College Spotlight: Loyola Marymount University
Freshman Year Update
By Kaitlyn Ryan
Imagine waking up every morning to sunshine, a gentle breeze, and a view of all of LA from atop a bluff. To most people this sounds like a vacation, but for me, this is just an average day at Loyola Marymount University. Loyola Marymount, or LMU for short, is situated on a bluff overlooking beautiful Los Angeles, ten minutes from LAX airport and ten minutes from the beach. All of these activities off campus, combined with all of the on-campus activities make for a great campus filled with diversity and opportunities. My name is Kaitlyn Ryan, a freshman at LMU, majoring in film production and minoring in dance. When I decided to study film production, I realized I would have to leave Minnesota for Los Angeles, a city that I have come to fall in love with. I applied to many of the top film schools such as USC, UCLA, and Chapman University, but LMU was by far my favorite due to its strong film program, honors program, core values, location, and size.
LMU is a small university with 6,162 undergraduate students. Undergrads can apply to the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Seaver College of Science and Engineering, College of Business Administration, College of Communication and Fine Arts, School of Film and Television, or School of Education. Each different college offers a wide array of possible majors and minors. In addition, LMU has a wide array of study abroad programs, both semester long and 3-4 week long summer programs to all kinds of places such as France, Germany, and Japan. LMU has around a 51% acceptance rate.
The Honors Program has really affected my LMU experience. LMU offers a number of Living Learning Communities (LLCs) where students of similar backgrounds or interests live in the same building and have classes together. The Honors Program is one such LLC. Most of the 60-or-so Honors freshmen live together in the same dorm and we all take a minimum number of specialized honors classes. Not only does being a part of the Honors Program give me smaller class sizes, research opportunities, and a close bond with faculty members, it has given me a sense of community. I got to campus a week early for the “Honors Summit,” which is a sort of orientation for Honors students. We got to meet both our peers and older students in the Honors Program, explore LA, and ask questions about what our freshman year had in store. This program allowed me to have a firm base at my new school before classes even began. There is an application for freshmen interested in the Honors Program that can be found on the LMU Honors Website.
LMU’s wonderful film program has been another perk of this school. The LMU School of Film and Television (SFTV) is currently ranked as the eighth best film school in the United States. Even as a freshman, I have begun to take many film production classes where I am learning about all of the equipment, as well as learning about all of the aspects of producing a film, from screenwriting to directing to editing. I have also found lots of opportunities to work on the sets of older students, adding another dimension of hands on experience. Outside the classroom, SFTV presents the Hollywood Masters series, where every week, a new expert in the film field comes in and gives a lecture. Guests have included Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine, and Aaron Sorkin.
Outside the classroom, there are amazing extracurricular activities. LMU is home to clubs such as rock climbing and scuba diving, Greek life, a TV station that produces both on air and online content, and a huge number of service organizations. It’s so tempting to get involved in everything, because there is so much to offer. But it’s also easy to make time to get off campus and to explore the amazing places around LA. LMU is within walking distance of the beach (okay, it’s a pretty long walk, but it’s fun to walk and see all of the great restaurants and shops in the area), Santa Monica and Venice Beach are only short bus rides away, and all of the tourist stops like Hollywood Boulevard and Universal Studios are within reach as well.
When I am on campus, I have access to all of LMU’s different amenities. While freshmen are not required to live on campus, there are seven different freshmen dorms, all situated in the same area of campus. After freshman year, you can move into either one of three buildings with suite style living or one of six on-campus apartment buildings, many of which overlook the bluff and the city below. As far as dining options go, LMU has a ton. We have two dining halls, a Pizza Hut, a Starbucks, a Coffee Bean, and a Jamba Juice, among other options. Other amenities include a gymnasium, a lap pool, and a huge library.
LMU is an amazing school with a lot to offer. I would recommend LMU to anyone who wants a plethora of opportunities both on and off campus. This school has facilitated so many wonderful experiences for me and I’m excited to spend three more years here with my new LMU family.