Selecting the 'best' or 'top' college can be translated several ways. For the purposes of this article, we've looked at the Catholic colleges in Massachusetts with the highest graduation rates.
The five schools listed below are the top five Catholic colleges in the state based on 2016 graduation rates. These top schools all offer a variety of degree programs and numerous opportunities for students to explore Catholicism or participate in campus ministries.
|School Name||Institution Type||Graduation Rate||Location||In-State Tuition (2017-2018)**|
|Boston College||4-year, private not-for-profit||93%||Chestnut Hill, MA||$53,346|
|College of the Holy Cross||4-year, private not-for-profit||93%||Worcester, MA||$50,630|
|Stonehill College||4-year, private not-for-profit||80%||Easton, MA||$41,300|
|Merrimack College||4-year, private not-for-profit||73%||North Andover, MA||$40,190|
|Assumption College||4-year, private not-for-profit||74%||Worcester, MA||$39,598|
Source: College Websites, *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
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Comparing Catholic Colleges in Massachusetts
When comparing graduation rates, you'll also want to look at the first-time enrolled retention rates for the schools. This list looks at each of the Catholic colleges in Massachusetts whose graduation rates were above 70%.
Boston College was ranked the fourth best school in Massachusetts by U.S. News and World Report and 32nd in the nation. Boston College has a graduation rate of 93% and a retention rate of 95%. There are over 65 programs available at BC's eight schools. Those who wish to engage in campus ministry programs will find a variety of sacramental and liturgical programs, daily mass options, service projects and retreats. Boston also offers pastoral counseling for students who desire it.
College of the Holy Cross
While Boston College has some impressive numbers, it is not alone. The College of the Holy Cross has a 93% graduation rate and a 94% retention rate. The student to teacher ratio is averaged at 10:1. Holy Cross has many opportunities to get involved in the spiritual side of education, such as liturgical music, immersion programs, retreats, programs for urban development, internships, and faith-based organizations. As a Liberal Arts college, Holy Cross has students take required courses in various subjects before getting into electives in their concentration. There are 30 programs offered, with the opportunity to self-design your own major.
Stonehill College offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 43 areas of study. The college has a graduation rate of 80% from the 2016 year, and a retention rate of 92%. The college has several NCAA Division II athletics teams available, and nearly 80% of currently enrolled students play a sport. Along with masses and retreats, Stonehill has a Community Engagement Day, where students stretch out their volunteering into the community at over 35 local organizations.
Merrimack College has an average student to teacher ratio of 14:1. Retention rates were 82% for the 2016 year, and graduation rates were 73%. There are over 100 programs to choose from at Merrimack, including biology, athletic training, environmental science, graphic design, rehabilitation sciences, and women's studies. Roughly 75% of enrolled students live in one of the college's ten apartments, townhouses or residence halls. Along with Christian based programs, like the M.O.R.E. retreat and the first-year day of service - MerrimAction - activities, there are interfaith options so that students can extend their compassion and knowledge to fellow Abrahamic religions.
Along with a 74% graduation rate, Assumption College has an 82% retention rate. There are 16 departments at the college which offer over 30 majors and concentrations. Some majors include criminology, computer science, graphic design, theology, actuarial science, organizational communication, and occupational & physical therapy. Class sizes for the college average around eleven students per teacher. For those interested in living on campus, there are five residence halls on campus. The college offers a number of masses and activities to keep students grounded in their faith, including Bible studies, retreats, and Agape Latte, where faculty share their faith journeys with students over coffee and dessert.