Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
Three years ago I began visiting Catholic colleges and universities across the country doing contract writing work for The Cardinal Newman Society. By the time I was done, a year-and-a-half later, I had the opportunity to visit 13 different institutions of higher education, interviewing administration, faculty and students, and writing profiles for each of the schools. It was a tremendous experience to see the fine work being done on so many campuses, to meet young faith-filled future leaders, and to discover the distinct charism of each school.
That work has finally come to fruition. Today, The Cardinal Newman Society has published the third edition of their Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. Along with a print edition that families can order, the www.TheNewmanGuide.com website features all 28 profiles of the schools recommended by The Cardinal Newman Society.
"It's not enough that our Catholic sons and daughters survive college with their faith intact," said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. "Catholic college graduates should be wise, pure, and ready to serve with distinction in any careeer and vocation. The colleges and universities in The Newman Guide provide this preparation for life.
Those familiar with the guide will note some changes to the third edition. The 2012-2013 edition is in full color, and it includes schools not found in earlier editions. In addition to profiles that cover academics, residential life, student activities, and spiritual life, each profile now includes a "Quick Facts" section that notes the number of undergraduate students, median SAT scores and high school GPAs of admitted students, the number of majors offered, the percentage of students who are Catholic, and the cost of the college. Each profile also includes a letter to parents and students from the college president, and information on financial aid opportunities.
The online version of the guide also includes promotional videos from each college, links to campus photo tours, social media links, and a contact form for the admissions office of each recommended college. In addition, each recommended college completed a comprehensive questionnaire on academics, student life, and institutional governance. Their answers are published online. The additional content available online is equivalent to more than 400 pages of additional material.
Finally, The Cardinal Newman Society is also making available a companion "My Future, My Faith" full-color magazine with more than a dozen articles to help students and parents with their college search. The magazine features articles such as, "Why Choose a Catholic College" by Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, "A Checklis for Growing Your Faith" by Green Bay Bishop David Ricken, "Fidelity Matters: Catholic Colleges Are Not All the Same" by Father C. John McCloskey, and others.
For students, and their parents, wondering what college to pursue, the guide is a valuable resource in helping them to decide where they can prepare for their future career, while also preserving their faith.