The 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Catholic Colleges in the US

7) College of Saint Scholastica (Duluth, MN)

photo by Vclark1 via Wikimedia Commons

The College of Saint Scholastica is over a century old, having been founded in 1912. It’s spread across 186 acres and has a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. 

Based in Duluth, College of Saint Scholastica Campus overlooks its Minnesota city as it stretches to Lake Superior.

A number of programs at the College of Saint Scholastica are renowned,including a health information management program. It was actually the first college in the country to grant both a Bachelor’s as well as Master’s in this much-needed major. Students in this major are provided hands-on experience working in medical clinics or equivalent healthcare facilities in an operational capacity.

One thing we like about the College of Saint Scholastica is its dedication to individualism among incoming students. Part of their efforts towards this goal is being a test-optional college; students can apply without needing to submit SATs and ACTs, instead being judged by their grades as well as individual merits.

Duluth is a great city to go to college due to a strong outdoors winter culture complete with skiing, sledding, and more.

6) Lewis University (Romeoville, IL)

You may have heard of Lewis University’s most prominent alumni. They include 8-time Grammy award-winning artist Chaka Khan as well as Kay Cannon, who wrote the Pitch Perfect films. 

However, what makes Lewis University special is not just its alumni; it is home to several of the best programs a Catholic College has to offer in 2020.

One of Lewis University’s best known programs is in Aviation. The school has a flight team that competes with 80 other schools; in some years, their flight team is ranked among the top 5 nationwide

Lewis University is regularly cited by both US News as well as The Princeton Review among the top regional universities in the midwest.

Approximately 6,600 students call Lewis University home, which is a 20% increase in enrollment from 15 years ago. It truly is a hidden gem Catholic College on the rise.

5) University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, MI)

photo by Pfretz13 via Wikimedia Commons

The University of Detroit Mercy, founded by Jesuit Priests nearly 150 years ago in 1877,  is known for its strong focus on science and technology. The faculty of the College of Engineering and Science is currently conducting groundbreaking research on Assistive Technologies for disabled persons. These include electronic equipment and false limbs which may assist in every day chores and even in caring for children.

The largest Catholic University in the state of Michigan, the school houses a number of other “hidden gem” programs. One such program is their law clinic, which has won numerous awards from the American Bar Association, including the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access with Meritorious Recognition in 2012.

Other clinics the school houses include a Dental Clinic. These facilities demonstrate the university’s special priority in assisting & engaging their community.

Speaking of community engagement, one of the University of Detroit Mercy’s most unique offerings is a Center for Social Entrepreneurship. One of their programs here is the CSE Boost, an 9-week workshop for “social organizations” – the purpose of this is to help bolster the local economy and business of Detroit, making this university, in a way, a business leader in the Detroit economy. 

4) Rockhurst University (Kansas City, MO)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

The core of the Rockhurst experience is a service-based education. Nearly all of the school’s 3,000+ students participate in community service, outputting approximately 25,000 hours towards Kansas City and surrounding communities. This number represents a significant commitment reflected in the values of this university – placing community and service as a number one priority.

In fact, this school’s engagement with the community has been recognized by The White House; in 2008, Rockhurst received the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Rockhurst has also been awarded a Carnegie Foundation award for its commitment to service excellence.

Recently, Rockhurst University acquired Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. This move adds more than 700 students to Rockhurst’s total count, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD students. 


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