The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Victoria is an Austin tutor specializing in Psychology tutoring and all levels of Spanish tutoring. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish. See what she had to say about 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?
Victoria: Texas A&M’s campus is vast, energetic, and friendly. You won’t make it from one class to another without a fellow Aggie giving you a welcoming, “Howdy!” Despite the large size of the campus, many options are available to students as they trek from one class to another. Students can walk, rollerblade, skateboard, bike, take the bus, or even unicycle! And you will see all of those at A&M. The university conveniently offers buses that run off campus, bringing students from their homes to campus, but also offers buses that run within campus that take students from one end of campus to another. You can easily survive living in College Station without a car or bike! The buses on campus also go to local grocery stores and places like Walmart and Target. The Corps of Cadets offers a service to the students called Corps Escorts, which insures the safety of the students on campus. If you find yourself walking alone at night on campus, you can simply call the Corps of Cadets and they will send a Corps member to escort you to your destination.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Victoria: The professors at Texas A&M are always available to students, and most are more than happy to speak to you and get to know you! In a large classroom setting, it can seem hard to get to know your professors, but if you take that first step, you will find that they want to help you succeed. Each professor has their own office hours, a time when they are guaranteed to be found in the office and available to students. If you cannot meet the professor during that specific time, the professor will be more than happy to set up an appointment with you. Teaching assistants help in most classes and they prove extremely helpful in larger classes.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Victoria: Dorm life truly depends on which dorm you are in on campus. Some dorms, like The Commons, are very social. There are honors dorms, co-ed dorms, and gender specific dorms. You can choose which type you would like, but make sure to get your request in as soon as possible! The dorms fill up quickly and it is a first come, first serve basis. The campus is divided into two main sides, North and South campus. North campus is closer to local restaurants and music venues, while South campus is closer to the main library and computer center.
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?
Victoria: Engineering is by far the most represented and supported major at Texas A&M. I studied Psychology and Spanish and I believe that the university did a good job supporting me in these areas. A&M is a school that is driven by research, and therefore values those majors that promote research.
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?
Victoria: Greek life at A&M does play a significant role in campus social life, but not as big of a role as other universities. A&M has over 800 student organizations! If Greek life is not for you, you can surely find something else to be involved in. It wasn’t hard to get involved and meet people at A&M because there is something for everyone there!
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Victoria: The Career Center at A&M is wonderful! They will help you edit your resume, practice interviewing, and anything else necessary for you to feel comfortable pursing jobs. A&M hosts many career fairs throughout the semester with many reputable companies represented.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Victoria: The libraries at Texas A&M are great! The newly renovated Evans Library is gorgeous and comfortable. A&M has three main libraries, so there is plenty of room. These libraries are separated into talking and non-talking sections so you can find the right place to study. Also, the newly renovated Memorial Student Center is a great place to study! It is beautiful, comfortable and there are plenty of spaces for students to spread out and study. The only time the campus is over-crowded is during finals week. Go early and find your spot before everyone else and you will be fine. College Station also has many local places to study, like great coffee shops that cater to students and their need to study.
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?
Victoria: College Station, Texas is built around the campus. It is a city with country roots, so you can find a good country concert almost every weekend. Many students hang out at Northgate, a place where you can meet friends and enjoy live music. Northgate is literally across the street from campus, making it a hot spot for college students.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Victoria: Texas A&M has over 50,000 students. A student body that large can be overwhelming at first, but you will soon find that you recognize more and more people. Class sizes can range from 15 students to over 300. Smaller majors have smaller class sizes, and class sizes tend to shrink as you become an upperclassman. Personally, I had classes as small as 15 and as large as 300 and I felt very comfortable in both.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Victoria: As a freshman, I took an Anthropology class and I remember being so distraught after bombing the first test. I went in to speak to my professor about my test and my concerns and she was so kind and encouraging. She encouraged me to stick with the class and she would work with me if I could show significant improvement on the next test. After my meeting with my professor, I started attending supplemental instruction with the teaching assistant and became more vocal about my questions as they came up in lecture. On my next test, I received an A! At the end of the semester, I spoke with my professor again. Even though it was a class of over 250 students, she remembered my name and my situation. She honored her promise to work with me because she saw that I worked very hard to improve my test score. This taught me that hard work pays off and it is so very important to make connections and build relationships with your professors. It also taught me that the professors at A&M are more concerned about what you are actually learning, and not about the letter grade that you receive.
Check out Victoria’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.