7 Ways Loyola Helps Ease the Transition to College


The start of college is an exciting time. It is also an emotional time. The transition may present challenges—as well as endless opportunities. Many unknowns remain about roommates and residence life, classes and internships, getting involved and time management, determining a career path, and more. That’s why our students are provided the support and the tools to navigate college from the very beginning.

Because we are committed to the success of our students during the first year—and beyond—Loyola offers resources, services, and entire programs dedicated to starting the newest members of our Greyhound community off on the right foot.

But don’t take our word for it. One student shares seven ways her own first year was shaped by the people and programs that are quintessential to the Loyola experience…

Students doing an activity with tennis balls Two students talking with eachother next to a laptop
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Frank conversations and useful information

In high school, I heard about the challenges of balancing a college workload and social life, and still finding time to be involved outside of class; however, I never realized how different college would actually be.

My Messina Enrichment Hour stressed the importance of transition, independence, time management, and mental and physical health. It helped me actively make a plan for myself to find time to fit everything in, including crucial things like sleep, exercise, and stress management.

Students eating and laughing in a dining hall
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A close-knit community from day one

Everyone in my Messina class had enrolled in that particular course because they were interested in learning more about that subject. Although some people branched off or even changed majors altogether, this brought together people who shared an interest.

Messina is designed to create small group settings through classes and residential life, and this allows you to create close relationships with your peers that help to enhance your personal and academic success. I have met many great people through Messina who I might not have otherwise.

The advantages of meeting each other during our first semester will continue as we take classes together, participate in the same clubs and events, and are each other’s neighbors on Loyola’s campus.

A student guiding other students
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An experienced guide

Every Messina class is paired with an Evergreen, an upperclassman who leads first-year students in Summer and Fall Orientation, and supports and works with them through Messina.

My Evergreen attended our Messina Enrichment Hour and contributed to the discussions, sharing valuable perspectives on classes, campus involvement, life in Baltimore, and lessons they themselves have learned at Loyola.

A professor talking to a class in a biology lab
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Help determining my academic path

Messina helped me to find my passion and gear my academic career at Loyola more closely to my interests. My core advisor became a great resource when it came to declaring my major and pursuing co-curricular opportunities. He also offered much-needed direction and support. He allowed my class to incorporate our own interests into his lessons—which meant we were constantly learning valuable information and making connections.

Students talking on a concrete bench outside
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A Mentor

My Enrichment Hour mentor is the track coach here at Loyola. Her leadership and unique perspectives were valuable to our class discussions, despite not being affiliated with the academic department for my course. It was wonderful to make this connection early on to a member of the Loyola community who is outside of faculty and student services. She has served as a resource and a friendly face on campus beyond my Messina class.

Students at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore Students hiking in the woods College students in front of a class of elementary students
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Ways to explore and discover Baltimore, my home for the next four years

My first semester professor taught my class a lot about our community. We discussed the best places to visit, Baltimore’s history, art and culture, service opportunities—and why our city is one to be proud of.

Class excursions are an enjoyable and rewarding part of the Messina program, and the perfect way for those of us who are unfamiliar with the city to discover it and share an experience. As a class, we visited the Inner Harbor for the city’s annual Book Festival. Excursions may take the form of dinner at a professor’s house, a trip to a museum, or a service project at a local elementary school or with a community organization.

Students laughing and smiling in front of truck on a farm
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Opportunities to grow as an individual—and as a member of a team

When my first year came to a close, I realized I would no longer meet with my class every week in Flannery O’Conner Hall. But this is not a goodbye.

I have made lasting friendships and learned lessons about myself and the community that will continue to shape my future.