A Student Perspective on Boston University

Daniel earned his bachelor’s degree in American History from Boston University. He specializes in social studies tutoring, SAT tutoring, and more. Interested in Boston University? Check out his review below:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Daniel: One of the things that appealed to me the most about BU was the urban campus setting. If having a “traditional” college campus is a top priority, then BU is likely not for you. But if you want the experience to live and study in the heart of a major city every day, then BU should be at the top of your list. The campus consists of a series of buildings along Commonwealth Avenue in the City of Boston.

As far as safety goes, I personally never felt unsafe on the campus, although safety is certainly more of a concern than it would be in a less urban atmosphere. The university provides shuttle buses for students, but all classroom buildings are within walking distance of each other. The city’s subway system, the “T,” makes getting around the city both safe and easy. I would not recommend bringing a car, especially as a freshman, since parking can be “challenging” to say the least.

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

Daniel: I found the professors to be extremely accessible and helpful. Professors are passionate about the subjects that they teach and are always eager to discuss course material with their students. Academic advising was required each semester during the class selection process. The key to a positive relationship with your adviser is to come prepared to every meeting between you and your adviser. This will ensure that you make the most of your time and get the best advice possible.

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

Daniel: For the most part, dorms are located in the heart of the campus, and you can expect to be placed alongside other freshmen as a freshman. I would strongly recommend researching each of the dorm buildings before making your final choice for your first year. While there is no guarantee that you will be placed in your first choice, researching the various options will make it more likely that you’ll be placed in a situation that fits your interests and preferences.

Each major dorm has a dining hall facility that is open until the late evening. There are several after-hours dining options as well. In addition to dorm life, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of extracurricular activities you can get involved in to meet students with similar interests as yours. I found this to be the easiest way to make friends during my time at BU.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Daniel: As a major research university, BU has every possible major imaginable, from liberal arts, to hospitality management, to public health, to international finance. I studied American History and found my experience in the history department to be both intellectually stimulating and richly rewarding. The professors in the department are recognized scholars in their field and I greatly enjoyed learning from them for four years.

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?

Daniel: Meeting people and making friends was a bit challenging for me at first (much of this goes back to what I discussed above about being sure to carefully consider your dorm options before making a selection), but I was able to overcome this through joining a number of extracurricular activities, intramural sports, and clubs.

While some people did choose to join fraternities or sororities, Greek life was not particularly prominent at BU.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?

Daniel: While I did not use the Career Center myself, friends of mine did, and found their services to be very helpful.

As a senior, I participated in the BU Washington Program in Washington D.C., during which I took classes and also interned for a Member of Congress. This experience was invaluable when I moved back to D.C. and pursued a career on Capitol Hill. I believe strongly in the BU Washington Program, and currently teach a course for the program.

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

Daniel: BU has a large student union in the middle of campus, as well as a multi-story library with significant study space. All large dorms, and most small ones, also have their own study spaces. These spaces are open for most of the day and night, with hours increasing to 24 hours during final exams. I don’t recall ever having an issue with space or over-crowding in any of the study areas.

In addition, there are a ton of coffee shops on or around the campus, as well as public parks that are beautiful during the spring and fall months. These were also popular places for students to study.

Describe the surrounding town.

Daniel: I can’t say enough about the City of Boston as a college destination. It offers all of the benefits a major city has to offer. This includes restaurants, museums, the Boston Common and other open spaces, and sporting events and concerts, just to name a few. And if you love history like me, there’s no better spot in the country than Boston, the site of some of our nation’s most important events.

Students make use of the city constantly. During my time, I felt like the entire city was my college campus, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.

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

Daniel: There’s no denying that BU is a very large school, with about 16,000 undergraduates and almost as many graduate students. Large lecture classes will often have over 100 students, but I never felt “lost in the shuffle” from an academic point-of-view. This is due to the accessibility of professors and teaching assistants, as I discussed earlier. Smaller seminars have much smaller enrollment, as do discussion meetings for the larger lecture courses.

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

Daniel: I loved all of the history courses that I took at BU, but one in particular stands out, and it is coincidentally the first one that I took as a freshman. The course was “U.S. History: 1968 – Present”, and the Instructor was Professor Bruce Schulman. He made great use of music and film clips from the time period we were studying to drive home his points about shifts in American culture traditions over the past 40 years. It really made history come alive for me in a way that it never had before, and reinforced my decision to choose the major that I had. I still remember sitting in the lecture hall the day of first class and listening to the 10 minute montage of speeches and song clips that he used to introduce the course, and how excited it made me to learn what he had to teach.


Check out Daniel’s tutoring profile.

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