The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Ginger is an Atlanta tutor specializing in Elementary Math tutoring, Biology tutoring, SAT prep tutoring, ACT prep tutoring, and more. She graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. Check out her review of her 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?
Ginger: The campus is a fairly enclosed haven in the middle of Atlanta. There are no gates to outline the border, but most of the main buildings and dorms are in a central location. It takes about half an hour to walk from one end of the main campus to the next. There are on-campus buses that travel around; some of them go to the farther buildings outside of the main campus as well. It is not necessary to have a car unless you want to travel outside of campus. Many people have bikes, but it is also not necessary.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Ginger: Professors and teaching assistants have specific office hours in which you can meet them. Most also allow appointments, though some are more flexible and reliable than others. TA’s tend to be more available, and they're also great about communicating by email. Academic advisers prefer appointments, but they also take drop-in students. I often communicated with my adviser through email if I had a minor question.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Ginger: Dorm life is a great way to meet other students in the first year. The dorms themselves vary; some are extremely nice and recently renovated, while others are more "historic," to put it nicely! Most freshmen are located in traditional dorms (2 people per room with a common hallway bathroom). Students in the second year or above can apply for suites (2 people per room with 4 people per bathroom) or apartments (with 1-5 roommates, depending on what you want). There are two dining halls on either end of campus; these are also good places to meet people since they're located close to the dorm clusters. You'll have to put some effort into talking to other students at the dining hall, as most are shy and/or stressed. However, there are several student organizations that you can join depending on your interests. Most, if not all of these, like to promote social gatherings.
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?
Ginger: The majority of the students are Engineering students. I studied Biomedical Engineering because I was interested in health and medical devices. My program was new, so it underwent a lot of transition including a curriculum overhaul in my third year, but the university put a lot of effort into making the Biomedical Engineering department a good community.
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?
Ginger: I did not participate in Greek life, but the fraternities and sororities do provide several social opportunities. It was easy for me to meet people and make friends as a freshman; the trick is simply saying hi to people, as several members of the student population are shy and not socially confident. Dorms and student organizations are both great ways to connect socially. I also made friends through fitness classes and arts classes provided at the school facilities (they require an extra fee).
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Ginger: I didn't really utilize Career Services, but I talked to my department advisor quite a lot, and I also networked through the Women in Engineering program. Reputable companies recruit on campus all the time. There is a general career fair and a major-specific career fair at least once a year, and companies will hold periodic info sessions as well.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Ginger: Most study areas are easily available. Dorm lounges are great places to work and study, although you may encounter people socializing there instead, especially during the weekends. Some of the newer buildings like Klaus and those in the biotechnology quad have miniature cafe-like areas where you can take out your books. The library tends to be crowded, especially during the week of final exams, but the top floor is quiet and you can work in your own cubicle. For the most part, everything is very spacious.
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?
Ginger: Atlanta is a great city with lots of different things to do, but the trick to exploring it is having a car or always having a group with you for public transport. There are several restaurants on campus such as in Tech Square, but Atlanta is also filled with great restaurants nearby, including Antico's and Papi's. If you know how to navigate MARTA, it's easy to go around midtown and downtown as long as you have a group to travel with. Many students aren't aware of these options, so it takes some self-initiative to begin to explore the city.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Ginger: The student body is pretty big, but not so big that every person is a stranger. You'll definitely begin to recognize people within the first couple of weeks, especially if you network and socialize. My classes varied; the general, lower-level courses could have 200 people in them, while the higher-level, major-specific courses had around 30. I enjoyed the smaller classes a lot more.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Ginger: My favorite professor was my Statics professor. Statics is like physics, but it focuses on mechanical engineering design instead of on theory. My professor really cared about teaching us the material, and she broke it down in a way that made sense and that was usable; many other professors relied on theory and left us to figure out practical application. My professor was also focused on improving engineering education and really wanted to study education techniques in Engineering school, which I really appreciated because she cared about her students. She's one of the reasons I became interested in teaching and tutoring.
Check out Ginger’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.