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First-Year Experience

Be welcomed, be grounded, be confident, be inspired, be yourself, belong—from day one. 

To support your transition to college life and learning, you’ll be enrolled in Loyola’s first-year program, Messina. This is a year-long program specifically designed for first-year students to create lasting friendships, develop relationships with a student leader, called an Evergreen, as well as with faculty and administrators, and explore your passions and discover your potential. Within the program you will delve deeper into the intellectual, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of life at Loyola and in Baltimore.

Our Messina program supports and enhances a vibrant campus climate that engages students, faculty, administrators, and the broader community in distinct and meaningful ways—with an emphasis on academic excellence and intellectual inquiry. 

Students pose for a picture in front of a wall covered in bright graffitiStudents looking at objects in a museum

Through Messina, you will:

  • Connect with 15-16 other classmates in two themed seminar classes just for first-year students
  • Live in proximity to these same classmates, making it easy to study and socialize with familiar faces
  • Learn skills and identify resources to help you manage everything from your workload to your mental health
  • Make meaningful relationships with your faculty advisor and Messina mentor
  • Discover how to navigate your way around campus
  • Benefit from the knowledge and experience of an experienced student mentor, called an Evergreen
  • Explore, learn about, and find inspiration in the City of Baltimore
  • Participate in out-of-class excursions organized by your professors and Messina mentors
  • Forge a clear path to success at Loyola—and in your life and career that will follow


Themes and Course Pairings

Each Messina course pairing is keyed toward an interdisciplinary theme that will allow students to make connections across the two courses and beyond, through course enrichment sessions.  
We invite you to explore the different themes:

Messina allowed me to grow and explore my first year. As I was preparing to leave for college, I was really stressed about those first few weeks where no know really knows each other... Messina completely crushed those fears, and I found friends who showed me unconditional love and support. I found professors who supported me through my academic highs and lows. While not every moment of my first year was perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being from Puerto Rico, and having no family near Loyola, the jump was definitely intimidating, and I was scared I wasn’t going to like it here or that I wouldn’t find my people. Loyola worked hard to make sure that wasn’t the case for me. Through my Messina program, I was able to find that built-in support system from my first night on campus. Loyola’s support systems make it so that you don’t have to ever feel alone in your process.
I found an amazing support system at Loyola that quickly made it feel like home. My experience with Messina was exceptional. I formed strong connections with a wonderful group of people who I instantly clicked with. My Messina mentor even guided me through the process of switching my major to something that truly interested me. Above all, what I cherish most about the Loyola experience is the sense of community. There are countless opportunities for involvement and acceptance on this campus, creating a supportive environment for all students.