Should I Go to North Carolina State University at Raleigh?

Garrett earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature and Culture from North Carolina State University at Raleigh. He specializes in various levels of Spanish tutoring. Below, he shares his experience at North Carolina State University at Raleigh:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Garrett: North Carolina State University at Raleigh's campus is relatively compact. There are quite a few classroom buildings that are all really close together, meaning that just about everything is, at most, a 20-minute walk away. Located just outside of downtown Raleigh, the campus is pretty urban, and is not insulated from the occasional crime. Buses are available to ferry students to and from the various parking lots and apartment complexes located outside of the main campus. Having a car is handy for those who want to venture away from campus, and bikes are helpful for getting around just a bit faster.

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

Garrett: The professors are extremely responsive to students; they keep office hours at least one day out of each week and are quick to respond to emails. The advisers are helpful, as well, and NCSU does a good job of staffing their advising positions with people who have experience in the relevant field. My own adviser was actually one of my professors. Her in-depth knowledge of my coursework made her an excellent aid on my journey toward discovering what I wanted to do.

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

Garrett: The dorms at NCSU are very reminiscent of dorms at most colleges: small and cramped, usually with bathrooms shared among four or more people. Apartment complexes and lofts are available for those willing to pay extra. There are three different dining halls on campus, which are all-you-can-eat with a meal plan, and feature a decent amount of healthy options. Aside from dining halls, there are several specialty dining locations around campus that offer things like Japanese and Mediterranean food. Just about every other week there is some sort of outdoor event happening on campus, and these give plenty of opportunities for fun and socialization.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Garrett: NCSU is first and foremost an engineering school, so the mechanical and civil engineering majors are the best represented. That being said, there are many opportunities offered for other majors at NCSU as well. During my undergraduate career, I majored in Spanish and spent some time focusing on Spanish education. I learned a lot from this path of study, despite the engineering orientation of the university.

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?

Garrett: As a commuter, I found it particularly difficult to make friends, especially during my freshman year. This was primarily due to the challenges of spending an hour commuting each way. However, that did not stop me from making some life-long friends, and the community in general seemed very close-knit. Greek life is very present and active at NCSU.

How helpful are the Career Center and other student support services?  

Garrett: The people at the Career Center are very helpful and receptive. I went there myself a few times, and they gave me very useful advice when changing my major and deciding what career paths would still be available to me. Aside from that, there are resume help staff always around, as well as several job fairs per semester, which attract a lot of good businesses willing and eager to hire recent graduates.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Garrett: The library at NCSU towers over the rest of the campus at eight stories high. It has an impressive amount of books available, as well as study spaces, computer stations, and even a film screening room. Besides that, each building, including the dorms, has space set aside for students who want to study or relax between classes. The study spaces are usually not loud or packed, and are also great for catching a nap every now and then.

Describe the surrounding town.

Garrett: NCSU is located directly on Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street, which has a nice handful of local coffee shops and international restaurants. The section of Hillsborough within walking distance, however, is relatively small, so options tend to be limited. Mostly, it’s a great place to go for lunch during the day. Since NCSU is located on the outskirts of downtown, students don’t venture toward the center of Raleigh unless they have a vehicle to drive there.

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

Garrett: The student body at NCSU is exceptionally large. Every day I spent there I saw a face that I had never seen before, and I very rarely saw people that I recognized or was familiar with. This may be due, in part, to my commuter status. The class sizes for 100-level classes were huge, making it hard for professors to engage one-on-one with students. As the class levels increase and the curriculum becomes more difficult, the class sizes drop dramatically, feeling more like high school-sized classes. I thought this was a pretty good compromise, since the large student body would make it impractical to have every class be a small size.

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

Garrett: During my last semester, I took a poetry writing class just to fill some hours. I don’t consider myself much of a poet, preferring to write short fiction, but it was the only creative writing class available. What seemed at first to be a chore ended up being my favorite class, as the entire class and professor bonded in a way that I thought only existed in movies. The whole class read poetry every day and often got lunch together, and we even threw a couple of poetry class parties. This class made my last semester my favorite by far, leaving me with a strong group of friends that help keep me feeling tied to NCSU.


Check out Garrett’s tutoring profile.

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