Is Loyola Maryland as conservative as Niche says?

Niche ranks Loyola MD as #71 of most conservative colleges. I don’t know much about it and we didn’t get a chance to visit but that seems extreme. (Loyola Chicago by contrast is #87 most liberal).

Loyola MD was the only application my son submitted that asked for your pronouns for example. Good sign for a catholic school that it’s maybe not one of the most conservative colleges in the country.

Thoughts, experience there?

1 Like

I don’t have specific experience, but the Jesuit culture and philosophy of any Jesuit school would move it away from super “conservative” in my experience and knowledge. Jesuit philosophy is rather liberal and accepting, more so than a Catholic college.

My son applied to Loyola MD and while we also didn’t visit (it was a bit down on his list, not for any particular reason), I never came across info about it being strongly conservative. We did visit Loyola Chicago, twice, and also didn’t get a strongly liberal vibe there. So I would take those Niche rankings with a grain of salt. Especially since it has placed these two Jesuit schools on opposite sides of the conservative/liberal spectrum.

2 Likes

My husband and I are both Loyola Maryland alums. And our S21 has applied EA. Loyola Maryland is his top choice. We are trying to be all chill about that. Really. I swear. :innocent:

First, to clarify what @TS0104 said above, Jesuit colleges are Catholic colleges. Jesuits are an order of Catholic priests who have historically focused on service and education. The current pope is a Jesuit (the first one from the order to be pope) and he is causing a bit of controversy by expressing what some more conservative Catholics consider to be “liberal” views.

The thing about Catholic colleges (even the more liberal Jesuit ones) is that they often attract Catholic-identifying students, who can be on all points of the liberal/conservative scale. So you often have a mix of viewpoints on campus. Perhaps this is where the conservative thing comes from.

Jesuit schools all hold the same values and mission. However, Loyola Chicago is also significantly larger than Loyola Maryland and in a much larger city. But we’re talking about Niche. So, I wouldn’t really worry about it.

6 Likes

Good luck to your son making the right decision :joy:
I totally get the draw for Catholic kids, and my son is completely happy with a religiously oriented school, he prefers a mix of ideas rather than being surrounded by people who think just like him (I mean no one does!) so long as the culture is truly inclusive and lefties are not a secret enclave hiding in the basements. No other Jesuit school on the coasts seem to be even ON the list of most conservative so it struck me.
Then the contrast of the application asking for his pronouns (which he appreciated) made wonder what was up.
We’ll see what happens, what are your favorite things about Loyola MD? If he’s not a partying jock (quirky music loving dreamer with an analytic edge for spice) will he find his people?

Back in the day, I specifically looked at smaller schools that didn’t have football teams or greek life. But I didn’t mind a little preppy around me even though I wore combat boots. Loyola Maryland was a great fit and on the Amtrak line, about four hours from my New England hometown.

It has it’s share of jocks. Lacrosse is big in Maryland. And Loyola Maryland is a big lax school. The annual game against Hopkins is an event. There was definitely partying and bar hopping back in my day, as would be expected with an urban college. Assuming it is still the same now. But there are all sorts of students with all sorts of interests. The non-partiers can find other non-partiers to hang with.

That’s the great thing about going to college in a smaller city like Baltimore. There is so much to do on and off campus but it feels manageable. Non-partiers have the city at their beck and call. And can find other people to join them in exploring. The city is just as much part of the campus.

One cool thing that exists now that didn’t back in my day is that there is a free bus service that runs between Loyola, Hopkins, Towson U, Goucher, and the train station. Although, Loyola and Hopkins are within walking distance of each other. We went to a lot of events and concerts at Hopkins. And the other schools actually.

Anyway, my son is a runner who does cross country and track. He’s also currently in AP art, loves to write, and lives for music. So an artsy kid who runs. Not exactly a lax jock. But he does feel that Loyola would be the right fit for him. He did attend an open house last November. He really liked the campus (it’s a traditional campus with a grassy quad in a city), the size, and the major sessions he sat in on. Lots of students were milling about and he felt like he would fit in.

And for the record, we do not push our beloved alma mater on our kids. Our older son applied and got in. But is currently at Penn State. LOL!

4 Likes

I realize this is too late for the original OP but future prospective students may find it helpful. My child started the fall before Covid hit and a year before the election. I would say we are liberal socially and moderate fiscally. Both parents attended a different Jesuit college and we expected a similarly open-minded population. When Child started, there was a definite tilt to conservatism, and moreso than my alma mater, but they could all get along. After Covid and the 2020 election, it became very polarized. Between the Covid restrictions and the polarization, Child became very isolated. We are looking at a transfer out of Loyola. I don’t think this would have happened in a pre-Covid world. I think the University is open-minded and progressive, but the student population is not. As a parent, similar experience on the parent FB group.

6 Likes

Hi, I realize this is many months following your post, but I only just found it. I’ve been accepted for class of '26 and am very excited. I’m from California, so by definition, more liberal leaning. How did things end up with your student? Did they transfer?

Now that it has all settled out, I can be more specific. Yes, my son transferred. He begins anew in the spring semester because he made his decision too late to transfer for fall. He was a top academic applicant and an honors student with the largest academic scholarship they offered his year ($30k). Trust me, this was not something he/we walked away from easily. He had to choose a state school because we don’t have an extra $30k a year to make up the difference. He is moving to a much larger flagship state university, where there will be a much broader student body.

Anything I say is not a knock on the school. I think they did the best they could under the circumstances with Covid. We are from a NY metropolitan suburb. A conservative-leaning suburb in a liberal-leaning state. Coincidentally, I recently relocated to an area quite close to Loyola, so I am very familiar with the state of things in Baltimore (I love it here). We are pro-vax and, again, socially liberal.

When covid hit, he spent a semester and a half off-campus and then returned to campus, but was in a dorm with very few students his school year because he got a bad number in the lottery. Due to covid, he was unable to visit any friends in the other dorms and was mostly alone even though they were technically back on campus. Sometimes he was able to eat with friends- they weren’t really strict about meal time. They had each class in-person once a week or not at all. He said it was the worst of both worlds. All of this played a big part in his choice to leave. But not all of it - a lot of it had to do with his feeling like he didn’t fit in, and didn’t want to.

The Loyola student population is MUCH more conservative than the Jesuit tradition. (Again, I’m Jesuit educated myself so I know what I’m talking about.) We knew going in that we were taking a chance with the decision, but he really liked the sound of the honors program, the Baltimore setting and the small student body/campus. It fit where he was at the time. He was very happy the first semester and a half until campus shut down. He’s not a jock or a partier (as mentioned above jocks and partiers make up a large share of the student body), but is very easy-going and made a lot of friends. I visited him in the fall of his first year and everywhere we went people called out to him by name. By the end, he only had one person who he thinks he might stay in contact with. A minority gay/lesbian student who is also a fish out of water.

Loyola boasts about their mid-career salaries. My son says this is not because the education is so amazing (it’s good but it’s not Ivy league), it’s because so many of the students come from well-to-do families with connections. Families that tend to be more “fiscally conservative”. And then throw in Catholic conservatism.

3 Likes

I accidentally posted before I finished.

Only you know yourself. But you are looking at travelling a long distance to spend a huge amount of money a place that you are already questioning. Loyola is a good school for the right person. Make sure you are that person.

2 Likes

What exactly was it that made your son go from having many friends to only one that he sees himself talking to? Was there disagreements about politics between students or just more of an exclusion kind of thing. Interested in Loyola but worried about it’s cliqueyness.

One thing about Baltimore is that when someone asks where you went to school, they mean high school. There are quite a few catholic high schools in the area and students form tight bonds that last forever. My brothers went to schools (one public, one catholic(not Jesuit) and they are 60 years old, haven’t live in Baltimore for 40+ years, and are still close friends with their hs friends. Lacrosse is also very big and for those who want to stay in MD and aren’t good enough for Hopkins or UMd, Loyola is a good alternative (and in the last few years has been very good). Those kids aren’t necessarily choosing a school for it being Jesuit or great academically, but for being close to home and having a good lax team. With that comes their catholic high school views.

It is in a very nice part of Baltimore. Close to JHU, close to the Cathedral, close to some gorgeous homes, country clubs, and private schools.

1 Like

I don’t think he was excluded by others. I know that up until they were sent home, he ate dinner with a group that was made up largely of his honors group friends and that they had spirited discussions over these dinners. That connection ended when they were no longer on campus. I think that the political/covid/religious polarization became more obvious and that he intentionally separated himself from some of it, ultimately realizing that this population wasn’t right for him. (Again, housing issues mentioned in my previous post played a big part of his feeling alone.) Straight up – if you are white, upper middle class/wealthy, Catholic, an average to above average student, into sports and partying, and are looking for a student body that looks just like you, you will probably be very happy at LUM.

We are white, UMC, lapsed-Catholic/atheist. I thought, based on my Jesuit experience, that the religion thing wouldn’t matter, but it plays a different role here. Academically, I don’t think there were enough students at his level to find other friends when things changed. When everything went online, clubs did the same. It wasn’t fun to attend a club online, let alone after doing all classes online. And of course intramurals were shut down, and that further eliminated any chance to meet people outside of academics. His high school was very racially/ethnically diverse and highly academically challenging. There is very little diversity at Loyola and very few students came from a similar academic background. Looking back, I can’t see him making a different decision. It was the right choice at the time but times have changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and we have to adapt.

I think Loyola is a good school, that it is well-run, well-maintained (aside from some old dorms), and the professors want the students to succeed. I think that the university wants to be more open and diverse but that the student body reverts to the mean. I think that prospective students who don’t fit the standard profile are attracted to Loyola-the-school (location/academics/etc.) but ultimately choose another college because they are concerned about the exact social factors we are discussing in this thread.

And to add a fresh perspective – when we were making the decision where he would attend, I met someone who had graduated about 20 years ago. She had similar things to say about the white/wealthy/average student/party population, excepting students who were in the hard sciences (which my son is). My impression was that I don’t think she fit in well or was particularly happy at Loyola.

To sum up – carefully evaluate who you are and what you are looking for in a student body. There’s no judgement here. I’m just offering up my opinions/impressions based on our experience over the past few years so you can make your best decision.

2 Likes

Old post(2020). Closing.