Student Interviews: Belmont Abbey College

St.+Josephs%2C+the+Adoration+Chapel

Charles May

St. Joseph’s, the Adoration Chapel

Belmont Abbey College is a Catholic college in Belmont, North Carolina. It is on the Newman Guide, and has over 25 majors and 50 minors. Charles May, who graduated from Mother of Divine Grace School in 2021, is a freshman at Belmont Abbey, and he answered questions about Belmont Abbey, the core classes, and how Belmont Abbey stands out from other Catholic colleges.

What made you choose Belmont Abbey College?

Our Lady Help of Christians Basilica (Charles May)

I chose Belmont for a couple of reasons. First it was a good Catholic school that I knew would allow me to grow in my faith. They also had the major I wanted (sports management), and it allowed me to pursue a career in athletics if I chose.

What are some ways that Belmont Abbey stands out from other Catholic universities and colleges?

I think the biggest thing that the Abbey has is that there is a community of Benedictine monks on campus. The monks teach and some take classes, and you’ll see them around campus and get to know them. It’s just a great witness to the students to see these men and how they have dedicated their lives to serve Christ and His Church.

Belmont Abbey has students take core classes. What is important about these core classes? What semester do you start taking classes for your major?

There is a core that every student has to complete in order to graduate, and the core is so that they get a liberal arts education while they are at BAC. They come with a wide variety of subjects which gives students a wider knowledge. Most people start taking classes for their major immediately. Most majors have 100 level classes that just give a basic knowledge of the subject that are prerequisites for upper-level classes. By sophomore year most students are starting to take the upper-level classes for their major. Core classes do not have to be completed before you start taking classes for your major.

Do you enjoy your classes? What are the academics like?

I do enjoy my classes. So far, I’ve mostly just taken core classes but the few that I’ve taken for my minor I have really enjoyed. Most classes are small, maybe 20 students which makes it easy for all students to participate. Classes will start out easy and once you start taking higher-level classes, they will progressively become more academically challenging.

What are you majoring in? What made you choose your major? How does Belmont Abbey incorporate the Faith into your major?

I initially had picked sports management as my major because I really love sports and the wide variety of jobs you can get with the SM degree is amazing. I however recently switched majors and now am a history major. I’ve always loved history and switched over because I can major in history and minor in sport management and then take that and do something with sports history. A lot of the professors are Catholic so depending on what they are teaching they will bring in the teachings of the Church and show how it relates to their subject.

What are some of your favorite aspects about Belmont Abbey?

I really love the exposed adoration and the chapel that the Abbey has. It’s really nice to just go and sit before Our Lord to de-stress at the end of the day. Also just hanging out with friends in the caf or in someone’s room just talking and goofing off is one of my favorite parts about the Abbey. It’s really easy to make friends here and finding things to do with them is part of the joy of getting to know them better.

How is the Faith life? What Catholic activities are you involved with?

St. Joseph’s, the Adoration Chapel (Charles May)

The faith life on campus is amazing! The community of Benedictine monks gives us many opportunities for the sacraments and with daily mass it’s super easy to work mass into your schedule at least once a week. We also had an adoration chapel with exposed adoration 8am-8pm M-F but even after that the chapel is still open and whenever you want to get in and it’s locked you just go to Campus Police, and they will open up the chapel for you! I am part of the Felix Hintermeyer program which is a leadership program through Catholic teaching. That’s a one hour a week Bible study with once-a-week holy hour. And then throughout the year you find different ways to serve your community through service. I also do a lot with FOCUS missionaries (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students). They do Bible studies, mission trips, pilgrimages, serving the poor, talks, retreats and many other activities around campus. They have been instrumental in helping me grow in my faith.

What are the dorms like at Belmont Abbey?

The dorms fluctuate depending on which ones you are in. Freshmen guys have a dorm and Freshmen girls have one too, so they don’t have to worry about housing for the first year. The freshmen dorms are old but well-maintained. Once you become an upperclassman you will be moved to newer dorms which are really nice. All the dorms give you plenty of room for you and your roommate. Freshmen will be put into suites of 4 rooms (8 people) and they will all share a bathroom. The freshmen dorms are kind of bland looking but that can be fixed by a few decorations.

In what ways did Mother of Divine Grace School prepare you for college? Are there any life skills or classes that you were not prepared for?

MODG helped me with making a schedule so that I could have enough time to get my homework and classes done so that I can hang out with friends. MODG also gave me an understanding of a wide variety of subjects which helps out in the core classes because now the core is basically a review of what I already learned throughout high school. There have been no classes that I have felt that I wasn’t prepared for.

If students are interested in Belmont Abbey, what would you encourage them to do?

Students who are interested should come and tour the college for themselves. There is much you can learn from other people but touring the campus will allow prospective students the chance to see it for themselves. I would also say reach out to the chair of the department they are interested in. This will allow them to learn about the department and might allow them to meet the head of the department on a visit which could help them with discernment about the Abbey.