Loyola Chicago

I visited Loyola University Chicago (LUC) in December 2010. We began the 3-day tour by flying into Midway instead of O'Hare, and arrived in downtown Chicago where we would be lodging in the shopping district. Typical downtown urban area: taxis moving fast, people walking fast, skyscrapers, no grass.

Campus: Main Campus is Lake Shore campus. Downtown is Watertower campus.

Lake Michigan dominates Chicago, and Loyola's main campus sits on the shores of the Lake. It is more like an ocean because it's so huge. Most of Loyola's housing (& all of its freshman housing), core courses, and facilities like athletics and libraries, are on the main campus. Freshman live there and take all courses there. If you become a business, communications, education, or social work major, you may travel downtown junior and senior years to take courses on the smaller, urban campus. That campus also houses 550 students in a high rise dorm; sophomores, juniors and seniors can live downtown. Shuttles travel between campuses and it's a 20 minute ride.

Lake Shore is the traditional undergrad residential campus: 19 residence halls, dining, labs, libraries and athletics. The campus is bordered on one side by Lake Michigan and on the other by a more urban area. Getting involved right away as a freshman was mentioned more than once. Late night alternative programs combat the party scene. (free food, games, sports, education things to do from 9pm-1am Fri and Sat nights) Greek Life is growing again at Loyola after a lull.

Basic Info: LUC and Chicago
  • Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the U.S.
  • 9747 undergrads=large student body.
  • 62% of the student body identify themselves as Catholic.
  • 42% are from out of state, and from all 50 states.
  • 30% of classes have 45-100 students.
  • always known as a great place for first generation students. Used to be a commuter school, 30 years ago, but is now residential and draws students from around the country.
  • Division 1 in the Horizon League, made up of midwest colleges like Butler, Valparaiso, Youngstown State. No football.
  • Tier 1 Research University, but all professors teach
  • strong in business, nursing, communications, liberal arts. Lots of ties to business, industry and well known to law schools, grad schools, med schools.
  • 1/3 of the courses you take are Core: in many subjects so you are exposed to philosophy, history, science, etc.
  • One of 2 Jesuit universities to have an enviro science department, which means dedicated faculty, research money, and a commitment to the major.
  • One of 14 accredited forensic science programs in the U.S. (a hot major due to CSI)
  • Largest and oldest nursing program in Illinois. You must declare that major at admission, take 2 years of core with lots of science, and last 2 years are 100% nursing courses. 1st semester freshman year, one course Intro to Professional Nursing, helps students decide if it's for them. BSN admits 150 students a year and receives 1800-2000 applications. Science grades in high school are very important. Studies show that patient mortality drops the more education a nurse receives. Loyola claims that the 2-year nursing degree is being replaced rapidly, with the 4-year BSN. Most BSN programs are 10% male. The campus has 3 simulation labs. We visited one where sim man was breathing and had a pulse; pretty realistic! Nursing students perform lots of service work such as helmut safety demo at elementary schools, healthy eating, blood drives, free clinics. In 2012 they will build a 6-bed virtual hospital. Interested in nursing? Johnson & Johnson has a great site.
  • Health Systems Management-a great major if you want to work in health care settings but not as a direct care person. Lots of chances for service work, experiential learning, and to become engaged in a community. Math grades are important in order to gain admission. It is a business focused degree and an internship is required. Can be pre med and do this major.
  • School of Business: AACSB accredited. Starting sophomore year, take some courses downtown. Students usually try to schedule a half day of courses on one campus, so they don't have to go back and forth too much. The downtown ("Water Tower") campus is in the midst of the high end shopping district. 1435 undergrads major in business, plus 1000 grad students. International business, sports management, econ, entrepreneurship, are all popular majors. There is a club for each major. Class of 2010 salaries were $30,000-45,000. Double major in business is easy to do.
  • School of Communications: we toured the TV studio, on the ground floor. It reminded me of the Today Show set, right on the busy street with people waving. State of the art, new facilities. Weekly newspaper, radio station, Debate team. Once a year magazine for in-depth reporting. 800 students are in the School of Communications. Intro courses on Lake Shore campus, then take courses downtown. First course: Intro to Comm freshman year. Junior year=internship, paid or unpaid. Examples: ad campaigns for non profits, public relations for a school or govt agency, new media like websites or video production, designing visual communications, international film. Faculty profiles: an award-winning video professor who travels the world for documentaries, a new media professor who specializes in info architecture and youth culture, a long-time Chicago Tribune newspaper editor, and mass media professor who spent 2 decades in advertising.
  • School of Education: even if you want to eventually teach in another state, earning an Illinois license is pretty portable. 1400 Loyola students are education majors. Sure, they could attend their state university, but getting a core and Jesuit education is different, better! Exciting university in a big city with lots of different places to do field work (observation & student teaching). Huge demand for math and science teachers. Could combine bio and physics with an education masters and earn a BS/M.Ed. in 5 years with at least a $5,000 scholarship. Can do student teaching in Rome at a private international school. The argument for becoming an education major instead of a pre med major? Even with a 30 ACT, a bio major may not get into med school. We need more scientists who teach.
  • School of Social Work: do you like to help people but not sure about nursing (too much blood & guts) or teaching (whiny children)? Social workers help families, the elderly, & the underserved access resources they may need: counseling, food pantries, health care, parenting classes. You might work in a school setting, shelter, a nursing home, for the government, or for a non-profit. If you are a generous helper, this might be a profession for you. Loyola has 150 undergrads earning a BSW. You can declare social work as a major junior year. Double majoring in criminal justice, Spanish, special education or psychology is common. You can study abroad. Internship(s) required junior year, and you will complete 500 hours of field work by the time you graduate. Often, these experiences lead to job offers. You would be licensed in Illinois but it may be tricky to obtain a license to practice in another state.  Half of their graduates continue on to get a MSW degree, and half find a job.
Honors Program
ACT 31+ or SAT CR + Math 1400 with high GPA? You may like the honors program. May be difficult to be in honors and a nursing major.

Pre Health Advising
  • pre med, pre dental, PT, OT, PA, pharmacy, pre vet, optometry. Chicago is a great place to be a pre health major: lots of places to do shadow days and gain direct experience.
  • LUC is one of 4 Chicago colleges with pre health advising. The others are U of Chicago, U of Illinois, Northwestern.
  • To prepare for PA you need 1,000 clinical hours
  • 25 faculty are pre health advisors
  • 10 student organizations are pre health related
  • LUC is largest feeder school to Chicago School of Pharmacy. You can be admitted to both schools as a freshman in what's called an early assurance dual admit program.
  • Early Assurance is also available to LUC sophomores for LUC Medical School.
  • Becoming an EMT and volunteering while on campus is a great way to gain experience in the field
  • summer before senior year, you apply to professional schools.
  • you can study abroad as a pre med major
Cool Things to Know
LUC is the first college to produce and sell their own biodiesel fuel. They produce it by saving cooking fat from dining halls, and sell it to school bus companies. They offer tours to high school students on how they turn waste into product. BioSoap is a by-product and the business department has a club that sells it in bottles.
Loyola Flats is a student-run guest house near campus. Two business students told us how they run it and market it to parents and other visitors.
We dined at Mike Ditka's restaurant and what do you know, he was there watching a football game! He was charming and nice.

Rolling, meaning they make a decision on your application once your app is complete (app, essay, test scores, transcript, letter of recommendation). Dec 1 is a priority deadline, and Feb 1 is a merit money deadline. They are NOT a commonapp school. Typically, an ACT score of 24-29 will earn you acceptance, with a 3.5 Cheverus GPA.

Experiential Learning
This is an important aspect of academic life at LUC, and evidenced in 4 ways:
  1. Service Learning is part of many courses. Example: a health systems management course spends 20 hours in a hospital setting volunteering. 40 courses at LUC have a service learning element. 2,000 students have logged 70,000 hours of service, on average, 20-40 hours per semester. This is Jesuit education at its best!
  2. Academic Internships-paid or unpaid, these are work experiences tied to your major. The most obvious 'field work' are student teaching for education majors, clinical hours for nursing majors. Typically, 100-200 hours per semester are spent.
  3. Undergraduate Research-a buzz word these days on many campuses. Faculty mentor students while conducting a research project. Some are funded--there are 12 fellowships that are super competitive. 150 students each semester participate in undergrad research, and some are paid a small stipend of $1,000. Any major can find undergrad research projects.
  4. Student Employment-not just 'work study jobs'! They treat it like an internship, matching your interests and talents with an on campus job.
Student Panel - I like student panels because they present sampling of students you'll find on campus
  1. girl from California, psych major and criminal justice major. Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Favorite class was enviro sustainability where they created a recycling plan for a new building on campus. "Jesuits are sneaky--service is a part of so many classes here!" Another favorite class was all about Chicago: architecture, literature, history, politics.
  2. girl from Missouri who is an honors student and Econ major. Loved Mock Trial, the economics research club, and a Great Books course she took.
  3. girl from Ohio who is an elementary education major and admissions tour guide.
  4. boy from California who is conducting physics research with a Jesuit priest, he is a volunteer EMT on campus, pre-dental and biophysics major. His favorite class had only 5 students.
  5. another boy from California, journalism major, a senior, writes a hip hop column for the Loyola newspaper. He is also a radio DJ. Theology of Ecology class was his favorite class: "theology disguised as something way more interesting to me". He had an awful film class due to a part time adjunct teacher who was not invested. Student found lots of support for his dyslexia and ADD.
I came back from Loyola Chicago with a big binder of fact sheets for each of the colleges. Stop by if you are interested in seeing more information about education, social work, communications, nursing, business, liberal arts and core. And don't forget, one Cheverus senior each year is awarded the 1/2 tuition scholarship to LUC for their 4 years there!

links verified 11/2014