What is it Like to Attend University of Illinois at Chicago?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Julie earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in French and Francophone studies at University of Illinois at Chicago. Located in Chicago, she specializes in French tutoring, Italian tutoring, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at University of Illinois at Chicago:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Julie: UIC’s campus is very accessible via public transportation. Buses and the blue line stop right on campus. Some students do drive or bike, and there are also a few Divvy bike stations on campus.

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

Julie: Professors, advisers and teaching assistants were always very available to meet and help whenever I reached out to them. My professors and TAs were always available and encouraging, and their doors were always open for office hours or appointments. As an undergrad, I worked in an academic advising office and saw every day how helpful advisers were.

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

Julie: I lived in an on-campus dorm my first year at University of Illinois at Chicago and had a great time! The dorms are on campus and close to public transportation. There were always plenty of activities and social events to attend—there was definitely something for everyone!

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported at University of Illinois at Chicago?

Julie: UIC has a variety of strong departments. Science and engineering are very popular, in particular for pre-med or other pre-health professional students. However, my areas of study, French and Italian, were also very well supported. Seniors in the French department often assist faculty members with their research projects and participate in both department- and campus-wide research forums.

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?

Julie: There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make friends. Even though Greek life does not play a significant role in campus social life, it is available. There are plenty of organizations and events to help freshmen meet people and make friends.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? 

Julie: University of Illinois at Chicago has plenty of support services, from career counseling to the student success initiative, and several others. There are plenty of career fairs offered throughout the school year, both online and in person.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Julie: University of Illinois at Chicago is full of study areas all over campus. Because so many students commute, almost all academic buildings have some kind of lounge or quiet area. The library is easily available, and has areas for group study or designated quiet areas. There are also quite a few easily accessible computer labs on campus, in the library and other buildings.

Describe the surrounding town.

Julie: UIC is located in Chicago, so students there never run out of things to do! There are plenty of places on campus or nearby in Little Italy and Greek Town. Just a few minutes away is downtown Chicago, with museums, theatres, and plenty of other things!

How big or small is the student body at University of Illinois at Chicago? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Julie: UIC has a large student body, but class sizes varied depending on the subject. Certain departments or classes, often general education classes, were quite large with a smaller discussion or lab component. More advanced classes or language classes were usually considerably smaller. I enjoyed the variety of class sizes, since they offered lots of different experiences.

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

Julie: Although it’s hard for me to choose just one, one of my favorite and most memorable classes at University of Illinois at Chicago was a French class on Paris. We read novels and short stories, and watched films that all took place in Paris. Since the class was taught in English, students from many different majors and levels took the class, providing lots of different perspectives in class discussion. As a final project, each student read a novel individually and chose a few memorable Paris locations featured in the story. Then we all posted the locations on an interactive digital map we used to explore Paris! The next year the professor of the class asked me to assist her on a research project using the same type of interactive maps. Then while getting my master’s degree, the same professor became my teaching supervisor!

Check out Julie’s tutoring profile.

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