The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Kelli is a Chicago tutor specializing in Chemistry tutoring, AP Chemistry tutoring, and Biochemistry tutoring. She is a 2013 graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a minor in German. 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?
Kelli: DePaul is right in the heart of the Chicago neighborhood, Lincoln Park, right off of the Fullerton red line stop. The campus is quite compact, and it is usually quite reasonable to get from one side of campus to the other in about 10 minutes (or less!). There is also a downtown campus (Jackson red line stop), mostly for students in the business school, which is just a few high-rise buildings. There are quite a few students that commute from the suburbs, otherwise the campus is accessible via the CTA. Many students also ride their bikes as a matter of convenience.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Kelli: I found the professors/TAs to be very available for help, no matter what subject/department the class was part of. Overall, I found the professors to be very personable and willing to help students succeed. They often encouraged students to come see them in their offices and were interested in getting to know us on a more personal level.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Kelli: I lived on-campus for my freshman year, and incredibly close to campus for my sophomore through senior years. Living in the dorms was one of my favorite experiences at DePaul; It’s where I met most of my best friends! The dorms also had a lot of free, fun programs (and food!) to offer, which was a major plus. Everyone might not agree, but I actually quite liked the food at our student center. (The student center is where most of the food is. We also have “The Bean” and “Brownstones,” which are coffee shops on campus). They had a good variety of fresh foods and even vegetarian options, as well as the typical delicious/unhealthy “dorm food.” I found there to be many ways to get involved with the student body, with tons of clubs and events.
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?
Kelli: DePaul is well known for their prestigious Theater program, which a beautiful brand new building was just built for! They are also known for their Business School, as well as the Liberal Arts College where Psychology and Communication degrees are very popular. I got my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, which is a relatively smaller program at DePaul. However, this made for an incredibly personable experience where I got to know my professors and peers very well. I felt, and still feel, very supported by the Chemistry department! (By the way, the Chemistry building is very new and has great, comfortable places to study, as well as a coffee shop!)
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?
Kelli: I found it very easy to make friends at DePaul, especially through living in the dorms and being active on campus. I am still friends with the friends I made my freshman year and I know I will be for a long time! Greek life is smaller at DePaul than at state schools, since the sororities/fraternities don’t have official housing on campus. I know a few people who really enjoyed Greek life, but by no means will you feel “out of it” if you are not a part of it.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Kelli: I personally did not utilize the Career Center while at DePaul, but I know that they have a good reputation and are always excited and willing to meet with students, even for a quick meeting to help guide them in the right direction. In terms of other student support services, they are also quite reliable in my experience.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Kelli: I personally do not love the library, since it is too quiet! However, they did just remodel the library. I often stayed on campus for longer periods of time to study, usually at some of our newer academic buildings with great, comfortable spots. There are also many coffee shops to study at in the area: Starbucks (at least four different ones), the Bourgeois Pig Cafe, etc. Unless it is finals week, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding space to study at the library/student center/dorm lounges. During finals, they do have extended library/student center food hours and they sell snacks at the library.
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?
Kelli: DePaul is pretty much perfectly situated in the city of Chicago. There is a neighborhood feel, yet you are 20 minutes away (or less) on the L from downtown. It is surrounded by the Lakeview neighborhood, where a lot of students live. I also love the Armitage area (a brown line stop), which is a quick 10-minute walk from campus and has tons of great food options and shopping/boutiques. There are many great bars in the area as well as music venues, such as Lincoln Hall. You can’t really ask for a better location!
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Kelli: The College Board reports that there are about 16,500 undergraduate students at DePaul. Keep in mind, however, that a lot of these students are commuters. Even being the largest Catholic private school in the nation, DePaul still felt like a "small world." The (main) campus is not very large and I saw people I knew everywhere I went, which I generally really liked. I was also pleased with the typical class sizes. I only had a few larger lecture classes, such as General/Organic Chemistry (80-100 students – not even that big!). Otherwise, for example, my honors German and Chemistry classes were generally no bigger than 25 students. It was really easy to get to know professors and peers.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Kelli: A memorable class experience was Biochemistry, for many reasons. First, it was very challenging for me since I hadn’t taken Biology in college yet. Yet, Biochemistry ended up being my concentration because I am so interested in applying Chemistry to understanding how our bodies work! It is a lot less abstract than a lot of other Chemistry courses. It was also memorable because I took it junior year, which is typically a very challenging year (it was for me), and it is definitely a turning point for students to confirm that they are (or aren’t) passionate about what they are studying.
Check out Kelli’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.