The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Justin is a Boston tutor specializing in all levels of Spanish tutoring. He is a graduate of Tulane University with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Philosophy. Check out his review of 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?
Justin: New Orleans has a strong streetcar / bus system. A car is not essential, but if you want to move around quickly, it definitely helps. Otherwise, if you are not in a huge rush, the streetcar will get you from uptown to the downtown/French Quarter area easily.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Justin: The professors at Tulane are of the highest caliber. All the professors I had were knowledgeable in their subject matter, willing to meet to discuss points of difficulty, kind, and friendly. They have their PhDs, so they are experts in their subject matter. Tulane Professors are definitely worthy of respect.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Justin: Tulane’s location is great – directly across the street from Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans. Dorm life offers a wide array of options – from single rooms with nothing but a desk, a window, a twin bed and some shelves, to the Willow Dormitory, a complex living community of four-room suites with Wi-Fi connections and the most modern facilities. Living on campus for one year is highly recommended so you can meet your core group of friends, but then many people rent apartments / rooms in houses after freshman year.
As for dining options, Bruff Commons has food that is decent, but not great. There is a wide variety, but a lot of it is not that healthy. Obviously, New Orleans is a major city, so there is all the variety that you would find in New York, Chicago, or Boston. You can order to your dorm room/home or head out for pick-up. Personally, I recommend Café Nino’s on South Carrolton Avenue, or the Camilla Grille on the same street. In fact, South Carrollton has a lot of terrific places and it is within a 10-minute walk from campus.
In terms of socialization opportunities on campus – you will never be without a chance to meet your fellow students. Tulane is a very social campus with much opportunity for social events, get-togethers, dinners, clubs, etc. Just put yourself out there and you will be sure to fall in with your group.
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?
Justin: A.B. Freeman School of Business perhaps boasts the largest cadre of majors at Tulane. The Law School is well known for its contribution to the field as is the Medical School. I studied Spanish and Philosophy. Yes, Tulane did a wonderful job supporting my field of study. Out of Tulane, I was able to get a job as a Spanish teacher, get a Master’s Degree from the #3 ranked Spanish Master’s Program in the U.S., and then go on to study at Vanderbilt University’s #1 world-wide ranked PhD program. I was accepted along with six other students in 2007, so I would say that Tulane, as the start of the journey, did more than enough to prepare me.
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?
Justin: Not difficult at all. Your hall-mates will socialize with you. Greek life is there, but it is not essential to have a great group of friends. Some may even say that the additional cost of fraternity/sorority dues is not worth it. I joined a fraternity, but it did not take on a central role in my social life. In fact, I ended up hanging out with people from other fraternities and sticking close to the core group of friends I made freshman year.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Justin: The Career Center is great. Tulane Alumni Services is great. All of them are excellent resources for helping you get started on the career path. Yes, there are several career fairs each year. Tulane is among our nation’s best universities, so you can bet that the top companies set up a booth at the Career Fairs.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Justin: The library is readily available to all students. It was never over-crowded. The student union is terrific. There are coffee shops, food, an information desk, and a book store there as well as multiple tables all over the place to study, socialize, eat, have a coffee, etc.
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?
Justin: Well, Tulane is in New Orleans, LA. There is fun to be had all over. If bars are your thing, there are fancy places and dives all over. If you like night clubs, then maybe the French Quarter is for you. If you want to spend time checking out historical sites, there is no shortage at all as New Orleans has a culturally rich heritage.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Justin: When I was there from 1997-2001, there were approximately 7,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 graduate students. The typical class size was 15-20. I was pleased with this.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Justin: Hands down – Professor Brumfeld’s Russian Art and Architecture class. I needed it for an elective. The man spoke the way great writers write. I have only met one other teacher with his eloquence and delivery. He should write speeches for Presidents. He had the entire class of seniors completely captivated with his descriptions of the iconic art of the 11th-13th century Russia. I got a B on the final exam and was so proud of myself. There was so much information to cover. People studied for it for weeks together. He taught so well that people who had no business studying Russian Architecture were motivated to do the best they could. I will never forget his class.
Check out Justin’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.