The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Julie is a Chicago tutor and 2010 graduate of Loyola University Chicago. She holds degrees in both History and Secondary Education. Julie specializes in general History tutoring, European History tutoring, Government tutoring, and World History tutoring. See what she had to say about Loyola:
VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?
Julie: Loyola is located on two campuses. The main campus is in Rogers Park and the downtown campus is located near Michigan Avenue. The main campus gives students the feel for what it is like to be on a college campus in an urban setting and the downtown campus gives students the chance to be in the heart of one of the largest cities in the United States. Loyola offers shuttle transportation between the two campuses on weekdays and since it is located in an urban environment, there are many ways to get around the city. The el or buses are only walks away from each of the campuses.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Julie: Loyola has the advantage of being a relatively large university, but still has classes and professors who understand the importance of individualized attention. The class sizes are smaller and professors are readily available during office hours, before and after class, as well as through email. Academic advisors are highly regarded at Loyola because they truly understand each of the programs. Students are not left wondering what classes need to be taken each semester because the advisors create individual plans for each student.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Julie: Loyola dorm life is one that centers on community. Freshman dorms encourage socialization and the RA’s help plan activities. For upperclassmen, the dorms are converted apartment buildings, which give students the chance to still have campus housing, but explore what it is like to be in an apartment setting. Dining options are always available to all students and are easily accessible at both campuses.
VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?
Julie: Loyola offers a variety of majors and programs for all interests. Many students study biology and pre-med because of the opportunities for the medical school after graduation. I studied History and Secondary Education. The History Department is ranked 6th in the nation and the professors encourage students to explore topics that interest them in history. The School of Education provided me valuable experience in an urban setting that I still use in my teaching today.
VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?
Julie: It is very easy to meet people and make friends at Loyola. All freshmen attend an orientation the summer going into their freshman year. This gives students an opportunity to meet their classmates and explore the campus. There are many organizations on campus that help students become involved and living on campus helps create that sense of community. Greek life does not play a significant role in campus life, but there are organizations to join if students are interested.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Julie: The Career Center offers many services to students throughout the year. There are résumé building sessions and opportunities to attend job fairs. Each college has their own job fairs throughout the year as well. There are also a variety of student support services, such as tutoring, to help students academically.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Julie: Loyola has a variety of study areas throughout campus. Besides the lounges in the dorms, there is an Information Commons, which is part of the library, and there are study rooms for groups, as well as individual areas for quiet studying. The library at the downtown campus also has ample study space that students can use in-between classes and on the weekends. There is always a space at one of these for students to use and they are open late.
VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?
Julie: Since Loyola is located in the city of Chicago, there are constantly things to do both on and off the campus. Loyola encourages students to become involved with local organizations, but also provides on-campus events too. Loyola has a strong dedication to service so many organizations, such as local soup kitchens, schools, and libraries that like to have students volunteer with them. The chance to be in a city setting is a wonderful opportunity to explore the culture of Chicago.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Julie: There are roughly 15,000 students at Loyola. It is a nice size because it is in the middle. You still have the chance to get to know your classmates, but it is not an overwhelming size where you can become lost. The classes are average size where the professors know who you are and you can still receive attention.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Julie: One of my most memorable classes at Loyola was a history class I took for the Honors in History program. The entire class was dedicated to writing a research paper that you presented to the history department. This was an amazing opportunity for me because the paper was my own work and then I was able to prove my thesis to the faculty. This encouraged me to be confident and proud of my work.
Check out Julie’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.