The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Katie received her Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and her Master of Education from Auburn University. She is currently a tutor in Austin specializing in Biology tutoring, English tutoring, Life Sciences tutoring, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at Auburn University:
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?
Katie: Auburn University’s campus is pedestrian and bike friendly. There are beautiful green spaces. It is not what I would call an “urban” campus. Tiger Transit is the bus system that transports students all around campus. Students have unlimited access to Tiger Transit because it is included in their tuition fees. Transit stops are located at major areas on campus, as well as at some off-campus locations like various apartment complexes. Parking can be an issue. When I began my time at Auburn University, I lived on campus and was able to park my vehicle pretty easily in the designated areas near the dorms. However, I later moved off-campus, and I found that at certain times of the day, it could be difficult to find a parking spot in certain areas. Depending on how close to campus you live, I would encourage you to ride a bike or walk instead of trying to drive a car every day.
I always felt safe on campus. During my time at Auburn University, I attended classes during the day and at night, and I never had any safety concerns. There are emergency call boxes located in various places on campus in case you feel you need help.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Katie: My professors, advisers, and teaching assistants were usually very helpful whenever I needed assistance or information. Office hours and email addresses would be made available to students. Email is highly used for communication between students and faculty. I usually sent emails if I had any questions.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Katie: During my first year at Auburn University, I lived in a dorm in an area on campus called The Hill. I enjoyed being on campus because there are places to eat close by, as well as places to meet friends. The Hill includes Terrell Dining Hall. There is also a relatively new student center (completed in 2008) built toward the middle of campus with places to eat located on different floors of the building. There are other choices at various places on campus, such as the coffee shop in the library, or you can travel to downtown Auburn (along College Street or Magnolia Avenue) to have your choice of local restaurants and fast food.
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?
Katie: For my undergraduate degree, I was in the College of Sciences & Mathematics, where I majored in Zoology/Conservation Biology. I loved my science classes because many of the labs were hands-on. Many of my biology science labs took us out into the field (local streams, state parks, etc.) to make observations and gather data based on what we were learning in class. I felt supported by several of my professors—Dr. Folkerts, Dr. Lishak, Dr. Boyd, Dr. Guyer, and others. Other majors that were popular were Engineering, Education and Business. I know that Engineering has lots of options like Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering. Many of my friends spoke well about the Engineering programs, but I know they can be difficult.
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?
Katie: I found it easy to meet people and make friends as a freshman. I was not involved at all in Greek life. There are people who are involved in sororities and fraternities at Auburn University, but most people that I knew were not involved. I joined and participated in different clubs on campus like the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association and the Society for Conservation Biology. There are also other events that are held on campus that students can attend that would be good for making friends. My friends and I liked going to Tiger Nights, which are free events for students with activities like caricature artists, laser tag, music, comedy acts, and food.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Katie: I found the Career Center and other services helpful. They would hold job fairs and mock interviews for students. I know they had specific job fairs for Education majors, with various schools from around the state, as well as job fairs for other majors. Students can get help with developing their resumes and cover letters, as well.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Katie: The library, student union, and dorm lounges were easily available in my experience. The library could get a little crowded at peak times, like close to finals, but I could always find a nook to sit in and study. The student union is designed with lots of sitting areas in open spaces, as well as down various hallways.
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?
Katie: The downtown Auburn area is basically on two sides of campus—Magnolia Avenue and College Street. It is very close, just across the street! These streets have restaurants, bookstores, bars, and boutiques. There are other shopping areas a little farther away from campus. The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is also nearby. I only went a few times—once for a film festival event they were hosting and another time when they held a yoga event. If you want to shop at a mall, you would probably want to drive to Auburn Mall or Tiger Town. These have department stores and other mainstream shops.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Katie: I believe the undergraduate student body is usually around 20,000 students. I was generally pleased with my class sizes. The core classes that most students have to take can be pretty large, and they are usually held in auditorium-size rooms. Your major-specific classes tend to be more manageable sizes.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Katie: One of my favorite classes was Conservation Biology with Dr. Boyd. Dr. Boyd would discuss interesting topics, and he would usually try to have at least one funny slide to slip into his presentations. He also had guest lecturers based on different topics we might be learning about. I remember when he had a former student of his, who now works at an animal sanctuary, bring in live animals. It was fun to handle the animals and learn about conservation efforts to help them in their environments.
Check out Katie’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.