Month: August 2012

Kicking off the New College Year: Convocation 2012

Kicking off the New College Year: Convocation 2012

Campus is buzzing. Move-in finally finished last weekend and classes began on Monday, August 27. In the midst of students trying to get their rooms set up, they found themselves in a flurry of activity. Welcome Week packs in a ton of activities with everything from family picnics, multiple welcoming receptions, walk-in advising hours, a student organization fair, a session on Greek life and more. Telling you about it all just doesn’t fully explain the bustle of activity but the photo gallery certainly helps. Take a LOOK.

Convocation walkThe highlight of Welcome Week for me is Convocation. This is the first formal opportunity we have as a community to welcome a talented new class to Loyola. This year, all new freshman and transfer students gathered on the East Quad where I introduced the class to our Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Rob Kelly. Dr. Kelly, our Student Government President, Julia Poirier, and our Young Alumni President, welcomed the class and discussed Loyola traditions and how students will earn keys at various milestones in their college careers.

After that introduction, we lead students on a walk around the Lake Shore Campus. Faculty, staff, and students formed loud, clapping tunnels as students approached the Gentile Arena. Once inside the arena, students were formally welcomed into the Loyola community by top administrators, including President Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. The program was topped off with a talk from Sonia Nazario, the author of this year’s chosen common reading, Enrique’s Journey. Afterwords, students moved into dinner and small group discussion facilitated by Loyola faculty.

Welcome Loyola Class of 2016!!!

We’re Back In Session

We’re Back In Session

School has officially begun, and the buildings are crawling with students- we are taking over Loyola again!

I just got out of my new Literature class (30 minutes early), and I’m pretty sure almost the entire class is freshmen. Oh well, I need my other literary knowledge credit. I’m waiting for my new Theater class to begin now, my sixth class of the new semester. After this class is the class that I’m looking forward to most, Sociology 301.

I’m taking 7 classes this semester, 19 credits, and the workload is already piling up. In the next two weeks, I have to read an entire book for my Literature class,  4 chapters for Macroeconomics, 1 chapter with homework problems for Accounting, 1 chapter for Management and whatever else I have to do for my upcoming theater and sociology classes. Yes, this is me venting.

But despite the workload, I’m happy to be back. Though I love my downtime, I’m looking forward to essays, procrastinating and all-night cram sessions. I’m also looking forward to traveling the campuses again using the shuttle because I love those 20 minutes on the bus where I look out the window at the lakefront. Since the sun rises from that direction, it sparkles right over the water at the time I take the shuttle, and the views are breathtaking. It’s definitely been something I’ve been looking forward to seeing again all summer.

I’m looking forward to having more to blog about as well, and to checking my email and having real messages from teachers and classmates, not just spam mail from Ulta and To me, these reasons to be back are enough to enjoy it.

It’s time to head into my theater class now. Two more classes left to go, and then I get to go to work for a few hours. It’s going to be weird going from working over 20 hours a week to working just 5. I already miss seeing my coworkers all the time…

It’s That Time of Year Again

It’s That Time of Year Again

August is coming to an end. The warmth that has enveloped Chicago the last couple months will flee and we will return those cold winters the city is famous for. While summer turning to fall means colder weather, it also means travel season is approaching for admission counselors around the world.

Travel season is when admission counselors leave their offices and pound the pavement around the country. Much like Santa Clause, we spread joy and merriment wherever we go. Well, sorta. We talk to excited students and share wonderful words about our respective universities or colleges. It’s a great time of the year. It’s always nice to see different areas of the country and talk to perspective students about school.

This year will be my second travel season. I’m looking forward to spending time in my main travel territories of Cincinnati and Columbus. I’ll be visiting some new schools and attending new fairs that I’ll mix with some the same stops I had last year. My full travel schedule will be on our Undergraduate site shortly. I know you all wait with bated breath until then.

In addition to my travel in Ohio, I’ll also be venturing someone where new. Well, kind of new.

CA's capital

Early in October, I’ll be heading back home to Sacramento for a round of college fairs and high school visits. Loyola’s admission counselor responsible for California will be doing visits elsewhere on the west coast and asked me to cover for her. Boy, I’m glad she asked. It’ll be nice heading home for a short time. Sacramento’s falls tend to be pretty warm. It’ll be great going back to my high school, for the first time in some time.

While fall might signal the start of travel season it also means that a new round of students will start applying to Loyola. Loyola’s director of undergraduate admission, Lori Greene, posted some great tips for students applying this year.

I’ll be posting more before I hit the road. I’ll be sharing some of my tips and tricks for applying too.

See you soon class of 2017!

Photo From Flickr User: Franco Folini

Last Week of Summer!

Last Week of Summer!

So this week is the week when all the freshmen are moving in, so as I walked to work this morning, I got to witness many eager new students with their parents unloading their cars to move into their dorm rooms. Their expressions got me thinking about what I was like as an incoming freshman versus how I am now, about to start my junior year.

For one thing, I’m calmer and more collected than I was when I came in to school. Back then, I was hyper and excited and worried- about my classes and teachers, about my family and old friends, about the new friends I wanted to make, and overall about the person I wanted to be. I wanted to make a good first impression, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t very successful at it. I made mistakes with how I approached people, but with trial and error and time, I grew into my college self.

Freshman year was full of experimentation, with friends and with interests. Not all of it was good. But overall, my freshman taught me so much about my new self.

After a crazy first year of college, I came back from the summer eager to begin my second year. It was a tough year all around, and it taught me as many important lessons as my first year.

One lesson that I learned was that all of the friends that you make your first year won’t be there the second year, and that you need to pick your friends wisely. The keepers aren’t the ones who are free to go out with you on Friday night or who are all fun and games. Though having a few of those people around is awesome, and even essential, the best of friends are those who will listen when you are having a bad day, who put you in your place when you are out of line, and who are by your side. Whether you’ve been apart for months for the summer or too close together in a small apartment.

This lesson was crucial for me during my sophomore year, and it was the main year I got to formulate my relationships with friends and see people for who they are, whether good or bad.

I’m going into my junior year now with the best knowledge of who I am and whom I want in my life. My goals now are clearly defined, and I’m confident that though this semester is going to be very challenging, it’s going to be one of my most memorable ones. I look back at my freshman self and the journey I went through to get to where I am today, and I’m proud of myself. Though I made many stupid mistakes and had to overcome hard trials, I wouldn’t change anything about my college experience thus far.

So therefore, I welcome myself, as well as the incoming freshmen and returning students, back to Loyola for what I hope to be the best school year yet!

Ready, Set, Go: The College Application Process Begins

Ready, Set, Go: The College Application Process Begins

It’s August of your senior year in high school. You just started school (or are likely to shortly) and the conversation is buzzing about what you did this summer and what colleges you will be applying to for next fall. Some of your friends may have already submitted college applications.

I wanted to take a minute to brief you on what is about to unfold.
First, I caution each of you, both prospective students and parents, to take a deep breath and realize this is a process. It takes time. You don’t have to know what you are going to major in or where you are going to go right this moment. Give the process a chance to work.

Next, I would advise you to get organized. If you don’t have a great calendar and/or planner tool, you might want to stop by the local bookstore or go online to get something that fits your needs. Take the time to establish a separate e-mail account for college information if you haven’t already done so.

It might be August, but for all intents and purposes the fall season is upon us. You will quickly realize that application deadlines are fast approaching and making sure you turn in all credentials (application, resume, essay, transcript, recommendation letter, etc.) on time is a must.

Quick Tips

  • Ensure you have an updated resume of activities, with anything you may have done this summer including a part-time or full-time job, research activity, volunteer work, immersion trip, etc.
  • If you haven’t already done so, start to identify some teachers who will be willing to write a letter on your behalf. Give them a copy of your updated resume along with your request for a letter of recommendation.
  • Take the time to brainstorm about possible essay topics and write your thoughts down, so when asked you have an idea of what you want to share.
  • Begin to refine your list of colleges and universities you may be applying to. Why are they on your list? Do they have your major? Are they located in an area/city you want to be in? Is the size right?
  • Keep a spreadsheet with names of schools you are interested in applying to with key deadlines for admission as well as scholarship and financial aid. Add a column for the date you submitted/mailed your credentials. (Parents, this is very helpful!)

Here at Loyola, we have hit the road traveling and are working to recruit you for our Class of 2017. If you haven’t already done so, check out our Web site and APPLY TODAY. The application is FREE and your application for admission is also your scholarship application.

Check us out today!

Applicant > Student > Alumna > Staff

Applicant > Student > Alumna > Staff

The title of this post sums up my Loyola experience, and I have to say, I’ve loved every second of it. It’s true, I even loved Loyola’s application process. I appreciated that there was NO application fee, that I didn’t have to answer some crazy question for my writing sample, and that the application was completely straightforward.

After completing the application process, I went on a tour of campus with a  friend who was already a student at LUC. After that, I was hooked. How can you not fall in love with this campus, the IC, the Lake, and the fact that it’s in Chicago, the world’s greatest city!? I began my undergraduate career here at Loyola University Chicago in the fall of 2008 and I spent 4 years here studying marketing and psychology.

As a student, I was very involved with student activities on campus and they had a huge impact on my Loyola experience. ((dop)) or the Department of Programming, a student-run organization that plans events on & off-campus, provided me with so many great experiences during those 4 years. I went skiing, kayaking, to a White Sox game, saw a Joffrey Ballet performance, took photos with live wolves, watched Harry Potter, built a stage for Gym Class Heroes, met Jim Gaffigan, ate a lot of free food, and collected tons of free t-shirts. But more than that, getting involved on campus led me to new friends, mentors, jobs, travel opportunities, leadership experience and unforgettable memories.

Then came Saturday, May 12th 2012… Graduation Day… the day I transitioned from student to alumna. I absolutely dreaded this day. I was not ready to say goodbye to Loyola, to the campus, to the Jesuit values that guided who I’d become, to the staff and faculty who became mentors and close friends, but thankfully, I didn’t have to do that. Just 10 days after graduating from Loyola, I had my first interview for my current position as an Undergraduate Admission Counselor! I remember when HR emailed me the job offer and I literally screamed out loud. I smiled ridiculously the rest of the day knowing that I was still going to be able to call Loyola home.

So here I am, working at the University I fell in love with and working with students to see if Loyola might be that perfect fit for them, too. My blog will mostly cover admission tips and life at Loyola University Chicago. Best of luck to all applicants, it’s such an exciting time in your life so make sure to embrace every moment!



My junior year at Loyola starts in 10 days. As the title to this blog post clearly states – I’m not ready, at all.

Between working all the time and moving out, this summer has flown by. I still have so much to do in the upcoming week – I still need to buy my textbooks, school supplies and get ready for my clinical, among other tasks. However, there is one thing I have already done. And that’s get and decorate my planner.

In high school, I didn’t really use an assignment notebook until my senior year, when I needed to organize clubs and college applications and all of my AP classes. Now, at least during the school year, you won’t see my anywhere without it.

This year, I opted for a black model from Barnes and Noble, covered with some of my favorite quotes.

Since I’m completely bogged down and don’t really have time to share all my pre school prep with y’all, I’d though I’d at least share all of the quotes!

Enjoy, and talk to you when I’m more settled with things!

Because she wasn’t listening. It wasn’t a war story. It was a love story.”
Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.”
People say that they can’t run away from their problems. But you know what? They just weren’t running fast enough.”
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I often carry things to read/so that I will not to have to look at/ the people.”
Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead.”
It is nothing to die, it is horrible not to live.”
But this too is true: stories can save us.”
Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guys to get in the car?”
Does the human hear know chasms so abysmal?”
I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dream of improbable dreams.”
“‘I just won’t sleep,’ I decided. There were so many other interesting things to do.”

What’s Up World?!

What’s Up World?!

Hello! My name is Alex Benson and I’m an undergraduate admission counselor here at Loyola. I’ll be blogging through out the year, so I thought I’d take some time to tell a little about myself.

I’m originally come from the great state of California. Specifically, Sacramento. I came to Loyola a couple years ago to attend the university. I came in my Sophomore year, as a transfer student, after spending a year at a community college back home.

While attending Loyola I studied Journalism with a minor in Visual Communication (our major for graphic design). So, I split my time between our two campuses while I was a student. I had a fantastic time as a student. I loved how well many of my classes integrated all the great resources available in Chicago. I think Chicago is a wonderful place to live and learn.

When I wasn’t chipping away at school work, I stayed active outside the classroom working for both the student newspaper (The Phoenix) and radio station (WLUW 88.7). I also stayed active physically, by playing intramural soccer in the fall and spring.

My job as an admission counselor is basically talking to incoming students about Loyola. A big part of my job is reviewing applications from prospective freshman. All the admission counselor have different areas of the country we’re responsible for when it comes to applicants. I have the greater Cincinnati, Columbus area and some of the more western suburbs of Chicago.

My blog posts will cover a variety of topics through out the year. I’ll share some different admission tips and tricks. I’ll also talk about the different events around campus. And from time to time, I’ll post updates from my travels.

Hope you enjoy what I have to say!

Back to School

Back to School

It’s that time of year again—when we see lots of flyers delivered to mailboxes with ads for school supplies and TV commercials with great sales on clothing for school-bound kids. I remember August as the time when my family was in a mad rush to get the last vacation in while rushing to get everything we needed for the start of school. When I was in grade school, my favorite part of the whole process was the chance to purchase a new pack of crayons.

Oh, the fun of being a kid!

Not much has changed really, whether students are prepping for grade school or high school or even college. The mayhem has only just begun.

I was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond this weekend and saw the frenzy beginning. (Aha…the semester is about to begin. Thank goodness.) Admission offices do a lot of planning over the summer and work with many students and families visiting campus, but now we know that campus will soon be invaded by returning and new students alike. It is rewarding to see the students we worked with for over a year finally become official members of the Loyola family.

Back to my shopping experience… I didn’t realize that some stores actually offer a guide to help college students purchase all they need for their dorm room. Really? I saw quite a few parents taking note and at the same time, observed some of the college-bound girls knowing what they want already and trying to get their mothers to just follow them to the next aisle. The conversations were all about the time it would take to drive to campus, what the roommate was bringing, or my favorite—a discussion about a particular lamp one young lady really wanted.

No matter how the process begins, it is that time of year. I am glad I could witness that sense of excitement and a bit of the ‘unknown’ because it means that new experiences are around the corner.

So get the car packed or stuff it all into a few suitcases for the flight. We will see you soon!

School’s (Almost) In For the Fall!

School’s (Almost) In For the Fall!

I have been lacking incredibly in the blog department these last few weeks, shame on me. But I am back now with… well, not too much to blog about. YET.

These past few weeks have been calm as I wait for school to approach, which, by the way, classes begin in two and a half weeks.

One of the coolest things I’ve done since I last blogged is I went to the Anberlin concert at Taste of Lincoln Avenue. Since none of my friends were free that night, I ventured out on my own to see my favorite band perform, even though I wasn’t very enthusiastic about going alone earlier in the day. My excitement began to rise though once I arrived, and by the time they appeared on stage, I was ready to scream, sing and dance to every song, which is exactly what I did.

For anyone who has never seen Anberlin perform, make it a life goal to go at least once. This was my third time seeing them and they disappoint. They’re energetic, charismatic, and oh so talented. And guess what? Their new album drops in October, meaning they’ll be back in Chi-town this Fall! Of course I’m going to be there.

Other than Anberlin, I’ve been relaxing and getting ready to go back to school. I still have several weeks, but I’ve already gone shopping for my school supplies and bought most of my schoolbooks. I’m even reading one of them right now to get a little head start (no comments on my nerdiness- it’s going to be a tough semester).

I am both excited to start school, but at the same time, I’m really sad that summer is starting to come to an end. Soon winter boots will replace my sandals, and my fun reading books with textbooks, but now isn’t the time to complain. It’s time to get myself (and everyone else) psyched for the upcoming semester, so I’m going to focus on the positive aspects and events of this upcoming Fall.

To start, I’m enjoying the idea of doing a little back to school shopping, and not for books and classroom material. Now is the time of the year for me to use the excuse that I need some new clothes because I love starting the school year off with a bang.

Another thing I’m looking forward to is coming home and having something to do other than just watch reruns of TV shows. Homework may not be at the top of my fun list, but I’m actually excited to begin writing papers again.

These are two small things I’m looking forward to, and for next week I’ll come up with several more. Let’s get pumped!!