There are plenty of colleges to choose from for prospective students. Some of us, including Gannon students, chose the Catholic university experience.  Those of us who made that choice already know that there are some great benefits that come from that decision. We have all experienced them and we all know that they are part of what drew us to a school like Gannon and part of what kept us there.  For those who are unaware or are considering the Catholic university lifestyle, you should know just what there is to appreciate about the experience.

1. Community

That word gets thrown around during the college search and it doesn’t always mean very much. But at Catholic universities, community is a very important part of the experience. There is a visible focus on creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and interacts meaningfully with their fellow students. To say that a school like Gannon has a sense of community isn’t some throw away tag line. There is a very genuine small-school atmosphere that can’t be manufactured.

2. Diversity

This one isn’t quite as obvious, but it is very important. Yes, we attend a Catholic school. No, that does not mean we only go to school with Catholics. There is a willingness to embrace other cultures and viewpoints and be inclusive rather than exclusive. Here at Gannon, we enjoy the presence of  students from a multitude of other countries and cultures.  Being in contact with diversity and different ideologies is an invaluable experience to prepare you for the world after college. A learning experience where you are hearing from others who look at the same topics through different lenses is vastly beneficial to a student.

3. The Curriculum

It makes sense that Gannon requires students to take religious courses. The selection for those courses is wonderfully wide. You are able to study almost any religion from a number of different angles; it’s not just a required bible study course. On top of that, Gannon also requires an equal number of philosophy courses that often go hand in hand with the ideas presented in the religious studies courses. This plays back into the idea of diversity and helps expand your worldly viewpoints.

4. Service

Also encouraged and focused on is the idea of giving back to the community. Service is an important component of Catholic values. Gannon prides itself on the amount of service hours students put back into the Erie area. Events like GIVE day are a chance for all students to come together and contribute in a meaningful way to the community we are a part of here in Erie.  We all know we’re here to learn and get a degree, but that doesn’t have to be all we focus on. As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t be.

5. The Breaks

I’d be lying if I said that extra little bit of break time we get over some public schools wasn’t nice. But it isn’t just nice in a “more time to hang out” kind of way. It gives students the opportunity to go home, see their families a little more, and really get to experience the holidays. It’s an extra chance to catch up and to refocus for the rest of the semester that lies ahead. This isn’t quite as crucial as some of the other perks that come with the Catholic university life, but it is definitely appreciated.