Q&A with Jennifer West, International Admissions Counselor, Loyola Marymount University.

Can you provide an overview about LMU and why international students should consider attending LMU?

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a Catholic University founded on the Catholic Jesuit and Marymount traditions of liberal education: academic excellence, the formation of the whole person, and the promotion of justice. Established in 1911, LMU is a highly regarded, comprehensive university with an atmosphere more like that of a small college.

Consistently ranked among the best universities of its kind by U.S. News & World Report, LMU balances a challenging liberal arts and sciences curriculum with outstanding professional programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

LMU is committed to educating tomorrow’s leaders and you can expect to find outstanding faculty and staff members. With a student-faculty ratio of 11:1 and average class size of 21 students, you’ll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with your professors and ensure your quality of education.

As a Catholic university, LMU is deeply committed to social justice and ethical values and welcomes students from all spiritual, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to our stunning campus in the heart of Southern California.

The location of Loyola Marymount University is considered almost perfect considering the proximity to the beach as well as major venues of interest. There are not many universities who can offer ocean-view dorms as well as perfect weather, and by choosing LMU we can offer that plus so much more.

What are Top programs at LMU for international students?

Some of the most popular majors for international students at LMU exist within our College of Business Administration, Seaver College of Science and Engineering, and our School of Film & Television.

In particular, many international students are drawn to our undergraduate Entrepreneurship major which is ranked #11 in the nation by BusinessWeek, 2011.

Also, many international students aim at receiving top engineering degrees which LMU also offers. In particular, our undergraduate engineering programs, which include Mechanical, Electrical and Civil engineering are ranked 30th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, 2012.

Lastly, our School of Film & Television was ranked 18th in the world by The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, also making programs within this school, such as Film Production and Animation, incredibly popular.

Can you provide some insights into admission process for International Students (Average Test Scores, Admission Essay, etc)?

The admission process for International applicants consists of the following five parts:

1. The Common Application & LMU Supplement Form

At LMU we value the education of the whole person, meaning that the information students provide on the common application and supplement form is incredibly important into the overall review of the student’s application. We like to know what students are passionate about outside of their academic pursuits and enjoy reading essays which demonstrate student’s unique experiences and diverse perspectives.

2. Official High School Transcripts:

We review all of the student’s grades from 9th, 10th, 11th and the beginning of the 12th grade year. We not only pay attention to how the student performed on exams, but also how their grades are throughout the year, as well.

We also aim to make sure that students are excelling in the academic area in which they wish to study.

For example, if a student applies to LMU’s Electrical Engineering program, then we would pay close attention to their marks in Science and Math.

3. Official SAT or ACT scores:

We require an SAT or ACT of all applicants, including international students. LMU’s average SAT score is approximately 1820 (600 Critical Reading, 620 Math, 600 Writing).

4. Proof of English Proficiency:

It is also required that students applying from India submit a TOEFL or IELTS score in order to prove their English proficiency. Our minimum required scores are TOEFL: 80 iBT and IELTS: 6.5.

5. Letter of Recommendation(s)

LMU requires at least one letter of recommendation from an academic source. It is important that students find a teacher or counselor at their current school who can talk about certain intangible qualities about the student that are not effident on the student’s transcript. For example, the letter of recommendation should address the student’s work ethic, motiviation, and overall character.

What can student do to improve your admission chances?

A few tips I would give an international student when completeing the application process to LMU would be:

1. Quality over Quantity.

Many international students want to know whether or not they are doing the right extracurricular activities to help them get them into college. My advice would be to choose quality versus quantity.

At LMU, when the Committee on Admission reviews applications, because we believe in the education of the whole person, we are looking for students who are not only going to come to our campus and do wonderfully academically but also who are going to act as leaders within the student community.

Therefore, we tend to prefer students who have chosen extracurricular activities that are meaningful and which they are passionate about, rather than joining a long list of activities only just to fill in a resume.

It is less important how many activities you have done but instead the value of the things you’ve done and what you’ve learned from your experiences.

2. Follow the Guidelines

If an application requests that you answer a question in a specific amount of words, I highly recommend that you stay within that boundary.

For one, many of the new electronic applications will actually cut off student responses if they exceed the word or character limit.

What’s more, many colleges may also see this as a valuable exercise, the ability to say what you want in a way that is both meaningful and succinct, and therefore may look poorly upon an applicant who doesn’t abide by the length requirement.

Do you have any suggestions for students on how to prepare for Linden fair?

Do research on the schools attending prior to the fair. Come prepared with specific questions. Ask reps questions that will help you get a better idea of whether or not that university is a good fit for you.

For example, if you know you are interested in receiving academic scholarship, ask specific questions about how you can become an eligible candidate for scholarship and look for universities where your academic profile is at or above the average of that of the institution’s. Even if you have never heard of the school, check out the table anyway!

There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the US to apply to so students should keep their options open.

In brief, can you describe your previous linden tour experience?

I have traveled with Linden as a representative of LMU on several tours both in Latin American and India. Within India, I have traveled with Linden to cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Pune.

The tours are an excellent experience as they provide a unique opportunity for representatives from US universities to connect directly with Indian students.

The tour includes visits to top international and local high schools in the major cities across India, as well as large public university fairs which are open to prospective students of all levels.

The US universities which participate in Linden Tours are always of very high quality and are dedicated to assisting international students in the process of applying and eventually enrolling in a university or college in the US.