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Why join a Learning Community?

Posted on: March 13th, 2013 by Lori Greene

Here we are, it’s almost spring, and you’re admitted to some great schools.

One of the next steps will be to submit your enrollment deposit and then sign up for housing. And, like many next steps, questions abound: Who will my roommate be? To which residence hall will I be assigned? How do I weigh the options? This is a major factor for any student preparing to start college in the fall.

One of the pieces of the puzzle that you may not be fully aware of yet is the role of Learning Communities. What is a Learning Community? Why would you want to be a part of one? Do you have to? How many other students sign up to be a part of one? How do you apply?

Learning communities have been around for awhile now. Some universities have actual ‘houses’ or entire residence halls dedicated to a learning community. At Loyola, learning communities inhabit separate floors in several on-campus residence halls. The goal is to present students with an opportunity to live in community with other students who share a common interest. This doesn’t mean that you all necessarily share the same major or come from the same hometown. You do however live in relatively close proximity and share a few classes, specifically geared around your area of interest. Members of learning communities also have the chance to build friendships with classmates in a unique way as well as with the faculty.

You don’t have to be a freshman student to live in a learning community. We have transfer and second-year students involved as well. Learning communities at Loyola range in topic and theme. Is leadership your thing? What about a care for the environment and sustainability? Do you have a unique global perspective or are you interested in meeting other students who think along international lines? Check out the options.

The classes you take will count toward the Loyola Core Curriculum, which are courses required of all students in any degree program. You take two classes together in the fall and one in the spring so you have plenty of time to schedule any other courses of choice. You’ll also have increased interaction with faculty—with trips to museums, programs on exploring majors, or even dinner in a faculty member’s home! Parents…you will be excited to hear that research shows that in general, students who are involved in a learning community have higher GPAs, have a better sense of community, and feel a better connection to their university.

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