Catholic University of America
Washington, DC, USA

Reviews

Catholic University of America
3.63 Average Rating

William from East Windsor, NJ

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The Catholic University of America is in a vibrant international metropolis that offers everything. It is a warm and inviting environment that cares deeply about the intellectual, emotional, spiritual,and physical well-being of each student. The student will have a lot of fun and interesting activities while being challenged to excel-I can't recommend the experience enough!
Tips for prospective students
You might hear things because it is 'strict' or it is 'Catholic'. I encourage you to keep an open mind. They do have a moral and ethical code and you are expected to behave as moral people. However, no one forces any religion down your throat. The students are so happy here. If you follow simple guidlines, you will enjoy a happy and vibrant campus life.
Academic Rigor
They don't let you off the hook, but it is NOT boring. They rather not stick strictly to books and they like to learn by doing. Not a lot of big lecture halls and not a bunch of TAs.
Dorm Life
Good rooms, good activities, safe environment, and good communication.
Food and Dining
The Pryz could be better, but it could be a lot worse! :-) If you really have had it, you could always go into D.C. If you can't find something there, then you are to blame! :-)
What to do for fun
There are campus sporting events, intramurals, concerts, lectures, movies; you could always go into D.C. If you can't find something there, then you are to blame! :-)
Bang for the buck
Let's face it, college is expensive. I am so happy here and I am learning a lot. I grew so much in my reasoning and my maturity in just one semester. And I didn't even know it was happening. My parents pointed it out to me. I was just learing and having fun - yes it was work, too, but it was fun, as well. Well worth the money.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Nothing really unusual; just the Sunday night Mass at St. Vincent dePaul Chapel is really popular. I like the Mass at Caldwell hall. Campus ministry is really great - but you don't have to go, if that is not your thing. The Edward Pryzbyla Student Center ('the Pryz') is the nerve center of campus life.
Great for these types of students
More quiet, more serious, fun-loving but not really on the wild side, religious, certainly respectful of people, institutions, happy people, those who are suburban or who would thrive in a big city, those who thrive on riding a subway, those who would like diversity, different experiences and cultures.
Clubs and Activities
Really lots of clubs, and a good number of ones that are Catholic-based as well. Also, a good number of politically-based ones, being in D.C. And if you can't find one you like, if you get enough members, you could start one; get details from the Student Life office.
Greek Life
Really almost nonexistent. I really cannot speak much to it.
Campus Safety
D.C. is not the safest city in the world, but Northeast is fairly safe and CUA campus is very safe.
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Cathryn from Washington, DC

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This university takes education seriously, but also manages to be very student-friendly. The small size allows for strong community bonds, and the location in the middle of the city is very convenient for all endeavors. The university sticks to its title of Catholic, and offers a strongly orthodox education and community.
Tips for prospective students
If you are looking for a strongly orthodox Roman Catholic school, this is the one. Just be sure before you apply that they offer the field of study you are interested in. As the student population is relatively small, so is the diversity of their academic offerings.
Academic Rigor
The university is dedicated to quality education, especially in their English and Philosophy departments. If a student is considering this university, he or she should be a dedicated and punctual individual.
Dorm Life
While many of the dorms were built more than 50 years ago, they have been refurbished recently. The community is great, and the university puts in a lot of effort to ensure this.
Food and Dining
This university is unique in that it offers an unlimited meal plan, which includes $100 per semester for purchases from the campus Starbucks. The cafeteria has long hours, and the staff are very helpful and friendly.
What to do for fun
The university offers a wide range of student organizations. Campus Ministry offers many religious organizations and service opportunities. The university is located in what is called Little Rome, because there are several Catholic institutions surrounding the area, including the National Shrine (which itself is a day-long endeavor). There is a Metro station on campus, so the rest of the DC area is easily accessible from the university.
Bang for the buck
The university provides for its students. The cost is shocking to an entering freshman, but once you get to campus and start experiencing student life, you realize just why you paid that much.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located practically on campus. It is the largest Church in the United States, with an upper and lower level, and contains more than 100 shrines dedicated to countries around the world.
Great for these types of students
This university is great for Politics, English, Classical, and Philosophy majors, among others. Students should be dedicated to their education. While this university is attended and enjoyed by students from all belief systems, if you are Catholic (Roman or Eastern), there are a lot of fun, religion-based activities for you to enjoy and several opportunities for daily Mass.
Clubs and Activities
The university has a wide offering of clubs in relation to the size of the student body--from the CUAnime club to the Rowing club, Philosophy club and Book club, and several service-based organizations.
Campus Safety
Although the university is located in an underprivileged area, many students call our campus the bubble, because our campus police are so dedicated. Students can feel safe and secure, and experience very few emergency situations during their college career.
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Becca

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
CUA offers a great deal of very challenging courses, especially on the Honors level (the Honors Program is fantastic, so apply for it if you can!) The teachers I have had at CUA are absolutely brilliant, and they enjoy sharing what they know with students. CUA wants students to experience a great breadth and depth of knowledge, so there are always lectures to attend and performances by the music and drama departments - there's always an opportunity to learn.
Am enjoying being here
There's little to complain about at CUA. Sure, we all have our occasional gripes (the only ones I can recall are that the Student Restaurant is too small, and that residence halls are becoming single-sex), but CUA is such a fantastic place. The students and faculty are welcoming and kind; the campus has its own Metro stop (super-convenient for going to museums, shows, monument-hopping), and it's next to the largest church in the Western hemisphere (you can even live next to it.) The combination of accessibility to one of the most vibrant U.S. cities and the strong sense of community makes CUA one of the most enjoyable places in all of Washington, D.C.
Bang for the buck
College isn't cheap these days - it is difficult to reconcile the cost of a college education with the current economic climate. However, CUA offers a lot for the amount they charge, which is actually less than other private colleges. Many of the residence halls have been refurbished in the past few years, and the fitness centers are fantastic. There are also a great deal of technological advancements for the classrooms, which makes it easier for teachers and students to engage with their academic subjects. I would suggest looking into the school's scholarships, which greatly reduce costs, but overall, the school delivers with great academic programs and residence life.
Tips for prospective students
Take advantage of overnight opportunities as well as the chance to sit in on a lecture - it'll give you a glimpse of what you can expect academically and socially, and you'll get to meet students who have at least a little bit of university life under their belts.
Visit the Basilica - seriously, the largest Catholic church in the Western hemisphere. Even if you aren't Catholic, there's a lot of beautiful art and architecture to be seen.
Also, don't be afraid if you're not Catholic - a lot of the student body isn't, and nobody is going to force you to believe something you don't.
Great for these types of students
- those interested in politics, international studies, and history - the nation's capital is a good location
- drama students - the CUA drama department is renowned for its work
- students interested in social work or service-related careers, especially with a Catholic perspective
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Tye

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Academic Rigor
Studies are rigorous, but manageable. Professors are helpful and want to see you do well. You can even study with friends and classmates.
What to do for fun
There are plenty of things you can do all around campus! You can hangout at the Pryz with friends or go alone (the have study bubbles for students that want to be in a room to block out noise but still enjoy the amazing view of the center) to study if you prefer to. There's a huge library and computer lab for those who would like to do work or reading in their spare time. Here comes the more fun stuff! With CUA having the largest campus in DC, there's tons of acres to work with. There's land outside of the Pryz near the law school (I often see students tossing the frisbee with each other) and a huge field located outside of Mills North (students sometimes go out to play soccer and volleyball). Last but not least, there's a fitness center for those that would like to work out and two full-courts outside (near the fitness center and centennial village dorms) for students to hang out and do other activities.
Clubs and Activities
You'll make friends with incredibly smart and talented students and meet many individuals from different states and countries. Student clubs are fun and engaging. There is almost always something going on. Whether it's club based or just the students chatting and meeting up to hang out.
Tips for prospective students
Unless you're rich; become eligible for financial aid and any other scholarships; it is essential that you have a well thought out plan to finance your way through college. Upon studies, go to office hours if needed, take advantage of ALL resources and centers for help -- the professors will even recommend these options..so take note.
Dorm Life
Living in uni is amazing! I personally stayed in the suite that they also have available, which I absolutes love and enjoy! It's very clean and modern -- living standards are great and there's community events that they do for campus life that are fun. And they have free donuts and coffee at time too!
In three sentences
CUA is an amazing school; they have sports, clubs and tons of degree programs; so I'm sure you may find what you're interested in studying! It's very diverse; you'll meet students from many different cultures and parts of the world; and the staff are great -- very helpful for just about situation you encounter!
Great for these types of students
Great for students that love to be isolated but still in the city, admire a beautiful large campus, with a very relaxed school environment.
Greek Life
I haven't got involved in Greek life, but I'm sure there are many students who would be happy to share their experiences with you. I must say, there are really lovely and nice people here who are outgoing that you can talk with and get to know.
Bang for the buck
It's a great school; but a bit expensive. So, have a solid financial plan. But, CUA does offer a need based aid to those who qualify -- utilize this scholarship if possible!
Campus Safety
Campus is pretty safe. You have officers walking around campus, there's an emergency contact, alert systems all over the school, and if need be campus police are always nearby and very quick to respond.
Food and Dining
Food and dining are great! A mean plan is available; however, if it is too expensive or you just don't want one -- there are tons of other options! There's a food court and convenience store on campus (starbucks, subway, chick-fil-a -- to name a few) that takes cash and other payment methods. Also, directly across from campus there's Chipotle, Today's Pizza, Potbelly's, etc -- it's very convenient. And it's the only university with a subway stop on campus, so you can take the metro if you have to go to other nearby shopping centers (target, giant, bed bath & beyond, etc).
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There are plenty grass areas for students to hang out with blankets or such, there's an area between the Pryz and Hannah Hall where students hangout to watch football, olympics, and other sports, there are lounges around campus for those who would like to play a game of pool, there's a swimming pool located in the DuFour Arena (aka the Duf), a weight room, and football & track right outside of it. This school is huge; so you'll find tons to do!
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Emma from Lexington, KY

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
An academically and spiritually strong school. The institution is staunchly conservative, but the students have diverse opinions. The faculty is kind and very generous with time and resources.
Tips for prospective students
Apply for the honors program. It is beneficial both academically and socially.
Academic Rigor
Offers a strong foundation in a wide variety of subjects. It provides the strong liberal arts education advertised, but the professional schools are also very strong. Requires several courses in philosophy and theology.
Dorm Life
I am in CV (an area of dorms), so I cannot speak for the other dorms. CV is a gorgeous area with a basketball court in the center. The dorms are neither particularly large nor small. The RAs are laidback and try to offer fun dormwide activities every few days. The events are normally fun, but sometimes lame.
Food and Dining
Luckily, upperclassmen normally don't eat at the Pryz. Occasionally, the Pryz will serve a great meal, but for the most part, the food is not good. There is a fairly wide variety, however.
What to do for fun
Explore DC! Or join some of the many clubs.
Bang for the buck
It is an expensive school, but pretty good about scholarship money. It is an excellent school in just about every respect.
Great for these types of students
Conservative or not overly liberal. Academically motivated. Self-sufficient.
Clubs and Activities
CUA offers so many clubs and activities. Take advantage of the events, especially those with free food.
Greek Life
There are two religious sororities. I think there is a fraternity.
Campus Safety
DPS is very diligent and always patrolling. We have the blue light system as well.
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Shay from West Rutland, VT

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Catholic has a great sense of community, there is a constant feeling of support and interest as a student. The academics are challenging, yet manageable. The faculty and student body is extremely welcoming and there is always aid available for whatever issues or troubles you might experience.
Tips for prospective students
Get involved!
I know that is what everyone, literally everyone says, but by joining a club sport and committees I have met some of my closest friends. It really expands your social and academic circles.
Academic Rigor
They ARE going to push you. It will be challenging. It will get tough. However, it is possible. Teachers, study groups, and peers will always be there for help.
Dorm Life
I enjoy living on campus in the dorm. Being so far from home the people you live with become family. Living with people exposes you to so many new things. I feel safe and secure and actually, communal bathrooms are NOT the worst thing I have had to deal with.
Food and Dining
There are plenty of options for food. While some options become your favorite meals and others might be unidentifiable it isn't the worst thing you will ever ingest. If you can't handle those options there is always the cafeteria and student restaurant. AND, now Potbelly located across the street from campus. I promise you will not starve.
What to do for fun
It is DC. The Capitol of the country. If you find no interest in the multitude of events the school hosts almost daily then jump on the metro and go explore the city. If you are bored, it is your own fault. There is ALWAYS something to do.
Bang for the buck
College costs an arm and a leg. However, being here has done nothing but brought out the best in me and help me discover myself. I absolutely love it and I think I am making the experience worth every penny.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
When I want to study I like to explore the buildings on campus for study areas, I seem to be able to find a new bubble every now and then.
Great for these types of students
Students that want to work, learn, explore, and really get something out of college.
Clubs and Activities
SO MANY OPTIONS. Not one of my friends is not involved in some club, sport or groups. It is a great way to meet people.
Greek Life
It is present on campus. I'm not involved and do not know much about the process of life.
Campus Safety
DPS security is always seen driving around campus. Always willing to give an escort to those who feel unsafe and the security guards at the doors of the dorms gives a real sense of safety and security.
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Maggie

accepted here and planning to attend soon
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Catholic University of America is such a welcoming and warm environment that is perfect for any student willing and ready to learn and have fun. The location, student life, and classes all have spectacular things to offer that are there for the taking. Catholic U is a place that I look forward to calling home for the next four years of my life and I can not wait until I start there in the fall.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely take a hold of the scholarships and financial aid that Catholic University generously offers. Applying for the scholarships and financial aid are quick and easy!
Academic Rigor
The classes that I sat in on were interactive as well as informative!
Dorm Life
I loved the freshman and sophomore dorms that I toured! And the sense of community that comes along with living with all of your classmates is irreplaceable.
Food and Dining
The food was great when I visited. And I love that they offer healthy alternatives!
What to do for fun
I only visited Catholic University two times and each time I was there I was running around like crazy doing everything I possibly could. They have various student run events on campus, as well as fun extracurricular activities, such as intramural sports and dance classes. Also, you could always hang out in downtown D.C., where the night life is always thriving!
Campus Safety
Campus safety is excellent! If you go out into D.C. for a night and end up missing your ride back, you can call the campus security and ask for a ride home.
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Margaret from River Ridge, LA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Catholic is a small college with decent academics and plenty of friendly people. It's lots of fun in D.C. and on campus. Both faith and party lifestyles are very active here.
Tips for prospective students
Check out the program you want to be involved in and make sure to ask about it if you visit campus. Also, visit campus!
Academic Rigor
Classes vary but are definitely do-able as long as you keep up with the work. Very small class sizes so it is easy to form relationships with your teachers. Don't expect to be skipping class everyday because most take attendance.
Dorm Life
Dorms are all single sex, but have really great community. Security in the traditional style dorms is pretty strict and all visitors have to be signed in after around 4 o'clock. The suite style living in Centennial Village is nice, but the traditional dorm buildings are nicer style wise.
Food and Dining
Food in the student restaurant is not the greatest but plentiful. It's also very repetitive but open late. Breakfast is the best meal because there's lots of fresh fruit and made to order omelets.
What to do for fun
Learn how to navigate the Metro and take advantage of being in D.C. to explore all that the city has to offer. Make sure to become active on campus and participate because it will help you stay in the loop. There are plenty of fun things to do both on campus and off.
Bang for the buck
My experience has been very personalized and I feel like the school cares about my success. The community is wonderful and I come out of class everyday feeling like I have learned and one step closer to my chosen career!
Clubs and Activities
It seems like there's something for everyone here! Plenty of clubs and organizations to join and there's always several events going on on campus.
Campus Safety
Campus is super safe, just be careful about wandering into the surrounding neighborhood at night, this is Washington D.C. and it can be dangerous.
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CUA Rocks!

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
catholic university's academics are impressive, with brilliant professors and dedicated students. the students are great, smart people who love learning. the location in washington dc is great for many reasons.
Tips for prospective students
if you are not catholic--don't worry! the catholicness is not forced upon anyone. if you are catholic, campus ministry does a wonderful job helping you to grow in your faith.
Academic Rigor
very challenging, but also very worthwhile academics, especially in philosophy and theology.
Dorm Life
great student body, and the dorms are safe and clean.
Food and Dining
the food can sometimes be a little bland, but overall it is not offensive.
What to do for fun
there are so many fun things to do here! there are countless things to do in washington, dc. the school has many chances for catholics to worship, with three chapels.
Bang for the buck
the price is high, but it is very worth it.
Clubs and Activities
there's always something new and fun to do, especially with the house on fridays!
Campus Safety
the department of public safety does a great job!
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Jacob

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
CUA is a great school with a very friendly community. If you're looking for a relatively small school in a big city, CUA is probably a good fit for you. There's so much to do on and off campus that you'll never be bored.
Academic Rigor
Depending on your major, CUA can be very challenging but its not impossible. It also depends on your work ethic.
Dorm Life
The Dorm Life at CUA is pretty nice. You meet and get to know people from all over and they are overall very nice and welcoming people. The dorms are in pretty good shape.
Food and Dining
CUA doesn't have the best food but its not the worst.
What to do for fun
Explore DC! Go see the museums and monuments. You're in the nations capital! There's always something to go see or to do.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Since we have a metro stop right on campus, a lot of students use it to get around the city. One tradition we have at CUA is the Rhode Island Challenge. When riding the red line back to campus there's a stop right before CUA's stop called Rhode Island Ave. The challenge is to hang from the overhead bars from the Rhode Island stop to the CUA stop without falling or touching the ground. Everyone tries it at least once. Some succeed and some fail but nonetheless its a lot of fun to do with your friends.
Clubs and Activities
There's a vast amount of unique clubs and fun activities on campus. There's something for everyone.
Greek Life
There's not much Greek Life but it is on the rise.
Campus Safety
Campus safety at CUA is probably the best out of all the other universities in the DC area. They do a really good job.
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