Month: May 2011

Next Steps for Admitted Transfers

Next Steps for Admitted Transfers

This past Tuesday night, we welcomed nearly 100 admitted transfer students and their families to the Lake Shore Campus for an opportunity to hear about the “next steps” in the process of enrolling at Loyola this fall.  Conversations were very productive.  I personally enjoyed talking with students, learning about their interests, and helping them address any questions or concerns.

There are a couple of “next step” reminders that I want to offer to all transfer students who have been admitted to Loyola for this fall:

  • If you haven’t already done so, submit your deposit at  Many times students ask when they will have a chance to register for classes or find out about orientation. You can’t do either of those things until you let the Undergraduate Admission Office know that you plan on attending Loyola.
  • Be certain to submit any spring or summer official college transcripts to the Undergraduate Admission Office so that all of your credit may be evaluated.  Don’t forget that your final official high school transcript will be needed as well.
  • Once you are a deposited student, you need to register for orientation.  Our orientation program is called Discover Loyola.  Please note the dates available in July and August.  Also, there is a limit on the number of students we can work with at each session, so be sure that you register in a timely fashion for the date you want.  Register today.  Similarly, look over the transfer schedule of events for the day. This is your opportunity to work with an advisor and register for classes, along with many other activities.
  • Complete your housing contract via the Next Stop admitted student portal at  The Department of Residence Life will begin working with transfer placements in June.
  • While in the Next Stop portal, be sure to review your personalized checklist to determine if you need to take any placement tests online and in advance of your Discover Loyola orientation program.

Classes begin on Monday, August 29!  We look forward to having you attend Loyola University Chicago!

“Thanks Mom!”

“Thanks Mom!”

It was a very hot and sunny day on Sunday, May 8, 1994 when I walked across the stage to shake the hand of the college President and to accept my bachelor’s degree. It was also Mother’s Day and the guy next to me had the words “Thanks Mom!” on his graduation cap. It was a memorable moment under the shady oak trees, classmates and family gathered, all of us listening to our commencement speaker, Fanny Flagg, after her most recent success with “Fried Green Tomatoes.” We took pictures and threw our hats up and waited for the rest of the celebrations to commence. My mother leaned in as we took pictures and said, “You just gave me the best Mother’s Day present I could ask for.” It was a great feeling.

This past weekend on May 12–14, more than 1,500 graduating students and the entire Loyola community celebrated the 141st annual commencement. The weekend was packed with events and excitement for students, parents, faculty, staff, and guests that included a Baccalaureate Mass, an Honors Convocation, class parties with family and friends, and of course, commencement ceremonies with some outstanding guest speakers. It still gives me goose bumps when I think of students we see come in through the admission process and then see them transformed four years later into mature, young adults who are ready to tackle anything. This year we once again claim some top Fulbright Scholars as well. Imagine their next steps!

So, CONGRATULATIONS to all Loyola University Chicago graduates, Class of 2011! Thinking of the many graduation speakers that I have heard and/or read remarks from, I ran through the list trying to think of who offered some refreshing advice to new grads. So I pulled an old, torn out newspaper clipping from 2001 when Jon Bon Jovi spoke to some graduating college seniors with the following advice:

“And I can tell you this: It’s passion, not pedigree, that can and will win in the end.” Further, he goes on to say, “To sum it up, there’s a few things I know for sure: Grow up…but don’t grow old. Miracles happen every day—change your perception of what a miracle is, and you’ll see them all around you. Elvis is most certainly alive. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans (John Lennon). Live while you’re alive…And thank your parents…Today marks your rookie season in the big game. Get out there and play. Hold your diploma up in your hands, and do the touchdown dance. Let the world know you scored. That piece of paper in your hands is the ball, your everything…”

Final Preparation

Final Preparation

It’s finally starting to feel like springtime in Chicago! Boats are beginning to venture out onto Lake Michigan, the is sun shining a little brighter with a glimpse into summer, and the mad dash for current students to get through final exam week is underway.  May 2-10 marks this time period here at Loyola.  When finals conclude, we will move into numerous graduation activities and ceremonies beginning May 12.  We are so pleased to welcome such great commencement speakers for the Class of 2011.  Congratulations, seniors!

Back to final exams for a minute.  Are these exams really that big of a deal?  Aren’t these the same type of exams you take in high school?  You may take honors or advanced placement courses, so is the academic experience in college really going to be that different?  YES, it will be different.  I was chatting recently with a current freshman nursing major who stopped by my office on her way to a final exam.  We chatted about how she got involved this year, assumed leadership roles, and really has done well academically.  She commented that she wished someone had told her a little more about what to expect with college classes.  She said the biggest adjustment is having more free time but realizing how much of it you have to dedicate to studying.

I want to take a moment to give you a “heads-up” on what to expect next December when you are sitting for your first college final exams.  You will be successful if you keep in mind a few pointers throughout the first semester:

  • Show up. Go to class and be an active participant.  Take in all that the professor is trying to share with you, whether it is about supply and demand or solving linear differential equations.  While a professor works to impart knowledge on a particular subject, he or she might also be the very person who can share with you other ways to get involved on campus, recommend outside lectures or exhibits, or even write a recommendation letter for you later when you are applying for an internship, fellowship, or job.
  • Read the material carefully. At the start of a class, you will review a syllabus outlining the material to be covered.  In high school, you are used to frequent tests, papers, or quizzes to gauge your knowledge.  In college, you may have only 2-3 chances to make the grade in a particular class, and the material will likely be more complex and presented at a faster pace.  Set aside time to make notes and prepare for class.  Work with classmates when you are struggling with a topic or concept.  Ask questions in class.
  • Focus on key concepts. The professor will assume you are keeping up with the readings and assignments.  He or she will also assume that you are able to draw out the important discussion points from a series of lectures or a lab sequence.  The goal is for you to begin to draw upon your knowledge base as a whole and develop an analytical approach to a specific topic that shows synthesis rather than just memorization.
  • Seek out formal help early. An advisor is a great resource, so do take the time to build a working relationship with this person so he or she can get to know you and your goals.  You might also have a first-year course that exposes you to additional resources such as accessing all that the library has to offer, or how to begin research, or whether or not small group tutoring or workshops are available in specific subjects.  If not, seek out the administrative offices that offer student support.  Campuses are filled with staff members and current students dedicated to these needs.

Right now, keep up the hard work that got you into college in the first place.  Remember the Admission Office expects that you will finish strong, and that means doing well this final semester and, of course, on your exams.  For a little insight into how we support our students at Loyola and encourage them to take a break during exam week, you might check out this video taken at our annual finals breakfast, where this year there was a little music and coordinated dancing to boot!