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The Catholic University of America

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Don't go to this University especially as aBright
Don't go to this University especially as a transfer student. People around here are snobby and ignorant at times. This is just a university for the rich. Religion is also brought up way too much in my opinion. You also find out a lot of the sports teams are full of jerks too. I would not recommend playing any of the sports here at CUA due to how opinionated most of the coaches are. The campus is also somewhat isolated. They do not want to get involved with the outside world of Washington D.C. This is one poor choice I will never forget and please consider this as a warning if you choose to go to this school. Save your money and go to a public state university and earn a degree there. At least you wont need philosophy or theology classes like required here at CUA. The professors also don't give a crap about anyone as an individual, which is ironic, because one of their main selling points for students is smaller class sizes with more individualized attention. Very poor experience while I was here.
1st Year Male -- Class 2018
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The school is accredited but they are onQuite BrightNursing
The school is accredited but they are on probation due to poor pass rates on the NCLEX. Look at the DC Board of Nursing's website for verification. The program is small and it is possible to get plenty of individual attention from professors although many are rude and condescending at times. The administration is very unorganized and makes it very hard to get things done. If you want to pursue a career in Nursing, I highly recommend looking elsewhere. The one redeeming factor was that my hospital placements for clinical rotations were superb.
4th Year Female -- Class 2013
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Education Quality: F
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I can certainly understand some of the negativeQuite BrightEducation
I can certainly understand some of the negative comments about CUA, though my mileage seems to have been quite different. First: my experience at CUA and speaking to other students and faculty seems to indicate that which major you choose will have a major impact on the quality of your education for your upper division coursework. Not to diminish the hard sciences and the work they are doing there, but outside of Nursing most of the biology/chemistry programs seemed chronically underfunded. Honestly, this should not be a surprise, as this is a liberal arts focused school. If you want top-flight science education, you go to a school that is on the cutting edge of research in that field.

Further, many of the negative comments about CUA seem to be authored by students in, and address, the first year experience. As someone who went to a large state college out of high school, joined the military and then transferred to CUA (where I largely restarted from the beginning) I can say that the 1st year experience at CUA is typical of colleges as a whole, assuming you replace rabid newfound liberalism with rabid conservatism. Both are a product of young adults trying to negotiate their identity in a world without parents. Both are annoying, and largely absent from the 3rd and 4th year experience.

My experience was as a Secondary Education/History Major and I was EXTREMELY satisfied with the program. A few caveats for anyone thinking about Secondary Ed. The program itself has a fairly low retention because it is functionally a double major in Education and your content area. If you are not 100% certain about what you want to do, it is not a great major because the heavy course-load between your content area and education classes eliminates most of your "exploratory" credits. That being said, there are few undergraduate programs out there that can ensure that you will receive a degree and teaching credential simultaneously. This alone is well worth the cost of entry, but it is a lot of work to knock it all out.

The education department is fantastic at CUA. Every faculty member is dedicated and cares deeply for their students and for their Department. They will work you hard. The lower division of education classes are usually pretty packed with students, but the high expectations for future educators (which is a good thing), coupled with the aforementioned lack of exploratory space for those students who are unsure of their career path, causes many to depart for "softer" programs. As a result few, if any, of my upper division education courses had over 10 students, and often half of those students were graduates. The end result was classes that really challenged me to become a better educator in a rigorous environment.

Similarly, I had a fantastic time working with the History Department. Upper division course offerings were always interesting, and forced me to move out of my comfort zone into exciting content area. The Senior research thesis pipeline of two junior research seminars and then a senior research seminar was a great way to prep for graduate level work (which I am currently taking at a California State University) and have a paper published as an undergraduate. I found the entire department to be caring and dedicated to providing a high quality education.

The high acceptance rate at CUA is somewhat deceptive. This does mean that there are many students who are simply there but not necessarily engaged in their education. Most departments at CUA ramp up their difficulty in their upper division classes and have GPA requirements to keep their majors to weed out unmotivated students from those programs. This means that some majors: Education, Nursing,Engineering and Architecture, to name a few, are extremely high caliber while some of the other majors become a sort of island of misfit toys (media studies comes most readily to mind). As with any school, you find the school itself is not what really matters, but the department you are going to major in that truly determines the quality of your educational experience. Your mileage may vary, but I had a fantastic experience at CUA, and would strongly recommend the education or history programs to anyone thinking about those job fields.

On an additional side note: I took a lot of summer classes at CUA, and in one of my math classes I was the only student enrolled. At many schools, this would have meant a cancelled class and I would have been off-track to graduate on-time. But my professor ran the class anyways, and we met in his office for essentially one-on-one tutoring for the duration of the class. I can attest that this type of experience will not happen at most schools. Go Cardinals!

1st Year Male -- Class 2012
Education Quality: A+, Perceived Campus Safety: B-
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