I first learned about Loras College from a service group that visited my community every summer (Otway/McDermott, Ohio). Chaperones and students had always worn Loras gear. Then, a couple of years ago, Jan Thyne, one of the service trip organizers from Dubuque, jokingly said I should visit Loras. Although I did not take her advice too seriously, I am glad Jan encouraged me to check it out.
I desired to be a name and a face, not just a number, so I decided to take the next step by seriously considering Loras the summer before my senior year. I stayed with a friend, Emily Jackson (’22), who came on the service trip several years prior and is enrolled at Loras. She showed me around campus and shared her experience. I had this deep sense of comfort and peace that evening—I just knew. The night I returned to Ohio, I reached out to another friend and Loras alumna, Molly Nemmers (’18) and asked her to talk about her experience. She ended up giving me Kyle Klapatauskas (’04) contact information so I would have a resource, and from then on, he was my go-to.
I grew fonder of Loras during my senior year as I met more faculty and students. I can’t emphasize enough how much my Loras connections influenced my decision to visit and eventually apply. If I did not know Jan, I never would have signed up for a visit. If I did not know Emily, I never would have felt that “aha moment.” If I had not met or stayed in contact with people like Sarah Mockler (’20) or Molly, I never would have asked specific questions or applied for the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program. The list goes on and on. These examples show how much my connections influenced my decision to move ten hours away from the only home and community I have ever known and love to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa… of all places!
The student referral program is a valuable tool for admission and the college search because real people want real stories and authentic experiences. Students want to feel a sense of comfort while relating to the people on campus. It is a complex process to pick the school where you want to learn, explore, mature, and thrive for the next four-plus years. But when you feel like you can relate to someone just by hearing about their experience, you don’t feel so alone anymore. I can’t wait to start returning the favor as I meet potential Duhawks. I’m so proud to be part of the Loras community!