A Student Perspective on Brigham Young University

Joseph is a current senior at Brigham Young University. He is majoring in psychology, and specializes in Algebra 2 tutoring, ACT English tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, he shares his experience at Brigham Young University:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Joseph: The campus is located in a valley at the base of a portion of the Wasatch Mountains. Most students live in off-campus housing that’s within a 20-minute walk from campus. It’s very easy to do without a car and still maintain a good social life. You can walk to the campus, a good portion of the other apartment complexes, grocery stores, and even hiking trails. The campus is located in a town of about 100,000, but the downtown area does not have much to it. As far as safety goes, it was rated the safest college campus in America. Buses and a train are available for travel north to Orem or Salt Lake City. A car and bike are nice for convenience, but definitely not necessary.

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

Joseph: All professors are required by the university to hold office hours, so the only factors stopping you from getting one-on-one help from them are your own fears to approach them. I have found it easy to schedule an appointment with academic advisers. Most classes have one or two teaching assistants per 50 students, each with their own office hours. The TAs often host review sessions of their own. In physics, math, and psychology there are labs open all day where you can go to get help from TAs.

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

Joseph: Most of the students live in off-campus housing. There’s quite a variety of housing quality, from the rundown to nice and modern housing. Many students buy and cook their own food, but there are dining areas on campus where meal plans can be used. The culture is very friendly and people are usually quite open to making new friends.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Joseph: The BYU Marriott School of Business is often rated top five in the country. There are also particularly strong programs in the engineering department. Since it’s a large university, most areas of study are well-represented. I chose to major in psychology. The university has a large faculty for the program with plenty of opportunities for involvement.

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?

Joseph: It’s very easy to make friends. You can go into the lunch room and sit by somebody and they’re usually very happy to talk. Most people are closest with their roommates; it’s a little bit more difficult to become close friends with people otherwise. There’s no greek life on campus.

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

Joseph: I have not personally used the Career Center or other services other than advisement, but the list of services offered is quite extensive. There are often career fairs that have many reputable companies in attendance.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Joseph: The library usually has enough room; it’s one of the best college libraries in the country. It can get a little crowded, in which case most of the other buildings on campus have study areas which are quite spacious.

Describe the surrounding town.

Joseph: Provo itself doesn’t have much to do, so students usually hang out around campus with each other. Salt Lake City has a bit more to do, but it’s an hour or more by car. There are a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation. There are three canyons into the mountains within a 30-minute drive, each with near hiking trails.

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

Joseph: The student body size is around 30,000. There tends to be large classes for generals and early in your major, which can be a little bit ineffective. For classes where size is important and later in the major, they hold between 20 and 40 people.

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

Joseph:I am currently enrolled in a research and writing class for political science, and the way the class is organized is like a well-oiled machine. There is one TA, each with office hours, for every 20 students. The teacher is very funny and keeps lectures entertaining. He even has large candy bars that he gives out when people answer questions. He’s put a lot of energy into teaching methods that are effective. The papers are graded at a really high level, but because of the support system, the class helps students to truly reach this level.


Check out Joseph’s tutoring profile.

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