The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Ashley is a Washington D.C. tutor specializing in several subjects including AP Calculus tutoring, Algebra tutoring, Biology tutoring, and more. She attended Drexel University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics. Check out her review of her undergraduate experience:
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?
Ashley: At Drexel, the campus setting is extremely urban. The dorms and classes are right in the heart of center city Philadelphia. There are buses all over, but most students walk or ride a bike. A car is definitely not a necessity. Despite the urban nature of the campus, Drexel is extremely safe with a large police force, and even walking assistants at night!
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Ashley: By far, Drexel has one of the best outreach programs between students and professors. Many professors (especially in the Math department which I was a part of) were tutors on campus in addition to their office hours. Drexel purposely has very small upper-level classes without a TA so that the professor-student connection is really strong.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Ashley: Dorm life is really nice. All honors students live together in one brand new skyscraper, which makes it easy to really get to know your classmates. Most of the dorms are suite style – meaning four to six people living together with two showers and one bathroom instead of the typical single living area dorm style. I really liked the fact that I had my own bathroom, living room, and kitchen area! All the dorms are on the northern edge of campus, between one to five blocks from class. The honors dorm has food on the first floor, as well as a few other buildings, one which also has a small grocery store. There is one dining hall down by class, but there are also many places to eat in and around campus. As far as socialization goes, there is literally something for everyone. The CAB (Campus Activities Board) allows anyone to start an organization with at least five people. There are plenty of campus-sponsored and local festivals, concerts, and sporting events with lots to do!
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?
Ashley: Business and Physical Therapy, as well as the five-year B.S./M.S programs, are very popular. Drexel also has a very strong focus in Applied Engineering and Mathematics. I studied Mathematics and could not have asked for a better program. Even through the most difficult classes, the professors and academic advisors were always available for support and tutoring. One of the main reasons I attended Drexel was the 25-student limit math class, and the math teaching style. It was truly unlike any other. The co-op program was also an amazing experience, which allowed me to attend school for six months followed by six months of a paid, real world, entry-level position. If you attend college to prepare you for a career, you cannot find a better 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?
Ashley: Making friends was not difficult, between the entry-level class that all freshmen have to take and the campus environment. The Freshman Initiation class really allows you to become familiar with your residence, your school, and the Philadelphia/Center City area very quickly. Greek life plays a minor role compared to many of the other programs, with about 25% of students participating in Greek life.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Ashley: The Career Center at Drexel is unlike any other. The co-op program requires students to work for at least six months full-time with large national companies in their field prior to graduation. To prepare for this opportunity, all students have to take a course prior to working, and after they return, they evaluate the job(s), their personal career path, how to handle yourself in the workplace, resume writing, and much more. Drexel hosts the best co-op program in the country, and therefore hosts more reputable companies than almost any institution in the United States.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Ashley: Most dorm lounges are very nice with flatscreens, quiet rooms, and study areas. The honors dorms even have special additional resources, like tutoring areas and libraries. Although the library can be crowded during midterms or finals, there are many other locations on campus to study.
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?
Ashley: Philadelphia is a vibrant and wonderful town with as much culture as anyone could ever need. It is very similar to the environment of New York City, except less busy and more fun! Campus is very close to center city, and most students travel there via the subway or by walking. Within a few miles, you can visit the famous “Rocky Balboa” stairs and the art museum, a world class performance hall, the Eagles Stadium, and some of the best ice cream I have ever had on South Street.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Ashley: The student body is rather large, but only about one-half to three-fourths of the students are on campus at any given time due to the co-op program. I absolutely loved the class sizes, especially for my major. Math and Finance classes can be extremely difficult, and with a small class size, it really fuels a much better learning environment. I learned more educationally and intra personally in my first semester of college than I had through most of my high school career.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Ashley: My most memorable experience would definitely be with my pre-career co-op class. Between daily resume and interview practice and pre-job training, I was more prepared than I would have ever imagined for my first round of interviews. I ended up being awarded the Best Interviewer for 2011, and had the opportunity to interview and earn positions with some of the best financial companies in the world. Along with interview skills, we utilized personality and career profiling to help find which career paths would work best. To further direct students, career panelists from all over the world were brought in so that you could gain worldly connections and hear from the real life perspective of someone in your field. From this class, I was able to find what career path truly fit best with my personality and my aspirations. This led to a wonderful co-op with one of the world’s largest financial management companies, and future career options well before graduation. I could never have been more prepared to enter the workforce, which is truly the reason you attend college to begin with. If you are serious about education and a career, Drexel is the university to attend.
Check out Ashley’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.