First Year Experience

Loyola’s comprehensive First-Year Experience program integrates students into the Loyola learning environment. The experience features a number of programs that help students make connections among their academic work, their out-of-class experiences, and Loyola’s mission.

Academic Seminars: Thinking Critically, Acting Justly

The First-Year Experience program is anchored in small academic seminars taught by leading teacher-scholars. The seminars introduce students to college-level thinking and learning and to Loyola’s Jesuit tradition under the overarching theme “thinking critically, acting justly.” The courses are interdisciplinary and focus on questions of enduring value in the context of subject matter ranging from medieval monsters to protest and pop music, from violence in the media to American dreams.

All first-year students take a first-year seminar, in either the fall or spring semester. When students enroll at Loyola, they are asked to select several seminars they would like to take and send their preferences to us in priority order. We then pre-register students for a seminar, making every effort to place them in their top choice.

First-Year Seminars and the Common Curriculum

The seminars are the gateway courses to the Common Curriculum, the broad range of courses in the liberal arts and sciences. The Common Curriculum teaches important foundational subject matter, preparing students for the demands of a complex world and developing their understanding of human values and social justice. It offers an educational experience not found at a state institution or other private schools. It is a large part of the “Loyola difference”—that is, it defines what makes our university and the education students receive here distinctive.

First-Year Common Reading Program

"The Vulgar Soul" and “I Am Not a Jew” by Loyola Author John Biguenet

One of Loyola students’ first activities is participation in the First-Year Common Reading program, which involves readings and discussion of a common text. This year's reading includes two stories, “The Vulgar Soul” and “I Am Not a Jew,” from The Torturer's Apprentice by Loyola professor and author John Biguenet.

Students receive the reading packet at New Student Orientation or through a mailing over the summer. The packet includes study questions to guide their reading, which they are expected to complete before arriving at Loyola. An “Evening with the Author” in early fall gives them a chance to discuss the reading with the author and their classmates. Many classes will feature continued discussion of this text.

Living and Learning Together

Residence Hall Programs

In addition to the First-Year Seminar and the Common Reading Program, students participate in a variety of programs in the residence halls. After a day spent engaging with Loyola’s faculty and classmates, students find their learning flows seamlessly into the residence halls as they bring concepts home.

Students do not have to live in the residence halls to take advantage of the many programs offered there. All students are invited to participate in the programs, get to know the residential students and Resident Assistants, study, and socialize.

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation welcomes first-year and transfer students to Loyola University New Orleans. Orientation sessions are held in June and in August. The program provides students with the tools and insight necessary to be successful, comfortable, and excited about joining the Loyola community. Orientation sessions give students the chance to attend sample faculty lectures, meet with faculty advisors to discuss academic schedules, learn about campus departments and resources, meet other incoming students, and discover ways to get involved on campus.

Wolfpack Welcome

Wolfpack Welcome is a five-day program in which first-year students participate in many of Loyola traditions, including New Student Convocation, Class of 2015 Photo, Into the Streets Day of Service, StrengthsQuest Conference, and much more. This program integrates academic and social programming to maximize students’ successful transition into our community.

Wolfpack Welcome begins Wednesday, August 24, and runs through Sunday, August 28, 2011.