The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at University of Central Florida and is earning her master’s degree in secondary education at Grand Canyon University. She lives in Orlando and specializes in French tutoring, history tutoring, geography tutoring, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at University of Central Florida:
Describe the campus setting and transportation options at University of Central Florida.
Lisa: The campus is covered in greenery and landscaping with a magnificent fountain and has a city-wide shuttle connected to all of the university housing. It runs on 15-minute routes. On campus there are more than 50 food vendors to choose from, including a Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks! You can also purchase any of your student supplies or grocery needs in the Breezeway shopping street. Biking is also a valid option because of the accommodating pathways off and on campus with many available bike racks. The campus is an urban city scape with its own patrol and Orange County Police Department right on campus! That being said, watch out, because you will get city code-enforced tickets for parking or driving infractions; also, don’t jaywalk! Another safety measure is emergency polls throughout the campus; just push the button – the response time is under 90 seconds.
How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Lisa: I rarely had teaching assistants in my classes at University of Central Florida. Although we are the second largest school in the country by students, only a few core classes are in an auditorium of 100-300 students. The program classes have anywhere from 12-40 students. So, there is no major need for a teaching assistant. However, the professors are friendly and wait after class for a brief time so you can talk to them. They have office hours throughout the week and have an open door policy. The academic advisors are also available five days a week, full-time, with an open door policy.
How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Lisa: Dorm life is a great way to feel home at University of Central Florida. We have brand new dorm facilities that are very posh, like living in NY or LA. There are eateries, shopping and cafes below the housing, but there is so much more! A Resident Assistant is living on each floor and takes care of all the students. There are so many events year-round to socialize. There is a carnival, a grand student hall with many ballrooms, a campus activity board with hundreds of clubs and events promoted every day outside the student union area, free concerts, and outdoor movie nights. The dining hall offers the best food with more than 50 options every meal.
Which majors/programs are best represented and supported at University of Central Florida?
Lisa: University of Central Florida is known for engineering, research and bimolecular technology, and there are opportunities for students to intern with facilities like Lockheed Martin and the military. I graduated with a degree in political science – international relations and comparative politics – and minored in French. The classes taught me more than I could have ever asked for, and I am very happy with my education. I did not feel that in this particular area there was a great opportunity for internships or job placement. There are career fairs year-round, but they did not really accommodate my major.
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?
Lisa: It is very easy to meet friends on campus because everyone hangs out around the dorms. We have a two-story gym with an Olympic-size pool and rock climbing wall with over 20 free classes each day, like yoga and kick-boxing. Through all these hang out spots you are bound to meet people with your interests. Greek life is a part of university life. University of Central Florida has a Greek Row of mansions set on the far end of campus. The Greek life does not highlight the overall culture, but rather positively contributes, to the university life.
How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?
Lisa: The career center is available every day of the week. They have many resources and available staff, but have generally been unhelpful by just sending me to resources. There are career fairs year-round, but the representatives do not accommodate all available majors. There are reputable companies with the engineering and technology fields.
How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?
Lisa: The student union is a busy and noisy place to study, but there is outdoor seating there, which is nice. The library is five floors and has many available private rooms where you can also rent a laptop. There are many students, over 80,000 at the university, but there never seems to be overcrowded space because of the spacious campus and facilities. We have a free print lab which is saturated with students, and the wait is incredible. The dorm rooms all have a study lounge, and it is never crowded.
Describe the surrounding town.
Lisa: The surrounding town is Orlando! There is every kind of food or restaurant you can imagine on the connecting University Blvd. We have an amazing café two minutes’ walking distance off campus. There are many clubs and bars as well. We have all the theme parks and tourist attractions. It can be very fun, but also expensive! University of Central Florida has a ticket booth for discounted student tickets for all attractions, including Cirque du Soleil and dinner theaters. There are over 10 natural springs and parks 15-45 minutes away. You can never be bored in Orlando.
How big or small is the student body at University of Central Florida? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Lisa: We have the second largest campus and student body in the country (about 80,000). Class size is always under 300 in general education classes and typically 12-40 in program classes. There is never a feel of an overcrowded classroom.
Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Lisa: A memorable class I had was Advanced French Conversation. As a class, we had a project to take a trip to Paris from our classroom. We each needed to research an apartment for rent and contact them about the price as if we were going to rent it. In order to pick the correct French Paris district, we planned our living around a school we would choose to study at, like La Sorbonne. It was a fun experience learning about the different areas of Paris and communicating with the Parisians as if we were really living there.
Check out Lisa’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.