The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Amanda is a Chicago tutor specializing in Anatomy tutoring, Biology tutoring, Essay Editing tutoring, and more. She is currently a senior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in Animal Sciences. Check out her review of her school:
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?
Amanda: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is a large public university in a surprisingly urban setting. The areas surrounding “Chambana” are rural, but there is never a dull moment on campus because there are always events taking place. I’ve walked alone on campus at all times of day and night, and I have never once felt unsafe. University police are always patrolling the streets, and the University of Illinois runs two free programs that ensure students are safe 24/7—SafeWalks and SafeRides. SafeWalks is for anyone who does not want to walk alone in the campus area, and SafeRides is for an individual who needs a ride home. There are plenty of buses running daily that can get you anywhere on- or off-campus. They are included in tuition so students do not even need to pay when using them. UIUC also has one of the highest-rated bike routes in the country.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Amanda: For a large public university, I am shocked at how easy it is to find educational help. Whether it be via email or in-person, there is always someone available to answer questions. I actually have found that the larger the class size, the easier it is to be in contact with the professor.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Amanda: I have not lived in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dorms, but I can say that socialization opportunities are never a problem. There are over 1,000 clubs throughout the university and the dorms are all located within walking (or biking) distance from the main quad.
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?
Amanda: I would say that the best represented and supported program here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the engineering program, and that’s because it is one of the best in the country. I chose to study Animal Sciences (also rated highly) because I originally came here thinking that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I believe that the university went above and beyond in supporting the Animal Sciences program.
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?
Amanda: I transferred into the university as a junior, and it was super easy to meet people. It is almost impossible not to meet people you like considering the campus has more than 40,000 students. Greek life does play a significant role in the campus social life, but I am not affiliated with it.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Amanda: The Career Center is very helpful and has actually helped me receive multiple interviews and internships with large corporations and government entities. I highly recommend taking advantage of their free classes and sessions. The staff is more than willing to help adjust your resume and cover letters. There are multiple job fairs that take place throughout the year and many companies come to the university to recruit students.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Amanda: There are multiple libraries throughout the campus. Most are open seven days a week and some are even open 24 hours a day. They are only overcrowded during finals week, but you can still find a spot to study if you bring your own laptop.
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?
Amanda: Outside of campus, it is mainly rural. There are some urban areas, such as downtown Champaign and downtown Urbana. There are a lot of great bars, restaurants, and shops that many students go to (particularly those over 21 years old). For those who are not too involved with the party scene and want less expensive rent, those areas are definitely the best places to live.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Amanda: The student body is large, reaching almost 45,000. My class sizes have varied dramatically. Some of my classes have had as few as eight students and as many as 500 students. Just depends on demand, really. I would say that the majority of classes range from 25-40 students, however.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Amanda: My most memorable experience at UIUC would be taking part in the study abroad program. I was able to go to Costa Rica for a month and research howler monkeys in the rainforest!
Check out Amanda’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.