The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Kat is a Dallas Fort Worth tutor specializing in Algebra tutoring, AP Physics tutoring, Calculus tutoring, and more. She is a 2011 graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Check out her review of her alma mater:
VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?
Kat: The campus is safe, and it’s like a city within itself. There are buses you can take around campus, but I personally never used them. A lot of students walk or ride bikes across campus, and a car is only needed if you live off of campus or if you wanted to go to the movie theater.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Kat: The professors, advisers, and teaching assistants are always willing to find time to help. They typically have certain hours that they are available, but if you have class or duties during those hours, they will work with you to find an alternate time and schedule an appointment.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Kat: I did not have a good experience with dorm life, so I lived off-campus for most of my college life. You are required to live on campus your first year; afterwards, I highly recommend getting off campus if you can afford it. This is the only area of Baylor I have anything negative to say about.
The dining options are good, but may be a bit limited for some. There is a Chili’s Too in the Engineering building. There is also a small snack stand in the science building. There are three dining halls; one has a really awesome omelet bar, another has a great stir-fry bar, and the last one occasionally has fantastic chili cheese fries (and I am a person who normally does not enjoy chili cheese fries). There is also a little collection of fast food places within the student union building. It includes Chick-fil-A, Sbarro, Quiznos, and a tex-mex place. There are no Chinese restaurants that deliver to Baylor, but there is a Pizza Hut right on the edge of campus that does deliver to campus.
There are also several social events throughout the year. Every week, there is a Dr. Pepper Hour in which students get free Dr. Pepper floats and socialize. The student union building has a pool hall and a bowling alley in the basement.
Every school within the university hosts different events. The Engineering school has an event during which different organizations like ASME and IEEE put on little shows or contests. One example is professors and teaching assistants trying to find Skittles within a whipped cream pie.
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?
Kat: I studied Electrical and Computer Engineering. I have always enjoyed mathematics and science, especially the electricity side of physics. I was also in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). Both were well represented and supported. They also required a separate application from the admissions application for Baylor. Thus, I actually had three different applications that I filled out for Baylor: one to be a student at the university, one for the Engineering school, and one for the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core program. I do not know the acceptance rate for the Engineering school, but I do know that BIC only accepts 200 to 250 students each year into the program. Both the Engineering school and the BIC program had teachers and administrators that were very supportive of the students and the goals of those students.
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?
Kat: The first week after moving in, before starting school, is all about meeting people, making friends, and learning about Baylor. For the first week of school as a freshman, a decent number of classes did not go diving into the subject material. They spent a day or two having the professor and students introduce themselves. There were a lot of events during the first week to encourage students to meet and mingle.
I was not a part of the Greek life and did not see it play a significant role in campus life. There are others who would disagree with that statement. I just did not experience it, and it was not a significant part in the events I attended.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Kat: The Career Center is helpful for putting together a resume. There are a number of companies that recruit on campus and at the Baylor career fairs.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Kat: The study areas were nice. There was typically room, and they were easy to get to. The libraries had study rooms you could reserve. These were great for study groups or when I tutored others. They had dry erase boards you could use, if you brought your own markers and eraser. I used these rooms on numerous occasions.
The student union building would have available space, except around lunch. The lounge area and the table area were packed then. Otherwise, there was usually plenty of room, and the chairs were comfortable. I would study there in-between classes often.
The dorm lounges were roomy and sometimes students would get together for a TV-watching party.
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?
Kat: There were some restaurants and fast food places right around campus. There was also one movie theater, but it required having a car or a ride to get there.
Most students stay on campus because there is not a lot to do off-campus.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Kat: The student body is fairly large. All of my classes were six to 40 people each (not including Chapel, which was a few hundred people), and the average was around 15 to 20. I liked the size of my classes.
The science classes were the only ones to reach around 40 students. The BIC classes were 15 to 20 when in small group, and they were around 250 for large group. The small group BIC classes were for discussion, homework, quizzes, and tests. The large group BIC classes were for lectures. The Engineering classes varied from six people to 25 people. The electives were on the lower end of the range because professors wanted to be able to devote more time to each individual student. The required classes were on the higher end of the range, but they never reached the magnitude of the science classes.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Kat: I really enjoyed and loved many of my classes. The most memorable experience for me was not tied to a specific class, but rather to how professors/students reacted to a situation. Fall semester of my spring year, my family was going through a hard time that ended with the funeral of my brother’s first-born child. She was a micro-preemie on life support. I was walking into class when I got the call about how my brother and his wife were going to take her off of life support. I walked into my lab, and I did not have to say anything. My lab partner saw the look on my face (I had been keeping him up to date on everything going on back home), and he just told me to go. He said he would handle the lab and catch me up next week. In addition to lab, which was my last class that day, I missed three full days of class that week, as well as a quiz. I had emailed in all the homework I could, and I informed my professors of the situation and that some of the homework would be turned in late the following week when I got back. None of the professors docked my homework for being late. In one of my classes, I had a quiz every Friday, and we were allowed one dropped quiz. When I emailed him, I told him I would take the quiz I missed as the dropped quiz. When I got back to school the following Monday, he pulled me aside and told me to not worry about the quiz. The quiz was missed for legitimate reasons and it would not count toward my total. Thus, I still had a dropped quiz to use afterward. I told him he did not need to do that, but I was very thankful.
The professors and the students were supportive and worked with me to get things done at another time. They all understood that I did not miss class for a party or because I did not feel well. I missed class to be with my family during a time of need. The people at Baylor are very caring and supportive.
Check out Kat’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.