What is it Like to Attend Butler University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Casey is a Chicago tutor and 2011 graduate of Butler University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music History and Literature and tutors several subjects, including Reading tutoring, Study Skills tutoring, and Writing tutoring. Check out what Casey had to say about her time at Butler University:

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?

Casey: Butler University’s campus is beautiful. The university is located on the north side of Indianapolis, near the Broad Ripple neighborhood. The campus itself is very small (less than a square mile), and there are tons of walking and biking paths to get you around the neighborhood. However, Indianapolis is a sprawling city with less-than-ideal public transportation, so if you have access to a car – or friends who do – it will greatly expand your experience of the larger metropolitan area. Butler University and the surrounding neighborhoods are quite safe, and I never felt concerned about my personal well-being. However, I did make sure to practice common sense, especially at night.    

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

Casey: The small size of Butler University definitely provides an advantage in terms of individual academic attention. Many of my professors knew their students by name, and they were almost always willing to make time for a private meeting if a student was struggling or just had a few extra questions. With the exception of one semester during which my usual adviser was on sabbatical, I had the same academic adviser throughout my four years at Butler University. This was extremely helpful, as my adviser and I really got to know one another, and I received a lot of individualized advice and attention. Finally, Butler University is known for its small number of teaching assistants. I only had one course that was not taught by a professor during my academic career, and the supervising professor was never far away if students had a question that the teaching assistant did not feel comfortable answering.    

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

Casey: Dorm life at Butler University is crowded. Almost everyone I knew had at least one experience with an overcrowded dorm room. At first, dorm life seemed quite daunting, but I am glad I stuck it out. There are so many students living in the dorms that it makes it easy to meet new people, and there are many opportunities to socialize through hall activities and retreats. The cafeteria food is nothing to write home about, but the campus does feature a Starbucks and a small café. Both accept the meal plan’s flex dollars as payment. Again, I found Butler University’s small size to be a great feature of the university. There is only one main dining hall on campus, so you will likely see all of your classmates there at some point. I met some of my closest friends in line for dinner.   

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?

Casey: Butler University’s Arts, Business, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences colleges are very well known and well supported. As a long-time performer and teacher, I chose to study Music. The university has wonderful services and facilities for musicians (including a brand new auditorium) and, overall, I was very happy with the presence of the arts on campus. The School of Music itself also provided an extremely supportive environment. Music students were held to very high academic and professional standards, and the support of friends, mentors, and professors was invaluable as I worked toward graduation.     

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?

Casey: As I mentioned above, dorm life plays a significant role in meeting new people on campus. All freshman and sophomore students are required to live in the same residence halls, so it is easy to spend time with classmates and friends outside of school. I also joined some extracurricular activities as a freshman, which helped to broaden my social circle considerably. While certainly present on campus, Greek life is not a requirement for a social life. I was not involved in the Greek community, and most of my closest friends were not either. However, if you are interested in joining a fraternity or a sorority, there are several to choose from, and they tend to be quite active in campus life.

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

Casey: I did not use the Career Center or participate in recruitment events much, as I knew I wanted to attend graduate school. However, the Learning Resource Center’s advisers were an invaluable tool for navigating the complex process of applying to graduate school. Some of my friends took advantage of company recruitment, and they actually landed jobs and internships through their interactions there.

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

Casey: There are many great study spaces all over campus. A few of my favorites were the School of Music library and lounge, as well as the Physics Student Success Center. I never had a problem with overcrowded study areas, although the dorm lounges were usually used more for socializing than for work. The library’s quiet areas were always an excellent place to escape distractions before finals or a big project.

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? 

Casey: Although I have lived in three different cities since graduating from Butler University, Indianapolis still ranks as my number one. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is only a mile from campus, and it is one of the largest free public museums in the United States. The Broad Ripple neighborhood is great! It has many diverse restaurants and independently-owned stores, and it is walking distance from campus. Even after moving to Chicago, Broad Ripple is still home to my favorite places to eat. For more athletically-inclined residents, there are mountain biking and hiking trails throughout the city itself. Downtown features the Indianapolis Opera, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and, of course, the football stadium. If getting into town is not an option, campus itself has a very large garden and footpaths along the White River. During the winter, there is also a sizeable sledding area. I was rarely bored as a student living in Indianapolis.

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

Casey: Butler University’s student body is very small. My entire graduating class totaled around 900 students. Class sizes definitely reflect this. There are no large lecture halls at Butler University, and even my general education classes only had around 30 attendees on average. For the most part, I was extremely pleased with the small size, as it engendered a real sense of community and allowed for a lot of individual attention between students and professors. However, by the time graduation rolled around, I was definitely ready for something a little bigger. Recognizing everyone on campus can get a little claustrophobic after four years.

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

Casey: During my last semester at Butler University, all three major ensembles in the School of Music (the orchestra, wind ensemble, and chorale) were invited on a performance tour through Greece and Italy. During this tour, the choir was asked to provide the musical selections for the Father’s Day Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. I was fortunate enough to be one of the students involved in this incredible performance. It remains one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I am so thankful to have attended a university that was able to offer its students such amazing opportunities. The tour would not have been possible without an enormous fundraising effort – and the way that the School of Music and the university community at-large came together to support its musicians was inspiring.   

Check out Casey’s tutoring profile.

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