High Impact Learning

Loyola University Chicago is committed to High Impact Learning practices that support the Transformative Education at the center of Loyola’s Jesuit mission. Many kinds of educational experiences take our students’ learning deeper. By engaging actively in these opportunities, either in traditional classroom settings or beyond the campus, our students enable themselves to experience their course of study fully and to pursue their future aspirations with success.

  • First-Year Experience

    All incoming first-year students at Loyola are welcomed to the University community through summer orientation, and initiated at Convocation into the class with which they will expect to graduate. The one-credit First-Year Seminar (UNIV 101), taught by students’ academic advisors, assists students in their transition to college, helps them identify their academic goals and develop a plan for meeting them, and orients them to Loyola’s educational philosophy. Alongside reading a common book, opportunities like essay contests, lectures, film screenings, Loyola seminars, and the Loyola freshman retreat weekends engage students in critical thinking, collaborative learning, and community building throughout the year.
  • Core Curriculum

    Loyola University Chicago’s Core Curriculum plays a key educational role in every Loyola student's undergraduate experience. The Core Curriculum introduces students to significant concepts and modes of thought in several crucial areas of human intellectual endeavor. Study and experiential learning in the Knowledge Areas, training in academic writing, and Engaged Learning experience integrate with students’ primary academic concentrations at many levels.
  • Writing Intensive Courses

    Part of our Core experience focuses on writing-intensive courses. The introductory course UCWR 110, Writing Responsibly, emphasizes fundamental principles, including grammar and good academic style. Students also practice critical editing skills. This course forms a foundation for students to excel in their academic, professional, civic, and personal lives. Loyola’s undergraduate schools also require that students enroll in additional writing-intensive course sections throughout their college career.
  • Learning Communities

    Learning Communities are groups of students who share a common interest, live in the same residence hall, and take some classes as a group. Students connect their academic and residential experiences through activities planned by student and faculty committees in each Learning Community. Those who participate in Learning Communities make friends with similar interests, create important connections with faculty, develop more holistically as students, and achieve higher GPAs – all while having fun learning.
  • Service-learning

    Service-learning connects academic study and reflection with real-world experience with community organizations. Through volunteer work, research, advocacy, or community education projects, depending on the course and the aims of the community partner, students help community members achieve their goals. Students may take a service-learning course as part of the Core Curriculum, within their major, as an elective, or they may participate in service-learning courses through the Center for Experiential Learning.
  • Academic Internships

    An academic internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application in a professional setting. Students explore their field of study, clarify their professional goals, and develop new skills for the competitive workplace. With site supervisors as co-educators, there is an added degree of direction and self-study that allows students to "learn by doing." Students may participate in academic internships through their major, or in internship courses sponsored by the Center for Experiential Learning.
  • Study Abroad

    Through international study programs, students explore cultures, engage with diverse populations, and experience worldviews different from their own. They have the opportunity to become “global citizens,” expand their language skills, and increase their understanding of diversity. In addition to Loyola’s own overseas campuses, the John Felice Rome Center--the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, and the Loyola Vietnam Center--Loyola University Chicago regularly sends students to more than 100 programs in 55 countries.
  • Alternative Break Immersions

    Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) trips are week-long service immersions that provide opportunities for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom. Through immersions, students are encouraged to live simply, build community, deepen faith, and do justice, while gaining new awareness from interactions with diverse communities and from one another. Featuring a combination of responsible direct service, cultural immersion in a host community, and daily reflection in the Ignatian tradition, these trips are distinct from the traditional service trip. Students engage in a high level of preparation and education around the prevailing issues of injustice surrounding a host community before arriving, and regard the hosts as co-educators. Follow-up programming and support helps students integrate their experiences with their academic work and vocation.
  • Undergraduate Research

    Students from any discipline may engage in undergraduate research with a faculty mentor. Some carry out parts of faculty members’ research projects, working in laboratories or other research settings; others initiate their own research projects under faculty mentors’ direction. All research students actively engage in systematic investigation and analysis, participating in the co-creation of knowledge with their research mentor. The Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP) helps manage students’ applications for supervised fellowships in several funded programs. Students also may take undergraduate research courses within their major or participate in undergraduate research seminars through the Center for Experiential Learning.
  • Capstone Courses and Projects

    Capstones provide students with a culminating experience in their field of study. Depending on the program, capstone experiences include academic seminars, individual and team research projects, artwork, public performances, and academic internships: students’ goal is to apply knowledge and skills they have gained, synthesize their learning, and demonstrate their mastery in their chosen academic discipline. Students may contact individual departments and interdisciplinary programs to explore the range of capstone options available.
  • ePortfolios

    Loyola's ePortfolio Program supports high-impact learning by providing a space for students to collect, reflect, integrate, and synthesize their learning across academic and co-curricular domains. An ePortfolio is a digital collection of work that showcases skills, abilities, values, knowledge, and experiences through a variety of artifacts, documents, or media files that provide a holistic representation of a student's personal, professional, and academic progress. An ePortfolio may also function as a venue for sharing academic work with faculty members, a tool for inviting collaboration and feedback, a professional resource, or a private log of academic progress. ePortfolios can also be used as a capstone project in a course, major, or co-curricular program.