The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Elizabeth is a Portland tutor specializing in English tutoring, essay editing tutoring, SAT Writing tutoring, and a number of other areas. She is currently a senior at Oregon State University majoring in English Literature. See what she had to share about Oregon State University:
Describe the campus setting and transportation options.
Elizabeth: The Oregon State University campus is located in Corvallis, Oregon, a relatively small town off Highway 5. The campus is somewhat urban—it’s only about a 15-minute walk from campus to downtown—but it still feels secluded when you’re nestled on its 422 acres. Oregon State University owns a lot of the surrounding land around campus, so there are always peaceful places to take walks and enjoy nature. Campus is extremely safe, day or night, and there are free buses that will take you all over campus.There is also a van service called Safe Ride that will take you from many places off-campus back to your dorm or apartment.
How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at Oregon State University?
Elizabeth: I’m really lucky with my major and my college, because liberal arts isn’t one of Oregon State University’s most popular fields. However, that just means more attention from incredible professors and advisers. I’ve been able to create close bonds with my favorite professors, something that many of my friends in liberal arts majors at other schools have never experienced. I have also taken many classes outside my major, and all of the professors and teaching assistants that I have had have been incredibly engaging and helpful.
How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Elizabeth: Oregon State University mandates that all first-year students live on campus, which makes it incredibly easy to meet new friends. There are countless events held to allow first-years to bond and get to know campus and school resources. There are 13 dorms spread all over campus, and in all honesty, some are in better shape than others. The resident assistants are great, and they go through extensive training to prepare them to be great mentors for first-year students. The dining options on campus are varied, and getting better all the time. There are plenty of dietary options, and the people in charge are always happy to accommodate your dietary needs.
Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?
Elizabeth: Engineering and agricultural majors are best represented and supported at Oregon State University. However, Corvallis has been rated one of the most environmentally friendly towns in the United States, and Oregon State University has several LEED-certified buildings, and all of these factors have contributed to a strong environmental science major. I am finishing my degree in English literature, and I was always supported by excellent faculty and resources. While Oregon State University may not be known for English, I have had some of the most talented authors and scholars as instructors, which goes to show just how excellent even the smaller departments are at Oregon State University.
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 at Oregon State University?
Elizabeth: It is impossible not to meet people as a freshman at Oregon State University—most of your classes will be for first-year students, most of your residence hall will be made up of first-year students, and there are always events going on all over campus. Making friends is ultimately up to you, but there are countless opportunities to do so. Greek life is definitely present on campus. We have lots of sororities and fraternities that conduct events on campus and off, but they are certainly not the focus of social life. If Greek life appeals to you, there will definitely be a place for you at one of the houses. If Greek life isn’t your thing, you will still be able to make amazing friends and enjoy your time at Oregon State University.
How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?
Elizabeth: The student support services at Oregon State University, from the Career Center to student health, are incredibly helpful and always available for students. It’s really simple to get an on-campus job if you’re interested, and there are countless resources for careers after graduation. Oregon State University holds multiple career fairs per year, attended by companies like Boeing, Intel, and Oregon State Credit Union. There are also many different internship opportunities through Oregon State University that could take you anywhere in the world you’d like to go.
How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?
Elizabeth: You will always find a quiet place to study at Oregon State University. Though the library may get crowded during finals week, you can always find a spot in the historic Memorial Union, your residence hall lounge, an empty classroom on campus, or a cute coffee shop off-campus. Before and after finals, there is ample room in all six floors of our state-of-the-art library. There will always be room for you at Oregon State University.
Describe the surrounding town.
Elizabeth: Corvallis is a small, artsy town with an engaged community. There are lots of great riverfront spots, breweries, theaters, hiking trails, farmers’ markets, and events available throughout the year. Downtown Corvallis is beautiful and quirky, so people do tend to spend a lot of time there, but there are also areas of Corvallis with more practical spots like Home Depot, Winco, and Trader Joe’s. There are definitely times when the rain seems unforgiving, but during those weeks, it’s best to get out of the Oregon State University/Corvallis bubble and head up to Portland (about an hour and 20 minutes away) or down to Eugene (about 40 minutes away) to get a new perspective.
How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes at Oregon State University?
Elizabeth: Oregon State University has about 30,000 students, but many of them are graduate and ecampus students. Campus never really feels crowded. Some low-level classes can feel cramped, like the health or biology classes that most first-year students have to take, but they are also great bonding experiences for freshmen. It’s easy to meet friends in classes like that. I know that some larger departments (like engineering) do have bigger class sizes, but most liberal arts classes are small and very personal. I loved my class sizes, because I felt that I got a great combination of the more typical “college experience” with auditorium-style classes, while also being able to regularly enjoy 15-person English classes.
Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Elizabeth: I had the chance to take a class about Gothic literature with one of the best and most engaging professors in my department. The class was relatively large for an English class (around 30 people) but everyone in the class was truly excited about the material. We got the chance to examine texts like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde while discussing the ways in which the once-cutting-edge texts have changed over the years. We ended on a modern novel—Slade House by David Mitchell—and examined the ways in which Gothic literature has shaped our culture. This class was incredibly fun, and I was so engaged that I wrote some of the critical analyses that I am most proud of and intend to use when I apply to graduate school.
Check out Elizabeth’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.