All 27 Jesuit Colleges: Which is Right for You?
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- Is a Jesuit College Right for You?
- List of All Jesuit Colleges in the U.S.
- Most Prestigious Jesuit Colleges in the U.S.
- What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
Jesuits are members of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests founded in 1540. In the United States, Jesuits sponsor 27 colleges affiliated with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), many of which are the oldest institutions of higher education in their respective regions.
Keep reading for a complete list of Jesuit colleges and universities, along with the top ten Jesuit colleges ranked.
Is a Jesuit College Right for You?
Jesuit colleges generally offer a liberal arts education that emphasizes development of the whole person (cura personalis). Most institutions require a core curriculum or set of distribution requirements that aim to stimulate critical thinking, intellectual exploration, and ethics formation, integrating knowledge across multiple academic areas to produce well-rounded graduates. Values like the pursuit of truth, justice, and magis (Latin for “more”) emphasize accountability, community, and service — Jesuit schools seek to educate “men and women for and with others.”
While Jesuit schools fall under the umbrella of Catholic schools, they are generally more liberal than Catholic schools and do not teach religion, welcoming students of all faiths. You don’t need to be Catholic or Jesuit to attend a Jesuit school, though plentiful resources and services exist for Catholic and Jesuit students. Simply consider whether the ideals and community values of a Jesuit education sound appealing to you.
When it comes to admissions, Jesuit schools are not too different from other institutions. They seek well-rounded students who demonstrate clear intellectual ability, passion, and meaningful engagement outside the classroom. Jesuit schools also look for a strong sense of ethics and the desire to serve others.
List of All Jesuit Colleges in the U.S.
Chestnut Hill, MA
New York City, NY
University Heights, OH
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
Kansas City, MO
St. Louis, MO
Jersey City, NJ
Santa Clara, CA
San Francisco, CA
Most Prestigious Jesuit Colleges in the U.S.
1. Georgetown University
Location: Washington, D.C.
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Undergrad Enrollment: 7,400
The nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown’s ten undergraduate and graduate schools have produced more U.S. diplomats than any other institution in history. The Walsh School of Foreign Service ranks as the world’s leading school of international affairs, offering programs in government, finance, and area studies that lead the pack of 40+ majors available to undergraduates. Georgetown also hosts The Corp, the largest student-run business in the world, along with a student-run credit union just for Hoyas and their family members.
Learn more about Georgetown and what it takes to get accepted.
2. Boston College
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,900
A “college” in name only, BC comprises eight schools that confer bachelor’s through doctoral degrees to over 14,000 students annually. About 9 miles from Boston proper, BC’s campus sits in a historic district featuring some of the country’s earliest Gothic architecture and allows easy access into the city via the T. You’ll also find Division I athletics, a particular strength in philosophy, and one of the world’s largest Jesuit communities here at BC.
Learn more about Boston College and what it takes to get accepted.
3. Santa Clara University
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,500
Learn more about Santa Clara and what it takes to get accepted.
4. Fordham University
Location: New York City, NY
Acceptance Rate: 46%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,600
Fordham’s reputation as a business school is well-earned, though notable alumni also include four cardinals of the Catholic Church, a long list of figures in national politics, and several actors. Split across two campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, Fordham’s ten schools allow undergraduates plentiful opportunities to take graduate courses and complete dual-degree programs. Nearly half of students pursue business-adjacent majors, and don’t forget athletics — Fordham boasts the most Division I baseball victories in history.
Learn more about Fordham and what it takes to get accepted.
5. College of the Holy Cross
Location: Worcester, MA
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Undergrad Enrollment: 2,900
The only Jesuit school on this list that focuses exclusively on undergraduate education, Holy Cross is a liberal arts college about 40 miles west of Boston. Campus itself is a registered arboretum that wins landscaping awards every year, with access to the city via the commuter rail. Holy Cross is known for the Montserrat Program, which creates living and learning communities by placing freshmen in clusters that explore one of six interdisciplinary themes.
Learn more about Holy Cross and what it takes to get accepted.
6. Loyola Marymount University
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Undergrad Enrollment: 6,700
Located in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, LMU is the largest Catholic university on the West Coast. Undergraduates pick from 60 majors and 55 minors across six colleges, with the most well-known programs in fine arts, business, and communications. Incoming freshmen may apply to the University Honors Program, substituting the required core curriculum with an honors version that caps classes at 15 students. Service organizations and Greek life are the most popular extracurriculars at LMU, along with Division I athletics.
Learn more about LMU and what it takes to get accepted.
7. Gonzaga University
Location: Spokane, Washington
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,300
Just half a mile away from downtown Spokane, Gonzaga University comprises seven schools that grant bachelor’s through doctoral degrees to ~7,500 students annually. Undergraduates choose from 49 majors and 58 minors, with special honors and leadership programs that can be combined with any degree. Nearly 60% of students participate in intramural and club sports, and Gonzaga Basketball is the school’s pride and joy. Notable alumni include athletes, politicians, and several state supreme court justices.
Learn more about Gonzaga and what it takes to get accepted.
8. Marquette University
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Undergrad Enrollment: 8,400
The first coeducational Catholic university in the world and just a mile west of Lake Michigan, Marquette comprises 11 schools and colleges near downtown Milwaukee. Undergraduates choose from 83 majors and 81 minors, with the option to take graduate courses by petition or complete an accelerated degree program. Students qualify for free public transportation in the city and participate in nearly 300 student organizations, with men’s basketball at the top of Division I athletics on campus.
Learn more about Marquette and what it takes to get accepted.
9. Saint Louis University
Location: St. Louis, MO
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,700
The oldest university west of the Mississippi, SLU is a research university with campuses in both St. Louis, MO, and Madrid, Spain. SLU offers 190+ undergraduate and graduate programs to ~12,600 students annually. Health sciences like nursing, biology, and physical therapy are the most popular, though SLU also has a reputation for international business studies. Around half of freshmen join one of nine learning communities that require specific coursework and house students of similar interests together.
Learn more about SLU and what it takes to get accepted.
10. University of San Francisco
Location: San Francisco, CA
Acceptance Rate: 65%
Undergrad Enrollment: 6,700
As old as the city itself, USF’s main campus sits between the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. Undergraduates choose from 40 majors across three schools, with health sciences and business programs being most popular. The core curriculum includes service-learning courses that engage in volunteering projects around San Francisco, and USF students may participate in 90+ student organizations and 100+ study abroad programs. Famous alumni include athletes, politicians, and business leaders (e.g. the founder of Starbucks!).
Learn more about the USF and what it takes to get accepted.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
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