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Catawba College
Catawba (Salisbury, NC) provides an education with a blend of skills and competencies that...

Catawba College

Salisbury, North Carolina

Catawba College is a private, coeducational college in Salisbury, North Carolina, that provides students a personally attentive education, one which blends the knowledge of liberal studies with career preparation. Catawba assures its students’ success through adherence to four core tenets – Scholarship, Character, Culture, and Service. The College offers a robust honors program, a full complement of study abroad destinations, and an engaging First-Year Experience. Catawba boasts 20 Division II varsity athletic teams and is a member of the South Atlantic Conference.


The institution prides itself on making higher-education accessible to bright and deserving students, many of whom are first-generation college students who are otherwise unable to attend without generous financial assistance. The College offers over 70 fields of study, with strong outcomes in nationally ranked theatre arts, popular music, business, environmental studies, and science programs. Catawba College is affiliated with the United Church of Christ but welcomes students from all faiths. Exploration of faith and vocation is encouraged during a Catawba student’s collegiate journey, assisted by robust career services counseling and the leadership of the on-campus Lilly Center for Vocation and Values.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,276 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
47% male — 53% female
23% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
80 full-time faculty
65 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
84% of first year students live on campus
60% of all students live on campus

School Location

Catawba College is located in the temperate, four-season climate of the North Carolina Piedmont in historic Salisbury, a city of approximately 34,000 people. Great restaurants and entertainment venues downtown are less than three miles from campus. Catawba College is also a one-hour drive from the greater Charlotte area and from the metropolitan cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Drive an additional hour or two and reach the state’s Blue Ridge Mountains or coastal beaches.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

72% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

52% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 19%
White 67%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


Catawba College Athletics fields 20 NCAA Division II varsity teams and is a member of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). More than 40% of the student body participates in one or more of these collegiate sports. Offerings include:

Men’s: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Developmental Basketball

Women’s: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Developmental Soccer

Many students come to Catawba because of their desire to participate in the sport they played in high school. Due to this high demand, a developmental men’s basketball and women’s soccer teams have been added to give more advanced players an opportunity to play popular sports at the collegiate level. The College also offers co-ed Cheerleading and Dance teams. The school’s colors are blue and white; there is no mascot. The athletic teams are called the Catawba College Indians, with the approval of the Catawba Indian Nation and the NCAA.

Other Information

Catawba is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges. Its School of Education is accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Academic Programs

School of Arts & Sciences
Administration of Justice; Biochemistry; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Environment & Sustainability (Concentrations in: Environmental & Outdoor Education, Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management, Sustainable Planning & Leadership); History; Literature; Mathematical Finance; Mathematics; Nursing; Politics (Concentrations in: Pre-Law, Public Administration); Psychology; Religion and Philosophy (Concentrations in: Christian Ministries, Theology and Philosophy); Sociology; Spanish; Writing

School of Business
Accounting; Business Administration (Concentrations in: Accounting, Communication, Economics, Entrepreneurship, General Management, Information Systems, International Business, Marketing); Communication Arts (Concentrations in: Communication Arts, Sports Communication); Economics and Finance; Integrated Marketing Communication

School of Education
Elementary K-6; Middle School 6-9 (Specializations in: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies); Special Education (Concentrations in: Elementary, Middle & High School Language Arts, Middle & High School Mathematics, Middle & High School Science, Middle & High School Social Studies)
Licensure Programs, Secondary Subjects (9-12): Biology; Chemistry; Comprehensive Science; Comprehensive Social Studies; English; Mathematics
Licensure Programs, Special Subjects (K-12): Music; Health & Physical Education; Spanish; Theatre; Reading (add-on only)
Athletic Training; Exercise Science; Physical Education; Recreation; Sport Management

School of Performing Arts
Music (Concentrations in: Music Business, Music Education, Music Performance, Popular Music, Sacred Music, Worship Arts); Musical Theatre; Theatre Arts (Specializations in: Theatre Arts, Performance, Design & Production); Theatre Arts Administration; Theatre Arts Education; Therapeutic Recreation

More Distinctions

  • 2017 U.S. News & World Report's “Best Colleges” - 4th among Regional Colleges - South

  • 2017 Princeton Review's “The Best 381 Colleges” + “Best College Theatre”

  • 2017 “Creative Colleges”

  • 2017 In Tune Magazine's Best Music Schools

  • 2016 Forbes’ “America’s Top Colleges”

  • 2016 Princeton Review's “Green Colleges”

  • 2016 Forbes’ Grateful Grads Index

Global Learning

Catawba is committed to providing opportunities for global education. This is achieved by its partnership with University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). Through Catawba’s membership in USAC, students have access to over 40 semester or summer abroad destinations. The College also provides opportunities for students to take course work with shorter opportunities to travel abroad with their faculty and classmates over fall or spring break.

Undergraduate Research

Students across academic disciplines look forward to the opportunity to share their research each spring during an on-campus, interdisciplinary Catawba Research and Creativity Showcase. They are also encouraged by faculty to present their scholarly research at state, regional, and national academic and professional conferences.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization  
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band X
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  
Yearbook X

First-Year Experience

The First-Year Summer Retreat and the First-Year Seminar comprise Catawba’s First-Year Experience. Through the Retreat, incoming students have the opportunity to make new friends and engage with faculty and staff. During this three-day, off-campus experience, students learn about the history of Catawba and its culture. This shared experience helps provide a smooth transition into college life and assures students a social network when they arrive on campus.

Liberal Arts Curriculum

Regardless of a student’s academic interest, a Catawba education is defined by excellent professional and pre-professional programs that blend the competencies of the liberal arts, such as critical thinking, strong written and oral communications, analytical problem-solving, and working in diverse teams. The Catawba faculty are committed to infusing all classes with experiences that give students the opportunity to develop and hone these skills throughout their undergraduate career.

Catawba Honors

Catawba Honors students enhance their writing skills and prepare for graduate-level education by completing a faculty-mentored undergraduate thesis, which they must defend to graduate with honors.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Students must complete 3-6 hours in each of the following Perspective areas: Non -Western, Creative, Interpretive, Historical & Social, Wellness & Literacy, in additional to First year Seminar, First Year Writing, Second Year Writing, Quantitative Literacy, and Foreign Language Competency.

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 138 209 91 12 0 2 0 452

Student Activities

Catawba students have access to many on-campus activities outside of the classroom, including the student-run Wigwam Productions, which hosts events with hypnotists, comedians, laser tag, and cookouts. Theatre productions, concerts, lectures, and symposiums are all free to students, and their participation is encouraged.

Catawba Traditions

Opening Convocation is an annual tradition at Catawba at which each incoming student signs a college register and makes a commitment to uphold the institutional honor code.

Catawbapalooza is an annual and much-anticipated tradition on campus. This weeklong spring celebration includes such activities as a lip sync competition and a luau, culminating in an all-day carnival that rivals the finale of “Grease.”

Tailgating at home football games is also a big part of Catawba’s culture and provides a great opportunity for current students, alumni, and Salisbury residents to engage in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. For many, this involves a grill and a cornhole board.

As part of Catawba’s annual graduation activities, the Marshal’s Walk is a symbolic conclusion to their time at College. Following Baccalaureate Service, members of the graduating class carry lit candles out of the Chapel through a gathering of faculty, family, and friends. After hearing remarks from the incoming SGA President, the Senior Class President, and the College Marshal, students blow out their candles.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Salisbury Connections

Catawba College and the City of Salisbury enjoy a strong relationship that includes collaborations with local theatrical and musical venues, partnerships with local non-profit service organizations, and internship opportunities at local businesses and government entities. Some examples include student-organized dances and proms for local elderly and special needs populations, conducting student research to identify local strains of yeast for a microbrewery, market research for downtown businesses, and a partnership between the Catawba Worship Arts program and local churches of various denominations.

C2C Program

The Catawba College to Career (C2C) program is an opportunity offered to students in their sophomore year. This program allows students to take the FOCUS 2 assessment, which provides information about the student’s personality, interests, and preferred work environments. This assessment provides the student with a list of potential career paths and marries those options to best-fit majors to prepare the student for that field. Students meet one-on-one with a Career Counselor to review their results, exploring information from the US Department of Labor that gives the student a 10-year outlook for their recommended careers and salary expectations. C2C Career Counselors also work with students to develop a resume to highlight their particular strengths and help students develop a plan to enhance areas identified as opportunities for growth.  

Career Services

Career Services also provides an array of offerings to Catawba students, which include mock interview opportunities, etiquette dinners, resume support, career fairs, graduate school fairs, and assistance with internship placement.


The Lilly Center for Vocation and Values houses the Volunteer Catawba  program. The Lilly Center provides leadership retreats and programming that encourages Catawba students to find their passion and explore how they can live lives of meaning through work and service to others.


Admissions Fall 2016

2,528 Total Applicants
1,190 Total Admissions
348 Total Freshmen Enrollment

47.07% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Priority date: Mar 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Geographical residence

Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores
Volunteer work
Work experience

Class rank
Application Essay
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 420 550
SAT Math 430 540
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 18 24
ACT Math 17 24
ACT English 16 24
ACT Writing    

Admissions Information

Admission to Catawba is rolling; however, students interested in departmental scholarships for Business, Accounting, Education, and Environmental majors should apply prior to November 1st. There is no application fee, and applications can be sent through


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $29,920
Room and Board (on campus) $10,488
Estimated Total On Campus $40,408


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 FINAL

$26,992 First year students
$6,855 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 FINAL

75% on average, the percentage of need that was met
23% of financial need students that had need fully met

$6,855 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,520 Average need-based loan

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid encourages students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 of their senior year to be considered for all need-based federal and state financial aid. The priority deadline to file the FAFSA is March 15.