The character is Russian, so American institutions aren't the "default" choice. She's most interested in Christianity, especially historical Christianity. I think that it was a master's degree that she blew off--but that depends on the custom of the instutition.
Where do you think she would really want to go?
Edit: She isn't Catholic -- she's Russian orthodox. Also, I was thinking that she would be most interested in a secular institution, rather than one associated with a particular religion. Something along the lines of a university like Stanford.