Saint Louis University: A Student Review

Margaret earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and psychology from Saint Louis University. She specializes in test prep tutoring, Spanish tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at Saint Louis University:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Margaret: I attended Saint Louis University, which is in the heart of Midtown St. Louis. The school is separated into two campuses: the Frost, or the main campus, and the Medical Campus. While there is a shuttle that runs between the two campuses, you don’t need any external form of transportation when you’re on a single campus, as both of them are easily walkable. While the campus is in the city, most students will refer to the “SLU bubble,” which is SLU and its immediate surrounding area where students feel safe and comfortable walking around. Like any city, it’s best to know where you are, but on campus I never felt unsafe.

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

Margaret: I never had an issue with a professor being unresponsive. If you make an effort to attend office hours or to set up an appointment, they’re very responsive and helpful. Sometimes, TAs are more available, depending on the class and case load of a particular professor during a given semester; but in general, my professors were always willing to make time to meet with me. My academic adviser was also easy to contact and meet with and was helpful when I needed to make decisions about courses.

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

Margaret: This aspect of SLU is changing rapidly right now. When I was in college and staying on campus, I lived in Reinert Hall, while most of the other freshmen lived in Gries, Marg, or Walsh. I had an amazing freshman year floor and I made a lot of friends that I still keep in touch with now. Living in a dorm was a great way for me to meet people, as well as have friends to study and hang out with.

In recent years, SLU has undergone some major renovations. They’re adding new dorm buildings and there are newly added apartment options right near campus. They added some new restaurants on campus as well, including St. Louis Bread Co., Qdoba, and Starbucks. As a student, you’ll have your favorite places to eat and places that you don’t love, but overall you have a lot of options.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Margaret: SLU is an exceptional school for any medical track. Athletic training, physical therapy, pre-med, and nursing are just some of the possible options. The programs are extremely rigorous, competitive, and nationally ranked. Outside of medical tracks, SLU is also well known for the International Business program. The “B School,” or business school, is really well-developed, and is probably the best school within the university at connecting its students with internship and job opportunities.

I majored in Psychology and Spanish. I definitely felt supported by my professors the entire way through my major courses. My professors were exceptionally competent, passionate, and easy for me to work and connect with. I wasn’t even planning to major in Spanish, but I had a really passionate teacher who saw my talent and encouraged me to continue my Spanish studies.

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?

Margaret: I have a very vivid memory of driving to SLU with my dad to move into my dorm as a freshman. I turned to him in the car and said something I had been worrying about since I committed to SLU: “Dad, what if people don’t like me?” When he came to visit me second semester, I confidently walked him through my residence hall and ran into at least eight or nine people I knew before I even got to my floor; my dad said it was like walking around with the mayor. I had no reason to be worried about making friends at SLU, because SLU has a truly unique student body. It’s a student body with passion, kindness, and compassion, and it’s made up of students who care for other people and for their community.

I didn’t choose to participate in Greek life, but it’s becoming a larger presence on campus. I had several friends who did participate and spoke very highly of the experiences they had. They found a lot of great friends, always had events to go to if they wanted to, and it helped them make connections.

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

Margaret: The services at SLU are what you make of them. If you take advantage of them, you’ll be happy with what they help you do. Their writing services are exceptional and they offer free tutoring. The Career Center helps with writing CVs, helps teach you how to network and connect, and assists you in finding positions. I found all of the services that I utilized to be very helpful. SLU also runs several job fairs each year with hundreds of companies that come to recruit—from small nonprofits to giant corporations like Boeing. These job fairs are perfect opportunities for networking.

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

Margaret: The only time it gets more difficult to find a place to sit in the library is during midterms and finals, because everyone on campus is studying at the same time. The library is open 24 hours during normal weeks and during midterms and finals it’s open 24/7. When you had to pull those terrible all-nighters, the library was where you went.

Other places I studied on campus included the B School, the Center for Global Citizenship (CGC), and the Busch Student Center (BSC). The B School has the atrium with plenty of tables and chairs for group studying, a silent study room, and individual study rooms on the upper floors. The CGC has a huge open area with long tables to study and a little cafe to get food and coffee. Finally, the BSC has Bread Co. and several other dining options with tons of tables, couches, and rooms to study.

Describe the surrounding town.

Margaret: To be honest, I didn’t take advantage of the surrounding area until I was in my junior and senior years, and I learned even more once I graduated and moved to another part of the city. There are a lot of things to do in St. Louis. Since this city is divided up into neighborhoods, you can get a variety of experiences. When it’s time for Mardi Gras, everyone heads to Soulard. South Grand boasts a ton of ethnic restaurant choices and access to Tower Grove Park. If you head north, you can go to The Fabulous Fox Theatre. If you head west, you’ll run into the Central West End, another area with tons of restaurants, Forest Park, and a movie theater.

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

Margaret: SLU is a mid-size school with about 8,000 undergraduates. I didn’t want a school where I would feel lost in a sea of people I didn’t know. I liked that SLU had a tighter knit community where I would see people I knew. Classes range from big lecture courses with up to 300 people, to classes significantly smaller than that with 15-20 students. You had more of an opportunity to participate in smaller courses, but I never took issue with the size of any of my classes.

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

Margaret: One of my favorite professors was Dr. Dan Finucane, a professor in theological studies. I took a few courses with him and he wasn’t what comes to mind when you think of a strict academic professor. He was funny, personable, and easygoing inside and outside of the classroom. He was also approachable and easy to talk to. Despite the fact that theology has the potential to be divisive, depending on the beliefs of students in a particular class, in his courses I had some of the best, most thought-provoking discussions. He made religious principles relevant and timely and challenged you to consider new approaches. He was one of the most impartial teachers I ever had and he was exceptionally gifted at provoking quality conversation that examined a topic from all sides.

Check out Margaret’s tutoring profile.

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