What is it Like to Attend University of Colorado Denver?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Dallas is a Denver tutor specializing in Biology tutoring, Chemistry tutoring, German tutoring, Spanish tutoring, and a number of other areas. He is currently a junior at University of Colorado Denver majoring in Biology. See what he had to share about University of Colorado Denver:

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?

Dallas: The campus is in an urban setting with three different academic institutions on a single shared campus. The shared campus is called the Auraria Higher Education Center, and it includes University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver. The campus is extremely safe (with 24-hour surveillance by the police department) and extremely accessible. There are two light rail stops directly on campus, as well as a multitude of bus lines that drop students off around campus. There is a parking lot for commuter students, and many students ride their bikes since a bike is able to go onto the light rail trains and the buses.

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

Dallas: The professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants are available when you need to speak to them. Like most universities, you do need to schedule an appointment to see a professor during office hours, but most professors will answer a question via email as soon as they possibly can. Some classes have LAs, which are learning assistants who were students in that same class the previous semester or year. They are available for help sessions or quick questions. The teaching assistants are great because they will normally find time to answer your questions and help you out as much as possible.  

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

Dallas: University of Colorado Denver does not have a traditional dorm life since we do not have dorms that are owned by the school. All of the student housing is contracted out to private companies, and they are apartments. My apartment is approximately a ten-minute walk from the student union, and the rooms are great. I have a studio apartment, which is a great size for a single student. I know of students who have a 2x1 apartment. The 2x1 is a two-bedroom apartment that shares a common area (living room), kitchen, and bathroom. The apartments are fully furnished, and their location is optimal. Campus Village holds student activities all of the time. These activities can range from how to become a better student, a Halloween dance, or a night out in Golden, Colorado.

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?

Dallas: University of Colorado Denver is known for its academics. We are the only school in Colorado to have a medical school, and it is one of the best in the country. Our medical school ranks in the top six for pediatrics. Any science major (as well as Animation or Public Health) is well represented and supported by the school. I am a Biology major on a pre-medicine track, and I am minoring in both German and Public Health. Most Biology majors elect to become Public Health minors since most Biology majors aspire to go to medical school. The university is doing an excellent job in supporting my areas of study.

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?

Dallas: As a transfer student, making friends was quite simple. Most of my friends live in the apartment complex with me, and I have a few that I met in class. The students on this campus are quite nice, and we are all studying to better ourselves. Greek life does not play a significant role in the campus setting since all of our fraternities and sororities are in Boulder, Colorado.

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

Dallas: The Career Center is extremely helpful when you are trying to find a job. They have walk-up options available during certain hours to review your resume and make you more marketable for the job market. The student support services are all based in the shared student union, and they are more than willing to help you with anything. We constantly have job fairs for companies to recruit new candidates.

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

Dallas: When it comes to a campus that holds over 60,000 students, we do everything in extremes. Our student union is extremely large - large enough for a two-story bookstore, a full pool hall and game room, a pizza restaurant, a food court, a brewery, and much more in its six floors of space. Our library is in the center of campus, and it holds volumes for all of the universities and schools on the Auraria campus. The library is extremely large and also houses classrooms, computers, outdoor patios, and a large display area. There is more than enough room for all the students 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? 

Dallas: Denver has more than enough to keep one busy. We have an aquarium, zoo, botanic gardens, the state capital building, historic landmarks, breweries, amusement parks, and one of the largest water parks in the country. We have plenty of shopping, and anyone can find something to interest him or her here. Students are always going downtown because our campus is only about four blocks from downtown. We are called the downtown campus by locals.

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

Dallas: The size of the student body depends on what university or school you are attending. University of Colorado Denver has approximately 29,000 students, and the class sizes depend on the subject matter. For example, a general Chemistry class or introductory Public Health class may have 100 or more students in lecture, whereas the recitation or lab will have only 30. A first year Spanish course will have approximately 25 students in it. University of Colorado Denver is known for having a 17:1 student to faculty ratio. I am generally pleased with the class sizes because of the amount of help that is available to students.

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

Dallas: In my Chemistry lab, we had a wonderful lab instructor. She was fair and loved to teach students to the best of her ability. During one lab, we were experimenting with a chemical that created a toxic byproduct to conduct a test on cations. During the lecture portion of the lab, she made sure that everyone knew that if she smelled rotten eggs we were all going to run out of the lab. Of course we had one group decide to open the chemical hood too far, and it allowed for the toxic gas to seep into the lab. I will never forget how fast the instructor ran to close the hood and to get all of the gas out of the lab. She warned us and saved us from a disaster. I cannot forget her because of how amazing she was.

Check out Dallas’s tutoring profile.

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