Culture / Student Life

Students Don’t Have to Hate the Hunter Experience

The political science wing on the 17th floor, North Building.

There’s a big problem with CUNY’s biggest school: it seems like no one wants to be here. 

There seems to be a general disdain for Hunter among the student body — for its campus, faculty, students, food and social life, to name a few. Common complaints concern the leaky, peeling ceilings, lack of campus life, or limited available seating areas, often forcing students to eat their lunches on the floor. 

Many of these criticisms hold weight — but these issues are not unique to Hunter, while the utter disdain for the school is.

On, a ranking and review site for schools, colleges and neighborhoods, Hunter received an overall B grade but the campus grade for Hunter sits at a bleak D-.

“Many of the departments or professors aren’t interested in individual students,” says one review. “There is a lack of communication and guidance for freshman students,” says another. 

There are many reasons as to why this may be the case — students at Hunter often are accepted to more “prestigious” schools like Columbia or NYU, but choose to attend Hunter for financial reasons. This may result in a lack of satisfaction among those who feel they are overqualified for Hunter. 

Kyla Gamaro, 21, is a junior at Hunter studying developmental psychology. She was accepted to NYU, but due to financial costs, chose to attend Hunter. 

“I didn’t feel any way about it until we actually got to school,” she said. “I was a Covid freshman, and when I saw all my friends in dorms getting to know people whereas in the city we were super isolated, I was really jealous.” 

Gamaro says that Hunter being a commuter school isn’t the best for socialization. 

“I felt so lonely. That was the college experience I was told that I was going to have. And this was just so different.” 

Many American high schoolers are often fed the idea of a college experience that includes on-campus living, dining, and friend-making. But when they get to Hunter, they’re often disappointed. 

Commuting is another part of the problem. The vast majority of students at Hunter commute from all parts of New York, New Jersey, and even Connecticut. 

Helen Moran, 19, is studying psychology at Hunter. She commutes from Wallingford, Connecticut, starting with a 40-minute drive to the New Haven station. She then takes the Metro-North for a 3-hour train ride to Grand Central, then transfers to the 6 train to get to Hunter. The entire commute, which she does twice a week, takes her around four hours, Moran says. 

“Having to commute from Connecticut to New York doesn’t give you much room for a social life,” she said. “You have to schedule everything around the trains.”

Moran says it affects her class schedule, too. “I have to think about the times I’m taking my classes in conjunction with peak train times,” she said. “Or my commute will cost even more.” 

Morans’ case is an extreme one. But there are many students (and professors) at Hunter who regularly commute one, two or three hours to school. This takes away time from students who could be using it to socialize or get work done. 

But sometimes, enjoying being a student at Hunter falls on — well, the student. 

Frances Alswang is a professor and an academic program advisor for the Film and Media department at Hunter. She says she gets many students who are unhappy at Hunter. 

“Students are not getting the attention that they need. It’s hard to make friends, it’s hard to find a community. The biggest problem is students figuring out how to reach out. That is a hard thing for them,” said Alswang.

Alswang does her best to encourage students to seek connections at Hunter, even if it may be harder than it would be on a traditional college campus. 

“What I tell students as an advisor is to seek out places they can connect. Look at the advertisements, check your email for events, look wherever you can to find a place where you can meet up with students. I don’t think students do that enough.” 

There seem to be many factors at play when it comes to student dissatisfaction at Hunter. But students have the opportunity to change that outlook.

Hunter has no shortage of events on campus to get students involved. The club fair is held every fall and spring semester and is a great way for students to get familiar with the more than 100 clubs at Hunter. 

No school is perfect and Hunter is no exception. With more than 24,000 students enrolled, it is an impossible task to provide for every student’s wants and needs. 

By taking the initiative and actively seeking out opportunities to make connections, students can spend their college years making friends instead of wishing they had them. 


One Comment

  1. Tyler Martinez says:

    Well said.