What is it Like to Attend The CUNY College of Staten Island?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Maria graduated from The CUNY (City University of New York) College of Staten Island in 2012 with a degree in History. She is currently New York City tutor specializing in Phonics tutoring, Spanish tutoring, World History tutoring, and more. See what she had to say about her alma mater:


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? 

Maria: The campus is set off of Victory Boulevard, which is one of the main streets in Staten Island. Therefore, there are many options to use public transportation from different areas of all five boroughs and a short drive from the NY/NJ border. There are two entrances into the college. There is the main entrance on Victory Boulevard, and the south entrance which is easily accessible by public transportation. A student can also ride their bike into campus, and secure it near the library. There are express buses that drive to the entrance of the college, a FREE shuttle that picks up students from the Staten Island Ferry and drops them off inside of the campus, an internal bus service within the campus grounds, and a bus that comes from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The campus is extremely safe with many public safety officers in almost every building, especially in the Campus Center, the administration buildings, and the library. 

VT:  How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Maria: Professors, academic advisors, and teaching assistants are readily available in person, with or without an appointment, and most conveniently by email. Most professors are available before and after class for any questions regarding course material and assignments. Advisors are available anytime throughout the year, and are extremely knowledgeable. 

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students? 

Maria: Dorms will make their grand debut beginning this coming fall semester (2013), therefore, I have no direct experience concerning dorm life. However, the establishment is going to be very spacious with suites that contain even up to 4 bedrooms. There are many opportunities for socialization, with two cafes and a restaurant available on campus. There are also many student activities such as clubs, a radio station on campus, student leadership development programs, study-abroad opportunities, and many other opportunities to travel the country and the world. The campus is smoke-free, eco-friendly, and even has a garden, a college newspaper and a journal.

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?

Maria: I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in History, in which The College of Staten Island did a great job in supporting my academic career. I received academic advisement and counseling throughout the year, and many advisors and professors were readily available. The college has many programs from Associates Degree to Doctoral programs. They are well-known for their Education, Finance, Biology, Chemistry, Social Work, Accounting, History, Philosophy, Astronomy, African Studies, Sociology, Psychology, Nursing, and Media-Communications departments.

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?

Maria: It was extremely easy for my to make friends my freshman year in college. Students are extremely approachable and your best tools to socialize are clubs and Greek Life on campus. Greek Life is active on campus. They even have clubs. They also participate in charity work and other fundraisers. 

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Maria: The Career Center is extremely helpful and helped me find a work-study program that best suited my needs and interests. There are also many employment opportunities available through the college such as the Teaching Scholars program, work-study program, and Liberty Partnership. The college also hires students as tutors. Many reputable companies from city jobs and other highly-recognized organizations recruit from job fairs which are held on campus.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Maria: The library, Campus Center, Green Dolphin Lounge, and Sleeping Dolphin Lounge are each unique in their own ways. The library has floors designated for different sound levels. The first floor is designated for normal socializing, all the way to the fourth floor, which is completely silent and regulated by public safety officers. The Campus Center is where all the clubs meet, and where Student Life offices and conference rooms are located. The Sleeping Dolphin Lounge is designated for those who need a power nap before, in between, or after classes, and the Green Dolphin Lounge provides refreshments, a spacious sitting area with tables and couches, along with a mini-cafe that is open when movies are being shown.

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? 

Maria: There is a mall, various shopping centers, and diverse restaurants located near the college. There are also bowling alleys, a public library, and Manhattan is about 30 minutes away via public transportation. New Jersey is also a ten-minute car ride away from the college. The Jersey Shore is about 30-45 minutes away (by car) from campus. In the surrounding area, there are also buses that ride to Atlantic City (casinos, boardwalk, etc.).

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Maria: The student body is made up of a few thousand students, taking classes throughout the day. As of right now, they are all commuter students, however, I do not know what their prospective student population will be once they open their dorms. Class sizes vary from 10 students in a class, to 150-200 students in a class. Class sizes vary depending on the academic level of the course, and if it is a lecture or not.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Maria: Every experience has been pleasant except for one. But the experience I loved the most was with my senior thesis professor who guided me and was an immense help when I was writing my final thesis. She helped me acquire resources and helped me in the beginning. She gave me the advice and confidence to help myself be able to complete my 35-page thesis at the end of the semester with confidence and efficiency. 


Check out Maria’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.