When I was still in school, I had a classmate who was a professing agnostic. I also remember having classmates who were professing Protestants. It was an interesting experience hanging around these folks, considering that we were studying in a Catholic university at the time.
If you’re a non-Catholic, you may be wondering if you should attend a particular Catholic university, or if these institutions even accept people with different religious beliefs. The good news is that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) makes no distinction between Catholic and non-Catholic students. There’s no special registration process or waiver-signing they need to through, either.
Perhaps the only thing these students need to concern themselves with (besides their studies, of course) is their environment. UST is a predominantly Catholic university, with all the traditions and practices that come with the territory. Going through the motions may make them feel like a fish out of water.
Depending on your religious affiliation, you may experience some conflicts with scheduling. For example, Seventh-day Adventists don’t go to school or work on Saturdays. If your denomination believes in something similar, it may mean that you need to work something out with a professor who holds classes, exams or laboratory work on Saturdays.
Fortunately, make-up classes, tests or other kinds of work are always possible if the professor is reasonable enough. If not, you can try approaching the dean of your chosen field’s department or the regent. The latter may be especially helpful, as most regents are Dominican priests and the school’s policy makers, so it’s likely they’ll take an ecumenical approach to things. They may not be able to grant your request every time, though.
Does UST accept non-Catholics? Absolutely. Perhaps the question that should be asked is “will non-Catholics be able to adjust to the Catholic practices and traditions of UST?” If you reach a deadlock, then something’s got to give. You’ll need to make a decision before hand to adjust your schedule, change classes, switch to another program or make the most of what’s given.
Ms. Janice of the UST Admissions Office