Month: March 2011



Last night,  a colleague and I hosted a Discernment Dinner for three current Loyola students.  The dinner was sponsored by EVOKE.  An e-mail was sent out months ago describing this opportunity for faculty and staff, and my colleague and I thought it would be a great chance to hear more from some Loyola students who we may never otherwise have the chance to know.

One goal of the dinner was certainly to connect students with more faculty and staff.  The students were great and we learned so much about them and their paths to Loyola, as well as what they are involved with on campus today.  The one thing that stands out to me the most about last night is the opportunity we had to converse with the students about how you discover your own vocation.  What is your own personal discernment journey all about?  In other words, how do you come to the realization of what you want to do and who you want to be when you grow up?  Have you figured it out yet?

I realized during our discussion  that current high school seniors feel pressured to know exactly what they will study in college and the path they will take in building their careers.  College is that next step.  The students I spoke with last night agreed that they felt different pressures, whether it is to follow in the footsteps of a sister who is nine years older or to find a major that leads to something practical that mom and dad believe will help them find a job after college. It was refreshing to hear one student talk about her own college path, first as a biology/pre-med major to a psychology major and finally into her love of advertising and public relations. She shared that one of the best classes she took was Career and Life Planning, where she first realized that advertising may be a possible career choice that she had never thought of before. Now that student has an internship with Groupon and loves it.

Although these students had never met each other prior  to yesterday, they learned that they had shared connections through mutual friends, classes, and experiences.  The students also shared one common interest in wanting to go abroad, live remotely, and give back to society with their time and talents. They each have a love and respect of people and of different cultures, and it was truly fascinating to hear how one student grew up in Vietnam while another wants to work in Africa.  At some point all of them have considered joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, too.

Thank you to our Loyola students for a great evening of conversation. They are all great examples of illustrating how the college experience can still be extremely positive even if you begin your freshman year undecided about your major or future career goals.  I can’t wait to see each of these students graduate and truly make their mark on the world.

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Monday marked the first day of spring. If you live in the Midwest or the Northeast you may not be convinced that this is the case, but it is time to think about spring cleaning. This is the time of year when you might look through your closet, a stack of books, or some household items and wonder, “Do I really need this?”

You might also ask yourself, “Can someone else use this?”

Earlier this week, I heard a local radio show host saying that he and his wife are making a point to get rid of one bag of something each week. This may be something they no longer use or need anymore and they aim to give the bag to an appropriate group that can use the item(s). The example he gave was how his wife is donating some of her jewelry to the Glass Slipper Project. This is a great cause that provides prom dresses and accessories to Chicago area high school juniors and seniors who are unable to purchase their own attire.

This prompted me to think about all of the marketing materials produced in the typical undergraduate admission office. We distribute information to thousands of high school students each year. Seniors, I am sure you know what I am talking about. Look around your house, in your locker, your backpack, your parent’s car. I bet you have so many brochures from so many schools that you could fill a garbage bag.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, I invite you to do some spring cleaning. Focus on recycling and putting your new-found knowledge to use.

Take a minute and think of a high school in your home town that doesn’t have all of these materials in the college counselor’s office. If it isn’t your high school, can you identify a middle school or a community center where kids don’t often hear the word “college” because they may not have been exposed to the possibility? See if the school or organization is interested in the materials. Our office receives many requests from elementary and middle school teachers as well as counselors who are looking for ways to expose students to college at a young age: what it means to go to college, and why they need to do well in school.

Once you find the place you want to help, take the next step. Proudly share that you are going to college this fall. And then, ask if you can come back and spend some time sharing what the college experience is all about with any interested students during one of your breaks.

Can you help make a difference?

Rambler March Madness

Rambler March Madness

If you haven’t filled out your NCAA college basketball bracket, it’s too late. March Madness started this morning, and it hits college admission offices right as we are busy preparing to host a final round of campus visit events this spring. A reminder to all admitted students…if you haven’t registered for Loyola Weekend yet, please do so ASAP! We are looking forward to seeing you April 2-3!

In addition to basketball fever, Loyola is also buzzing with excitement about the many campus construction projects currently in process. One new facility opened in early March. The first phase of the five-year Reimagine Campaign is now complete with the opening of the Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics. If you aren’t very familiar with Loyola athletics, you might be interested to learn that Loyola students have been competing and excelling in every arena (basketball, softball, cross-country, volleyball, golf, track and field) since the 1930s. At the grand opening of the Norville Center, students, faculty, staff, and guests were greeted with cards that highlighted some of Loyola’s national athletic achievements:

– The Loyola women’s soccer team qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2003, 2006, and 2007.

– The Loyola men’s soccer team made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2006 and went back again in 2008.

– The Loyola women’s volleyball team has played in five NCAA tournaments in the past 16 years.

– The Loyola men’s cross-country program made its first appearance in the 2005 NCAA championship.

– The cross-country and track and field programs have showcased 14 All-American selections, including Tom O’Hara (BBA ’64), former world-record holder in the indoor mile.

– The 1962-63 men’s basketball team beat two-time defending champion Cincinnati 60-58 in overtime to become the only Division I Illinois team to win the NCAA title.

    There are many Rambler highlights to share, but if you are not an intercollegiate athlete, you might find it best to join the #1 Student Section in the Horizon League or one of Loyola’s many intramural or club sports programs. Be a Rambler today!

    Why are Green Initiatives a Jesuit concern?

    Why are Green Initiatives a Jesuit concern?

    You don’t have to be a science major to show concern for the environment. I do however encourage you to take advantage of engaging Loyola’s Associate Vice Provost, Dr. Nancy Tuchman, in a conversation on the topic any chance you get.

    On Tuesday, a number of University staff leaders met at Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC). Sitting on close to 100 acres with a lake, ropes course, orchards, numerous meeting rooms, labs, etc. this is a fantastic hub for students, faculty, and staff to participate in a number of retreat and/or adventure programs or to learn more about ecological and sustainability issues.

    During her talk on Tuesday, Dr. Tuchman discussed the three main thrusts behind the issue of climate control: increase in global population densities, increase in the standard of living, and the use of fossil fuels. The following video was used to start the conversation.

    Sustainability is a big topic on Loyola’s campus. Students are actively thinking of ways to lessen their carbon footprint. Ultimately, the core of their Jesuit education and our mission as a university is faced with the issues of social justice and poverty that result from poor environmental choices. In the end, we simply hope to continue to do our part. Students actively get involved on campus and in the community. And, if you haven’t heard of Loyola’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy, check it out. This standout program is perhaps best known for its biodiesel fuel, which we now use in all of our shuttle buses on campus.

    The University supports continued study of these issues at LUREC by offering summer courses to current students. We are also excited to hear from Dr. Tuchman that plans are underway for a new Green Residence Hall at the Lake Shore Campus, which will include things like metered hallways to see which floors can focus on using less water. Near the same spot, we will see a greenhouse and a clean energy lab. Imagine students running a lab where they work with the 10 tons of food waste that our residence halls produce every week and how they can decompose that waste and use it in other ways.

    If you are interested in green issues and are set to enroll at Loyola this fall, apply to be in Loyola’s Green Learning Community!

    What can American Idol teach you about choosing a major?

    What can American Idol teach you about choosing a major?

    Choosing a major is like an American Idol contestant choosing the right song. Yes, I am going there.

    So, how does a reality TV show that asks a contestant to find the right song (which may become the next pop hit) help you, as a student, to find a major? Think about it. What are the keys to a successful performance according to Randy Jackson?

    • Find the “right” song for you. Know who you are as an artist.
    • Don’t let others influence you. Trust your instincts.
    • Once you have the right “fit,” put your own twist on it. Make it original.
    • Focus on performing the song well. Forget about the runs, try not to dance badly on stage, avoid strange ‘costume’ looks that detract from the performance, etc.
    • Learn from your performance; build on it.

    Believe it or not, the same principles apply to a major choice. Often I hear high school students talk about majors. Most admit they feel the pressure to pick a major—if not by their senior year of high school, then by the time they enroll in college.  The fact is however, there is no schedule or correct way to choose a major—it is something that simply occurs when the time is right.

    True, there are a handful of students who know exactly what their major will be, including a minor. They may have even planned graduate or professional studies. In this case, students really know who they are, where their interests lie, and which major is right for them. They select a college or university that offers additional experiential learning opportunities that will compliment what they want to study to make the experience unique.  They know that GPA is important, so they focus on course requirements initially and then plan to learn along the way about courses or opportunities that align with their career choice. They might very well be the ones that admission counselors anticipate will get the song choice right.  But in reality, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

    Now for the majority of contestants—the undecided students or the students who think they know what they want to major in but are still shopping for the right song, the right “fit.” It is important that these students trust their instincts, take courses in subjects that interest them, do the best they can in these classes, and if they try something and don’t like it or don’t do well, they have the freedom to pick up and go another direction.

    You might be surprised to know that roughly 25% of Loyola’s freshman applicants for fall 2011 are undecided about their major. Most students search for their chosen major by taking Core classes, learning via internships, participating in service learning, getting involved in clubs or organizations, and taking part in study abroad.  Admission counselors can also see the merit of this path because students are able to follow their instincts, discover their passion, and hopefully, perform very well.

    If you are trying to determine your college major now, check out our college major finder!