Phoenix 101: Taking Advantage of Loyola’s Academic Resources

Courtesy of Loyola University ChicagoTutors at The Writing Center are available to help students proofread and edit assignments and essays by appointment.

From proofreading assignments to finding trustworthy sources for class essays, being a college student can be tough.

Luckily, there are faculty members at Loyola whose jobs are to help students navigate everything that takes place outside of the classroom, whether that’s helping find sources in the library or editing the bibliography they’re cited in. 

The Phoenix shares how to find and use some of the different resources Loyola offers students across campus.

Where can I go if I’m having trouble with a paper?

The Writing Center — located on the second floor of the Loyola Information Commons (IC) at the Lake Shore Campus and the eighth floor of Corboy Law Center at the Water Tower Campus — has tutors who can help edit essays and other writing assignments, according to Loyola’s website.

To use The Writing Center, students need to set up an appointment online. Appointments can be set up for a half-hour for short assignments or a full hour for longer assignments.

Teagan Balmer, a sophomore studying psychology, said going to The Writing Center improved a class grade.

“I thought The Writing Center was helpful,” Balmer, 19, said. “It was cool to get the feedback from someone with experience and they helped me shape my paper.”

The Writing Center also offers assistance for students who speak English as a second language, according to Loyola’s website. Some tutors have experience in language teaching and can practice conversational English with students who make appointments with them.   

Who can help me find what I’m looking for in the library?

Students can visit the general research desks at the IC and Water Tower Campus’ Lewis Library to get help accessing resources in the library, talking through a research project or even choosing a topic.

For more specific help, students can contact a research guide at Loyola, who work as experts in a certain subject or program. Research guides help students find books, websites, journals and other scholarly sources for any topic.

Research guides also provide tips and instructions for how to effectively use the library’s databases and research tools, according to Loyola’s website.

Niamh McGuigan, the head of reference services, said one of the common misconceptions students have about the research desk is they can only visit it as a last resort. She said librarians can help students at any point in the research process. 

“One thing we try to stress is the reason the university hires librarians is that research is hard and you need trained people to help you do it,” McGuigan said. “If you didn’t need help, they wouldn’t hire me.”

Katherine Paterson, a civic engagement librarian and research guide, said it can be hard for students to find what they need in the library without guidance. She said a major part of her job is just talking through the research process with students.

“If you talk to someone about it, you’re going to have a lot more clarity than if you sit in your dorm room and do it alone,” Paterson said.

McGuigan emphasized students shouldn’t feel like they’re interrupting or bothering librarians with their questions because those at the desk are waiting for students to help. Paterson also emphasized research guides’ eagerness to help students navigate the library.

“We really are just here waiting for students and faculty to come get in touch with us,” Paterson said.

To make an appointment with a research guide, students can visit Loyola’s library’s website, which has contact information for research guides. Students can also ask questions via email or the library’s 24-hour online chat.

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