What is it Like to Attend Rice University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Michelle is a Houston-based tutor and a senior at Rice University. She is a History major with a minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. Michelle specializes in many subjects including ACT prep tutoring, SAT prep tutoring, and Spanish tutoring. Check out her review of Rice:

VT: How easy or difficult is it to get around on your campus? Is it hilly, do lots of people bike, are there buses, etc. 

Michelle: It is really easy to get around on my campus. It isn’t hilly, and we’re a small school, so it is only a fifteen-minute walk across the whole campus. Many people bike around campus. There is also a shuttle service that goes around the whole campus every few minutes. 

VT: How helpful are the academic advisors? 

Michelle: The Office of Academic Advising is great here at Rice. Since we are a small school, it is really easy to get an appointment. During Rice’s orientation week, about half of the time is dedicated to academic advising and registration, making sure that everyone is comfortable with his or her schedule before the first week of classes starts.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life?

Michelle: The social life on campus is oriented around the dorms. We have eleven dorms that we call “ residential colleges.” These are similar to the houses in Harry Potter. We live there, eat there, and many social events are held there. We also compete against the other colleges in friendly campus wide competitions. All of the colleges host a party at their dorm each semester.  Because of the campus culture and social life, many people want to live in the dorms all four years.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Michelle: Rice has a reputation as a science and engineering school, but we also have a lot of great programs in humanities and social science. I am a history major and have gotten a lot of support from the humanities school. Rice has a disproportionately large number of pre-med students. 

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman?

Michelle: It was so easy to make friends as a freshman. Rice has an orientation week that is a big deal. Students have an entire week to meet their roommates, their orientation week group, as well as some upperclassman the week before classes start. The residential college system also makes it very easy to make friends.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center?

Michelle: The Center for Career Development is also very helpful. They set up on-campus interviews for seniors, but they will also meet you and help you starting your freshman year. I have gotten help there on my resume, which was great.

VT: How are the various study areas? Libraries? The Student Union? Dorm lounges?

Michelle: The dorms have a lot of good study areas.  Fondren Library has six floors to study on. The Student Union is small, but that’s not too big of a problem since there are always classrooms around campus that are open. 

VT: What is the surrounding town like? What are the best local attractions that make it unique?

Michelle: Houston is an amazing place to live as a college student. It is such a big city, which is great because there is so much opportunity. There are a ton of restaurants and shopping right near campus. The campus is also located in the museum District/Medical Center area. There is so much culture, and the hospitals are great for internships. Lots of concerts and other events come to Houston. The job market here in Houston is one of the best in the country. This is great for summer internships and employment after graduation, especially considering the stellar reputation that Rice students have in Houston.

VT: How big or small is the student body and how does that affect your experience?

Michelle: The student body is about 3,500 undergraduates. This is a really good size. It is big enough that there are a lot of resources and opportunities here, but small enough that individual students can really take advantage of all of the opportunities.  

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

Michelle: I took an English class that was workshop based. We wrote personal essays about our life experiences. In the process we became very close as a class. I became a better writer, and I bonded with my professor and the other students in the class.

Check out Michelle’s tutoring profile.

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