The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Rachel is a Phoenix tutor and 2011 graduate of Kansas State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science Biotechnology and tutors several subjects, including Environmental Science tutoring, Genetics tutoring, and Medicine tutoring. Check out what Rachel had to say about her time at Kansas State 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?
Rachel: The Kansas State University campus is beautiful and safe! Obviously, I would not advise walking around at night alone, but the crime rate is relatively low. Manhattan, Kansas is a pretty small town. Depending on which side of campus your classes are/you live on, you can usually walk to your classes and Aggieville, where many of the shops and restaurants are. There are buses, but I am not certain of the details, since I never used them myself. I was able to walk most places and to drive to the few places that required it. A bike would be super useful in a town of Manhattan’s size.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Rachel: Although this is likely to be largely dependent on the college/department, I had wonderful experiences with all of my professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at Kansas State University. I was in the College of Agriculture, and I had the most laid-back and down-to-earth teachers that I have ever met. I cannot think of a single time when I had to reach a faculty/staff member and had any difficulty in doing so.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Rachel: I actually did not live in the dorms. It is recommended – but not required – at Kansas State University. Although I would not change anything about my college experience, I do know that most of my friends loved living in the Kansas State University dorms. From what I have heard, the dining options are decent, but the dorm locations are prime. It is easy to get to and from most dorms to any other building on campus. There are many student activities available for dorm residents (and non-dorm residents), so socialization should not ever be an issue.
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?
Rachel: I may be a bit biased because I was mostly exposed to the Science and Agriculture classes, but Kansas State University is known for its Engineering and Agriculture specialties. The College of Agriculture offers some really cool majors, such as Biotechnology (which I graduated with) and Bakery Science. The Biotechnology/Bioscience degree was just starting out when I was there, so the program was still developing, but everyone at Kansas State University was very supportive. I never had any problem finding resources to help me with anything at all at the school.
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?
Rachel: Greek life at Kansas State University is prominent, but not huge. I had a lot of friends who were involved in it, but I chose not to be. I had no problem meeting people as a freshman! Kansas folk are generally pretty friendly, so striking up a conversation with someone in your class is easy. Since I did not live in the dorms, I did not have that platform for socialization. However, I think it would have been even easier for people in the dorms or those involved in Greek life to make some new friends. I would advise getting involved in many of the clubs that Kansas State University has to offer. Most colleges will host a few events in the beginning of the semester to showcase different clubs. The student union will also have some events to help students get involved too.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Rachel: I always had plenty of success working with the Career Center, although the College of Agriculture was my go-to resource for career advice, since they were usually able to answer my more personalized questions. Each college usually puts on a career fair too, which I found to be a great networking tool. Bramlage Coliseum also holds some interesting lectures throughout the semester, and those are great networking opportunities, as well.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Rachel: The study areas at Kansas State University had plenty of room and were frequently available. Kansas State University has one of the most incredible libraries (Hale Library) that I have ever seen... I always felt like I was studying in a castle when I was there. The student union was never too busy either. Again, I am not totally certain about the dorm lounges, but I have only heard positive things from my friends.
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?
Rachel: If you love the big city feel, Kansas State University is not for you. However, for undergraduates, I thought it was a great size. The town is small enough to get around easily and to feel safe. All of the foliage around Manhattan is wonderful, and I spent a lot of time outdoors. Konza Prairie is a great place for Kansas State University students who like nature, as is the University Gardens. I was also involved in the recreational services, so I spent a lot of time at the Peters Recreation Complex. They have renovated it in recent years, and it is very nice. There are also outdoor areas like Tuttle Creek and Pillsbury Crossing – you just have to research a bit. The student union also offers bowling and other fun activities. The food scene in Manhattan has grown a lot since I went there, and there are new restaurants popping up every year. The Aggieville area is fun and close to campus, but downtown Manhattan has some great places as well.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Rachel: There was a lot of variability in my class sizes, especially since I was in a rather esoteric major. My general education classes, such as Marketing and Economics, were rather large. However, I had several classes that had less than 20 people in them, so it varies with the class. I actually enjoyed the variety, as I felt like I had the best of both worlds.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Rachel: I cannot stress how much I enjoyed being part of the College of Agriculture, and it is honestly hard for me to choose just one memorable experience. I think one of my favorite Kansas State University experiences was my Senior Year Biotechnology class. There were only 12 people in the class, and the teacher was one of my favorites in the College of Agriculture. I learned so much in that course. Since the laboratory setting was so intimate, we got to take multiple field trips to visit different companies, and our teacher even stopped by Call Hall (you must try the vanilla cookie ice cream) to buy us ice cream a few times. Another one of my teachers dared me to fist-bump him instead of shaking his hand when I crossed the stage at graduation (which I, of course, did). Everyone was so laid back in the College of Agriculture. My one regret is not attending more of the college-specific events – they offered fun rodeos and barbecues.
Check out Rachel’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.