The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Roderick is a St. Louis tutor who specializes in Calculus tutoring, Physics tutoring, Computer Science tutoring, and more. He graduated from the University of Victoria in Canada in 2010 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. See what he had to say about 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.
Roderick: This was a big bonus for pedestrian/non-drivers. Several buses run every 3 minutes at many stops all around the city that have final destination at UVic. The city itself isn't very large and with some scenic routes, it makes it ideal for bikers to/from campus. The campus itself has the main road which is a circle that goes around the campus so it's very easy to figure out where to go.
VT: How helpful are the academic advisors?
Roderick: In my experience advisers were not very helpful (I only dealt with the engineering department, it could be totally different in other departments). My main complaint was that engineering students had to switch on and off each semester between full course load and co-op/internship terms (each term is 4 months). So this basically made it possible to be moving every 4 months which was a huge hassle to be in classes and also worrying about trying to find a job at the same time. This puts a ton of students in a state of panic with overloaded schedule, serious financial issues (moving around is not easy) and everything else that can come with troubles of moving (many students don't have vehicles...). Advisers did not come up with any good ways to figure out schedules to get around this, so I ended up just taking a longer time in the program.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life?
Roderick: I was only in dorms my first year. This is probably pretty typical; orientation, meet and greet ice breakers, etc. I'd also like to add that there is the possibility of living in a 'family dorm' for people with children. It's basically an apartment complex on campus but more remote from the rest of the dorm buildings. This might be something worth mentioning for students with families that are looking to stay on campus. I never stayed at one of these places myself but some fellow students I know had stayed there during their degree and from what I've seen they do appear to have all the amenities as well as private areas to live.
VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?
Roderick: I would think that the most supported programs are environmental studies and geology. I would like to add engineering to that list but from '2' I think the organization of co-ops was a total mess. Co-op is mandatory in engineering which makes the whole issue unavoidable. If more jobs were available for engineering students at the school, this would have cleared up a lot of problems, but pretty much all the positions were to be held off campus and potentially anywhere else in the country. Also, making something *mandatory* for adults is a big no-no in my books.
VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman?
Roderick: This is easy enough, people in this area are very friendly and there is always some sort of party/event going on. Finding people with vehicles are a plus for road trips or just renting a vehicle. There is a lot to explore in the natural surroundings.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center?
Roderick: I never dealt with Career Center since this is separate from the engineering department.
VT: How are the various study areas? Libraries? The Student Union? Dorm lounges?
Roderick: Study areas are very nice. I am 100% happy with what was available.
VT: What is the surrounding town like? What are the best local attractions that make it unique?
Roderick: For people from big cities, this may be a bit of a challenge to get used to. The city is fairly small and compact but the exploring is more in the natural world side (beaches, mountains, etc). For city people, Vancouver is a ferry ride away. In general B.C. is an expensive place to live but doable if you can find cheap rent.
VT: How big or small is the student body and how does that affect your experience?
Roderick: I am not too aware of how the student body operated so I can't comment on this question.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you dreaded the most.
Roderick: Profs are hit or miss for the first 2 years in the engineering department since most of the classes are to get students up to speed on math/chemistry/physics/computer science. Once you get into the actual engineering classes though, it's a big/fun challenge if that is what you are looking for. I personally favored Signal Analysis classes since this was mostly conceptual and did not require too much mathematical mechanics but more critical thinking.
VT: Anything else a prospective student should know?
Roderick: Overall I'd rate my time at school pretty high, however it did have its draw backs. I think the area helped me with my schooling as it isn't really a party school but more a laid back society with lots to explore when you aren't hitting the books. There is some world class skiing, surfing, scuba diving and mountain/rock climbing all close by which is a rare combination to have accessible.
Check out Roderick’s tutor profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.