DePaul vs. Loyola Chicago for Exercise Science

These two schools seem so similar to me. Both are in Chicago, Catholic, offer the Exercise Science major, about the same size I think. Similar admission rates, similar cost. So how to choose between them? Is anyone here familiar with both schools?

My D22 is already accepted at DePaul with a decent scholarship. She hasn’t applied to Loyola but since I believe it’s a free app, she will probably do so. We haven’t seen either campus (in fact D has never been to Chicago). Assuming she is accepted to both, is there anything we should know if she has to choose between them?

I can give you a bit of information as we have friends who went to both, and their children are currently attending (Loyola parents’ child attending Loyola, DePaul parents’ child attending DePaul).

Both have incredibly loyal and happy alumni. DePaul is located in Lincoln Park, which is an affluent area of the city, residential, fairly central and fairly easy to get to lots of stuff, including the lakeshore.

Loyola located north of the terminus of Lake Shore Drive. It is right near the lake, and also has a metro/el stop practically on its doorstep. It feels like a much more urban area of the city, the residential neighborhoods surrounding Loyola are a lot of apartments, and high-rises. It is closer to Evanston in some ways than to downtown Chicago, but as I said public transportation is quite close and easy to catch.

They each have a very different feel as campuses…I don’t know if you are planning on visiting in person, but if you can visit I would highly recommend doing so.

My friends who have children currently at both colleges are very happy with their children’s experiences. Though the son who started at Loyola last fall (entering class of 2024) did have rough adjustment with advising…it was fairly hands off and 1st semester was a bit overwhelming. He has since bounced back and is doing exceptionally well, and I don’t know if that is the norm (I wasn’t impressed by the advising story I was told), or if that was specific to it being Covid, advising being completely online, and a single less than ideal experience.

Child at DePaul really has loved her experience, she is in the honors program and raves about the opportunities she has gotten the last 3 years.

Loyola is near some good, local eating spots. There is a bit of a Chinatown outpost quite close, as well as some other very good options. Definitely some less gentrified areas close to Loyola as well, but well within what I would consider normal urban parameters.

If you have specific questions, please let me know…hope this was a little bit helpful.

I think Loyola has a hospital and a med school. That might help with exercise science.

Both sons applied. I think they liked DePaul a little better but Loyolas campus is pretty.

We visited both this summer. Going in, Loyola looked better online, but preferred DePaul much more and my S didn’t even end of applying to Loyola. Loyola people were very nice and campus is right on the lake. The admissions person talked about god and religion lots even though they said you didn’t have to be Catholic or religious (we aren’t). It was a self guided tour at Loyola with students stationed at various points on campus. Campus is lakefront and very big and gothic, not particularly warm but impressive. When we walked off campus to find lunch, the neighborhood is not as nice as Lincoln Park near DePaul, not as charming. All in all, after loving the DePaul tour, campus, dorm room mock up, and great vibrant neighborhood around DePaul, he stuck with DePaul. Metro stop on campus for DePaul too and Whole Foods, cute restaurants, and big park. And the vibe was great at DePaul, we saw more diversity on their campus just happening naturally than any other school we toured (he looked at 16 colleges and universities).

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We saw both too this summer. Loyola was much smaller than we thought it would be. D22 loved the Lincoln Park neighborhood and vibe. Not Loyola so much. Ditto the lack of neighborhood at Loyola vs. DePaul. D only applied to DePaul

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Does your child attend DePaul? Would love more insight if so!

@Winky1 @chmcnm @beebee3

Thank you all for your impressions. Yes, we will definitely visit before D has to commit. I am just now realizing that we won’t have many college decisions in before we need to plan our spring break trip. We’ll probably need to visit Chicago, St. Louis, and possibly three schools in New England. And we’re from California, btw. How do people do this?!

Oh, and my concern about DePaul is the shortage of on-campus housing. How hard is it to find off campus housing within easy public transit commute of DePaul?


I start visiting schools with my kids at the end of their sophomore year! That way the trips are sprinkled throughout the next 2 years. I’m a bit of a nut job when it comes to college exploration/test prep/applications/admissions!

My D wouldn’t even talk about college until this past September! As a sophomore I don’t think she had any idea what/where she might be interested in attending! But for the next kid I will be more on the ball.

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Oh, well the first couple school vists are to see if they like the big rural state school, or the little urban school somewhere. That kind of thing. I do like to get the ball rolling, though, so they at least have an idea of what they like. I remember my D22 realizing what a “college town” was as compared to being in a city neighborhood.

Yes, I think it’s a good idea to have D26 tag along on these school visits this spring, so she can get a bit of a head start. I’m sure she’ll think none of this applies to her, but in three years she can look back on her trips to Chicago, St. Louis, or other more rural schools and have at least something to go on…

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Sorry, he stuck with applying to DePaul and was accepted but doesn’t go there. He’s a high school senior. He really liked it though, we both did. There seemed to be plenty of close to campus housing, our tour guide lived in the dorms freshman year, then Covid, and had an apartment with some kids she met in her dorm and it was walking distance to campus. We looked at housing online and seemed like it was fine but our price point may be warped as live in a very HCOL city so Chicago seemed affordable. Housing didn’t seem like a concern at all, the Lincoln Park neighborhood had lots of multi-family nearby without needing transit. We stayed in a hotel in downtown Chicago and loved it. Took the train to DePaul and walked all around Lincoln Park. We did DePaul and Loyola on different days but back to back. I love Chicago! Nonstop flight from our city and used airfare credit from pre-Covid canceled trips and air/credit card miles for a nice hotel. My kid is a foodie so we had some great food too.

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Neither ended up in Chicago. They both liked DePaul though. Seemed like the students were happy at DePaul. My wife also liked DePaul better.


There is tons of housing and transportation on the north side of Chicago, it won’t be an issue.


I can’t speak to DePaul, but my son is a Freshman biochem/premed this year at Loyola and loves it!
One thing we were concerned with was the religious aspect, as we are atheists. He does not find it to be a problem at all. Some students are, most of his friends are not. Even in his Honors101 class, which is a humanities curriculum, they studied texts from multiple religions. It is a non-issue.
Can’t wait to visit DePaul for D23 in March!


As far as the religion goes, Loyola is Jesuit (so part of the same group as the other Loyolas, Georgetown, BC, etc). The focus is on education and service to education. Most find Jesuit colleges very welcoming to all.

Depaul is Vicentian (St. Vincent de Paul) and its mission is service to the poor. Many of the school led activities will focus on that mission. Also very welcoming to all.

As long as your student is respectful of the religion at the school, there is no requirement to join in, attend mass. Just understand that there will be religious activities going on like a Mass for graduation, religious speakers invited to the school from time to time, etc.