The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Erin is a Houston tutor specializing in Spanish tutoring, Biology tutoring, Statistics tutoring, and much more. She graduated from Tulane University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. See what she had to say about 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?
Erin: Tulane is in the heart of New Orleans, located in the Uptown portion of the city. The St. Charles streetcar is available right in front of campus to take you anywhere you want to go. The campus is small, so you can usually get to all your classes by walking, but the campus is bike friendly as well. If you ever take classes outside of the main campus, Tulane has free shuttles to get you there.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Erin: Entry-level classes will be the largest classes you take at Tulane, with around 100-200 students. However, the majority of the classes have around 12-20 students. One-on-one time with professors is very common and many professors have very accessible office hours. Most professors understand if you cannot make their scheduled office hours and will coordinate with when you are available to meet.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Erin: There are tons of clubs and organizations to join at Tulane, including Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, Student Government, and many intramural and club sports. There is one cafeteria as well as a food court with many different options of food. Freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus. All the dorms are located in the main campus and are very close to everything you need. There are some new dorms and some old dorms. The newer ones are obviously nicer, more spacious, and cleaner; however, the older dorms are fine as well.
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?
Erin: The Business School is very well known, but there is a wide variety of majors and minors. The School of Science and Engineering has great Biomedical and Chemical Engineering programs. Tulane School of Medicine and Tulane School of Law are also well known and popular, so pre-med and pre-law classes are very well represented.
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?
Erin: Tulane does a very good job of organizing events for freshmen to participate in. Even though I didn’t know anybody when I first came to Tulane, within two weeks I had a group of friends whom I remained friends with for all four years. Greek life is prevalent at Tulane and many students participate. However, you do not need to be Greek to be social or involved in the campus. I was not Greek and had many friends and different social opportunities.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Erin: The Career Center has grown a lot since I started at Tulane. I used the Career Center a little bit for resume building, but not as much for job searching. I did work on campus as an undergrad and the center does help with placement in school jobs.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Erin: The student union is an excellent place to study with many different lounges, study areas, and conference rooms. The library was my next favorite place to study. It has many computers and laptop stations as well as many quiet study areas, but does get packed. Tulane also has a coffee shop which is very popular for studying among students. Dorm study areas typically get overcrowded and I rarely studied in my dorm, unless I was in my own room.
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?
Erin: New Orleans is buzzing with so many things to do. Live music is a huge part of New Orleans and a great way to spend your weekends. There is so much to do within walking distance of campus as well, including delicious places to eat. Downtown New Orleans is just a streetcar ride away, but Tulane also offers shuttle services. If you decide not to live in a residence hall, there are many nice neighborhoods surrounding campus that are just a short bike ride or walk away. There is nothing boring about New Orleans, and I do not regret anything about my undergraduate experience.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Erin: Tulane has about 6,000 undergraduate students. I found it to be a perfect size for me. I always saw and met new people, but was never overwhelmed by how many students there were. Typical class sizes once you get out of entry-level classes are around 12-20 people. These classes are built around discussion and interaction instead of lecture, which I liked.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Erin: I loved all my professors in my major. I worked in a lab as a research assistant and a teacher assistant and was able to become close with several professors. One professor, who was my freshman Biology lab instructor, ended up becoming my honors thesis advisor because we had built such a close relationship over the four years I was an undergrad.
Check out Erin’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.