What is it Like to Attend University of Oregon?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Tarryn is a Portland tutor who specializes in many areas of math such as Algebra tutoring, Geometry tutoring, Pre-Calculus tutoring, and more. She graduated from University of Oregon in 2012 where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance. Read her thoughts on the University of Oregon:

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?

Tarryn: The University of Oregon is set in Eugene, Oregon and is a fairly small campus. You can get from one side to the other with a brisk walk in about 15 minutes. That being said, there are few metered parking spots; however, I did not have a car for four years and never had a problem. Most people walk or ride a bike, depending on where they live. Lots of people own bikes or skateboards to ride around town in their spare time.

The campus is extremely safe. There is a police office about a block from campus, and there are many “emergency boxes,” which can be found every block or so on campus. Security guards and police on bikes are happy to walk you home if you feel unsafe. There is an APS (Assault Prevention Service) bus that is available to drive students whenever they feel unsafe or need to go a far distance at night. 

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

Tarryn: All of my professors have been extremely passionate about the classes they teach, and they provide much guidance to students to help them succeed. Professors have an amazing amount of office hours, and if you cannot make those due to conflicts, many will meet you when it is best for you. All professors are available through email and normally get back to you very quickly. Academic advisers tend to be located near your college of study. There tend to be multiple advisers for each major, and they have a lot of experience. I have found them extremely helpful!

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

Tarryn: I would highly recommend living in the dorms. I actually was on the same floor as a girl I went to elementary school with…it was so crazy! The dorms are a great way to meet new people; some may study the same major as you, and others may not. It was a great experience and something I would never pass up. The dining options are fantastic. The university has several dining halls. One is a cafeteria (all-you-can-eat), and the other two have multiple restaurant options.  The university also has a Grab N’ Go, which is a mini-market where students can pick up food and drinks for their rooms. Most students utilize the point system, which offers multiple options depending on your needs. Points roll over each week, and I have never found myself needing more. 

The location of the school is really nice. Eugene is a small town. There is not a whole lot to do there, but the university acts as the town. The surrounding restaurants all support the Ducks by having specials and putting stickers and banners in their windows. Everyone in town is very school-spirited. I never found myself needing to go anywhere off campus, besides to the movie theaters and the mall (both of which are less than a 10-minute drive away). The school has many activities on campus, and there are multiple cheap food options on the corner next to campus.

Everyone at the university is very friendly. I was so shocked when I crossed the street and someone said hi to me that did not even know me. Everyone lends a helping hand, making socialization the least of your worries. My advice is to take advantage of clubs and campus activities—they are a great way to meet people.

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?

Tarryn: The main majors at the University of Oregon are journalism, business, and architecture. There are many other options as well, and all are represented. The school has a career fair every fall and spring where students get the opportunity to be recruited and meet with potential employers. The school also offers seminars and meetings on how to create resumes and complete interviews. 

I was a finance major, which fell under the business school. The business school is absolutely amazing; it has a huge building on one side of the campus filled with professors’ offices, classrooms, computer labs with free printing, a café, tutoring, advisers… you name it. I never felt like I was out of options when I needed help.  Everything was in one place, and the professors do a great job at preparing you for life after college. The career fairs set up through the business school and the university are very helpful; the business school does a great job of preparing you too.

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?

Tarryn: As a freshman, I joined a FIG (Freshman Interest Group). In a FIG, you have the same three classes during your first term with the same 25 people. This was great because it meant an instant group of friends. The dorms also were a great way to meet people. I joined a sorority my freshman year. At the University of Oregon, Greek life is not huge, but it makes a large school feel small. That was one of the best decisions I made in college. I am still best friends with a lot of my sorority sisters, and it was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a close-knit group of friends. It is a great way to get involved on campus, keep your grades up, and get involved in the community.

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

Tarryn: As mentioned before, the Career Center does promote a career fair twice a year that companies from different fields attend. The career fair is set up for those companies to gather information and conduct interviews. At times, there are interviews set up through the Career Center. This is a great way to get experience, and many can even have a prospective job lined up by the end of the day!

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

Tarryn: The Knight Library is the largest library on the West Coast. There are many floors—the main floor has computers, newspaper articles, and old films to watch; the second through fourth floors are filled with reference material, study tables/cubicles, and private rooms that you can reserve. The basement has a café that many use to meet in groups. The library has designated quiet areas, which students actually respect. The library is completely full during finals, but during any other time, it is generally not packed. It is by far the best library.  There is the law library too, which is designated for law students, but it is also available to others.

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? 

Tarryn: Eugene is a small town, but the university acts as a town. Many people support the Ducks, and the town is very lively and spirited. There is a mall and a movie theater with a “dollar theater” not too far away that most students like to take advantage of. There are also many opportunities near campus. We actually think of them as being on campus because they are basically located across the street. There is a “Duck Store” with supplies and apparel (and Apple products), small restaurants, and a Starbucks. Most students tend to stay on campus, as many do not have a car.

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

Tarryn: One reason I chose the University of Oregon was because it had about 22,000 students. The class size is about 60 for a typical business class, and lecture halls can have between 250 and 500 students. The class sizes were actually very manageable and were great for group projects. They were also designed for class discussions. As a freshman, I took advantage of any opportunity to make myself not just a “head in the crowd;” I joined Greek life and got involved with the business school.

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

Tarryn: My capstone business class (last upper division class you take as a senior) by far solidified my career choice. I actually had the same professor for my first and last business class. I enjoyed his teaching style so much. This professor was spectacular not only because of the way he taught his classes, but also because of the fact that he was so interested in his students. If he saw you in the hallway, he would go out of his way to say hi or ask how your day was going. In the classroom, he welcomed questions, even ones he did not know the answers to. He was not afraid to say, “You know what? That is a great question; let’s explore.” I felt like I learned so much from his class; he had a way of taking the material he was responsible for teaching us and twisting in his own life experiences. That is what made the difference for me.

Check out Tarryn’s tutoring profile.

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