The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Kelly is a Tampa tutor and 2013 graduate of Florida State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and tutors several subjects, including Elementary Math tutoring, Phonics tutoring, and Social Studies tutoring. Check out what Kelly had to say about her time at Florida State University:
VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or rural is the campus? Did you feel safe on campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?
Kelly: Florida State University’s campus is situated in the middle of Tallahassee, Florida, a few miles from the downtown and capitol buildings. The campus is large, but you can easily access all of it on foot. Florida State University has its own bus system that has stops both on and off campus, and there is also the city bus, which you can ride for free with a student ID. In addition, both Tallahassee and the campus are very bike- and skateboard-friendly. Cars make it more convenient to live, but they are definitely not necessary.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Kelly: The professors and teaching assistants are very accessible if you pay attention to their office hours. The accessibility of academic advisers depends on your major. Some majors have more advisers on staff than others. I always had a good experience when trying to meet with my advisers, but during certain times of the year, it is definitely a little more difficult. The library offers all sorts of free tutoring, and the Career Center is a good resource for help too.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Kelly: Dorm life is as you would expect. The sooner you sign up, the better your options. Some buildings are very nice, clean, and new. Others are very old and cramped. Regardless, it is a good bonding experience that allows you to make life-long friends early on. There are many dining options (including regular restaurants) on campus, and better food than you would expect in the dining halls. The food is leagues above high school cafeteria food. There are tons of clubs and groups to get involved in.
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?
Kelly: Virtually any major that you would want to study is offered in some form. Our Math, Science, Engineering, English/Literature, Music, Theatre, and Art programs are very heavily supported. However, I know that they recently closed the Anthropology department. I changed my major several times, but I ended up studying Elementary Education because I have always been passionate about teaching and influencing young people for the better. Florida State University is renowned for its thorough Education program, and its graduates almost always find jobs right after graduation.
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?
Kelly: It was very easy for me to meet people and make friends as a freshman, but it does require a certain amount of effort, as well as becoming more outgoing than you may have been in the past. Greek life is abundant at Florida State University, but I was not involved with it. I still had a great experience, and I was able to get involved with the community and with my friends.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Kelly: The Career Center is a huge help, and Florida State University allows you to access the Career Center even after you graduate. I personally have continued to visit the Career Center since graduating. Tons of reputable companies recruit on campus, and there are career fairs for specific majors. These are quite helpful.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Kelly: Study areas are usually available, but the more popular spots can get overcrowded when it is close to finals time. The study areas are spacious, but given the number of students who attend Florida State University, space is still an issue toward the end of every semester.
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?
Kelly: The surrounding town seems to be nothing special at first glance. However, the longer you live in Tallahassee, the more you realize that there is always something to do. There are a large number of outdoor and nature-related activities in the city and in nearby towns. There is lots of history in Tallahassee to be explored, and no matter where you live in the city, there are parks nearby. In addition, there is a vibrant music and art scene. Since it is the capital of Florida, there are lots of political opportunities, and many festivals that occur annually.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Kelly: The student body is quite large. Most semesters have about 40,000 students enrolled – including undergraduate and graduate programs, if I remember correctly. I had a great experience here, but if you are looking for a small school environment, this is not a good match for you. A few classes were larger than I would have liked. For example, my Biology and Chemistry classes were enormous, but once a week we met in small groups of 20 or less with a teaching assistant. That somewhat made up for the size. I would say about 75% of my classes were much smaller and more personal, with 10-50 students.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Kelly: By the time I graduated, I had become very close with all of my Education professors and advisers. The week before graduation, one of them hosted a small afternoon barbecue with all of the graduating students and professors. This allowed us to have one final memory to share together before we left. We were able to discuss our future plans and our favorite memories of being in the program together.
Check out Kelly’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.