What is it Like to Attend University of Missouri-St. Louis?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Nathan is a St. Louis tutor specializing in SAT prep tutoring, Calculus tutoring, all levels of Algebra tutoring, and more. He is currently a senior at University of Missouri-St. Louis majoring in Math Education. Check out his review of his 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?

Nathan: UMSL is a much more commuter-based school; there are two campuses, North and South. Both campuses are connected to the Metrolink, but I take my car on most days as it's a lot more convenient. I feel pretty safe on campus, though there are some parts or some times where it is less safe.

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

Nathan: This really depends on the professor or staff member you are talking about. On one end, I've had a professor willing to email all the students and set up meetings outside of class that weren't office hours, and on the other, I've had a professor who never replied to email and only held office hours. The academic advisers usually meet by appointment only, but the Friday walk-in is a viable option as well.

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

Nathan: I actually don't know much about the dorm life as I live off campus. The dining options are much better on North campus, though, with South campus trying to catch up. As far as socialization, it's pretty easy to find your interests represented on campus and if not, the process to make a group is fairly straightforward.

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?

Nathan: UMSL is touted as a business school; that being said, though, I haven't actually met many Business majors in my day to day adventures on campus. Then again, I'm mainly on South campus where I study Middle School Education because I love to teach and help people. I know there are a couple of student groups, such as Nursing and Business, and overall there is a good amount of support from the university toward all areas of studies.

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?

Nathan: While I did not go to UMSL as a freshman, it was fairly easy for me to make acquaintances and friends both in and out of class. I belong to a couple of clubs currently and I have a lot of friends in my major. I don't see much of Greek life participation, but I know that they do quite a bit around both the campus and community.

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

Nathan: The Career Center hosts many classes for free as well as a lot of Job Fairs and support for the students. There is also a Nursing/Health center, a Recreational Center, and other awesome forms of support provided. I have always had a good deal of success when dealing with any department.

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

Nathan: They are pretty useful, with a lot of computers and quiet areas. The staff and resources both online and offline are very useful, and questions are answered promptly. The student union is a great resource as well; it helps advertise events and is a solid meeting place for most of the clubs 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? 

Nathan: UMSL is located near the airport in a county of St. Louis known as Normandy. It's an okay community, with a few places to eat but not much to do. Most students will take the Metrolink or their cars elsewhere to socialize.

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

Nathan: I believe the student body is about 16,000 people, but it really doesn't feel like a large number. I tend to see the same people a good amount of the time, and with the advantage of taking some freshman classes, I know a fair amount of people outside of my major.

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

Nathan: My best teacher wanted us to call her 'WB.’ She was one of my Education teachers. She truly cared about each one of us succeeding beyond the scope of her class and wanted to make sure we had the ideas that she made very enjoyable. She also took myself and another student for a tour around McCluer North High School to get an idea of what actually goes on in St. Louis schools. This experience was quite valuable to me as I moved away years ago and had no idea what to expect. My fellow students and I always call the really awesome assignments we create, WB style worksheets.

Check out Nathan’s tutoring profile.

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