My Experience at The University of Chicago

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Anindya is a Manhattan tutor and 2010 graduate of The University of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Letters, and Society, and he tutors several subjects, including algebra tutoring, public speaking tutoring, and writing tutoring. Check out what Anindya had to say about his time at The University of Chicago:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Anindya: The University of Chicago campus is nestled in a quiet and beautiful part of Hyde Park, just a few miles south of downtown Chicago. The quad is full of seasonal trees and plants, and it is surrounded by a mixture of modern and Gothic buildings. Students have many options to get into the city by bus or train, which takes 20 to 30 minutes. Hyde Park itself is also a vibrant neighborhood with lots of options for food, drink, and leisure.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at The University of Chicago?

Anindya: Professors are available to undergraduate students, but students typically have to take the initiative to contact them either in-person or via email. These professors are world-renowned researchers, but they are willing to take the time if students are not shy about asking. Advisers at The University of Chicago are amazing, and they are very helpful when deciding majors, picking classes, and offering advice for balancing workloads. Teaching assistants are also very helpful as long as students reach out to them for help.

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

Anindya: Though The University of Chicago may have a bad reputation for being “where fun goes to die,” this is just a funny slogan that students embrace and are proud of. Most dorms that exist now are modern and luxurious. For first years, dorms largely determine your friends, but there are many student organizations that you can join to meet new people. Food is also great on campus—definitely a surprising relief.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Anindya: The University of Chicago is definitely well renowned for their economics programs. Students who major in economics and graduate with a good GPA should not find it hard to land a great job. I studied Law, Letters, and Society, which is a selective major that offers classes at the law school and is a mix of legal rhetoric and reasoning courses. I recommend applying to it. Even though I am currently in academia and not law, it was worthwhile.

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?

Anindya: I found it fairly easy to meet new people and make friends. Orientation week is literally a week of fun activities for students to interact and socialize. I did join a fraternity, but Greek life can be separate and invisible to those who are not interested. Still, Greek life offers an organized way to make lifelong friends and create lasting networks.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services at The University of Chicago? 

Anindya: To be honest, I did not use the Career Center much, but my friends did and found it helpful. Many reputable companies come to job fairs. I took more informal methods to land a job, such as emailing my professors about possible opportunities to work for them.

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

Anindya: All facilities are clean and very conducive to productive studying. They only get crowded during finals, but that is a part of the intellectual atmosphere of that time. It is easy to get a personal desk, or to sit at a big table with friends, though silence is usually required at most libraries. Harper Library is gorgeous and looks like the castle in Harry Potter.

Describe the surrounding town at The University of Chicago.

Anindya: Hyde Park is vibrant and refreshing. Especially during the spring, fall, and summer, there are many street events like art walks. Winter is cool too because there is an ice rink on the Midway two blocks south of the quad. There are awesome restaurants, including upscale or small and cozy diner-type spots. President Obama heartily endorses Valois, but I am a Salonica person myself. Noodles, Cedar’s, Seven Ten Lanes, and Leona’s are also all great hangouts for students.

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

Anindya: There are about 1,000 students per class. I think that is the perfect number for small class sizes, and feeling like you know a lot of the people you will graduate with by the end. I only had one or two classes larger than 30 students—big lecture courses—and the rest typically had 20 or so. The University of Chicago is very selective about keeping these numbers.

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

Anindya: I loved my American Law and the Rhetoric of Race course, which I took at the law school with law school students. It was a very moving experience about how the law changed to finally view African Americans as deserving of rights, and the long and difficult process involved in this. It was taught by Professor Dennis Hutchinson. I regret not having taken his class on Abraham Lincoln, which many others said was their favorite.

Check out Anindya’s tutoring profile.

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