The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Leigh Ann is an Atlanta tutor and 2007 graduate of Emory University where she majored in Political Science and English. She tutors numerous subjects including SAT prep tutoring, ACT prep tutoring, LSAT prep tutoring, and Grammar and Mechanics tutoring.
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?
Leigh Ann: Emory is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It's not just my Emory bias that makes me say that—it's consistently ranked as one of the best campuses in the nation. It's kind of spread out, but there are shuttles that get you to most of where you need to go, including the grocery store and such. Atlanta is not generally a walking city, meaning that having a car is a major plus, but there is enough around campus that you don't have to have car, which is good because freshmen can't have cars on campus. People bike around campus too.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Leigh Ann: The professors are the BEST! They're so smart and knowledgeable about so much, even beyond their specialty. I never had a problem with getting in touch with any of my professors or talking to them when I needed to ask a question. Most went out of their way to emphasize how open they were to questions. The same goes with the few times that I had a TA, and with academic advisers. There were some classes that I didn't like, but that usually had a lot more to do with the subject matter than the professor.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Leigh Ann: People generally made their best and closest friends with the people that lived in their dorm. Freshmen are required to live on campus, which really fosters the social life there. People have a lot of pride in their residence hall. Some of my favorite memories involve hanging out with my friends that lived on my hall. Emory has built new dorms since I graduated, which have replaced the ones that weren't of such great quality when I was there. They're supposed to be incredibly nice.
I think it's required for people to buy a meal plan to eat at something called the DUC, which is pretty close to most of the dorms, during your freshman year, but there are other options close by if you're in the mood for something different. There are a variety of places to check out on campus, and there are a number of pretty decent places in Emory Village, which is right next to the main gate to campus. They've also recently opened up some new restaurants really close by in another neighborhood.
As for socialization, well – I never heard of anyone not knowing how to meet enough people or to find something fun 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?
Leigh Ann: Some people think of Emory mostly as a medical school, but it does a great job of supporting a lot of different majors. Science majors are really frequent because a lot of people do want to go to medical school, but Emory's business school and nursing school are also really good and popular. I majored in Political Science and English, which I did because I knew I wanted to go to law school after graduation. There are a ton of future lawyers at Emory so pre-law students had a ton of support. The lady that provides advice to law school applicants in the Career Center is quite good.
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?
Leigh Ann: As I mentioned above, your dorm tends to influence who your best friends are. I found it easy to make friends and really easy to find people with whom I had something in common. My friends were one of the best parts of my experience. I don't think it's hard to make friends at all, mostly because everyone is required to live on campus your first year.
As for Greek life, I wasn't involved in it at all. There is definitely a Greek presence on campus, but it's completely possible to make friends without being a part of it.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Leigh Ann: I loved the Career Center people. I alternated between thinking I was going to go to law school and thinking I was going to work for a year or two after graduation, such that I was also looking for a job. I worked with both the pre-law adviser and an adviser who helped you find jobs. I thought both were great. They were really knowledgeable about everything, very willing to meet with you, and very encouraging. I never had a bad experience with either of them. I have a friend who still calls one adviser for career advice.
Emory is really well-known so companies and graduate schools from all over come to recruit on campus. There are a ton of companies headquartered in Atlanta, and a lot of them recruit at Emory.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Leigh Ann: During finals, space is at a premium in the library, but generally, it's not a problem. There are lots of different spaces where you can hang out and study so you're not confined to the library in any case. Studying in the library is not my favorite, but there are plenty of other places to use. There are also cafes/restaurants close by where you can study, including Panera Bread and Starbucks. Most places are pretty spacious and comfortable.
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?
Leigh Ann: Atlanta is my favorite city to live in so I think the surrounding city is great. Emory is in a great location in Atlanta—the area is both nice and safe. There are a variety of restaurants and things to do reasonably close by. It's not in the heart of Atlanta, so to speak, but it's not far from it either. The area is incredibly easy to navigate. Most people stay near campus and the surrounding neighborhoods rather than going downtown frequently.
Atlanta has a ton of cool things to do. In addition to places to go to at night, there's Turner Field (where the Braves play), the World of Coke, the Georgia Aquarium, and lots of other places. The great thing about Atlanta is that you get the benefit of having a real campus life while also having a large city at your fingertips. It really makes it easy to have broader experiences that aren't just tied to the campus.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Leigh Ann: I thought the typical class size was perfect. Most of my larger classes were approximately 60 people, but the other classes were much smaller. The total number of undergraduate students is approximately 7,500. I think it's the perfect size—not so big that you feel like just another number, but not so small that you think that everyone knows your business.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Leigh Ann: My favorite academic memory was writing my honors thesis during my senior year. It was a ton of work, but I worked with a great professor and learned a ton while working on it. I would definitely recommend it. During the fall semester of my senior year, I took a class required to write an honors thesis. I learned a lot about research during that class, and, maybe most importantly, I met a lot of new people that I wouldn't have met otherwise. During the second semester, I worked more independently and with my thesis adviser, but I ended up spending a lot of time with the other people also writing a thesis. Aside from the enormous amount of work (and losing a draft after I had made substantial progress on it), nearly every aspect of the experience was good, from how much I learned to developing great relationships with other people and professors.
Check out Leigh Ann’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.