What is it Like to Attend George Mason University?

Anita earned her bachelor’s degree in English from George Mason University. She specializes in English tutoring, elementary math tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at George Mason University:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Anita: I went to George Mason University (GMU), which was just switching over from a heavily commuter school to a campus living school at the time I graduated. The area is pretty suburban compared to most campuses. It is surrounded by gorgeous trees and huge lawns to hang out and read a book. Although it is in the heart of Fairfax, the closest cities are D.C. and Arlington. The campus feels so safe, since there are students hanging out at all hours of the night and it is all so well lit. There are buses to get around and the metro if needed to get into the city. Many people still drive into campus, but once you're on campus, everything is within walking distance.

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

Anita: Everyone is readily available and willing to stay after class in order to help students. For those of us who had team practice right after class (like me), we could just email our professors to get an appointment for office hours!

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

Anita: I only lived in a dorm my first year, but I loved it. George Mason’s campus dorms are state of the art and newly built, therefore there is nothing old to worry about! The dining options are numerous and you can get Starbucks or a buffet only minutes away from each other. Since completing my undergrad, they have immensely updated their dining options. There are so many ways for students to socialize, although most belong to a sorority, fraternity, or group of some kind. Being that GMU ranked as one of the most diverse schools, there are a plethora of clubs and greek life options to join.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Anita: I was an English major, but engineering and STEM subjects are very represented at Mason. The great thing about studying there is that no matter what you want to do, there are so many opportunities in and around the area to hone your skills. Each school within Mason does a great job of providing students with the support they need for careers after college.

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?

Anita: Yes, I think Greek Life does play a major role in socialization. The great thing is that there are plenty of options to choose from in terms of interest. If Greek Life isn't for you, there are plenty of clubs that will help you socialize. There are also many D1-D3 sports to choose from, if that is something of interest.

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

Anita: Although I did not use the Career Center much, I have friends who would use it and found it to be very helpful. Many got information about internships from the Career Center.

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

Anita: The biggest study area is in the main building, The Johnson Center. The “JC” houses eateries, the bookstore, a theatre, a bistro, the auditorium, and three floors of books and study space. This is where I did all my studying, because I enjoy noise when studying. For those who want a quieter space, the library is always an option and there is plenty of room there. The dorms are great places to study alone or have study groups, because they have large multipurpose rooms for studying.

Describe the surrounding town.

Anita: The campus itself is situated in the heart of Fairfax, VA and you can easily walk or bike to the town of Fairfax, which houses some great restaurants and shops. You can drive or take the metro (or bus) to the surrounding cities of Arlington or D.C., which is about a 20-30 minute drive from the campus. Although I have seen that most students who live on campus stay on or near the campus, I have seen most parties and outings take place in D.C.

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

Anita: I was generally pleased with the student body because it was big and diverse. I loved that in a class we could be with foreign exchange students or students from a small town in the Midwest. Class sizes for lectures were actually fairly big (120+ students), but as you specialize in your field, the class sizes are much smaller (15+ students). I had one class with only eight students.

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

Anita: I would say that I loved my African-American Literature class. The class had less than eight students and had a sense of accountability. The class also had a different feel because the professor had been a teacher prior to getting his PhD, which made the class more engaging. I have sat in many unengaging classes where the professor just reads slides. There was quite a bit of dialogue and the professor was more of a facilitator.


Check out Anita’s tutoring profile.

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