What is it Like to Attend Washington State University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Rosa is a Seattle tutor specializing in History tutoring, Writing tutoring, AP English tutoring, and more. She graduated from Washington State University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Check out her review of her alma mater:

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?

Rosa: Washington State University is located in the small college town of Pullman, Washington, making it ideal for walking, biking, and taking the bus to campus. Most students who live “off campus” live in the surrounding College Hill neighborhood, which is only a few-minute walk away from campus. Those who live further away from campus are able to utilize the Pullman Transit system, which is free for all those with a student ID card. Students should be prepared, though, because the winters are cold and snowy in Pullman, which makes the trek up (and particularly down) the campus hills a little tricky.

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

Rosa: The professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants are great resources and are all equally accessible. Your professors and teaching assistants will always provide you with their office hours up front when you begin a course, and most are open to making appointments if you are not available to meet them during their designated hours. Also, a lot of professors and teaching assistants are available immediately before and after class for at least a few minutes if you have some brief questions for them. Further, all students meet with an academic adviser at least once per semester to plan their course schedules, but they always have the option to meet with an adviser more often if they so desire!  

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

Rosa: The dorms at Washington State University are located all throughout the campus rather than in one centralized area. Some of the dorms are located closer to the heart of campus, while others are located more on the periphery. However, since Washington State University is not an incredibly large campus, it never takes too long to walk from one point to another. For every few dorms, there is an updated dining facility that serves the students’ food needs. Markets are also located within the dining facilities that allow students to stock up on snacks. There is no doubt that the dorms provide a great opportunity to socialize with other students; it is all up to the student to take advantage of opportunities to meet their dorm-mates! 

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?

Rosa: Washington State University is best known for its Communications and Business Management programs, although all majors and programs are considerably well supported. Washington State University is also the only state school to carry a unique four-year Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles program which draws in many students interested in the fashion industry. I studied Political Science and History while at Washington State and I always felt that the university did a good job supporting my studies. The only drawback for my particular program was that some courses were only offered once a year or every other year, so I was required to actively seek out alternative offerings in order to customize my coursework and satisfy the credit requirements for my major.

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?

Rosa: I arrived at Washington State University not knowing anyone, as I had come from Canada and did not attend high school in Washington. Upon my arrival at WSU, I met people and made friends right away through both the dorms and Greek system. The Greek system has a huge presence at Washington State University and was an integral part of mylife at Washington State University, however that is not to say it is the only way to get involved in campus social life. While I attended school at Washington State University, freshmen in the dorms were required to take classes as part of a “Freshmen Focus” project. This project placed students living in the same dorms in at least one class together during their first year and is just one example of how the school provides opportunities for students to get to know each other in their freshman year.  

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

Rosa: The Center for Advising and Career Development is always available and open to students who seek help planning their future, writing a resume, or improving their interview skills. The Center provides many opportunities for students to interact with employers by holding Career Expos and on-campus interviews. Some academic departments, such as the College of Business, offer their own career centers that can assist students in a way that is narrowly tailored to meet their specific needs. 

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

Rosa: The WSU campus has a great variety of study areas. The Holland-Terrell Library has more than enough space for students and contains many different types of study space environments such as group rooms, large tables, and individual cubicles. The Compton Union Building also has a large lounge area with lounge chair seating and tables, which enables students to study in a more laid-back environment. Further, if students prefer to study off-campus, there is an abundance of local coffee shops that are conducive for group meetings and study sessions.

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?

Rosa: The surrounding town of Pullman is not very large, so no matter where you go, you are never too far from campus. There are a number of bars and restaurants throughout town – however, since Pullman is a small town, students shouldn’t expect the hustle and bustle of a thriving metropolitan. That is not to say Pullman is boring. In fact, Pullman is incredibly fun because the high concentration of college students congregate at just a few popular bars and restaurants that are located near campus. Therefore, whenever you go out, you are bound to see some of your friends and will never worry about being bored! In addition, Washington State University Athletics always provides more than enough entertainment for students – we especially went wild for football and basketball games. If in the off chance that Pullman just isn’t cutting it, students can always head 10 minutes east to Moscow, Idaho, which is home to the University of Idaho and has additional shopping and dining establishments. 

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

Rosa: The student body at WSU is medium-size, with approximately 20,000 students at the Pullman campus. With 20,000 students living in such close proximity, it is easy to run across friends and acquaintances every day on campus or out and about in town. This also means that you usually know a few people in each of your classes, which I greatly appreciated. The class sizes at WSU varied, although they were usually largest for the freshman seminar courses and got smaller as you declared a major and took more specific, higher-level coursework.  

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

Rosa: I specifically recall taking a Social Inequality (sociology) course during my senior year at Washington State and not being too pleased about the fact I was taking it. I was taking the course in place of a specific Political Science course that was not being offered that year. Since I was a Political Science major, I was a little disappointed that I had to take the Sociology class as a substitute. The Social Inequality class was one of the last and best classes I ever took at WSU. It shaped who I’ve become and guided me through my career as a law student and as a professional. I was a quiet student throughout the class and never spoke up, but was immensely intrigued by the subject matter. I completed my work and did very well on my exams. On the last day of class, I went up to the front to submit my exam and the professor asked me if my name was Rosa and I said yes. This was the first time we ever spoke. She then thanked me for my hard work and dedication to studying the subject matter. Although it seems trivial, there is nothing quite as nice as being thanked for doing something you love and that is a moment I will always remember from my time at WSU. 

Check out Rosa’s tutoring profile.

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