Should I Go To Middlebury College?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Caroline is a San Francisco-Bay Area tutor and 2014 graduate of Middlebury College. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International and Global Studies and tutors several subjects, including Italian tutoring, Pre-Algebra tutoring, and Spanish tutoring. Check out what Caroline had to say about her time at Middlebury College:

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?

Caroline: Middlebury College is located in one of the most beautiful places in the country: rural Vermont. Every fall, campus is full of red, gold, and orange leaves. Every winter, white snow blankets the ground. Campus is always very safe, and I never felt uncomfortable walking around by myself at any time – day or night. Lots of students bike around campus and the surrounding areas. Others do have cars. A car is helpful if you want to go for a day trip or weekend getaway to the city. There are some buses available too. You never feel completely trapped, as it is easy to get off campus when you need to!

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

Caroline: Professors at Middlebury College really want their students to succeed. All classes are taught by professors, so we do not have many teaching assistants. Every professor has office hours at least twice a week, and they are also available outside of those times as long as you make an appointment. Professors genuinely want to get to know their students, and I had one professor invite my class over to his house for Thanksgiving. Academic advisers also want to get to know their students outside of the classroom.

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

Caroline: Most students live on campus during all four years of their time at Middlebury College, which is awesome! There is never a dull moment on campus. The dorms get better as you get older (i.e. you move from a traditional dorm into suite-style living). There is no traditional meal plan; all students are on the same plan, which allows you to eat as much or as little as you want at any time. The dining halls try really hard to get their food locally, and they prepare great meals.

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?

Caroline: I was an International and Global Studies major with a focus in Geography and Spanish. I love to travel and learn about different cultures, so this major appealed to me because I got to explore the relationships between the land, the people, the politics, and the economy. International and Global Studies is one of the bigger majors at Middlebury College, so there are many different tracks in it, and it is well supported. Other big majors include Economics, Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Sociology/Anthropology.

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?

Caroline: Middlebury College does not have Greek life on the campus, and I loved it for that. There was no pressure to join anything, and you were able to create a social life based off the clubs and sports that interested you. It is very easy to meet people as a freshman. Between your dorm and your classes, it is almost impossible not to make any friends. Also, all of the sports and clubs are super welcoming and always looking for new members!

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

Caroline: The Career Center definitely wants to start helping students as soon as they step on campus. They host events and workshops for students in all years, and they have drop-in hours every day. One of the greatest things about the Career Center is the summer funding for unpaid internships. Middlebury College wants to make it possible for students to complete all kinds of summer internships regardless of whether they are paid. I got summer funding to complete an unpaid internship in Santiago, Chile during my junior year, and I had an amazing experience!

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

Caroline: There are tons of different study spots around campus, and they cater to everyone. The library gets crowded during finals, but otherwise you can always find a study spot somewhere. I loved the big, comfortable chairs and nooks in BiHall, the science building. The Grille and Crossroads Cafe in the student center are great places to work on group projects and to get a quick snack too!

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? 

Caroline: If you like outdoor activities, you will never find a shortage of places to go outside of Middlebury College. We own our own ski mountain for students to go skiing in the winter. The Green Mountains and the Adirondacks are nearby, and so is Lake Champlain. The town of Middlebury has a ton of great restaurants, plus a movie theater and an indoor miniature golf course.  

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

Caroline: The student body is about 2,400 people, so classes are fairly small. The average class size is 20-30 students, which I thought was perfect. There are enough people to have discussions, but not so many that you are never heard. You do get some bigger and some smaller classes, however. My smallest was six people, and my largest was 80. The average class size was a great size for me, and you also get to know your professors much better this way.

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

Caroline: One of my favorite classes at Middlebury College was my Introduction to Geography class. In addition to being super interesting, the professor was awesome. (He later became my adviser.) He had a sense of humor in all of his lectures, and he dressed up as the continent of Africa for Halloween. He also had us work on semester-long projects where we all got to go on a field trip at the end to see the different places that we had been researching!

Check out Caroline’s tutoring profile.

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