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Do I Have to be Religious to Attend a Catholic High School?

Do I Have to be Religious to Attend a Catholic High School?
Megan Nash

Read Time: 4.5 mins. 

Have you gone over the numerous benefits of attending a Catholic private high school and are interested in enrolling? The only question remaining is, “Do I have to be religious to attend a Catholic high school?” 

Fortunately, you’ll encounter religious and non-religious students attending a Catholic private school. Learn more to see why these schools are an excellent fit for the religious and non-religious alike.


Attending Catholic Private School as a Non-Catholic



According to the National Catholic Education Association, 1,688,417 students are enrolled in Catholic schools for the 2021-22 school year. 


Out of those, 343,312 students are not Catholic. That means that 20.3% of students do not practice the Catholic faith, so you won’t be alone during your highschool years. 

Below are some of the reasons non-Catholics enjoy attending Catholic private high schools. 


Get a Value-based Education 



You don’t have to be religious to benefit from a school experience that focuses on values. Even if you aren’t Catholic, you understand the importance of service, honesty, and integrity. 


These values will be taught alongside your curriculum to help you develop into the best version of yourself during your school years. 
With help from your private school, you’ll learn how to keep your values close to your heart and make decisions based on what is right and just. That’s a great way to live your life, whether you are religious or not.


Tackle College Prep Coursework at Private School



Many students and parents feel that the public school system has failed them. Most public schools don’t have much college-prep coursework, so students are underprepared for college. 


Fortunately, that’s not the case when attending a Catholic private school that offers an enriched honors program and  advanced placement courses. 

All the advanced-level courses are focused on academics, so you can learn everything you need without being religious. If you want your high school experience to serve as a springboard for college and career success, a private Catholic school can put you on the right track.  


Receive Personalized Attention



The public school system has also failed students regarding class size. You can’t get personalized attention if you’re sharing a classroom with 20 or more students. When that happens, your teachers spend all their time teaching the class as a whole and disciplining students, so getting answers to your questions or extra help is unlikely.


Catholic schools have solved this problem by ensuring small class sizes. 

It’s easier for teachers to manage classrooms of this size, so they spend less time keeping students quiet and focused and more time teaching. Because they don’t have to police the classroom as often, they can provide one-on-one guidance when needed. 

Plus, you’ll discover that teachers do a much better job of explaining information when teaching small classes. So, you might not even have as many questions or need extra help when the student-teacher ratio is small.  


Explore Interests Beyond Religion



You might think that a Catholic private school focuses solely on religion. However, that’s only one aspect of it. You can also explore interests outside of religion when attending such a school like joining a club or athletic team.



While some organizations are based on religion, others, such as the chess club and the Black student union, aren’t religious. 

If you want to explore current and new interests and have extracurricular activities to add to your college application, you’ll find what you’re looking for at a Catholic private school. You’ll turn into a well-rounded student at a private school with so many options. 


Build Strong Relationships



Catholic schools often focus on building relationships between students. Many of these schools help young men form bonds that last a lifetime. While public high schools generally only have on-campus offerings, Catholic schools offer retreats and other off-campus activities that will help you make friends. 


You’ll notice quite a difference when you attend such a school. 

After all, it’s easy to develop lifetime bonds when going on annual retreats with your fellow students and participating in other school-sponsored events. 


Benefit From a Diverse Student Body 



Many Catholic high schools keep the doors open for students from other countries. While you might find an international student or two at a public high school, it’s a much different experience at a private Catholic school. 


With that focus on diversity, you’ll walk away with much more than a first-rate education. The diversity will also help you understand other cultures and experiences and welcome them into your life. 

That brings up another reason to attend Catholic school as a non-religious student. Interacting with and making friends with religious students will diversify your friend group. 

By the time you leave high school, you’ll be ready for a diverse college and working environment. At the same time, those who attended public schools will be behind the curve and forced to catch up or be left behind.


The Final Say: Attending a Catholic High School 


It’s one thing to read about the advantages of going to a Catholic private school as a non-religious student. However, experiencing the benefits firsthand can give you confidence in your decision. 

With that in mind, schedule a campus tour at St. John Bosco High School. The admissions team will take you around the 36-acre campus while providing insight into campus life and the academic experience. After finishing the tour, you’ll realize you’ll fit right in at the private school and be excited about becoming a part of the Bosco Brotherhood.