The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Bryan is a Washington D.C. tutor and 2010 graduate of Georgetown University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and specializes in many subjects including SAT prep tutoring, Algebra tutoring, Grammar and Mechanics tutoring, and more. Check out his review of his 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?
Bryan: Georgetown University is a unique setting, which was one of the largest draws toward it when I was making my college decision. It balances an urban environment by being in the heart of Washington, DC, with a closed campus. That means that Georgetown’s campus is entirely walkable – even if choosing to live in off-campus housing, a 15 minute walk would allow you to reach any other point on campus. In addition, by being located in Georgetown (a neighborhood within Northwest Washington, DC), students have access to the dozens of shops, restaurants, and nightlife options within walking distance. The setup of Georgetown’s campus allows students to bump into friends and classmates on a regular basis. As far as transportation, students absolutely do not need a car. Some students choose to bike, but walking is the option that most students choose. DC has excellent public transportation in the form of the Metro, although it requires a 15-20 minute walk, or a very short (free) bus ride, to the closest Metro stop (in Rosslyn, VA).
The campus is, in general, very safe, with on-campus security, and off-campus Metro Police in the surrounding area. If choosing to live off-campus (which many upperclassmen do), students should remember that Georgetown is located in a large metropolitan area, and take common-sense safety precautions.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Bryan: The professors are all very available. Of course, it varies from professor to professor, but all professors hold regular office hours, which are made known to students. These are a great time for students to stop by a professor’s office and have individual discussions. Some larger, discussion classes, are broken into discussion sections, led by teaching assistants. My experience with teaching assistants was largely positive – they were all very knowledgeable, helpful, and generally accessible for students. Academic advisors are also accessible, and are useful for students wishing to have conversations about switching majors, or choosing courses to match with a particular course of study.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Bryan: Georgetown students are guaranteed at least two years of on-campus housing (although the majority are granted a third year, as well). On-campus dorms vary from building to building (some have a sink included in the room, some are larger apartment-style, etc.), but freshmen usually tend to feel very strongly positive about their living arrangements. All four freshman dorms are located at different parts of campus, but all are within a 15 minute walk of each other. Off-campus housing is widely available for juniors or seniors, which is an option that many students take advantage of.
Dining options are mostly limited to the main dining hall on campus. The food is decent, with a large selection for options. In addition, there are plenty of nearby restaurants and cafés for quick, inexpensive dining.
Socializing is very easy upon arriving at Georgetown. Students tend to form friends quickly with other people on their freshman year floor, or with other students from various clubs, activities, and events. A nice feature of Georgetown’s dorm life is their inclusion of a program called CHARMS. This program allows students to create a profile, and search through other incoming freshmen’s profiles to find a potential good fit for a roommate.
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?
Bryan: Georgetown University has four distinct schools – the College of Arts and Sciences, the McDonough School of Business, the School of Foreign Service, and the Nursing and Health Studies School. Because of this separation of schools, Georgetown does a great job of supporting majors of many different fields. Within the College, majors like History, Government, or Economics are very popular. Within the MSB, popular majors include Finance, Consulting, Accounting, or Marketing. Within the SFS, majors focus on International Studies. Popular majors within the SFS include International Relations, as well as many foreign languages (the SFS requires demonstrating proficiency in a language as a prerequisite for graduating). The NHS focuses on Health Studies, and includes an excellent Nursing program, as well as majors like International Health.
I graduated from the Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences, with a BA in History, and minors in Government and Psychology. I chose this course of study because I have always been fascinated with history, and Georgetown has an excellent program for liberal arts. Government is a very strong program at Georgetown, and I decided to minor in Government once I took a few courses and realized the caliber of professors was fantastic.
The four schools at Georgetown each have their own area of speciality. Students apply for admission to a particular school, and are able to declare a major by their sophomore year. All of the schools at Georgetown are very reputable and well-established. A student should be aware of the differences between the schools before applying, and have some sort of idea for which area appeals to him/her most.
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?
Bryan: Meeting people at Georgetown was very easy. Everyone bonds extremely quickly freshman year, particularly with fellow students on their floor or in their dorm. I would absolutely recommend getting involved in as many activities, clubs, and events as possible, since this is an excellent way to meet people as well. Georgetown does not technically have Greek life (there are some fraternities that operate independently, but they are not recognized directly by the university, and do no dominate social life at all), which was actually a big draw in my decision to attend Georgetown. Despite the lack of Greek life, Georgetown maintains a very lively social scene, with plenty of events on campus for students, combined with a large supply of nightlife options within walking distance.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Bryan: The Career Center was moderately helpful to me as an undergraduate. They have resumé review services, as well as interview practice sessions for students. Within the MSB, plenty of companies recruit on campus, but recruiting events are mostly limited to the business school. For students in the other schools at the university, it is largely up to them to apply to companies or job opportunities that interest them. However, the Career Center is a valuable resource for students to find out more about companies that are hiring, or job opportunities within their field of interest.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Bryan: The common areas are, for the most part, spacious and available. Plenty of students tend to go to the main library to complete their work or to study, but other options include common spaces in the student union (the Leavey Center), and common areas in dorm buildings.
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?
Bryan: Georgetown is a very lively neighborhood within Washington, DC. There are dozens of restaurants, shops, a movie theater, and nightlife options in the immediate walking area for students to enjoy, which they frequent throughout the year. There is never a lack of things to do within Georgetown, but if a student wants to branch out, the entirety of Washington, DC is at the disposal of Georgetown students via the Metro system in DC. Most students tend to stay within the Georgetown area (it often is referred to as the “Georgetown bubble,”), but I would highly recommend students making efforts to get out to other restaurants, concerts, or sporting events in downtown DC. (The men’s basketball team plays off-campus at the Verizon Center, which is a great opportunity for students to get out into the city.)
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Bryan: The undergraduate body is about 6,000 students. Georgetown is a private school, which tends to make for slightly smaller student bodies. However, there were always new people to meet throughout my four years at the school. Alternatively, Georgetown’s walkable campus, and relatively moderate student body make it very easy to bump into friends, or meet up with people easily. Finally, class sizes were very reasonable throughout my four years at Georgetown. Some of the larger discussion-based courses were several hundred students, but were then broken up into smaller discussion sections. On the other hand, many of my upper-level History courses were capped at 15 students or fewer, allowing for much more open discussion directly with a professor.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Bryan: I took a Government class (American Electoral Politics) during the second semester of my senior year. It was a lower-level discussion course, with maybe 70 students in it. It was largely lecture-based, but the professor was extremely interesting and every discussion was worthwhile. The downside of the class was that there was very little interaction with the professor, apart from asking occasional questions or visiting him during his office hours. However, on the final class of the semester, the professor asked for all the seniors to raise their hands. He spoke individually to each one, and asked what their plans were for after graduation. It was a good moment to connect with an excellent professor, and he had a chance to understand where many of his students were heading after graduating.
Check out Bryan’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.