The New York University College Experience

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Adrianna is a Cincinnati tutor and 2013 graduate of New York University. She tutors several subjects, specializing in Elementary Math tutoring, French tutoring, and Reading tutoring. Check out what Adrianna had to say about her time at New York 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?

Adrianna: New York University is definitely an urban campus, as most of its buildings are in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. That does not mean it is unsafe, however. Walking between the dorms, library, and dining halls at all hours of the night, I never felt unsafe. Just use common sense like you would in any situation, and you will have nothing to worry about. New York University does offer shuttle buses that run on a schedule throughout the day and night. You can also make use of the school’s rental bikes, or the city’s Citi Bike program. Walking, or taking the city’s subway or buses, is also perfectly safe – and sometimes more reliable!

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

Adrianna: I never had any trouble getting in touch with professors or advisers when I needed to. In fact, some of them were more reliable about keeping meetings than I was! This varies from program to program, but I have definitely heard more positive than negative feedback about students getting the help they need. Remember: your professors and advisers want you to succeed! Take advantage of their office hours, and schedule meetings whenever you can to discuss how you are doing. I promise, it makes all the difference! You will be more engaged in your education, and if you do find yourself in a rough patch, professors and advisers will be much more understanding if they know you well and understand what you are going through!

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

Adrianna: New York University is very different from more traditional colleges in a lot of ways, and dorms and dining are among the most stark differences. For starters, there are no communal bathrooms in any of the dorms. Most of them have a kitchen area. They are also the nicest apartments you are likely to ever have in New York City. This is a blessing and a curse – definitely enjoy it while you can, but do not expect your first off-campus apartment to be as nice as your dorm, unless you are prepared to pay sky-high rent! There are plenty of opportunities to socialize with other students, but because the university is so large, you have to do some of the legwork. Meet people on your floor, in your hall council, in classes, in one of the hundreds of clubs and societies, or out on the lawn in Washington Square Park! But one of the best things you can do is to get out in the city and make friends outside of school!

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?

Adrianna: This is the main reason I chose New York University. I went to the Gallatin School of Individualized Study because that particular program allows you to design your own course of study. If you have an oddly-specific subject you want to study and cannot find a school that offers it as a major, come to Gallatin! It is also great for people who have an idea of the general area they are interested in, but not specifically enough to commit to any one major. Gallatin’s professors and advisers are some of the most interesting and intellectually engaging people I have ever met, and I really could not have been any more supported.

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?

Adrianna: New York University does have some fraternities and sororities, but Greek life is not really a big player in campus life for the majority of students. People tend to come to New York University because they want to buck the trends, and Greek life does not really lend itself to that. But there are so many other opportunities to meet people and make friends that you will not even miss it. Some of my best friends to this day are people I met in my Freshman Residence Hall Council. And all the Resident Assistants in the dorms are very good at getting you involved in events and excursions into the city. It is New York City, so there is no shortage of people to meet. You just have to get out there and meet them!

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

Adrianna: I did not take as much advantage of New York University’s Wasserman Center for Career Development as I perhaps should have, but from what I understand, they are a fantastic resource! The Stern School of Business and Tisch School of the Arts are internationally renowned, and their alumni are in high demand all over the place.

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

Adrianna: That depends on whether or not it is exam time! For most of the semester, public study areas are plentiful and easily available. I spent many a night camped out in a corner of Bobst Library, leaving my computer and books unattended while roaming the stacks, popping down to the vending machines, or stepping outside for some fresh air. The dorms all have their own study lounges, as do most of the academic buildings and the campus Starbucks. But once again, it is New York. There are literally thousands of coffee houses, libraries, parks, and bookstores where you can study if your dorm’s study lounge is full!

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? 

Adrianna: The five years I spent living in New York City were the best of my life. There is an embarrassment of cultural riches, and the opportunities for exploration and adventure are literally endless. When you live in the greatest city in the world, it is definitely hard to be bored! City living is not for everyone, though. It takes a certain kind of toughness to live there, especially after graduation, but if you have the “right” stuff, you will have the time of your life!

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

Adrianna: The student body is huge, with something like 50,000 students in total. But with 1,300 or so faculty, it is easy to get small class sizes! Of course, some courses will inevitably be large lectures, but for the most part, classes are small. At the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, for example, the maximum class size is 16. The smallest class I had was four students. So you get a lot of individualized attention, and you really get to know your classmates.

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

Adrianna: The most memorable experience of my college career was traveling the world with my classmates and professors! Through the Gallatin School of Individualized Study’s honors society and my own study abroad semester, I traveled to South Africa, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Morocco, all within two years! I reached through the bars of Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, walked through a gas chamber at Auschwitz, and sat in a pew in the cathedral nestled inside the Grand Mosque in Córdoba. These life-changing experiences really helped me put my life in perspective, and they helped shape my academic concentration.

Check out Adrianna’s tutoring profile.

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