What is it Like to Attend Boston University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Catherine is a New York City tutor specializing in all levels of Latin tutoring. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Greek and Latin from Boston University. Check out her review of 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?

Catherine: Boston University doesn’t have a traditional campus feel, although there is a central campus and a sort of quad we call the Beach. Boston is a wonderful starter city for students who have always wanted to live in an urban setting but don’t want to be overwhelmed. The campus isn’t that large, but there is the subway or The T. A car would be a hassle to park. A bike would be helpful (but watch out for the drivers!) if you lived in West Campus or off campus in Allston.

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

Catherine: My professors and teaching assistants were always available during their office hours and by appointment. I loved my academic advisor, Prof. Stephanie Nelson. Although she was very busy, she always made time for me. 

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

Catherine: I had a unique experience as I always lived in a brownstone in specialty housing. I highly recommend applying for specialty housing. My friends who lived in the dorms had the standard college experience. They made friends on their floors and in the student lounges. My friends who lived in West Campus complained that they lived far from the main campus, but there is more of a traditional dorm setting up there. It’s a trade-off. At the time I attended, there were many dining options that combined dining hall and points to use after the dorms closed at night or at the student union (GSU). The food has a good reputation at BU.

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?

Catherine: The most popular majors are Business, Management, Marketing, Social Sciences, Communication, Journalism, and Engineering, but the school offers a tremendous amount of other majors as well. I started out as a premed student. I was taking the required science courses. At the same time, I also loved the Classics, so I decided to major in Ancient Greek and Latin. I can’t praise the Classics Department enough! They were so supportive, and as a Classics major, you feel as though you are attending a much smaller school. I’m still in touch with some of my professors, and I graduated almost 10 years ago!

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? 

Catherine: It was quite easy to meet friends. I started making friends at Freshman Orientation. Because I lived in specialty housing which is smaller, I had to make a bit of extra effort to meet people than the students who lived in a big dorm. I knew a few people who belonged to a fraternity, but Greek life isn’t too big at BU. All the sororities and fraternities are off campus.

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

Catherine: I visited the Career Center to get advice and for career testing, and they were very helpful. Because there is such a vast alumni network, many great companies recruit students and alumni.

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

Catherine: BU is constantly building new spaces for students. The only time I found the library and student union to be too crowed was during finals. I am curious to see what they’ve done since I graduated.

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?

Catherine: Boston is a great, small city. People from some cities find it somewhat limiting because all the bars close at 2 a.m. and the T stops running at 12:30 a.m., but I really didn’t mind since I was from the middle of nowhere. Boston is a cultural center, so there are a ton of museums, restaurants, shopping areas, concert venues, etc. They have all that you could ask for in a city. Students constantly go downtown – It’s so close.

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

Catherine: With over 18, 000 students, it is a large school. I was generally pleased with my class sizes, especially for my Classics courses and in my recitations. Lectures can be a few hundred people, but there is a good TA to student ratio.

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

Catherine: There were so many memorable moments at BU, but I really loved how the professors in the Classics Department did individual speeches for the graduates at graduation. That touched my heart!


Check out Catherine’s tutoring profile.

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