Month: October 2011

Tricked or Treated?

Tricked or Treated?

Walk around any college campus right now and you will see the same images you’ve seen in the posters that line the hallways of your high school.

Students meeting up in the quad in between classes. Faculty strolling through campus with their notes and books and perhaps a student in tow asking questions about the last lecture. Bikes are everywhere because it is so nice out right now. Leaves are still falling. Skies are blue. Activities are abundant and final exams are still a comfortable six weeks away.

And just around the corner is one great holiday—HALLOWEEN.

Loyola students, like students on virtually every college campus, are trying to decide ‘what to be’ for Halloween. Will they borrow something to wear? Rent something? Have they searched their closets? Will they even dress up? Will they wear something for the ‘look’ of it or try to make a statement?

At the same time, applications are being reviewed in the admission office as we try to get acceptance letters in the hands of eager high school seniors. Reviewing applications is always exciting. Every year is different and every student is different.

Admission officers are hoping to be ‘treated’ to getting to know the real you. But are you wearing a costume? Does what you’re presenting the admission committee truly represent what you want out of your college experience?

Think about your answer carefully. When choosing a college, you have a lot of choices, but relatively few are going to feel like a good fit. Just because one school is perfect for one of your friends or because a family member is an alum doesn’t mean that a particular school is good for you.

There are many important components in a successful college search, but don’t underestimate the value of honest reflection on what you really want out of your college experience. Think about it like finding the right costume—you have to like it and be comfortable wearing it for the whole night.

I hope your costume choice this Halloween shares your personality and creativity with others. Much in the same way, I hope you realize the admission process is all about you feeling confident in yourself and your eventual college choice and not feeling like you have to ‘trick’ yourself or anyone else along the way.

We’re glad you’re considering Loyola and we’re looking forward to helping you discover if Loyola is the ‘best fit’ for you. Hopefully, you’ll be wearing the maroon and gold for the next four years.

PS: Remember to join us for our Junior Rambler Day Open House this weekend or sign up for one of our two Senior and Transfer Open Houses coming up November 12 and 19!

Parents’ Roles in the College Application Process

Parents’ Roles in the College Application Process

It’s mid-fall, and high school seniors all over the country are in the midst of trying to decide which colleges or universities they want to apply to and/or complete applications for early deadlines.

It is a busy time of year.

As a parent, what can you do to support your son or daughter in this process?

  • Continue to be supportive and understanding of their opinions and thoughts.
    Some of you have been through this already with an older child, so you realize how stressful the college selection process is on a child. If this is your first time through the process, know that there may be some stressful days ahead. Encourage your son/daughter to talk about it and share what they are thinking and why.
  • Let your student drive the process.
    The student needs to determine which colleges he or she is interested in applying to and ultimately what he or she thinks is really the “best fit.” You may have a particular school you’d like your son or daughter to consider, but make sure you let your child make the final decision.
  • Emphasize allocating time to the college search process and staying organized.
    This is often the first major process that students manage independently. It is important. They need to dedicate time with approaching deadlines. They need to check back with recommenders and the Registrar’s Office to ensure letters and transcripts are sent on a timely basis. They need to learn to balance school, sports, clubs, and the college selection process. This is a great experience—developing some time management skills will serve them well as a first year college student.
  • Don’t write anything for your student.
    Admission officers can typically tell when the essay is written by a parent. And it is particularly embarrassing when a student is asked about the topic in an interview and doesn’t know anything about it. Yes, I think you should provide guidance and input and you can be very valuable as a proofreader in this day and age where “text speak” is far too common. You can also encourage your student to highlight an experience that he or she forgot about or didn’t think was as noteworthy. Just make sure that it is in your student’s own words.
  • Let your student communicate with the school.
    It’s a concern when e-mails and phone calls frequently come from the parent, but the college or university has never heard from the prospective applicant. Is the student interested? Some schools use “demonstrated interest” in their admission process, so the student needs to be his or her own best advocate.
  • Talk about financing.
    This is the number one issue that many students would love to hear more about from their parents, but they often don’t know where they stand and they don’t know how to ask. Are there restrictions/limitations based on the family circumstances? Will the student share in the responsibility? Make sure you address these questions sooner rather than later with your son/daughter.
  • Set up a regular time to meet and discuss the process.
    Instead of approaching your son or daughter first thing Saturday morning, set up a regular time when everyone knows it is the topic of discussion. Has the list of schools being considered changed? To where do you need to set up visits? What did you really think about the last campus visit? What does it mean as a family if the student is really looking to go to school further away? Make it a time for updates, questions, exploration, and to be your son/daughter’s “cheerleader.”

In the end, know that it will all work out. Each senior will realize that it is OK if he or she doesn’t know what major to declare right now. Each senior WILL make it through the holiday season waiting to hear from schools on top of their lists.

And ultimately, come May 1, each senior will have the opportunity to enroll at some great colleges.

Click “Submit!”

Click “Submit!”

You started, you stalled, and you stopped.

At the Chicago National College Fair this past Monday, an issue came to my attention. Despite a number of conversations with prospective students and parents about academic programs like pre-med, nursing, criminal justice, accounting, journalism, and more, there was one conversation that happened over and over again. And I want to take a moment to dispel this myth.

A number of high school seniors individually shared their interest in applying to Loyola. This was great news as I love to meet students who are thinking that Loyola might be the right fit for them. And besides, the application is free. It takes an average of about 15 minutes to complete and the same application for admission is your scholarship application. It is easy to get started!

The issue: Many seniors commented that they “started” the application, but had not actually “submitted” the application because they are waiting until they have all their credentials (official transcripts, letter(s) of recommendation, etc.) together and/or because they are planning to take another ACT or SAT.

My response:Don’t do that! Click SUBMIT.” There are a few reasons that I want seniors and their parents to understand why it is important to submit the application, even if it isn’t 100% complete.

First, the application is the key credential that really speaks to your interest in Loyola. Once you complete your application, an admission counselor can follow up with you directly and answer any questions you might have and help guide you through the process.

Second, we’ll learn something about your academic and extracurricular interests, so we can send you the information that you will most likely find helpful. It also lets us contact you about upcoming events, where you can visit campus and interact with faculty.

Third, you don’t have to have all of your credentials in at the same time. We will keep you updated on what items are needed to complete your file. We will also update your file when you share new information with us about activities, awards, test scores, and the like.

So, please keep in mind that December 1 is the priority application deadline at Loyola. A student who completes his/her file by this date will receive priority consideration for admission and for merit scholarships. Again, remember that the admission application is your scholarship application!

If you happen to be taking an ACT or SAT later this fall, that is fine. If your file is complete otherwise, we will review your file for admission and merit consideration. We will also revisit your file if you have any new test scores that might impact a merit decision as long as they are submitted by February 1.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Feel free to call our office at 773.508.3075 or e-mail us at Keep in mind that your admission counselor is here to answer questions as they arise.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming open houses: Saturday, November 12 or Saturday, November 19.

RSVP today!