Jump directly to the Content


Do Protestant High Schools Produce Better Citizens Than Catholic, Secular, and Home Schools?

Study finds alumni of Protestant schools out-volunteer other adults by wide margins.

Parents considering whether or not to send their children to private school can now weigh more than just tuition and curriculum. According to a new study from professors at Calvin College, the affiliation of a high school student's school significantly impacts his or her sense of civic duty.

The new research from Jonathan Hill and Kevin den Dulk suggests that students who attend and graduate from private, Protestant high schools receive double motivation to volunteer: not only are they provided the greatest number of connections to volunteer opportunities, they also likely more likely to "internalize" a sense of civic duty and carry it with them into adulthood.

They found that Protestant high school graduates are more likely to volunteer as adults (83 percent) than any of their peers–including graduates of Catholic (55 percent), public (48 percent), homeschool (23 percent), and secular private (10 percent) high schools. The study did not examine the effects of college on graduates.

According to the data, students at Catholic schools are most likely to volunteer while still in school (87%), while homeschoolers are least likely (63%). But as adults, the percentage of graduates who report no volunteering increases across all categories, except one: private, Protestant high school graduates, whose rate of non-volunteerism actually decreased by 6 percent.

CT has previously spotlighted how different types of Christian schools produce different types of students. CT also reported that nearly 1 in 3 Americans volunteer through religious organizations, though senior writer Tim Stafford has noted that "volunteers won't save America."

More recently, CT's This Is Our City reported on Christian civic engagement, including where it begins and why it belongs in every church's mission statement.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Read These Next