Meet the winner of 2017-18 President's Medallion: Kathryn Marie Green

Kathryn Green

The President's Medallion is awarded to students who excel not only in the classroom, but also in the world, and are dedicated to helping those around them. SCPS and Institute for Paralegal Studies are so proud of Kathryn for her enthusiasm and passionate work.

Kathryn arrived at Loyola’s Institute for Paralegal Studies with an established history of leadership, scholarship, and service.  She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies.  After graduating, Kathryn moved to Thailand to teach English to under-resourced communities.  During her five years there, she worked with several organizations to support the various needs of the community.  She taught English, proposed grants, and provided essential resources to people in need.

Kathryn’s work in Thailand inspired her to take a position with the Greenheart Exchange in Chicago.  This organization sponsors visas for individuals from around the world seeking professional internships in the United States.  In Kathryn’s role as a Compliance Manager, she oversees all in-country services to the J-1 Visa interns and is responsible for ensuring the program remains in compliance with Department of State regulations.  This role has allowed her to apply her previous experiences serving immigrant and refugee communities as well as build new skills in legal aid and compliance.

Kathryn’s dedication to her work with Greenheart Exchange is what led her to apply to Loyola’s Institute for Paralegal Studies.  She has taken courses in Immigration Law, Legal Ethics, and Corporate Compliance that directly relate to the work she is doing with immigrants in Chicago.  Her instructors revere her as a model student with insights and experiences that improve the learning environment for the entire class.  She is a gifted leader who has used her intellect and passion to make a great impact in the Chicago community as well as around the world.  She will certainly use her Loyola education to continue to grow and do meaningful work in the future.

About the President's Medallion Winner:

Leadership. Scholarship. Service.

Those three words are etched onto the President’s Medallion that Loyola awards annually to its most outstanding students. They are words that neatly summarize all that the University represents. And they also sum up the 2016–17 President’s Medallion recipients—students who excel not only in the classroom, but also in the world, and are dedicated to helping those around them.

“Each of the recipients was recommended for this award by their academic dean because they exemplify a wonderful combination of achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service,” said Jane Neufeld, vice president for Student Development, at the annual President’s Ball last year.

“In addition, they are seen as persons of integrity, good reputation, and manifest leadership in serving others,” Neufeld said. “In short, they are students for which Loyola and its founders can take great pride.”

Loyola SCPS Supports Transfer Students

SCPS is Transfer Friendly

-by Walter Pearson, Dean

At Loyola University Chicago, we want to encourage your academic accomplishments and help you complete your degree faster. That’s why the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) is transfer friendly. The importance of this stance was recently underlined by a report from the General Accounting Office (GAO). The report (available at details the ways students lose credit when they transfer and calculates the substantial cost to the Federal government and to the student when this happens.

“Students lost an estimated 43 percent of college credits when they transferred, or an estimated 13 credits, on average…the average credits lost during transfer is equivalent to about four courses, which is almost one semester of full-time enrollment.”

This is completely unacceptable!

At SCPS, we look at each person transferring to try to determine how to gain the most for you. We have transfer agreements with many community colleges, helping students with a smooth transition to Loyola. In general, if a community college offers a course, we will take it[1].

Got technical courses? Even if we don’t have a place for it in your degree plan, we will take those courses to meet general elective requirements. Got a lot of credits in a program you’ve decided not to pursue? We’ll take that and apply it to an Individualized concentration in our Applied Studies major. Completed an Associate of Applied Science? We’ll take that and give you the best fit for our degree programs.

We ensure that students don’t lose credits when they transfer. A student deterred by transfer policy can waste their credits, money, and time. Most important, losing credits when transferring inhibits degree completion and our country needs a greater rate of finishing degrees.

Take a look at our transfer policies and begin your journey back to school today!

[1] The only exception is for courses that the community college marks as below 100 level, which are remedial in nature.

Scholarships help hairstylist finish her degree faster


Meet Student Kristen Broyles.

Kristen's goal is to own a hair salon and freelance hairstyling business. A hairdresser in downtown Chicago, Kristen was able to earn scholarships each semester, and that support enabled her to take and complete classes significantly faster.and that support enabled her to take and complete classes significantly faster.

"Both the classes and scholarships I've gained at Loyola have really boosted my confidence. I came to Loyola wanting to acquire knowledge in business management. Not only did I receive that education, but I also fell in love with psychology and organizational development. The financial support gave me the opportunity to pursue my interests. I now feel empowered to start my own business and continue on to graduate school to further my learning in business, with a focus on organizational psychology and development."

Why Go Back to College?

Why Go Back to College?

I have a friend who is considering a return to college. He stopped out of Big State U several years ago and has worked in unsatisfying jobs since. He is wondering if the time, effort and money he would have to invest to complete his degree are worth it. Will it really make a difference in his career options? Will he just accumulate more debt and be stuck in the same place? Is completing a bachelor’s degree worth it?

The answer is, “Yes, of course it is!”

Education has mattered enormously during this recent period, in terms of helping individuals to avoid unemployment and garner higher wages. Those with only a high school education have continued to lose jobs and their wages have slid lower. An associate’s degree improves prospects. A bachelor’s degree improves wages and employment even more. A graduate degree adds even more to your chances of positive employment and wage outcomes.

Both for earning and for unemployment more education matters.


Average Salary by Education Level

In 2016, full-time workers age 25 and up who have a bachelor degree earn 35% more than those with some college but no degree. The gap for those with a high school degree is 40%.


But, wait, what about those recent graduates living at home?

We all know someone who has completed a degree and is not flourishing and someone who stopped formal education after high school who is doing well.  Despite these individual counter-examples, the economic data make it clear that holding a bachelor’s degree is an enormous advantage. During the more recent period of slow recovery, job growth has largely gone to those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce report titled “Weathering the Storm” stated:

“More than half of the employment increases have gone to workers with a bachelor’s degree or better, the rest of the gains to those with some college education or an associate’s degree.  Even in the recovery, workers with only a high school diploma or less have continued to lose jobs.”

While the size of the job market for college graduates has increased more slowly than in the past, the odds still strongly favor those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The broader direction of the economy points towards this becoming a stronger, not weaker, trend.

OK, does it matter which major I choose?

In some ways, no. Completion of the degree is what matters. However, not all degrees are created equal. For one thing, the degree does need to come from a reputable source to be helpful in a job search. We also know that, in general, the more quantitative or technical the degree, the better the lifetime outcomes will be. For instance, there is great demand currently for health-related degrees, and graduates from those programs are getting good starting wages. However, over the course of their careers, graduates in engineering, science and business will get the greatest bang for their buck. In IT, those who create information will do better than those who use information. These insights come from another recent study from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.  All that said, completion of a degree matters. For those with experience, the major may be less important than simply finishing the degree.

I’ve seen those commercials from a for-profit college — is that a good option?

It does matter where you get your degree. In one study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, graduates from for-profits saw very little impact on earnings after degree completion, even after controlling for other characteristics that might affect wages. The study found “large, statistically significant benefits from obtaining certificates/degrees from public and not-for-profit but not from for-profit institutions.” Another study indicated that hiring managers preferred graduates from traditional programs over those from identifiably online universities.  When hiring managers were presented with sets of identical candidates, with the only variation being the source of the degree, “96 percent chose the hypothetical applicant with the traditional degree.” The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions published a large study on the major problems they found with the large for-profit colleges.  There are plenty of adult-focused colleges that are non-profit or public, that provide credible degree completion programs with accelerated and online options.

Is it really that simple? Does completing my degree get me the job I want?

The key is having both the needed experience and the credential (the degree). In my career, I serve adult degree completion students, and roughly half of them are completing their degrees in order to secure their career or to move up from where they currently work. They typically do not need added experience, just the degree. Another 40 percent are seeking a degree in order to gain entry into a new field.  While they are working on their degrees, we help them gain experience in the target profession so they can make the most of the degree when they finish.

Working mother proves it’s never too late to complete your degree


“I never thought I’d go back and finish school, but I did,” Gazala Momin says. “And it was a great experience.” (Photo by Nan Li.)

Gazala Momin grew up Chicago, just a few blocks from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. She graduated from Senn High School in the 1990s and then started college.

But after getting married and having a child, she put aside her studies to raise her son and work part-time as a paralegal while her husband finished college and went to medical school. (He is now in the U.S. Army, completing his residency in Texas.)

A few years ago, Momin decided it was time for her to return to college—and she graduated May 4 from Loyola’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies with a bachelor’s degree in management and a certificate in paralegal studies.

Here, she talks about life as an adult learner, why Loyola was the perfect fit for her, and what it felt like to finally earn her degree.

What brought you to Loyola?
I actually got accepted at a few other colleges, but I wasn’t comfortable with them. They just weren’t a good fit for me. So I did some online research and found Loyola. And the more I looked into it, the more I realized that the program was exactly what I was looking for.

How so?
I didn’t want to start college all over again, and a lot of universities won’t give you credit for classes you’ve already taken. Loyola was different. They gave me credit for everything I had taken, which was great. I wanted a school that would take me on my terms—and Loyola did.

What was it like juggling work and life and school? ­
There were days that were definitely a challenge. I’d go to work downtown, leave to pick up my son from school, take him home, and then go back downtown for classes. I think the professors at Loyola realize that most of us are juggling a lot of different things, so they give you a manageable amount of work. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.

How did it feel to get your degree after all these years?
It was great. I was very excited. My son was excited, too. He was like, “Mom, you did it!”

Any big plans now that you’ve graduated?
I’m thinking about going to law school, and this gave me a little idea of what it would be like. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, and I’d love to practice family law. 

And finally, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about going back to college?
You can do it. It takes some time and effort, but it’s possible. I never thought I’d go back and finish school, but I did. And it was a great experience. 

• Watch another SCPS graduate discuss his time at Loyola—and find out what his degree has allowed him to accomplish.

Credit for on-the-job experience


Erik Padilla is a successful neurodiagnostic technologist in Chicago. Two years ago, he decided to attend Loyola in order to complete his college degree and expand his career opportunities.

Through SCPS' Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, Erik was able to earn college credit for the knowledge he's gained in his professional experiences, saving time and money on completing his degree.

“It’s both rewarding to be recognized for your expertise but also very meaningful to know that Loyola really wants to help me succeed.” ~Erik Padilla

Loyola awarded him 27 college credits for his learning on the job, meaning he could complete his bachelor’s degree a year earlier than planned. Earning 27 credits also meant that Erik would save a significant amount of money in the process.

"In my years as a technician, I had completed numerous board exams and presentations on epilepsy and diagnostic testing. SCPS recognized the value of that work and what it meant for my professional development. It’s a great feeling."

Below are some questions that SCPS asked Erik to find out more about his experience with PLA:

SCPS: What did you have to do to prepare for the PLA?

Erik: "First I looked over my resume and lifetime work experience in order to give myself an idea of my training courses, leadership roles in organizations, and credentials that I could potentially submit as documentation for the PLA portfolio. I then reviewed college courses that would fit my experience in which I could prove competence and provide the necessary documentation in order to receive credit. One important piece of advice would be to apply for classes that you feel confident in terms of writing a learning narrative which can range from 6-10 pages in length and provide sufficient supportive documentation. CAEL will only grant credit for courses in which you prove competence in terms of subject matter, theory, and learning objectives for the selected course. CAEL wants to know what you have learned from your work experiences or credentials not how many years you have been practicing in your field."

SCPS: On average, how much work was involved that resulted in the equivalent of one course?
Erik: "During the PLA class, I spent about 4-8 hours a week on PLA assignments and 3-4 weeks to complete the portfolio. It takes time to collect your supportive documentation, apply it to the selected college class, and write the learning narrative."

SCPS: What would your recommendation be to someone interested in taking the PLA?
Erik: "My recommendation for someone interested in taking the PLA would be to take your time collecting your documentation and take one step at a time. This is a time consuming project. But at the same time it is extremely rewarding to be granted college credit for your experience at work and credentials in your field. This is a very empowering experience that will save you money in tuition and will allow you to complete your degree much sooner. I strongly encourage students with leadership roles in organizations such as non-profits and management positions to complete a PLA portfolio."

Learn more about Prior Learning Assessment here.

A school for second chances

To mark our centennial year for adult education at Loyola, and we are gathering stories from alumni who want to share their Loyola experience, and how it has transformed their lives. SCPS changed its name a number of times but it has consistently served adult students.

The following bio came from Vickie Henson, who graduated with a BA in Communication from Mundelein College in 1987.

I am a product of Loyola’s University College system and I do not know where I would be today if it were not for the second chance afforded me in my formidable years as a young adult.

I am a first generation college graduate who comes from a family of rugged Mississippi share croppers and West Indian immigrants who settled into domestic work on the north shore of Chicago. After high school, in my early college years, I struggled to keep up with my studies due to family financial issues at home and social distractions at school.

I had very little academic/career direction or guidance; however, I did have ambition to complete my degree. I attended evening classes at the Water Tower Campus because of its convenience to my full-time job. To this day, I have fond memories of studying at the Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds on Chicago Avenue and State Street between work and class. I enjoyed the spirited discussions in my Theology and Philosophy courses with the professors and my young adult peers.

I respected and admired the adjunct professional women who taught the evening classes; they gave me a vision and a role model to look up to. I felt relieved of the pressure of achieving a perfect GPA, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn and absorb the entire experience. I graduated with a BA degree in Communication from Mundelein College in 1987.

On a recent trip to Chicago I drove past the Lake Shore campus with my daughter to show off my alma mater. She was impressed with the urban campus landscape tucked away in the alcove of the great Lake Michigan. It made me proud to show off my roots that played a pivotal role in nurturing me through adulthood to that coveted college degree. My journey to find myself, work full-time and attend evening college at Loyola is part of the very experience that allowed me to prepare her for academic success at the University of Southern California where she is a junior at the Marshall School of Business.

If you would like to share your story as an alum, please email it to We would love to hear from you. All University College, Mundelein College, SCPS alumni  and current students are invited to attend this exciting event where you can meet other alum to share stories of then and now.

June 28: Centennial Celebration

June 28: Centennial Celebration

This year marks the centennial year for adult education at Loyola and we are celebrating the anniversary with a day of commemorative events.

On June 28, in conjunction with Loyola’s Alumni Weekend, we are going to pay tribute to this great tradition of adult education with a day of reflection and celebration.

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies carries on a long tradition of unwavering support for working adults who wish to advance their education in the Jesuit tradition. From the early days of University College, through Mundelein College, to today’s SCPS, Loyola has accomplished their mission by providing a transformative education which guides adult students to a future of leadership, career success and a meaningful life.

The morning events will begin with a light brunch and a presentation from a panel of graduates. Panelists will reflect on the joys and challenges they faced while finishing their degrees, as well as on how their lives since have been richer and better because of their experiences at Loyola. Roundtable discussions following the panel presentation will ask participants to reflect on how their Loyola experience helped them prepare for a life of leadership, career success and true meaning.

Before traveling to the Lake Shore Campus for lunch and a full day of festivities, we will have a guided tour of the Water Tower Campus where you can witness the transformation of Loyola’s downtown campus over the years and get a sneak peak at future plans.

Once at the LSC, our Repast and Remember luncheon will take place on the gorgeous fourth floor of the Klarchek Information Commons overlooking the lake. During the luncheon, we will celebrate 100 years with a powerful multimedia presentation that will weave threads of our past with memories from today.

During the remainder of the day, attendees can participate in Alumni Weekend 2014, the biggest party Loyola has ever thrown. Saturday afternoon and evening events include the Family Festival, Founders’ Dinner, and the Damen Dance Party.

We hope to see you there!
 To receive updates about the Centennial Celebration, click here to send a request to Kelly Barry at or call her at 312/915-6824.

Iraq veteran starts new career with Loyola degree


by Eric Taveras

My life has provided the opportunity to make a difference in many lives. I remember the time I spent as a Combat medic in the U.S. Army when I served while deployed to Iraq. My duty was to protect and care for the soldiers of my unit and the people of Iraq. I mention this because St. Ignatius of Loyola was also a soldier and after suffering leg wounds in battle, he faced a long road to recovery and chose to dedicate his life to service. In August 2009, I was medically retired from the U.S. Army due to injuries I sustained during my deployment and when my military career came to an end, I knew my only choice was to continue my education so I can do more for other Veterans and continue the Veteran’s mission of, “being a better American.”

After speaking to other Veterans, I was told Loyola was one of the universities that offered the most help and fostered an environment that allowed a smoother transition to school and civilian life. SCPS provides advisors that can help the Veteran choose a degree plan that provides an optimal opportunity for success at Loyola and toward an actual career. The scheduling and format of the SCPS classes suit the busy lives of the adult student.

Like most Veterans, one of the biggest obstacles to attending school is the burden of finances. To be able to go to a university that can help keep those costs down and provide a smoother transition between semesters is very important. Streamlining the GI bill certification process and allowing the certification to take place when classes begin made the admission almost seamless. Additionally, the Career Development Office and the Tutoring center were services I utilized that helped me make the Dean’s list twice and find an internship with the Department of Energy.

Loyola and SCPS helped facilitate an environment of true learning by removing the barriers [so that it is possible to obtain a degree and that [students] may enhance or begin a new career. General Douglas McArthur said, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” The experiences and lessons learned while in the U.S. Army and at Loyola University Chicago have further instilled my sense of duty and loyalty to this country. The discipline, teamwork and strong work ethic are skills I learned while in the service but have been further enhanced with an education from Loyola. The values mentioned by General McArthur have helped me become the leader I aspire to be and now with an education from Loyola I can continue my journey and achieve my goals to become a better American.

Outlining the Importance of Liberal Arts for Adults


by Walter Pearson | Dean

Adults approach higher education with occupational goals in mind. In the wake of all the insecurity of the recent economic troubles, they want to secure their careers. For some, the degree is a part of their strategy to advance where they currently work. For a significant share, the goal is to prepare for a jump to another field.

Only a minority choose a liberal arts major such as English, history or philosophy. This is in some part due to employer influence, particularly where policies restrict tuition support to “work-related” majors. This is also due to many of these students’ first-generation status. Students who are first generation, meaning they’re the first in their families to pursue higher education, will often face pressure to choose a major deemed “practical” by their support network.

Yet, we know that as citizens and as workers, a liberal education is important to adult learners. They need a well-rounded, interdisciplinary skill set which is achieved in the liberal arts. They face increased emphasis on communication skills (oral and written) in the job market. We know today that employers are less persuaded by the content of an individual’s major and more by his or her capacity for creative problem solving: “… a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.”[1]

On top of this, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) recently conducted a survey that found the needs of employers stretched far beyond an introductory-level understanding of the relevant industry. More than 75 percent of employers said they wanted more emphasis on areas including critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication and applied knowledge in real-world settings.[2]

A clear argument can be made that these outcomes are developed in the encounter with liberal education that will be found in a university’s core or general education courses.

As graduates, adult students become advocates for the liberal arts. However, at entry, they are often skeptical of liberal arts requirements. Why are adult learners reluctant to study the liberal arts? One answer lies in the way they experienced these subjects in their earlier education. Too many of the subjects are studied in ways that seem removed from the lives of working adults. When we fail to help students make the connection between prior history and the events of today, or the connection between the study of mathematics and the decisions we make every day, shame on us.

A More Vital Vision

Leadership, career success and leading a meaningful life are the central missions of our programs. What could be more relevant to those goals than an engaging study of the hard decisions we make (ethics) or an exploration of history in which enduring themes connect with our lives? Skilled educators who work with non-traditional students use the lived experiences of these students as the subject matter, the fuel for an inquiry in which we explore the knowledge of others and construct new understandings of the world. This active form of learning is exactly what John Dewey was seeking: “the alternative to furnishing ready-made subject matter and listening to the accuracy with which it is reproduced is not quiescence, but participation, sharing, in an activity. In such shared activity, the teacher is a learner, and the learner (without knowing it) is a teacher.”[3]

Best Practices for Adult Learners

Adult programs at liberal arts colleges tend to have unique environments and practices. They are mission focused and tend to have small class sizes that feature writing and oral communication as key elements. These programs use a facilitation style for faculty with application, course presentations and discussion as major features of the learning environment. Class discussions are rich with shared experiences among peers sparking insight. Their flexible delivery formats enable adults to make progress toward the goal of completion.

Most of these programs seek to connect the liberal arts to vocational, career and lifelong learning through a robust core curriculum that features active learning. These programs seek to engage students in real-world problem solving and encourage them to evaluate and clarify their personal and professional ethics and values. Personalized advising and small classes keep the individual learner’s goals in view. Faculty professional development seeks to ensure faculty understand adult learners and have a facilitation style of instruction.

How Is This Experienced by the Graduates?

In the 2014 commencement at Loyola University Chicago, one of our graduates gave us some insight into the value adult students place in the liberal arts:

“I often thought that if I could just learn what I needed to learn, I could save time and money and move on with my life. I suppose that would be true, but it’s because of the core classes and the choice of electives offered that the world has truly become my oyster and I plan to use each pearl of wisdom I gained because it’s not just knowledge that I acquired on this journey.”[4]

A Closing Thought

The broader Jesuit mission at Loyola University Chicago seeks to awaken five hungers in our students.

  1. Integrated knowledge
  2. A moral compass
  3. Civic participation
  4. A global paradigm
  5. Adult spirituality

This broader mission, which goes beyond mere job preparation, is vital for our students and for our society. We cannot help but be concerned about the decline in public discourse. We must aim, by both methods and topics of education, for the formation of judgment and critical thinking.

As Dewey notes: “Democratic society is peculiarly dependent for its maintenance upon the use in forming a course of study of criteria which are broadly human. Democracy cannot flourish where the chief influences in selecting subject matter of instruction are utilitarian ends narrowly conceived for the masses, and, for the higher education of the few, the traditions of a specialized cultivated class.”[5] These concerns were evident in 1915 and are equally evident today.

- – - -


[1] Hart Research Associates, “It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” April 10, 2013. Accessed at

[2] Association of American Colleges and Universities, “It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” 2013. Accessed at

[3] John Dewey, Democracy and Education, (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1916), page 167

[4] Micky Ansted, Speech given at Loyola University Chicago 2014 Commencement

[5] Dewey, page 200.


Reposted from

Take Your First Course on Full-Scholarship!

Full-Scholarship For Your First Course!

Interested in degree completion? SCPS is offering you a full scholarship to complete your first three credit course with us. The 8-week course, CPST 200: Introduction to Degree Completion, taken in your first semester at Loyola is designed to set you up for success.

With this course, you will get a good understanding of what it takes to be a successful part-time student and how to balance the demands of attending class and completing assignments with your already busy schedule.

This course will give the student:

  • A clear path toward completing a Loyola University Chicago degree
  • Insight on how to study more efficiently
  • Knowledge of University services, both online and on campus
  • Proficiency of Loyola’s online tools that will help you excel in an online setting and in the classroom
  • A refresher on proper writing techniques
  • An introduction to earning credit for prior learning, and how it can help you finish your degree more rapidly and save in tuition in the process
  • Guidance from the financial aid department to enable you to complete your degree with your budget in mind

If you have questions, please contact us at

SCPS offers five sessions per year, with two 8-week sessions in the spring: Spring session II beginning March 10 and Summer beginning June 2. Classes meet once a week in the evenings. Online or on-campus classes make it possible for you to complete your degree & maintain responsibilities at work and home.

SCPS Scholarships: Tips for Success

What is the most important piece in a scholarship application? Your transcript and GPA say a lot about you as a student. Your background and job history say a lot about you as a professional. But everyone is more than just who they are at work and, who they are at school.

If you have written a Statement of Purpose for any of the SCPS scholarship applications, you hopefully realize that an essay is your chance to express yourself as an individual. Even when it’s only 300-350 words, the Statement of Purpose is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make your unique case as the most deserving candidate for financial assistance. When you make that case as clearly as possible, your odds in the applicant pool only get better.

When I started as the BA in Management Program Manager in July, scholarships took up a lot of my time. And with good reason—the fall deadline for applications was two weeks away. That time wasn’t just spent reading applications however; there was also a push to get as many applications as possible by reminding students of the deadline by any means possible. So before I suggest some ways to write as powerful a Statement of Purpose as possible, let me remind everyone that the spring deadline is right around the corner on December 1. But that’s plenty of time to write a brilliant Statement of Purpose—if you keep these tips in mind:

Know what you’re writing for. All the scholarships offered to SCPS students have brief summaries of their eligibility criteria, found on the school’s website. This includes a brief paragraph on what exactly a “Statement of Purpose” is, and what’s expected. This is the first part of the roadmap to a strong essay.

Remember the “purpose.” Reading that brief paragraph is only the start. This is a chance to express yourself, to say why you’re at Loyola and why you deserve financial assistance. That’s your purpose and the heart of your entire application. An essay like that is going to take some thought. And that leads me to…

Think about the future. You know why you are at Loyola and what you want to get out of completing your degree. Once you’ve painted a picture of why you’re in school, use that to explain the kind of impact completing your degree is going to have on your goals and why Loyola should want to make someone like you an alum. Really drive home the impact finishing your degree is going to have.

Write to your audience. Remember who is going to be reading your Statement of Purpose. They might not know anything about you, except for what you have on paper. This is a chance to make as positive an impression as possible. You’ve already painted that picture—now make sure everyone can see it.

And then, do it again. Those first four points will hopefully help you get started on your own statement. But when you do, it’s a good idea to write more than one draft, and to take a day or two between revisions. Start early, and give someone else a chance to read it if you have time. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes on your essay.

Finally, say thank you. A formal thank you is required when a scholarship is awarded. However, if you are a previous scholarship recipient, you may want to add a “thank you” in your Statement of Purpose as a reminder to your audience that you’ve already passed scrutiny once, and are grateful for the support you’ve already earned. And with your great Statement of Purpose, that’s no surprise.

Gifts in Action: Dominique Merritt’s Story

Gifts in Action: Dominique Merritt’s Story

Scholarships are an immediate and tangible result of gifts from Loyola’s many supporters to Access to Excellence: The Campaign for Scholarships. A major priority of the campaign, scholarship assistance, has enabled thousands of students to spend more time on their studies and less time worrying about how to pay for their education. Loyola alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents, and students are responsible for this much-needed and much-appreciated support.

New alumnus Dominique Merritt (BA ’10) is a typical graduate of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies—meaning that he’s anything but typical.

The Baltimore native took some time off after high school before deciding to continue his education. “I had to choose a school that would allow me to attend full time, while also working full time—in addition to being affordable,” he says. By receiving the Loretta M. Schmidt Scholarship and eight other scholarships during his time at Loyola, he was able to balance school work with his job as a Human Resource Consultant.

Merritt, who received a degree in management with a concentration in psychology, was originally interested in a career in human resources. “But after taking Dr. Dina Berger’s Introduction to Global and International Studies course, my perspective and plans completely changed. Now I want to look at things from a global perspective.” Merritt’s studies also inspired him to join the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which brings international leaders together to discuss issues affecting the world. During Merritt’s time at Loyola, he volunteered for the SCPS, helping out with new student orientation and open houses, and he is an active member in its honor society, Alpha Sigma Lambda. In January, 2011, Merritt plans to attend graduate school in London to study international affairs. “I eventually want to teach business or international affairs on the university level. My interest has been piqued at Loyola, and I want to continue learning about the world.”

The scholarship was named for Loretta M. Schmidt, who was devoted to adults in education at Loyola and established a scholarship to “ensure the perpetuity and continued financial support of women and men students … to complete their undergraduate education.”

SCPS renews Honor Society membership, presents scholarship opportunity

SCPS is fortunate to have many internal scholarship opportunities to offer our students.  Between our multiple department scholarships, the Osher grant, and the Cooke Foundation, our BA students have decent odds on landing financial support every semester.

That doesn’t mean we don’t keep an eye out for new funding opportunities to tell students about though.  And when SCPS renewed its membership in the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society for adult students, we learned about a new scholarship opening.

Alpha Sigma Lambda is a national society and is offering a total of 10 $2200 scholarships for the academic year. To be eligible to apply you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Completed 30 hours of graded coursework at SCPS (transfer credits do NOT count)
  • Achieved a GPA of at least 3.2 on the 4.0 scale
  • Be enrolled in one of the baccalaureate program here at SCPS
  • Demonstrate financial need

Only two students may apply from each chapter, so completed applications must be sent to the SCPS office at Suite 401, Lewis Towers. Completed applications include a personal statement and a letter of recommendation from an SCPS faculty member. SCPS will then chose the two applicants to send to the national office for final consideration after verifying the applicants meet all the selection criteria.

The final applications must be post-marked by April 30, so we’ve placed an internal deadline of April 25 to get your applications in.  Applications should be addressed to me but also please have “RE: Alpha Sigma Lambda” on the envelope as well.  That due date is right in the middle of preparing for Spring II finals, so don’t wait until the last minute if you’re interested.  Get a draft started now!

Water Tower Campus Gems

Loyola’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies office is located at the downtown, Water Tower Campus (WTC). Many of our evening courses are also scheduled here at the WTC. Here are some great places to check out before class or if you ever come down to the campus for a visit.

Water Tower Place – great shopping and dining, including the Food Life food court

John Hancock Center – observatory offers fantastic lake and city views, plus when the weather is nice the Garden Plaza is a great lunch spot

Silver Spoon Thai – fabulous Thai food, priced just right

Sister Jean – visit Loyola’s WTC chaplain in the Corboy Center before heading to class

This brief list is only the tip of the iceberg. Leave a comment with your favorite spots around Loyola’s WTC!

Looking for more in a job search? Get networked!

SCPS knows that not all of our students can fit their Loyola schedule into “normal” business hours, and we work hard to find ways around the unique challenges presented to adult students. One no-brainer would be to bring some of those great LUC services directly to our students, which is why we threw a Networking Tips night co-hosted by Career Services earlier this semester.

The event was a chance to hear some tips on using networking to further your own career, as well as some first-hand accounts from people who have directly benefited from connections they’ve made. Career Center Director Darby Schism offered these important tips to keep in mind when networking:

  • Networking is not just an event, it’s an ongoing process that you must nurture and maintain.
  • Everyone you meet and know (and everyone they know) is already a member of your network—6 degrees of separation.
  • Hidden Job Market—stats show that more than 80% of jobs (even more in this down market) are never even posted.  They are filled through referrals.
  • Create a “sales pitch,” an “elevator speech” of your most important skills and interests.
  • Use informational interviewing to find out more about an industry or job function—fact finding meetings.
  • Explore professional associations, chamber of commerce meetings, community meetings to find out about a particular industry area and meet new contacts.
  • Networking is a two-way street. Try to think about how you can give back to your network contacts.
  • Maintain a tracking system to keep track of all your contacts and interactions. Keep in touch regularly.

Believe it or not, there is more to Career Services than tips like these and normal office hours. Their blog is updated on a regular basis, and offers the latest news and tips for job seekers. Check it out at

Is there a different LUC student service (Writing Center, tutoring) that you’d like to have more access to? Let us know in the comments or email SCPS at

Illinois Articulation Initiative Agreement Makes SCPS More Transfer Friendly

There was more good news than usual this fall for students admitted Fall 2013 with prior college credit looking to apply to any of Loyola’s degree programs as the University became a signatory to the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). According to the IAI, all universities and colleges agreeing to participate in the initiative agree to accept a package of credits in completed Associates degrees.

The IAI also means that some lower grades are now being accepted as well for applicants for Fall 2013 and later. These changes are all regardless of where the applicant is transferring from, in-state or out-of-state.

What it boils down to is a greater number of transfer credits are likely to be accepted by Loyola University Chicago for applicants moving forward, which is great news for adult applicants looking to complete a degree. The average SCPS applicant comes in with nearly 30 credits already, and now more of them are likely to count towards one of our degree programs. Anyone interested in a transfer credit evaluation should feel free to sign up for one of SCPS’ monthly “Complete Your Degree” evaluation events, where our staff can get you an unofficial degree audit and answer any questions you might have about applying to SCPS.

For more information, visit our Transfer Student Policies page.