The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Pedro is a New York City tutor specializing in Physics tutoring, Geometry tutoring, multiple levels of Calculus tutoring, and more. He attended Fordham University at the Rose Hill Campus and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. See what he had to say about his 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?
Pedro: Fordham’s Rose Hill is a very safe, enclosed campus. The surrounding areas, including Fordham Road (a major shopping district in The Bronx) and Little Italy, are very urban and not the safest neighborhoods, though very lively. The transportation to and from campus, however, is superb and very safe. The Fordham stop on the Metro North Railroad (which goes express into and out of Manhattan 24/7) is a few meters away from a campus entrance. Fordham offers free shuttle buses (operated by campus security) to and from the nearby D and 4 subways stations at night. In general, NYC public transit is reliable and efficient.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Pedro: Professors at Fordham are very accessible and approachable. My professors often invited me to office hours for aid in many aspects of scholastic work (homework, general advice, and clarifications, for example). In my experience, professors usually replied within a few hours to emails sent, and very often replied late nights before assignments were due.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life - rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Pedro: During my time at Fordham, I lived off campus, as many students choose to do. I lived in the Belmont area a few city blocks away (10 to be precise) and rode my bike to class each day. Freshmen are required to dorm on campus for their first year, and doing so allows for socialization with other freshmen. On campus dining is not the best, though being located next to Little Italy allows for great dining options off campus (head to Pugsley’s for the best Pizza in The Bronx). The night-life in Little Italy is also very lively.
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?
Pedro: I believe Fordham does a great job in supporting programs across disciplines. Being a liberal arts school, great focus is placed on the Humanities, though Business and other popular programs are very well attended. I majored in Physics. The Physics Dept. at Fordham is phenomenal, as it is relatively small (though it has its own building) and as such students become very familiar with the exceptional faculty and are known to form a good community among themselves. Fordham has been very successful in incentivizing STEM program students to participate in undergraduate research and in my experience is eager to fund research across all disciplines.
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?
Pedro: I transferred into Fordham for my second year of college, and as such did not participate in many of the events freshmen partake in to become part of the community (such as freshmen orientation). I did, however, find a great community among my classmates in the Physics Dept. In my experience, and from speaking with friends, Fordham is home to many clubs and programs for a great variety of students (from commuter students, to politically inclined students, to students looking to experience new things).The Greek life community at Fordham is not very strong, from my experience, as students tend to join clubs devoted to their particular interests as opposed to sororities and fraternities.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Pedro: Upon graduation, the Career Center was very involved with trying to help me transition into the workforce. They offer two big annual job fairs (Spring and Fall) and an online job board which gives the option of being notified when a job meets your criteria. Coming from a background in Physics, I was able to meet recruiters from IBM and several other technology companies, for example. Having mentioned the opportunities available, I should state that the student often has to take his or her own initiative in going to recruitment meetings and job fairs, though they are always very well advertised.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Pedro: I spent a great amount of time in the library, which is very expansive and thorough. The Physics Dept. has a designated “Physics Club Room” for students, where other students and I spent most of our time in between and after classes. The Club Room was very comfortable and had good resources. The main library itself is very big (four stories) and spacious, though during midterm and finals week it tends to get very crowded.
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?
Pedro: Little Italy is a great neighborhood, and offers great restaurants and a good nightlife for those over 21. During the day, the Fordham Rd. shopping district is always buzzing with activity and one gets to experience some facets of Bronx culture up to as much detail as they want. In the case that one may want to experience the rest of NYC, it is a 15-20 minute walk to the D and 4 subway stops (which go from The Bx into Manhattan and then into BK) and a 1-3 minute walk to the Metro North Fordham station (depending on how fast one walks), which can get one into the “heart” of NY in as little as 20 minutes.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Pedro: There is a big undergraduate population (~8,500). The Rose Hill campus is very big, and one can choose to be immersed in the student body in popular locations on campus or relatively isolated. The Physics Dept. at Fordham is relatively very small (about 15 Physics and Engineering Physics majors graduated last year, including myself), but class sizes for core classes can reach up to 50. Other departments and popular programs are very big. but on average class sizes remain at about 25 students. The biggest class size I was a part of was above 100 people (Chemistry I) and the smallest was 4 people (Quantum Mechanics). I loved being part of a small department, but in other classes (average of 25 students), I felt very comfortable participating and was never underwhelmed or overwhelmed.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Pedro: Physics classes are full of great jokes. After the students and professors get to know one another better, classes are often laid back and very supportive of inquiry and search for insight. I was inspired by many professors at Fordham from a number of departments, though a particularly fun class was Advanced Laboratory, as all students were upperclassmen and the professor had gotten to know us very well. We were often allowed to work on tangentially related projects such as programming robots or finding the most aerodynamically efficient form of a paper airplane. In one particular case, my colleagues and I were successful in programming a two-wheeled robot to roll from our lab into a class being taught by another Physics professor and stop in the middle of the room for a few minutes, turn around, and exit the room. The goal was to make it sing a song for the professor and introduce itself to the class.
Check out Pedro’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.