The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Hayden is a Tucson tutor specializing in MCAT prep tutoring, Biology tutoring, Chemistry tutoring, and more. He is a 2013 graduate of The University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. See what he had to say about his alma mater:
VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?
Hayden: The University of Arizona is a campus that takes great pride in allowing students to have multiple methods for traveling around campus. During my undergraduate years, I was able to get around campus using both a bike and a skateboard. The sidewalks and roads were recently paved, so I felt welcomed to the campus knowing that our tuition dollars were going toward safe roads. In addition to the slower ways to get around, there are also plenty of parking garages and parking lots for people interested in driving their car to school.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Hayden: I had a wonderful experience with the professors and advisors at U of A. Professors hold office hours every week, and are willing to help you well past their scheduled hours if needed. Advisors are also quick to respond to questions through email, and have hours every day for students to schedule appointments. In classes that have a large amount of students, teaching assistants are also available to help students with any questions when the professor is unavailable.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Hayden: Dorms are located centrally at the university. This allows students living on campus to be able to access all of the amenities available by only walking a short distance. The food options for students are constantly changing, and the campus really displays the opinions that students provide in feedback. The central mall also allows for a variety of activities such as frisbee, running, football, and dog-walking.
VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?
Hayden: The University of Arizona is centered around scientific research. There are a variety of buildings and research facilities dedicated to scientific pursuits such as Chemistry, Biology, and Ecology. My undergraduate major was Evolutionary and Ecology Biology with a focus on Biomedical Sciences, and a minor in Chemistry. I chose this major because it gave me a great background on scientific research concepts and also gave me a great deal of medical knowledge. Because I had a scientific major and minor, the university had plenty of resources for me to receive a worthwhile degree in my field. In addition, the dorms for scientific students on campus are located right next to the Science and Engineering Library in the mall. This huge library has a multitude of resources for any scientific field you could wish to study. I highly recommend U of A for students interested in pursuing scientific degrees.
VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?
Hayden: Dorm life is a wonderful way to meet new people who share the same common interests as you. In addition, the Greek life approach is all over the campus if you are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority. Overall, there is a multitude of ways that a student at the university can become involved, such as clubs and gatherings. It is a very social campus that feels very welcoming and inviting to all newcomers.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Hayden: I was able to join the Career Center online after graduating. They quickly provided me with a large amount of jobs that may interest me. In addition to the Career Center, many companies will showcase available job opportunities on campus. If you want to earn a little money while going to college, I highly recommend considering the Career Center. They will point you in the right direction.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Hayden: There are two libraries on campus right near the mall, a massive student union, and countless secluded places on campus to rest and read a book or study notes. The University of Arizona is very spacious, which provides a great deal of solitude, even when outside! Also, every dorm on campus has a variety of secluded areas where students can meet up and study using large meeting tables and white boards. You will have no problem finding a quiet place to study on campus.
VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?
Hayden: The university is surrounded by Mexican culture because of its proximity to the Mexican border. As a result, there are wonderful restaurants and museums that incorporate the Mexican influence in the area. Since we are located in the Southwest, there is also a large emphasis on desert environments, which is a big theme on campus. The campus is right next to 4th Avenue: a long strip of bars and restaurants that can appeal to any student’s interests. Events also take place on campus all throughout the week, so there is never a dull moment near the campus. I would say the majority of students preferred to stay near campus on the weekends.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Hayden: The University of Arizona has a very large student population. We are certainly not jam-packed, but during the day, you better be alert when riding your bike! Otherwise, you may take someone out. Because of the large student body, many courses have a very large group of students in the classroom. I will say that I am biased to this question because I am an introvert; I tend to prefer very open and hands-off learning environments. I enjoyed learning at this school since many of my classes took place in large rooms, even auditoriums. The basic classes you take at the university will be held in large classrooms in order to accommodate the large amount of students taking the course. They are very straightforward and do not require a large amount of personal interaction with others. However, there are countless courses that allow students to have personal interactions with both the professor and students in the class. If you are looking to interact with others, you should not have too much trouble finding courses that allow you to interact with other students in the class on a daily basis.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Hayden: My favorite class that I took in my undergraduate years was an introductory Pathology class. In addition to learning a great deal about disease and the body, we were also able to dissect and examine actual diseased organs. Since my professor was a part of the veterinary pathology labs on campus, we were able to see a great deal of bizarre and unusual cases. Combine this with the fact that he loved to show diseases which had a tendency to smell awful, and you were dealing with a class where not many people chose to bring food. Regardless of the stench some days, this class really introduced me to the interactive, medical learning environment that I have always dreamed of experiencing. If you are a student pursuing medical endeavors, you owe it to yourself to try Mechanisms of Disease.
Check out Hayden’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.