The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Michelle is a Philadelphia tutor specializing in Chemistry tutoring, Physics tutoring, Physiology tutoring, and more. She graduated from The University of Scranton with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology & Philosophy in 2014. Check out her review of 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?
Michelle: The University of Scranton is located several blocks from downtown Scranton, which contains various restaurants and shops. There is a bus service that stops on campus, and it goes to several stops not within walking distance, but many students prefer to use their own cars to drive places. I did not have my own car on campus during my freshman and sophomore year, and I experienced little to no inconvenience. In regard to safety, I never felt unsafe on campus during any hour of the day or night.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Michelle: Very available. Because class sizes are small (no more than 35), professors generally try to learn your name and usually seek to know more than just that. In my experience, professors at the University of Scranton demonstrate genuine care and concern for their students’ education as “whole persons,” which is in line with the Jesuit idea of Cura Personalis, or “Care of the whole person.”
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Michelle: Dorm life freshman year is the basis for many of the friendships that University of Scranton students form. Several of my closest friends are girls I lived with freshman and sophomore year. The community that made these relationships possible is a result of the small dorm room floor sizes (typically about 16 students per floor) and the awesome resident assistants (RAs) who supervise them (I am slightly biased because I was an RA). The food is amazing! There are sushi nights, awesome brunches on the weekends, and wonderful grab and go options, as well. In the past, the admissions department has given out meal vouchers to visitors, so go see for yourself!
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?
Michelle: The University of Scranton has an awesome pre-professional (pre-medical, pre-veterinarian, etc.) reputation. The pre-physical therapy track is well represented, and the students in the business school often have great opportunities, as well. Occupational therapy and nursing are also popular and well-supported majors. The University of Scranton also equips all of their students with a solid liberal arts background. I studied biology on the pre-medical track, and I had a second major in philosophy. To support pre-medical students, the University of Scranton has a Health Professions Organization, which provides guidance and support to students for all four years of their undergraduate careers. This organization facilitates student mentoring, brings in professionals from different specialties to meet students, and even hosts an annual retreat at which alumni talk about their experiences with medicine. These alumni tell us every year how special the university’s pre-medical program is compared to other schools; students at the University of Scranton help one another succeed!
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?
Michelle: As a freshman, there were many opportunities to get involved and meet others. I met many wonderful people during my freshman year through clubs, in my residence hall, on retreats, and in class. Since the University of Scranton is a small school, it is easy to meet people and get to know them. The University of Scranton does not have Greek life.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Michelle: Career Services provides a multitude of helpful resources, such as resume/cover letter writing help, general advising, and mock interviews. Although I love the people who work there, I did not find them as helpful as I would have liked. I applied for internships and graduate school with the help of a faculty mentor. Career Services has an annual (possibly once every semester) Career Fair. Although I was not part of the business school, the business school has an annual expo at which businesses recruit students. There is also an annual fair for long-term post-graduate service agencies, such as Mercy Corps or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, among many others.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Michelle: Although things do get a bit crowded during finals time, usually there is more than enough study space available. The library houses five floors of study space, including a silent study space on the 5th floor with a beautiful view of the mountains, as well as a 1st floor that is open 24 hours a day (incredibly helpful for those inevitable all-nighters). I also liked to study in various lounges throughout the new science center and in the student center. The residence halls also have study space available to students.
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?
Michelle: There are several restaurants and clothing shops, as well as a mall, surrounding campus. I enjoyed walking to a local coffee shop to study or meet with friends periodically. Although students sometimes go out to eat, they generally stay on campus. The programming board at the University of Scranton is great about bringing in tons of entertainment, so there are usually a lot of things going on during weeknights and the weekends.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Michelle: Scranton has about 4,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students, making it a relatively small school. While walking anywhere on campus, I always saw familiar faces and people I knew, but I also always saw people I had never met before. As I mentioned, the class sizes were generally small, containing 35 students at most. As a result of the class sizes, professors always knew who I was. The class sizes also made it easier to participate in class and ask questions.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Michelle: I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program (or SJLA), through which I took my general education requirements as well as various philosophy and literature courses. The cool part? I got to take these classes with the same group of incredibly talented and passionate people for all four years. Together, we attended class, studied, wrote papers, procrastinated into the wee hours of the morning, and conquered daunting coursework. It was a wonderful community of people. I cannot wait to see the things that my fellow SJLA-ers will accomplish in the future!
Check out Michelle’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.