The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences, as well. Jenna is a Houston tutor specializing in ACT tutoring and SAT prep tutoring. She is currently a junior at University of St. Thomas studying Mathematics, Theology, and Secondary Education. Check out her review of University of St. Thomas:
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?
Jenna: University of St. Thomas is located in the middle of Houston, very close to the Museum District. Because of its urban location, the university purposely focuses on safety. Blue emergency call boxes and a University of St. Thomas police force are present around campus, but they are rarely needed due to the generally safe environment. Numerous students commute via the public bus system, but there is also plenty of parking in the Moran Parking Garage for students who drive to campus.
VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Jenna: All of the teachers and advisers are devoted to individual student success. They all hold office hours, but most of them are also more than willing to meet you outside of those hours. They are almost always available to answer any questions or to assist with assignments.
VT: How would you describe the dorm life - rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Jenna: Many students who attend the University of St. Thomas live in the Houston area, so we only have two dorm options: Guinan Hall and Young Hall. Guinan Hall is a traditional dorm, co-ed by floor. Unlike most dorms, each room has its own bathroom and balcony, which makes it feel more like a hotel. Young Hall has on-campus apartments for upperclassmen. There are various apartment sizes, including single rooms, double rooms, and units that hold up to six people per apartment. Residence Life works hard to put on events, including weekly Wonderful Wednesdays with food and activities, as well as monthly campus-wide events like costume dodge ball. Our dining hall has been undergoing some serious changes, including getting a Subway. Our meal plans consist of flex dollars that can be spent in the cafeteria, Subway, or the coffee/smoothie shop.
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?
Jenna: We have a lot of students who are involved in the Cameron School of Business, which has AACSB accreditation. Nursing is also very popular. We also boast a very high medical school acceptance rate for those students on the pre-medical track. I am studying Theology, Mathematics, and Secondary Education. The School of Education is phenomenal, and it has been nothing but accommodating in helping me achieve my goal of three degrees. They have worked with me to create a functioning class schedule that satisfies all of my requirements.
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?
Jenna: We do not have Greek life on our campus, but it is really easy to meet people. Freshman orientation was a great, fun way to get to know your fellow students. Having small classes also makes it easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger. As a student who came from a different state, knowing no one, I can say that I easily made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.
VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?
Jenna: The Career Center is great for working on resumes and job applications. They are awesome at helping you find places to apply. As a smaller university, we do not have as many of the recruitment options as larger universities. However, University of St. Thomas is located near Rice University and the University of Houston, which host many career fairs and other such events.
VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?
Jenna: Dormitories have study rooms on every floor, so there are plenty of places to study without leaving the building. Our library has many places to sit down, study, and do research. We also have a central lounge and lounges in many of the buildings. Many of the departments also have houses where all of the professors have their offices, and many of those buildings have places that students can sit down in to get work done.
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?
Jenna: As I said before, we are in the middle of Houston. There are parks, free concerts and events, amazing food, great nightlife, places to shop, etc. We are only a few miles from Rice Village, which is filled with shops and nightlife. A few miles in the other direction will put you in the Museum District with plenty of great places to spend the day, including art museums or the zoo.
VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Jenna: We have about 1,500 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students. General classes will have 20-30 students, but I have classes geared toward my major that only have a small handful of students. It is a great way to work with your professors and get one-on-one attention. It also forces you to come to class and learn the material, something that certain college students ignore and later regret.
VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Jenna: One of my classes was on the Trinity, a concept not easily explained or understood. I had to write a research paper for the class, and I was beyond confused. I went to my professor's office three or four times with different drafts of my paper. He took the time to read through each draft, ask me questions about what I meant or what I was confused about, and give me guidance toward key resources. I had never gone to a professor like that before, and it was definitely a good decision. I learned a lot about the subject, but also about my strengths and weaknesses. I really appreciated all of the time my professor spent working with me.
Check out Jenna’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.