The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Andrew is a St. Louis tutor specializing in ACT prep tutoring, SAT prep tutoring, Calculus tutoring, Physics tutoring, and more. He graduated in 2012 from Saint Louis University with an Honors Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Engineering Mathematics. Take a look at his review of his alma mater:
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.
Andrew: Saint Louis University is condensed into a small enough space that it is possible to walk from one end of campus to the other in under 15 minutes. Though most students walk, a good amount also bike to class. There also exists a Billiken Loop shuttle which loops around the university during normal class hours. The medical campus is located about a mile south on Grand from the main campus and a shuttle runs back and forth between the 2 campuses every 15 minutes. At night, SLU Ride, a student run service, offers complimentary van rides, golf cart rides and walking escorts until 3 AM to ensure students get back to their residence safely.
VT: How helpful are the academic advisors?
Andrew: You work closely with an academic advisor and a faculty advisor plus an additional advisor for any other special programs you might be enrolled in (e.g. Honors Program, Medical Scholars, etc.). The faculty advisors offer more professional guidance towards your career goals while the academic advisors ensure you get in the necessary classes in order to earn your degree on time. Most advisors live out the Jesuit mission though their genuine concern with your overall well-being and happiness. They not only want you to succeed in your courses, but also grow personally and spiritually.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life?
Andrew: 91% of freshman students live on campus, providing for a great first-year experience. All dorms on campus have sinks in the room which makes it easy to wash a glass or brush your teeth in the morning. The university furniture is all in good condition and sturdy -- your lofted bed isn't going to fall down in the middle of the night. Quiet hours start at 1 AM on the weekdays and 3 AM on weekends and are enforced, making it easy to stay up late studying or get a good night of sleep without disruptions. The best part about dorm life at SLU though is that most freshmen are in one 16-story building, making it incredibly easy to visit friends on other floors. Most students prop their doors open at night, enabling bonding with your fellow floormates. SLU also has apartments for sophomores, juniors and seniors all of which are new or newly renovated.
VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?
Andrew: The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of the individual colleges at SLU, graduating over 600 students in 2011. The business school is also largely represented with over 350 students graduating in 2011. Third is the school of nursing, with over 200 graduating in 2011. The most popular major for underclassmen is “Still Deciding.” Students who have yet to declare a major are still set up with an advisor in the University College. The advisors do a great job of ensuring you can find your passion and still graduate on time—on average, a student changes his/her major at least twice!
VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman?
Andrew: Freshman year kicks off with a week-long series of activities called Welcome Week. Along with orientations about SLU, the city of Saint Louis and your specific program of study, activities are also planned, in order for freshmen to meet their fellow classmates. Activities include a trivia night, a square dance, midnight breakfast, a spirit competition at a men's soccer game, late night at the Simon Rec Center, the Grand Center Street Party and 9 PM Mass. This week is highly focused on helping new students to get to know each other. RA's and Oriflamme leaders—underclassmen volunteers—organize all the events and you participate with the members of your residence hall floor. Five years later, I'm still best friends with the four of the guys I met at the first Welcome Week event.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center?
Andrew: The Career Center has at least one specific counselor dedicated to each individual college or school at Saint Louis University. You can schedule a one-on-one meeting with a counselor and they will help you figure out what you want to do with your degree, suggest companies relating toward the job you are looking for and help you draft and review your resume and cover letters. Every semester they organize a Career Fair with employers looking to hire SLU students. A few days before this, they have walk in hours all day in order for students to get some last minute advice for their resumes before they hand it to the companies at the fair. One of my friends—and many others—obtained his full-time job after graduation through an interview arranged by the Career Center.
VT: How are the various study areas? Libraries? The Student Union? Dorm lounges?
Andrew: The main student library, Pius, has just undergone a renovation. Some updates include more seating, more "break out rooms," new furniture and a lot more electrical outlets to plug in laptops. The library is 5 floors, and even during exams, there are always quiet places to study. It is now even open 24 hours during the week. The Busch Student Center provides some lecture rooms which are open into the night, providing great places for groups to study together. The main freshman dorm, Griesedieck Hall, has a quiet study area in the lobby for freshmen.
VT: What is the surrounding town like? What are the best local attractions that make it unique?
Andrew: SLU is located in Midtown, Saint Louis, a lively area which is perfect for college students. Within a few blocks of campus lie a frozen yogurt place, the famous Fox Theater, multiple restaurants, two microbreweries, and several bars. A few miles away is the Central West End, an area full of bars, restaurants and boutique shops. Head 10 minutes west to the Loop and catch a concert at the Pageant or the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill (famous for Chuck Berry's performances). Washington Avenue and Laclede's Landing is the place to be downtown at night. For the sports fans, Saint Louis is home to the 11-time World Series Champions Cardinals, which frequently offer discount student tickets. The Rams (football) and Blues (hockey) also call Saint Louis home.
Forest Park is located just west of SLU's campus and boasts a zoo, history museum, art museum, science center, four 9-hole golf courses, an outdoor theater (The MUNY), a tennis center, miles of bike paths and plenty of open areas for picnics. As a bonus, the zoo, history museum, science center, and art museum are all free.
VT: How big or small is the student body and how does that affect your experience?
Andrew: There are 8,670 undergraduates at SLU. The student body is large enough to continually meet new people, but small enough that you run into friends on the way to class. The average class size of SLU is about 23 students, with the faculty-student ratio of 13-1. This allows for the school to feel plenty big in the student section at basketball games, but still small enough to receive personal attention in the classroom. SLU feels like a lot smaller of a school than it is because of its compact campus. Furthermore, students represent all 50 states and nearly 80 other countries. With its own campus in Madrid, SLU attracts students from all over the world.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you dreaded the most.
Andrew: The final project for my Dynamics class sophomore year was to design a roller coaster for a new theme park. The catch was, we had to make sure that the roller coaster wouldn't jump the tracks and crash, and that our passengers wouldn't blackout while riding. So for every loop, twist, turn, free fall, we would have to calculate the amount of force the passengers were feeling. We were graded based equally on safety and a "thrill factor," as determined by how fun the coaster would be to ride. The project was one of the most difficult projects I've been assigned because of its "open-ended" nature of it. It was a great lesson in how to be a good engineer -- we wanted to make sure it was as fun to ride as possible, but also had to ensure the safety of the passengers.
VT: Anything else a prospective student should know?
Andrew: One of the coolest things about SLU is the weekly 9pm mass at St. Francis Xavier College Church. 9 pm mass is consistently the most well-attended event on campus. The huge church is completely filled every week with students. The music is upbeat and almost everyone actually sings. It's the perfect start to a new week of classes, quizzes, tests and project deadlines. The mass is open to students of all faiths. SLU does a great job of encouraging inter-faith dialogue on campus. Though it is a Catholic university, just 50% of the student body is Catholic. The 9pm mass is a great gathering of the SLU community.
Check out Andrew’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.