What is it Like to Attend San Diego State University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Cassandra is a San Diego tutor specializing in History tutoring, Essay Editing tutoring, Pre-Algebra tutoring, and more. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Check out her review of her school:

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?

Cassandra: San Diego State University is an urban campus in central San Diego. It has great transportation options with buses and the trolley. It is also becoming more bike friendly and a safer campus for bike riders with marked bike lanes. Otherwise, most students/staff use a car to get to campus, so parking and traffic can be tough at times. The campus strives to create a safe environment for students, always making them aware of crime issues on campus. They even have an escort service in the evenings.

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

Cassandra: I found San Diego State State University professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants very available to students. They want to help students and love interacting with students on a personal level, especially in office hours. When professors and TAs see students make an effort to seek help and clarification, as well as just to talk, they are quite impressed with those students. SDSU offers general academic advisers as well as major specific academic advisers who keep students on track to graduate and advise on future careers or graduate school.

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

Cassandra: I did not live on campus at San Diego State University, but visited friends often in the dorms. They seemed to enjoy dorm life, whether in single, double, or triple rooms, or apartments.  Dining options are quite plentiful now, as students can eat in the main dining halls or at various restaurants across campus. Places like Starbucks, Rubio’s, Panda Express, and Juice it Up are even covered on the meal plan. I regret not living on campus because it is definitely harder to make friends as a commuter student. Living in the dorms offers immediate access to events on campus and new friends.

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?

Cassandra: The most popular majors at San Diego State University are Psychology and Business, as well as Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Liberal Studies, and Biology. These majors have a large presence on campus and are represented through many student organizations. I was a Liberal Studies major, in preparation to become an elementary school teacher. Although I received lots of support in my major, graduated in four years, and got a ton of experience in schools working with children, I decided I did not want to teach elementary school.

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?

Cassandra: I did not live on campus while attending San Diego State University, so it was a bit harder to make friends my freshman year as a commuter student. I made a couple of friends from my Liberal Studies courses, but I made a majority of my friends through involvement with the University Honors Program. Because going to events was a requirement of the University Honors Program, it was easier to make friends, especially because we were like-minded. Greek life does play a significant role in the campus social life at SDSU if that aligns with one’s interests. For many students, Greek life was how they made friends and felt a part of the SDSU campus. I felt a part of the SDSU community through the University Honors Program and became very involved with their student organization.

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

Cassandra: I did not take advantage of the Career Center at San Diego State University because I decided to move overseas after graduating. It can be a great resource for students, but career advising is often done within one’s major, too, especially for Business and Nursing majors. 

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

Cassandra: There are various study areas across the San Diego State University campus. The library is huge and housed in three different buildings, with quiet study areas throughout. Students usually just wander until they find the right area for their needs. The student union is a great place to meet for group projects, rather than a quiet workspace. I cannot say how the dorm lounges are since I did not live on campus. I believe that most students who live on campus find working in the library is the best place to get work done.

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? 

Cassandra: San Diego State University is about 15 minutes by car from downtown San Diego, and probably a half hour using the trolley. Many students do go downtown, to Little Italy, or to Old Town. The trolley also makes it great to go shopping or to the movies as it provides access to Grossmont Center, to the east and Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, and downtown to the west. The beach is a 15-minute drive from campus. There are few establishments surrounding the SDSU campus, so students usually need to leave the area.

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

Cassandra: The student body at San Diego State University is quite large. There are approximately 25,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students.  I was generally pleased with my class sizes, with about 30-40 students in my classes. There are, of course, larger lecture classes with hundreds of students in them. Large lecture classes are probably less than 25% of students’ class schedules though.

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

Cassandra: My most memorable experiences while attending San Diego State University were on study abroad programs. I went on two summer programs in Cyprus and England. I became very close with my classmates and professors from those programs because studying abroad builds strong relationships between the participants. Studying abroad was a requirement of the University Honors Program and is a requirement for many majors at SDSU, too. I would recommend to any student to study abroad, whether for a short summer trip, a semester, or an entire academic year abroad. It will be a life-changing experience.

Check out Cassandra’s tutoring profile.

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