The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Noor is a Chicago tutor who specializes in Spanish tutoring, English tutoring, and Test-Taking Strategies tutoring. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 2011 with a degree in Arts and Sciences, specifically in International Relations and Diplomacy and Spanish. Check out 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?
Noor: Ohio State is a pretty urban campus. As far as Columbus goes, campus sits comfortably near the center of the city. In this sense, it's mostly safe, but a little rough around the edges. Campus security stays vigilant, though. As far as getting to classes on time, I recommend having a bike or taking a bus, which is really easy as OSU has its own bus system and plenty of bike racks all over campus. I say this because the campus is big - really, really big. Walking could easily get tiring.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Noor: All faculty members have rather open office hours, which they're apt to inform students of. But outside of office hours, email is the only way to contact most professors and advisers. I found that anytime I needed to speak with a professor, I didn't have a problem communicating with them.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Noor: Dorm life at OSU varies slightly based on what part of campus you're living in. Again, the campus is really big, so it's commonly separated by location - North Campus, South Campus, and West Campus. I lived on South Campus where most of the freshman dorms are, and it was an excellent place to meet people and get a feel for the campus in general. I'd say it's the same all over campus, but North and West Campus have a smaller concentration of freshmen than South Campus does. All parts of campus are close to class buildings and sport various dining halls, ranging from Mexican to Asian to hearty, American-style buffets - the palate never finds itself bored. Rooms are what you'd expect from a dorm. They're slightly cramped, but have enough wiggle room to satisfy even the most claustrophobic student.
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?
Noor: While most majors and programs are rather well supported, Business, Law, and Medicine are the most supported. I also found that Art and Music had a rather large representation. OSU has its own hospital, Business School (The Fisher School of Business), and Law School (Moritz College of Law), as well as an art-gallery-meets-art-campus in the Wexner Center. There are also specific buildings for many other majors and programs, such as Architecture, Engineering, and Language. OSU is very diverse. I dual-majored in International Studies and Spanish, but that was due to interests I had and professors I met that guided me in that direction. I found that the university did a wonderful job supporting my majors, as highly influential and intelligent professors populated both fields of study. I can easily say that most of the professors that I had impacted both my life and thought process for the better.
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?
Noor: Due to the nature of the dorms and freshman campus life, it was stupendously easy to make friends and meet people. As a matter of fact, many of the friends I have today are friends that I met freshman year. There are myriad social events on campus all throughout the year, including free concerts, barbecues, and so much more that would take decades to list. Campus is constantly bustling with activity. Greek life plays a role, but not an overpowering one. All of the fraternities and sororities are located off campus, and while there are many, I wouldn't say that they're inextricable with campus life.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Noor: Quite a few reputable companies recruit on campus, especially around the Business School. Also, being that Columbus is not only a huge test market for the country, but also home to the headquarters of many businesses, finding a career in the Columbus area is pretty easy. The student union also abounds with career fairs and opportunities for involvement and securing internships. The Career Center is staffed by genuine, helpful people whose aim is seeing students succeed, and professors and advisors were always, in my experience, ready to help and guide.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Noor: As I've stated a few times already, The Ohio State University is big, and everything about it is also big. The main library and the student union were both recently remodeled and are in impeccable shape; the library boasts 11 floors and the union is a sprawling expanse of possibilities. There is ample space for studying and a plethora of resources to utilize. As far as the dorm lounges, they're great, but a bit more readily occupied. I would definitely recommend doing work in either the main library or the union.
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?
Noor: Columbus is a wonderful town, pockmarked with so many options for diversion that it borders on overwhelming. In every direction there are restaurants, cafes, lounges, malls, and everything else the mind can conjure. Columbus is a very diverse city; near campus, there are restaurants encompassing almost every ethnicity and nationality. A very hip and young district lies just south of campus, called The Short North. It's a veritable haven for students, filled with cheap places to eat or hang out, and it also hosts a weekly event called Gallery Hop, which is essentially an art show. Students are often found all over the city, because Columbus is very spread out and every part of it offers a different experience. Fun doesn't even begin to describe it. One will never find himself bored, and it's almost too easy to avoid doing the same thing twice.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Noor: Ohio State competes with Arizona State for holding the record for the largest student body in the country with nearly 50,000 students. This sounds overwhelmingly large at first, and while the sheer amount of students is easily noticeable, class sizes are rather manageable. Of course, GECs that take place in lecture halls can contain upwards of 500 students, but most major-specific classes are a decent size. I never felt like I was overcrowded in any class, and I believe that the professors there understand the amount of students they have very well, and do their best to accommodate to all of them. So, I was rather pleased with the typical class size, which, outside of GECs, never really exceeded 30-40 students, and sometimes even less.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Noor: My freshman year, I had a Spanish professor that truly shaped my mind for what I'm doing now. She was incredibly inspiring and did her utmost to culture and educate us, her students. I still maintain contact with her today, and the imprint she left on me is one that I will never regret. She encouraged me to pursue language and international education, and instilled in me the courage to take the risks I needed to take in order to further myself.
Check out Noor’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.