The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Matthew is an Orlando tutor and 2016 graduate of Florida State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance and tutors several subjects, including algebra tutoring, economics tutoring, and writing tutoring. Check out what Matthew had to say about his time at Florida State University:
Describe the campus setting and transportation options.
Matthew: Florida State University had the public transportation options that one would expect from an urban campus. I was able to take advantage of the university-operated bus system, which took students across campus and to certain apartment communities. I was also able to take advantage of the municipal bus system, which visited other apartment communities and some shopping centers. I felt safe on campus, due in large part to certain university-operated safety features such as Safe Ride—a shuttle service that would pick up students anywhere on campus if they ever felt unsafe while walking at night. Although a car is not at all necessary for attending class, it may be helpful for securing off-campus employment, since many of the nearby job opportunities exist in the surrounding suburbs, which do not have public transportation services.
How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at Florida State University?
Matthew: Since Florida State University is a large, public university, it is often difficult to get one-on-one attention in popular classes, which may have hundreds of students. This is especially true of online classes. In fact, for one of my accounting courses which was only offered online, I needed to provide my professor with more than three weeks of lead time before securing a thirty-minute appointment to review a previous exam. However, it is not impossible to form relationships with professors, especially through school-sponsored organizations. Academic advisers can be just as busy during certain times of the year, and, even if they are available, their advice is extremely depersonalized due to their large work load. Students are largely on their own when it comes to course selection. As with professor availability, there are exceptions to this—I was in the honors program, which provided me with additional advising opportunities, and I found them much more useful than general advising. I don't recall having difficulty scheduling appointments with teaching assistants, but many classes do not have them.
How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Matthew: Florida State University offers a great social experience. I believe that all dorms are suite-style, which means that students do not have to suffer through community restrooms. There were plenty of dining halls, and they were open when I needed them. For students who know they want to become involved in Greek life, they will have no difficulty finding opportunities to do so.
Which majors/programs are best represented and supported at Florida State University?
Matthew: I felt as though Florida State University had great liberal arts programs, and many of my friends were involved with theatre or music. In the College of Business, it seemed as though the risk management and insurance program, the professional selling program, and the accounting program received a great deal of support and had great job placements. I studied economics and finance, due to my interest in transactional law. I felt supported in my areas of study. I felt most supported through advisers with whom I was connected through my extracurricular involvement.
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?
Matthew: I did not have difficulty making friends at Florida State University. Housing does a great job of facilitating interaction among students in the residence halls, and I made friends with many of the people who lived on my floor. I was also involved with several extracurricular organizations, including a Greek organization. Greek life is prevalent at Florida State University, and students have plenty of opportunities to engage with campus through their fraternity or sorority.
How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?
Matthew: The Career Center does a great job, not only helping students find employment, but also helping students get the most out of their Florida State University experience. I worked closely with an Associate Director at the Career Center for much of my experience at Florida State University, who helped me secure a Fortune 100 Internship for the summer of my freshman year (among other opportunities). Reputable companies recruit through the Seminole Futures Career Fair, and I had many friends land top internships early on. However, it seemed as though the recruiters pulled from specific colleges and specific majors from within each college.
How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges at Florida State University?
Matthew: There are several libraries on campus, which have great, newly renovated study areas. However, they are extremely crowded, and it is often difficult to find a place to sit, let alone a space at a computer. If I did not have access to a printer and desktop computer at my apartment complex, I would have missed deadlines on several occasions. This is important to note before coming to Florida State University: one cannot depend on finding space at the library to study or print, especially during midterms and finals week.
Describe the surrounding town.
Matthew: Students are essentially limited to campus and the surrounding area for access to entertainment and social venues, which are limited compared to other areas of Florida. The only big-name entertainment that comes to the city is arranged by the university around Homecoming, so do not count on being able to go to a stadium concert more than once a semester, if that. However, the university does bring in notable classical artists on a somewhat regular basis.
How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Matthew: The student body is large. Last I checked, the population, including graduate students, was around 60,000. I was displeased with the typical class size, which often filled auditoriums. However, most of my upper-division classes were delivered in a more personal environment.
Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Matthew: I greatly enjoyed a business law course which I took during my sophomore year. I was lucky enough to be in an in-person section—I was one of thirty in-person students, and I believe there were more than 300 online students. I met with my professor during office hours multiple times throughout the semester, and the professor was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation for a summer program later on.
Check out Matthew’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.