Christendom College is a small Catholic coeducational liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, which is located in the Shenandoah Valley. The main campus overlooks the Shenandoah River with scenic views of the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Christendom College is committed to both academic and moral excellence. Rules governing student life include a dress code, under 21 curfew, and no intervisitation between men’s and women’s dormitories. Although there is a strong Catholic emphasis in all aspects of the curriculum and life at Christendom College, non-Catholics are welcome to apply.
Christendom College is institutionally committed to the Magisterium, or “teaching authority,” of the Roman Catholic Church. The college was founded in 1977 by Catholic historian Warren Carroll in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution of the 1960s. At a time when other Catholic colleges were no longer following the guiding light of the Catholic faith, Christendom College stepped up and dedicated itself to the restoration of a truly Catholic culture.
The stated mission of Christendom College is “to restore all things in Christ.” The college’s vision statement reads in part: “The only rightful purpose of education is to learn the truth and to live by it. The purpose of Catholic education is therefore to learn and to live by the truth revealed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….Only an education which integrates the truths of the Catholic Faith throughout the curriculum is a fully Catholic education.”
With the vision of providing “a liberal arts education that would fully integrate natural and revealed truth,” Christendom has a core curriculum of carefully selected subjects required for all of its students. The undergraduate curriculum consists of three years of study in Theology, three years in Philosophy, two years in English Language and Literature, two years in Classical or Modern Language, two years in History, one year in Political Science and Economics, and one year in Mathematics and Natural Science.
Christendom offers degrees in Classical and Early Christian Studies, English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Economics, and Theology. Every junior has the option of spending a semester in Rome, living just outside the Vatican and across from St. Peter’s Basilica. While in Rome, students study Moral Theology or Apologetics, Art and Architecture, Roman Perspectives, and Italian.
Christendom College does not participate in any Title IV Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs which includes federal student loans. This was a prudential decision made by Christendom College to protect its freedom to teach the Catholic Faith without hindrance. However, the College has developed its own institutional financial assistance program that is competitive with colleges who do accept federal financial aid. The College is also an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans.
Successful applicants to Christendom College must show promise of being able to do serious intellectual work at the college level. Admission is determined by a variety of indicators including, but not limited to, high school grades, SAT or ACT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. The normal scores that the Admissions Committee is looking for in order to accept a student are: SAT 1650 or higher (all three sections combined) and ACT 24 or higher. The Admissions Committee uses these numbers as standards but treats each applicant individually and takes many other factors into consideration before making a final determination.
Applicants will write essays on topics like the following: 1. Why do you want to attend Christendom College? State what you hope to gain from your experience at Christendom; what you hope to add to the College community; and what attracts you to the College. (500 word minimum.) 2. Describe your life within your family. Do you have brothers and sisters? What interests do you share? Have you discussed your plans for college with your family? If so, what do they think? (250 word minimum.) 3. Describe some person or experience who/which has had a deep impact on your life. Explain its value to you. (250 word minimum.) Essays are judged on content, grammar, spelling, and style.
Homeschoolers are encouraged to apply, and homeschool applicants follow all of the same admission procedures as other students. Your mother or father may fill out the academic letter of recommendation if they have been your teachers. Or have a teacher who has instructed you submit an academic letter of recommendation. Ask your parish priest, an employer or counselor to submit a personal letter of recommendation.
Christendom College recognizes accredited Catholic homeschooling programs such as Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Seton Home Study. Homeschooled students who are not enrolled in one of the approved homeschool programs should provide documentation of completed course work. Homeschool transcript forms to be filled in are available from the college and may be downloaded at: http://www.christendom.edu/images/pdfs/homeschool%20transcript.pdf
Christendom does not require that a particular core curriculum be completed prior to applying for the college, nor does Christendom require a student to have graduated from high school or to have earned a GED. However, the following high school courses are recommended for students preparing to attend Christendom College: English/Literature (4 years) – Grammar and Composition, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature. History and related studies (3 years) – World History, American History and Government, Geography. Language (2 years of same language) – Classical or Modern Language. Mathematics (2 years) – Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-calculus/Calculus. Science (2 years) – Biology, Chemistry, Physics. (Plus one additional year of either math or science.)
According to Thomas McFadden, Director of Admissions, “Homeschoolers do very well at Christendom College. Each year approximately 50% of the incoming class comes to us from a homeschool background, although many more have been homeschooled at one point in their elementary or secondary education. One of the things we have noticed about our homeschooled students is their incredible ability to read voraciously and also to comprehend what they have read. I think this is something particular to the homeschooled student because they tend to have a little extra time during their week to read for pleasure. This ability to read quickly and comprehend what they have read comes in very handy at Christendom. In all of our classes at Christendom, we require lots of in-class reading, [and] also out-of-class reading.”
McFadden adds, “Many parents have made the choice to homeschool their children because they are not too happy with today’s culture and they want to keep some of the bad aspects of today’s culture out of their children’s lives. At Christendom, the college seeks to help parents in their roles of primary educators and works hard to not only keep bad things out of the campus culture, but to provide a good Catholic culture in its place. In fact, at Christendom, one of the slogans used to advertise the school is, ‘Catholicism is the air that we breathe.’ It doesn’t really get much more Catholic than that!”
Learn more about Christendom College at http://www.christendom.edu