Should I Go To Arcadia University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Kaitlin received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Secondary Education from Arcadia University. She is currently a tutor in Philadelphia, specializing in AP U.S. Government & Politics tutoring, Grammar and Mechanics tutoring, Math tutoring, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at Arcadia University:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or rural is the campus? Did you feel safe on campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Kaitlin: Arcadia University’s campus is located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Glenside is considered part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, but it is definitely in the suburbs. As a result, you get the best of both worlds. With two bus routes taking you throughout the area, and the Glenside train station just a 10-minute walk away, Arcadia University is incredibly accessible. It is a small campus – in about 20 minutes, you can make a loop around the entire university. It is also a secure campus. Our Public Safety office partners with the local township to ensure that students feel safe and taken care of.  

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

Kaitlin: One of the things that I loved most about Arcadia University was its class sizes. The largest class that I ever had was about 25 students – with this in mind, professors always knew me and my classmates. It was very rare to find teaching assistants at Arcadia University. In fact, if professors hire teaching assistants, they are not allowed to teach classes. Because of the small, intimate class size, I was able to build strong connections with my professors, some of whom still mentor me today.

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

Kaitlin: The majority of students at Arcadia University live on campus. The university guarantees housing for all four years of your undergraduate academic career. Housing options include living in a traditional dorm; in suite-style rooms, with separate bedrooms and a shared living area/bathroom; in apartment-style housing; and, my personal favorite, in the Castle. Grey Towers Castle is the cornerstone of Arcadia University – it was built in the 1800s, and Arcadia University has since transformed it into offices and first-year housing. I was fortunate enough to live in the Castle during my first year of college, and I absolutely loved it! I was in a huge room with my own bathroom and five roommates. My second year, I was a Resident Assistant in the traditional dorms, where I found students to be more social. They often formed greater bonds with their hallmates. All of the university housing is on or near campus, with the furthest option (apartment-style) only a five- to 10-minute walk away.

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?

Kaitlin: The most popular majors on campus include Elementary Education, Biology, and Psychology. We have an awesome Physical Therapy graduate school program, so a lot of our incoming undergraduates choose Biology or Psychology as their undergraduate major. I studied History and Secondary Education – I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a young age. One of the best parts about Arcadia University’s School of Education is that, if you complete all of the requirements, you can graduate with not only a degree, but also a license to teach in Pennsylvania. Throughout my program, I found mentors who were able to work with me and help me fine tune my long-term goals, including teaching in an urban school district. Throughout my undergraduate career, particularly during student teaching, I was incredibly supported by the School of Education, especially by my student teaching supervisor.

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?

Kaitlin: Greek life is not present at Arcadia University. But the amount of clubs, intramural sports, and activities provided by Arcadia University make meeting people and creating friendships easy to do. While it’s sometimes silly stuff– for example, a really popular activity on campus is Midnight Bingo – there’s always something to do and somewhere to meet new people. I met one of my best friends at an Arcadia University event. We ended up leading the same club together, and we have been inseparable ever since.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Kaitlin: The Office of Career Education is phenomenal. They have workshops, job fairs, and other services for students from the very beginning of their college careers. I started receiving help for my resume in the first semester of my first year – with their help, and after continuing with their programs, I was able to fine-tune my resume and receive a job offer after attending a job fair hosted by the Office of Career Education. They have more than 30 companies come each year, from pharmaceuticals, to school districts, to NGOs, and more. In addition, the Office of Career Education is also available for alumni.

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

Kaitlin: Because Arcadia University is so small (my graduating class only had 420 students in it), there is very rarely over-crowding. While the library gets very busy during finals – as most college libraries do – the rest of campus is pretty spacious and easily available.

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? 

Kaitlin: Glenside is a small town just outside of the city. There you’ll find local pizza shops, grocery stores, and a few parks – but the most entertainment that you’ll find will be in the city. The train station is just a 10-minute walk from campus. Students usually find a healthy balance between going into the city and staying in Glenside. There have been more up-and-coming events, such as arts festivals and farmers’ markets, that make this easier.

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

Kaitlin: As I said before, I loved the small class sizes. The total size of Arcadia University is around 2,500 undergraduate students, so it is very small in comparison to some of the bigger state schools in the city. I chose Arcadia University for this small size, and I enjoyed being able to know pretty much everyone in my graduating class.

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

Kaitlin: One of my best classes at Arcadia University was my Spring Preview class. Every spring, Arcadia University gives first-year students the opportunity to learn about a place and travel there for Spring Break. The class that I took was all about religion in Granada, Spain. I learned about Granada from January to March, and then at the end of March, I traveled with my class of 17 students to Spain. While there, we got to see all of the sites that we had spent the entire semester learning about. It was incredible! The people that I traveled with that first year are some of my best friends today.

Check out Kaitlin’s tutoring profile.

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