory. One need not practice Catholicism to attend a Jesuit school, although there are added benefits for Catholics, such as retreats, mission trips, community service projects and additional resources.
Should I attend a Jesuit college?
Like any college search, deciding for or against a Jesuit school is contingent on many factors. The religious beliefs tied to the school is only a small part of what the school offers overall. To help your decision-making process, really try to identify why you are drawn to a school. Ask yourself all of the questions you would consider with any school. Is it the location or the campus? Is it the body of professors with excellent backgrounds or perhaps a student body of your political or social persuasion? Ask yourself other questions like whether there are ample clubs to join. What is the female/male ratio? Is there a strong Greek life presence? Does the school provide access to useful internships? What are the financial aid offers for incoming freshmen? How are the job opportunities for recent graduates? Do you like the Jesuit emphasis on ethics, community service, the liberal arts and breadth of knowledge? Do the added benefits of attending a Jesuit school influence your decision? Most importantly, does the school have your prospective field of study? Take time to think these factors through, and know what you are seeking before you begin your search.
What is it to be the best if there are only 27 schools?
We identified the best schools based on various standards including academic rigor, acceptance rates, student-to-faculty ratio and credibility amongst future employers. Most Jesuit schools are highly-ranked enough to impress the majority of prospective college students, but we stuck to the top ten for simplicity. Below is the list of every Jesuit school in the U.S., in alphabetical order: