My First College Visit

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My first college visit took place in May with a college and career preparatory class I was enrolled in. The tour was not intimidating at all because I surrounded by so many of my classmates. This time, that was not the case.

Ever since hearing about Loyola University Chicago, I was interested. So, when I had the opportunity to visit the Chicago suburbs for a week, I knew I had to check out the university firsthand. I signed up for the 10am Saturday visit online.

My mom and I drove up to Chicago on Saturday morning and arrived with time to spare. Well... the GPS said we arrived. I'm not exactly an experienced navigator so it took a few laps before we found the road that lead to the parking structure. After that, we were back to being lost. We saw a pack of confused parents and teenagers and followed them. Eventually, we all found the welcome center.


Upon entering, there was a big group of college kids sitting at a desk who greeted us with big smiles. They handed each teenager a form to fill out and we all turned them in while waiting for the admissions presentation. After a few minutes of waiting, they guided us into a large lecture hall. My mom suggested we sit in the front row. I'm not really a front row kind of gal but I sat there anyways. It was weird to think those tiny pull-out desks and folding seats would soon be what I called "a classroom." A man walked in and how many people were from out-of-state. Surprisingly, nearly half the room was. I didn't feel so out of place after that. Then he jumped right into a speech.

We learned about the average profile of their freshman class. This had the basic information like the average ACT score and GPA they accepted. They also went over the process of getting into the school. They went into detail about what was needed: transcript, ACT/SAT scores, essay, and of course filling out the school's application. The man explained how Loyola University Chicago accepts students: they have a rolling admissions process which means that they accept and decline students in the order they receive the applications. Also, they gave us a break down of the costs of the school. They included the prices of room and board, tuition, and books. The school is quite costly, but the perks are great (I'll get into those as we go).

After the admissions officer finished his presentation, the college students entered and split us up in smaller groups to take us on tours.

First, we headed to the library. The view of Lake Michigan from the library's windows was MAGICAL. Also, I really liked how the different floors of the library were divvied up by studying method. If you prefer a dead silent atmosphere to do your homework, then the third floor has you covered. In contrast, the first floor provided a spacious area to do group work with friends. Also, students can rent projectors free of cost (well... it is part of the perks of the student fees... but still).

Afterwards, we headed to the gym. Well, first we walked through the church but that's literally all we did in that building. The church was gorgeous. Anyways, the gym was sweet. They have a rock wall! HOW COOL IS THAT?! They also have quite a bit of gym space to play basketball (or any other indoor court sport that floats your boat). Then they have a window overlooking the campus lined with stationary bikes, elliptical machines, etc. They also have a weight room. The gym even has another room entirely filled with treadmills and other cardio machines. There is a pool too, although I cannot remember whether or not that was in the same building, but I would imagine so...

Then, we headed to one of the food courts. Some of the eating areas are on the bottom floors of the dorms. I think it would be pretty sweet to only have to go down a few levels for food, especially with the brutal weather in Chicago during the winter season! There food looked really appetizing despite the stereotype of campus food. They had three different food courts, all with different themes. We went to a food court that was home-style-based. There were quite a bit of options just in that court alone so I imagine you would never get bored when you could choose from all three. 

Next stop, THE DORMS! This was my main focus of the tour because hello, this is where you sleep, eat, and socialize for the majority of your time at college! The bathrooms are separated by gender along with the floors. The dorm building itself is coed though. I personally am a big fan of this because... well... I like boys. Anyways, the dorm room was relatively spacious. I mean, of course it was tiny compared to the bedrooms most teenagers are accustomed too, but it was nice. The dorm we toured overlooked their greenhouse. What a wonderful view to wake up to each morning! Also, the dorm is supplied with free cable if you bring your own TV. Yup... CABLE. Also, you can control the temperature of your dorm to make it as cool or warm as you like. SCORE! Overall, I adored the dorms.

As we left the dorms, one of the boys (a rather attractive one, may I add) said, "I'm not going to look at any other colleges."

Yes, Loyola University Chicago was incredible. I don't think that is fully the reason why he plans to halt his college search. If you look at a bunch of great schools, you have a much harder decision to make. If you put all of your focus into one school, you have more to lose but less decision-making. 

Overall, I loved the school. Tours are quite helpful during your college search. They make college seem less like a far-off daydream and more like a less-than-a-year-away reality.

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