Jesuit Schools In the US

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A Jesuit statue

Jesuit Schools In the US

The academic institutions known as Jesuit schools uphold the Jesuit way of life. St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Xavier, and several of their peers founded the Society of Jesus in 1534 (yes, you read that correctly) without the permission of Pope Paul III, which was eventually granted in 1540.

The purpose of the order was missionary work, and its members were known as Jesuits. Jesuit education aimed to prepare men’s souls, bodies, and minds (women were not permitted) for the ministries they would eventually establish. The order’s current focus is on teaching God’s message and the importance of service to others through the love of Jesus Christ.

Members of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church, were vehemently opposed to the Reformation. Today, however, Jesuits are considered slightly more flexible than Catholics, who follow the rules of the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, Jesuits are involved in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 countries. Jesuits, like Catholics, work in education, research, and cultural pursuits, but with a focus on community service through retreats, hospital and parish ministry, sponsorship of social ministries, and ecumenical dialogue.

What makes Jesuit schools Jesuit?

So what makes Jesuit schools Jesuit? Its principles are based on a 450-year-old tradition that aims to intellectually, morally, and spiritually prepare high school and college students for lives of solidarity, service, and professional success. Learning is emphasized through community service, interdisciplinary courses, and participation in faith, theology, philosophy, and ethics studies.

Young woman visiting Europe

The term “Jesuit education” refers to a school that was founded and is staffed by members of the Society of Jesus. It also refers to a way of doing things—the style, goals, and values expressed by teachers, administrators, and staff.

The goal is to help students shape their minds and hearts into a habit of reaching out to the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s global society while also reaching out to God.

Simply put, Jesuit schools are Jesuit-run Catholic high schools and colleges (members of an apostolic Roman Catholic community known as the Society of Jesus).

There are 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, as well as 62 Jesuit high schools. American Jesuit colleges and universities are part of a global network of approximately 133 Jesuit institutions of higher learning in 31 countries.

What do Jesuit schools value?

It is important to understand what Jesuit schools value. The values of Jesuit education are rooted in the vision of St. Ignatius, the Jesuit Order’s founder (read more about his life in the ‘history’ section). These values prepare students to be wiser and more compassionate as they progress through life as men and women for others.

  • Cura Personalis. Jesuit education emphasizes the idea that each individual is a one-of-a-kind creation of God. Cura Personalis (Latin for “care for the whole self”) is demonstrated in the classroom through personal attention, a deep respect for diversity and difference, and an emphasis on holistic care for the mind, body, and spirit.
  • Discernment. Students are encouraged to be open to God’s spirit as they make decisions and take actions that benefit the greater good. Prayer, reflection, consultation with others, and considering the full impact of actions from various angles are all ways to practice discernment.
  • Finding God in all things. A Jesuit education is one that is rooted in God’s presence and encompasses imagination, emotion, and intellect. The Jesuit vision encourages students to seek the divine in everything—all peoples and cultures, all fields of study and learning, and all human experiences.
  • Magis. A dedication to the concept of Magis (Latin for “more”) is a defining feature of Jesuit school education. It pushes students to go above and beyond, interacting with the world with generosity, excellence, and empathy. Magis is characterized by personal accountability and high achievement expectations.
  • Reflection. The practice of reflection is a fundamental value of Jesuit education. Before making decisions, students are encouraged to take a moment to reflect on their surroundings and their place within them. This includes questioning the status quo, admitting biases, and taking responsibility for actions.
  • Service rooted in justice and love. Jesuit education fosters critical awareness of social and personal evil while emphasizing the greater power of God’s love. This value is exemplified by community service programs, service learning semesters, immersion experiences, and various volunteer opportunities for students.
  • Solidarity and kinship. Students collaborate for the greater good. They build relationships in their communities and use their talents and skills to help and serve others. This value is demonstrated through community-engaged learning, in which students collaborate with community members to develop innovative solutions.

What are Jesuit schools today?

In light of this, what are Jesuit schools today? There are currently 27 Jesuit universities and colleges in the United States. The educational institutions range from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges. Programs include business schools, law schools, medical schools, and nursing schools.

The following is an alphabetical list of all Jesuit schools in the United States:

  1. Boston College
  2. Canisius College
  3. College of the Holy Cross
  4. Creighton University
  5. Fairfield University
  6. Fordham University
  7. Georgetown University
  8. Gonzaga University
  9. John Carroll University
  10. Le Moyne College
  11. Loyola Marymount University
  12. Loyola University Chicago
  13. Loyola University Maryland
  14. Loyola University New Orleans
  15. Marquette University
  16. Regis University
  17. Rockhurst University
  18. Saint Joseph’s University
  19. Saint Louis University
  20. Saint Peter’s University
  21. Santa Clara University
  22. Seattle University
  23. Spring Hill College
  24. The University of Detroit Mercy
  25. University of San Francisco
  26. University of Scranton
  27. Xavier University

We chose the best Jesuit schools based on a variety of criteria, including academic rigor, acceptance rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and future employer credibility. Most Jesuit schools are highly ranked and impress the majority of prospective college students, but for the sake of simplicity, we limited ourselves to the top five.

Georgetown University

Georgetown is our choice for the best Jesuit school. It is one of the country’s best-known universities. Every year, over 20,000 applicants apply to Georgetown’s freshman class, with less than 20% accepted.

Georgetown University gate with the university signage

Georgetown was founded in 1789, making it the country’s oldest Jesuit school. It is also known for being a highly competitive research university. Over 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and the freshman retention rate is an astounding 96%. The place is Washington, D.C.

Popular majors include social sciences, business, and marketing.

Boston College

Most prospective students, particularly those in the Northeast, are familiar with the name Boston College. BC is a liberal arts college with over 60 undergraduate majors that appears on many ‘best colleges’ lists. Catholic Mass is held every day at Boston College for those who wish to attend.

Boston College signage hanging off a pole

There is also a vibrant social scene; the student organizations are seemingly limitless, with over 200 to choose from. Boston College is proud of its Jesuit roots, strives to share aspects of Catholicism with students of all faiths and cultures, and upholds the modernity of intellectual expansion. As a result, the freshman retention rate at Boston College is quite high: 95 percent. It definitely belongs to the top Jesuit schools. The institution is situated in the Massachusetts town of Chestnut Hill.

Popular majors include economics, biology, and psychology.

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University is located in Silicon Valley, about an hour outside of San Francisco, California. SCU was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus, and it still adheres to Jesuit principles of ethics and social justice, even offering a Jesuit School of Theology. The Princeton Review named SCU a “Top Green College” in 2018 and 2019 due to its emphasis on sustainability.

Santa Clara University building

SCU students can enjoy a rich university experience with over 50 undergraduate majors and 500 professors. Many SCU professors are Fulbright scholars, well-known authors and poets, and successful scientists. Graduates from this school earn the highest median salary of any Jesuit college, at $65,200. Santa Clara University has a 94 percent freshman retention rate. The college can be found in Santa Clara, California.

Popular majors include business, engineering, and communication.

Fordham University

Fordham University is located in the heart of opportunity in New York. The school has three campuses: Rose Hill in the Bronx, Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and Westchester County in West Harrison. Fordham values and ethics, academic excellence, and student well-being. Fordham is far from an overlooked school, with a notable law school and over 70 undergraduate majors.

Fordham University frontview

One of the Jesuit schools on the east coast. Students can conduct environmental and biological research at the Louis Calder Center, among other unique opportunities on their respective campuses. Fordham University’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses have over 180 student clubs, but there is no Greek system. At 91 percent, freshman retention is on the high side. Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester County, New York

Economics, business administration and management, and finance are popular majors.

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is the largest Catholic university on the West Coast, with over 6,500 undergraduate students. It has seven schools with specializations in fields such as education, law, and business administration. LMU has over 185 student organizations, including 23 Greek fraternities and sororities, and plenty of opportunities in the Los Angeles area outside of the school.

Loyola Marymount University signage

LMU’s student body includes students from almost every state in the United States, as well as international students from a variety of countries. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 and more than half of its classes having fewer than 20 students, it’s easy to see why so many people from all over the world would choose this centrally located school. The freshman retention rate is 95%. Furthermore, 99 percent of graduates have jobs, volunteer, or are enrolled in graduate programs. It is located in Los Angeles, California.

Visual and performing arts, marketing, and journalism are popular majors.

Admissions to Jesuit schools

When applying to colleges, it’s helpful to know where you stand. Academic history, grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities can all influence your chances of acceptance.

Consider consulting a professional admissions specialist if you want to improve your chances. AdmissionSight has been in business for over a decade and has a 75% success rate.

Our experts provide excellent counseling and guidance to help you achieve academic success. The initial consultation is completely free. Make an appointment today to learn more about what we can do for you.



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