First- to be a member of the CIL, you must attend or have graduated from the following schools:
Now, within these schools, there is an obvious hierarchy. Notre Dame has long been called the "holy grail" of Catholic education, and for good reason. Its the most Catholic of them all, from its stunning depiction of "touchdown Jesus" to segregating students according to gender specific dorms. It usually is the highest ranked on U.S. News and World Report among the CIL schools. Students who attend Notre Dame are looking for a specific type of college experience- a campus-focused life (because really, there's no shopping in South Bend, Indiana) centered around the one thing that brings over 80,000 people to the middle of nowhere 6 times a year- Notre Dame football. If there's one thing everyone has in common at ND, its the Fighting Irish. If you're looking for a rah, rah, tailgating mecca on alternating Saturday's in the fall, Notre Dame is the place for you.
Georgetown, next on the list, offers an entirely different college experience than ND, but some would say its much more "real world". Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown is home to a diverse student population (read: international students, Asians, and the basketball team) and a plethora of first class amenities including Washington's famed shopping hub, M Street, as well as high class restaurants including Morton's, 1789, and Cafe Milano (where all the diplomats and even the president has been rumored to dine). If you want a college experience centered around internships, spending way more money than you have on off-campus housing and cab fares from Union Station or DCA, and some good old fashioned intellectual stimulation, this is your school. Sometimes the basketball team plays well, and everyone celebrates. But don't count on it, if you want sports, you're better off at ND.
Boston College, located outside of the historic city in Chestnut Hill, Mass., offers a winning combination of rah-rah athletics and campus life close to the energy and excitement of a major city. What Eagles lack in intellectual refinement they make up for in charm, class, and general peppiness. The football team isn't quite as good as ND's, but it still makes for an excellent Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. You know you're in the CIL when you see alumni tailgating with Grey Goose in their $10,000 parking spaces. The diversity of academic programs is appealing, but there's a reason its ranked third on this list.
After the Big Three, the Little Three comprised of Fordham, Villanova, and Holy Cross follow, in no particular pecking order. If you want to be in New York and not become a drug addict at NYU or join the actual Ivy League at Columbia, Fordham's your best bet. Its a solid choice with a top ranked law school. Villanova, or Villa-no-fun, is located in the outskirts of the greater Philadelphia area. Avoid at all costs, you are much better off anywhere else than here. Holy Cross, located in Worcester, Mass., is your best choice of the three for a top-knotch education. You will work harder here than anywhere else in the CIL, so choose your major wisely. You don't want all those hours logged in the library to turn into a $30,000 job offer you had to use your parent's connections to score because you decided to study English or Philosophy.
So there you have it, the Big Three and the Little Three of the CIL. More schools to come, so stay tuned.