What is it Like to Attend Centre College?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Trish received her bachelor’s degree in English from Centre College and is pursuing her master’s degree in English at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is currently a tutor in Denver specializing in graduate test prep, English, Spanish, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at Centre College:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Trish: Centre College lies in the middle of a small, fairly quiet town. I always felt very safe both on campus and in town. The vast majority of students (98%) live on campus, which I highly recommend. You can easily walk anywhere on campus, and to a variety of restaurants, although a car really comes in handy for trips to the grocery store or trips to nearby Lexington.

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

Trish: The student/teacher ratio is excellent, and most faculty members are truly invested in their students’ success. We don’t have TA’s; faculty members do all of the teaching and grading themselves and are always willing to meet outside of class. Because the school is relatively small, you tend to form strong mentor relationships with faculty members and staff – the college president even makes a point of knowing each student by name! You get to choose your faculty advisor after the first year, and you meet with at least once each semester.

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

Trish: Centre College is a tight-knit community. Freshmen are required to live on campus their first year and you quickly develop relationships with the students in your building and on your hall. The women who lived on my hall freshman year are still some of my closest friends today. On-campus dining options are somewhat limited, which I think really brings students together – the main dining hall, Cowan, is a major social center and “Cowan sitting” is a much-beloved method of procrastination. Campus is small, so no matter which dorm you live in you’ll have an easy walk to class.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Trish: At a liberal arts school, having a well-rounded education is a high priority. No one field felt more valuable than the others (although glassblowing is a unique Centre College specialty). I knew almost immediately that I wanted to major in English, it’s been my favorite subject for as long as I can remember, and I had an excellent and supportive group of faculty members who I still turn to for advice even though I graduated several years ago.

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?

Trish: As a freshman, you’ll go through several days of orientation which will really give you a chance to get to know the people in your class. Many students are involved in Greek life at Centre College, but the Greek system is by no means the center of social life. There are tons of ways to get involved in campus life: clubs, intramural sports, student government, etc. Plus, even if you’re not involved in any organizations, it’s hard not to make friends at Centre College. Both the administration and the students themselves really work to create a feeling of community.

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

Trish: While the Career Services department is small, it’s easy to get one-on-one attention with a counselor, and the Centre College alumni network provides a built-in system of connections. Our alums are notoriously supportive of one another; partly because Centre College graduates tend to be responsible, hardworking, and conscientious individuals.

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

Trish: The library was always my go-to spot. With the possible exception of finals week, there’s usually plenty of room to study there. Plenty of other spaces (with varying amounts of background noise) are available throughout the campus in dorms, academic buildings, and the student center, which has several spaces available 24/7. And when the weather’s nice, there’s nothing like grabbing a blanket and lounging on the lawn – although this one carries a heavy risk of accidental napping.

Describe the surrounding town.

Trish: Danville’s not the most exciting place on earth, but the college is right downtown, close to a variety of restaurants and shops. The downtown area has been revitalized in recent years and several local restaurants have live music on the weekends. For a little more adventure, you can always head up to Lexington (a 40-minute drive) or Louisville (an 90-minute drive). I particularly recommend tailgating at Keenland during horseracing season, exploring the Bourbon trail, and braving the infield at the Kentucky Derby. Also, Centre College guarantees every student the chance to study abroad so, if you get sick of Danville, just head to a foreign country for a semester!

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

Trish: Although the college has grown a little bit over the past few years, it remains very small at about 1,300 students. I loved the small class sizes—usually anywhere from 6 to 30 students. You get a lot of individual attention and form close relationships with students and faculty. On the other hand, if you want to skip class, fall asleep, or text in class without the professor noticing, Centre College may not be your best bet.

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

Trish: It’s impossible to choose just one. I’ve visited the zoo for a natural science course (we got to pet a baby elephant!), enjoyed literary discussion over a home-cooked meal at a faculty member’s house, slurped down snails in Spain, attended class in Samuel Johnson’s house, and tracked constellations on a professor’s farm, to name a few. Centre College offers no shortage of extraordinary experiences.

Check out Trish’s tutoring profile.

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