The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Alex graduated from The University of Vermont in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. He is a San Francisco tutor specializing in Literature tutoring, Grammar & Mechanics tutoring, AP English tutoring, and more. Check out his review of his undergraduate experience:
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?
Alex: The campus setting is large and beautiful. A campus “green” with fountains and winding paths in the middle of campus sets the tone, with rustic buildings with modern interior for classes and living areas. The campus is very safe, with a University Police force on site separate from the Burlington Police Departments, as well as posts with blue lights on them stationed all over campus that have a button you can press if you feel unsafe. Burlington has a very efficient public transportation system which is free to you with your UVM ID.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Alex: While the university is large, I found that my professors and advisers were very willing to meet with me outside of class when I needed to. Almost all have listed office hours and are willing to bend those if a student is in need.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Alex: With the addition of the new Davis Student Center, there are all kinds of activities on campus for students to participate in. From the multiple charity events held in the “Living/Learning Center” to dances, poetry readings, and musical performances, you will not go hungry for social activities at UVM. Dorm life depends on where you are, but it is all safe and clean from what I experienced. It is a fairly typical dorm floor experience, save the Living and Learning center, which is interest-based suite living.
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: UVM is well known for it’s Medical Studies program, but I found the Social Sciences were superb as well. I studied English after a short stint as a Psychology major (the most popular major in the university). I chose it because I desperately wanted to be a writer, and while I will say that UVM’s English department is heavily based on literature (as opposed to writing), the Writing classes I did take directly benefitted my writing overall and have a huge influence in what I do today.
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: I did not experience much Greek life, to be honest. I believe, at UVM, it is a fairly minor part of campus social life. The houses are off campus, and though they are certainly a part of the social fabric of UVM, they are hardly a dominating part. I think it is very easy in the dorm style living to make friends as a freshman. In the Living and Learning suites, it was both easier and harder, as you lived with a group of people with similar interests to you, which was great, but you had less reason to seek out more social events.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Alex: The Career Center found me my work-study job and was very helpful in looking around for jobs after school. They host many job fairs for students of a particular interest, so if you’re willing to work at it, the Career Center is able to help.
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 Bailey-Howe Library on campus can be crowded on the main floor, but there is almost always space on the second and third floors. The Library and Student Center are both massive buildings with multiple floors, so while some parts of them may seem overcrowded, there is always a place to go.
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: Burlington is one of the top 10 places to live in the country. From a gorgeous lake view (that can be seen from campus) to the cobblestone church street marketplace, Burlington is the epitome of a college town. Bars and restaurants galore, all within walking distance, and all the live music and art you can handle. Campus isn’t far from downtown, so the student/city interaction is very high. Definitely check out the annual Art Hop that happens every fall, and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band’s “Soul Nights” at Radio Bean!
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Alex: In my time at UVM, the student body was 12,000 kids – a big change from my graduating class of 94 students that I left high school with. I did find, however, that UVM can be as big or as small as you want it to be. Introductory classes can be large, but as I got deeper into my major, I had many classes that were between 10-25 students, which is very reasonable.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Alex: I applied to be in the Living/Learning Photography suite, but it was full so they asked if I wanted to live in a different program. I said that I would. I was placed in the Ceramics program. I had never, ever done any ceramics at all! We had a weekly class, and I could choose whether or not I wanted to participate in it since I had been randomly placed, and I chose to do it. My roommate who I was placed with is now my best friend, I eventually became the Program Director of Ceramics and had my work shown in several galleries, and met my long-time college girlfriend in the program. Not too bad!
Check out Alex’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.