First Year Experience

The day you’ve anticipated for months and worked toward for years—your first day of college

It's here! A little stressed? Relax, the Loyola community is ready to celebrate your arrival and welcome you to campus. Be ready to make new friends and begin gathering the tools for building your new home-away-from-home, starting with the fun and games of Welcome Week.

Move into your residence hall. Meet your roommate. Connect with fellow Ramblers and sample campus activities at the Student Organization Fair. Tour the campus. Now that you're not just a visitor, you actually need to know how to find the dining hall, Halas, and the IC.

And don't forget about Convocation. It's required for all incoming students, and kicks off with a procession across campus and through Cudahy Library's ceremonial green doors. (You'll walk through them again right before your graduation.) Then you and your class will continue on to Gentile Arena for a ceremony with Loyola faculty and the author of your First-Year Text.

Ater Welcome Week, comes a lot more opportunities. Plan a weekend getaway at our own ecological retreat for the Loyola 360 experience. Engage new people in your UNIV courses. Maybe even go to a volleyball game?

So, take a deep breath. Reach out for a helping hand. We’re here for you, today and tomorrow.

Each year, Loyola's first-year students read the same book over the summer. You could call it your first piece of homework here. It gives the incoming class an example of the values and mission that we uphold at Loyola, and the themes of the book are the starting point for events throughout the year.

  • First-Year Text—For the 2020-21 academic year, students will be reading Dear America:Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas. Previous years' books have included Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side by Eve L. Ewing, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America by Wil Haygood, and Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel.
  • Essay Contest—First-year students are invited to share their reflections on the First-Year Text. This is an opportunity to reflect on the work and how it relates to the themes that define a Loyola education.
  • Communities in Conversation—This series of events bring together individuals from across the Loyola community for speakers, workshops, films, and discussions focused on a theme from the First-Year Text.

Loyola 360 is a weekend retreat open to students in their first year at Loyola. It's an opportunity for personal reflection and developing connections with their classmates. For a few days, students can escape the city to Loyola's Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC) in Woodstock, Illinois. Students will enjoy our challenge course and some deliciously fresh food. this year's 360 offerings can be found here

Financial assistance is available. Contact Megan Lynch for more information.

This first year seminar, UNIV 101, is required for all incoming students during their first semester. The course is designed to provide an extended orientation that focuses on academic success and students’ transition to college. Through interactive sessions, students will start building a community and gain an understanding of:

  • Loyola’s mission
  • City of Chicago
  • Campus resources
  • Academic planning

Student athletes and students enrolled in the Honors Program, Learning Communities, and other first-year programs will have seminars designed to meet the unique needs of each group.

The Loyola Seminar courses, UNIV 102, give first-year students an academic experience in an active and collaborative environment. The one semester, one credit-hour course meets weekly for 50 minutes with additional excursions planned for outside of class. Seminars cover many topics and introduce students to their major or a completely new area of study.

  • Continue striving for first-year success in this small, seminar-style class
  • Get to know a faculty member from one of your areas of interest
  • Gain more exposure to the Ignatian approach to learning: experience, critical reflection, and action
  • Participate in a class that lets you ask questions about your transition to college
  • Deepen your connection to Loyola
  • Stay engaged and excited about your education

Find more information about the seminars scheduled for 2019-20.