Full article posted at The Campus Commons.

If you attended public school, religion and college may seem like a strange combination to you.

But as long as a college isn’t state-supported, like a public university, then the separation of church and state (the constitutional amendment that keeps your public high school secular) doesn’t apply.

Many private colleges are religiously-affiliated, but the level of religious presence varies. Here are some things to be aware of about religiously-affiliated colleges:

1. They don’t have ulterior motives.

If you’re skeptical of the religiously-affiliated schools that appear on your college search, be aware that these colleges are not out to convert or indoctrinate you, and they accept students from all walks of life. Most importantly, whether a college’s religious-affiliation is a tribute to their history or a fundamental part of their administration, they are just like all other colleges: open-minded and tolerant, with the goal of encouraging academic success and critical thinking among students.

2. Religion may permeate academics and student life.

Some religiously-affiliated colleges require a few religion courses, and there may be some restrictions you won’t find in secular colleges, like single-sex dorms or curfews. But every college is different – usually a campus tour will answer your questions, and if not, don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Not every student will practice the same religion as the college’s affiliation, if they practice at all.

The majority of the student body at these schools may be religious, but this is where religion in college gets interesting, especially when you look at recent trends. Case in point: Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. According to the Huffington Post, Muhlenberg has a Lutheran affiliation, but about 35 percent of the student body is Jewish, prompting the college to establish majors focusing on Jewish studies and even a kosher section of the dining hall. Similar trends are occurring at Roman Catholic colleges, as well. (Let’s hope this religious tolerance spreads!)

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