The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Alex received his Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He is currently a tutor in New York City specializing in Reading, Writing, Test Prep, and several other subjects. See what he had to say about his experience at Seattle Pacific University:
VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or rural is the campus? Did you feel safe on campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?
Alex: Seattle Pacific University has a beautiful, compact campus: big enough to walk around and enjoy, but small enough not to get lost in. At least, not after the first couple days! The school sits at the bottom of a hill between an upscale residential neighborhood and the canal wharfs. It’s urban but quiet. For getting around to the rest of the city, I recommend a car or bike, but there are several perfectly good bus options too.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Alex: Almost every class at Seattle Pacific University is taught by professors with PhD’s (most of the exceptions are in subjects where the MA is the terminal degree, as in creative writing). The professors are almost always extremely available, welcoming students to their office hours, providing a lot of feedback on class work and offering extra help for students who are struggling – or who want to bring their work to the next level. After several years, I’m still in contact with several professors.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Alex: Seattle Pacific University cultivates an active social life. Everyone’s experience varies, but I found the dorms very conducive to quick-forming, lasting friendships. There are quite a few campus groups and events as well. The dining commons is excellent and is shared by all on-campus students.
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?
Alex: I studied English, and I think Seattle Pacific University has an excellent program, especially for a small school. The honors classes, the University Scholars, feature some of the top professors from across almost all of the disciplines, so I had the opportunity to take ample classes from philosophy, political science, physics, history, and more.
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?
Alex: It was very easy to make friends in the school’s dorm life. Particularly at the beginning of the year, the school and individual dorm buildings and floors organize a lot of events designed to help students get to know each other. There are no fraternities or sororities.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Alex: The school is very helpful for finding employment during school, with internships and job fairs. However, if there is a career center, I never encountered it. Seattle Pacific University makes connections with reputable companies in the Seattle area.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Alex: The library is spacious and well-stocked, and many of the other class buildings have designated areas to study and relax. Study lounge facilities vary by dorm, but are present and useful in all of them. Overcrowding is rare anywhere on campus.
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?
Alex: Seattle is a great city to be a student. It’s a lot of fun, with a lot of cafes and restaurants, as well as concerts, shows, sports (go Mariners!), and other events. The school is about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle, and it’s just across the canal from the neighborhoods of Fremont (very artistic) and Ballard (lots of great hangout spots). Seattle is also a lot smaller and cheaper than other major city cultural hubs (like New York, for instance). Seattle is also very close to great hiking areas in the Cascades.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Alex: The student body was less than 4,500 when I went, and I imagine it’s still under 5,000. It’s a pretty intimate campus, kind of like a small town. The undergraduate population is around 3,000, I think, so it’s easy to get to know people and be known by people. Class sizes varied a lot, but there were only a few that made it up to 100 students (mostly psychology. I hear we have a great psych department). Classes designed for students majoring in the subject were a lot smaller, running between 10 and 40 students, usually toward the smaller end.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Alex: We had a very rigorous professor for our second quarter honors class. He assigned us one paper per week (rough draft, then a final) on heavy classical literature. What he didn’t know is that everyone loved him anyway. He was a great lecturer, the sort that holds your attention for an hour and a half and you wish class wasn’t ending. Anyways, it was Valentine’s Day and about 20 of us were supposed to be studying, but instead we walked down to the local 7-11. We saw one of those huge oversized cards and bought it for the professor. When we presented it in class the next day (with our papers), he was totally overwhelmed. “I thought you guys hated me!” he exclaimed.
Check out Alex’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.