The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Rafy earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Richmond in 2013. He is now a Washington D.C. tutor specializing in Calculus tutoring, Chemistry tutoring, Biology tutoring, and several other subjects. Check out his review of the University of Richmond:
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?
Rafy: The University of Richmond campus is beautiful, secluded, and safe. The campus is only 15 minutes away from downtown Richmond and several shopping areas. Having a car is a big plus since the city's transportation system is not great. However, the university provides shuttles to the popular shopping areas and to several volunteering destinations.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Rafy: Most professors do not have teaching assistants. Given the small class sizes, the professors are available during class and in their offices. Most professors have office hours, and they are available to set up meetings outside the classroom. Academic advisers are also available throughout the semester, and they set up meetings before semester registration to make sure their students are on track to graduate.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Rafy: Over 90% of the students choose to live on campus all four years. I think that shows that campus life is absolutely a big part of the college experience at the University of Richmond. There are several dorms, townhouses, and apartments to choose from. You can also choose to live in a single bedroom or have roommates. Students are also allowed to purchase parking passes for their cars all four years.
There are several dining options on campus. The main cafeteria has fantastic food with a wide variety of options. There are also several “special dining days” like Caribbean nights, sushi nights, etc. In addition, there are several other dining options, such as fast food and sandwich shops around campus.
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?
Rafy: The programs most represented at the University of Richmond are business-related, like business administration, marketing, and international studies. I majored in biology with a concentration in pre-health studies because I wanted to apply to dental school. The university has a good pre-health program, with several events and guest speakers to raise awareness about the program. This is reflected in the high acceptance rate to medical and dental schools.
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?
Rafy: The students in general are very friendly. Most students are always looking to make new friends, especially during freshman year. Given the small school size, seeing the same people on a daily basis also helps in making friends. Greek life is big on campus, and it plays a significant role in the campus social life. However, most of their events are open to all students, which means most students do not feel pressured to join Greek life.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Rafy: The Career Center at the University of Richmond has several good resources for students, starting with writing resumes and cover letters to helping with interview preparation and the career search. The Career Center website is also very helpful, as several companies post their internships and post-graduation positions on the website. They actively look to recruit students from the university. Several reputable companies, especially ones in the Washington, D.C. area and New York City, recruit students and conduct interviews on campus throughout the academic year.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Rafy: There are several study areas that are readily available to students. Dorms have study lounges, but they are not very big. Most students choose to study in academic buildings or the library, which is open 24/7. The library can get crowded during busy evenings, but you can always find a place to work. There are different sections designed for different study habits. There are silent areas, quiet areas, group-study areas, and rooms available for individual or group work.
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?
Rafy: Richmond is a great city. It is not a very big city, but it is also not a small one. The city has great history that is well presented in many areas. There are many local restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries in the area. There are several festivals throughout the year that give Richmond its own identity. In addition, the downtown area is very alive during the weekdays and weekend. Many students go downtown for these festivals, restaurants, and other events.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Rafy: The undergraduate student body is just over 3,000 students. It is small enough to see the same faces on a daily basis, but it is big enough to always meet new people. The class sizes are typically small. The introductory courses never exceeded 30 students per class. The higher-level courses that I took, which were in the science field, never exceeded 12-16 students per class. I was very pleased with the small class size because I always knew that I could raise my hand and ask the professor to repeat any concept I did not understand during class.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Rafy: One of my favorite professors at the University of Richmond is Dr. Krista Stenger. She was the reason I became interested in molecular biology. I took several courses with her. She was more than a professor—she was a mentor to any student who sought her help. She also assigned students to do part of her research in the immunology lab course. I gained experience in several lab techniques that most students do not gain during their undergraduate studies. In addition, she was very excited to help me with my applications to dental school and applications to work in research labs.
Check out Rafy’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.