The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Eva graduated from Yale University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is a Boston tutor specializing in Biology tutoring, Reading tutoring, Algebra tutoring, and much more. See what she had to say about her undergraduate experience:
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?
Eva: Yale is located in the heart of downtown New Haven (my hometown!), and students are required to live on campus the first two years, making transportation a non-issue. As upperclassmen, however, students often do move off campus, but there are lots of apartments right near campus. Nevertheless, there is a wonderful shuttle system that you can track on your phone. The bus picks up at certain locations and runs regularly all day 7 days/week, and even picks up at the train station for students coming back from break. At night there are smaller vans that you can call to be picked up if it’s too late to walk home or there is inclement weather. It is an urban setting, and like any city, being street smart is important for keeping safe. However, Yale Police and New Haven Police are a strong presence and if you are aware of your surroundings and stay around campus you will be fine.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Eva: Professors are very available – they all offer office hours to meet with students and all full professors (tenured, etc.) are required to teach undergraduates, so you get access to top scholars in their fields. The T.A.s are also very available for meeting to discuss an assignment, and in my experience were very knowledgeable about the course. Academic advisors are assigned in freshman year and then you choose an advisor within your major once you’ve decided on one. There is additional advisement available from the Deans of each college (dorms you are assigned to for all four years, sort of like Harry Potter) who help with academic decisions and are available for recommendation letters and career advice.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Eva: Dorm life is fantastic! The community feel of the colleges is wonderful and everyone tends to have a lot of college pride thanks to intramural competitions between the colleges. The dining halls (one within each college) serve delicious, sustainable and often organic and locally grown food. There are tons of options and is all buffet style so you can eat your full. The dorms are located all over campus, mostly clustered in a few locations, but are all convenient to classroom buildings. Rooms vary depending on which college you are in, but tend to be spacious, clustered into several room suites with large common spaces, and shared bathrooms with other suites. Another perk is that each college has its own library and gym so in the winter months you don’t have to brave the weather much.
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?
Eva: It’s hard to say which majors are best represented and supported because in my experience they all seemed to be well supported. I was a Psychology major because I fell in love with the subject during a freshman Intro course, and as one of the largest majors at Yale, it is very well supported with an impressive faculty of leading scholars.
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?
Eva: It was incredibly easy to meet people as a freshman – all freshmen live on Old Campus, a quad surrounded by dorm buildings dedicated to freshmen and freshmen counsellors (seniors selected by their college’s master and dean to mentor incoming students). Because they are all in the same location, meeting other freshmen is incredibly easy. Greek life has recently become more significant, with the three on-campus sororities doubling or tripling in size. The 7 + fraternities always maintain steady numbers and are a great source for socializing events on campus. However, joining Greek life is in no way a pre-rec for having a social life, as there are (if I recall correctly) roughly 4 student organizations per student on campus.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Eva: The Career Center is very helpful both as an undergraduate and as an alumnus, as the services are available to you forever after you graduate. Career Services is available to practice interviewing and workshop your resume and cover letter at no cost. The staff are knowledgeable and skilled at what they do. Tons of very desirable companies recruit on campus in all fields, holding on-campus interviews as well as attending career fairs on campus.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Eva: As I mentioned, there is a library in each of the twelve colleges, and there are several additional libraries around campus (both main libraries such as Sterling and Bass, and specialized ones such as the music library and the art and architecture library). They are very available, particularly because the in-college libraries are open 24/7, and due to the sheer number of libraries, they are rarely overcrowded. The colleges also all have large common rooms and basement lounge areas for students to use at all hours.
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?
Eva: New Haven, in my admittedly biased opinion, is a great town to go to school in. There are at least two distinct restaurant districts (with NYC-quality food) and the town is known for its theater offerings (both from the Yale School of Drama and the nationally renowned Schubert Theater that brings in shows from NYC). There are local parks and places to hike if you enjoy the outdoors, and there are also many galleries for those who enjoy non-theatrical art. The city is a quick train ride from NYC, which makes weekend trips easy. Finally, New Haven is known for its pizza and for inventing the original hamburger – just one part of the city’s long history (there are also tons of museums for history-files) that must be checked out.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Eva: The student body is around 5,000 and most classes have less than 20 people unless they are large lecture/Intro courses. This allows for wonderful discussion and collaborative learning with other students and professors, and for personalized attention.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Eva: One memorable experience was in my Developmental Psychology class when the professor taught from his soon-to-be-published textbook. The class bought the text book as an unbound book, complete with temporary, novice-drawn illustrations that would be redone by professionals when the book was published. The text was wonderful (and entertaining) and the professor is an expert in the field, but seeing the silly place-holders in the text and hearing the professor lecture and recognizing his speaking style in the book’s text was a memorable experience. It’s a pretty incredible (though not uncommon at Yale) experience to be taught a course by your textbook’s author.
Check out Eva’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.