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How to Turn A large State School into YOur Dream Education

texdadtexdad 258 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
edited April 2005 in Parents Forum
This topic is imho very important. Many kids will wind up doing this due to finances. As Mini and others have noted $100 to $200k can buy a lot of life alterating educational experiences that can't necessarily be squeezed into life after you have paid back large college debts.

I have been thinking of what I will advise ds who will almost for sure going to UT Austin, the biggest of them all.

1) Apply to honors programs.
2) Join two clubs that most interest you asap. . If you change your mind change your club. If one becomes all consuming; great.
2) Sit up front in class.
3) Occasionally go ask the prof a quick question after the end of the lecture. Make it something short and interesting if possible.
4) Go to his/her office hours. Never mention grades, unless utterly necessary and hopefully only to correct an error. Make it interesting to him/her if possible. Maybe even something fascinating about the subject and not in the current course.
5) Go to any lectures the prof is giving outside of class on something he is most interesting in.
6) Go up and talk to profs who are speaking before clubs. Ask them to speak to your club. Wife and I always got along famously with activist professors, who we would ask to speak or go to demos or whatever. They loved this and so did we. They liked us better in many ways than the typical grind it out 4.0 students, though we did pretty well, too.
7) In general try to engage the profs in something other than grade grubbing or immediate careerist goals such as recommendations, internships, research, though these opportunities will flow from genuine shared interests.
8) Don't be stingy with paying for internsips in DC, abroad or wherever. You have saved a lot of money, so spend it on these other programs. Always keep in mind that a year in Europe is probably more broadening than a year in Cambridge MA from what I have seen.
edited April 2005
19 replies
Post edited by texdad on
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Replies to: How to Turn A large State School into YOur Dream Education

  • yulsieyulsie 747 replies57 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 804 Member
    Don't forget to mention - for state Us, take lots of APs and also college courses if you have time, to earn the right to skip large intro classes and go right into smaller, more advanced classes.
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  • IslandmomIslandmom 275 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    Try to find out in advance from others which professors are actually good.

    Use all those wonderful facilities. (UT Austin)
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  • dudedaddudedad 1884 replies46 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,930 Senior Member
    Others --

    Take a class that seems cool/interesting

    Try to meet people from other countries/cultures

    A large state school IS the dream for many...
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  • jasmomjasmom 1116 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,153 Senior Member
    Also,
    1.Get to know your Residence Hall Staff (R.A.s, R.D.'s, Faculty Advisors)
    2. Use Counseling Center and Career Center services
    3. Sign up for a faculty mentor.
    4. Plan to take an internship.
    5. Attend university lectures, performances, readings, art openings, etc., outside your primary interest areas.
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  • katwkittenskatwkittens 2260 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,301 Senior Member
    One from my DD who is at a large state uni:

    For your upper division electives within your major, see if you can take the ones that will also count if you go on to a grad school program in the same area. She is a science major and this has helped her tremendously prepare and build up some credits for grad school, at the undergrad tuition rate. Those classes also tend to be very small 12-15 per class at a uni with 27,000+ students.

    Texdad- you are right on the money for your posted eight suggestions. She has joined clubs, met with wonderful professors, is in the honors program and in turn several professors have become wonderful mentors and friends. They have recommended her for a wonderful scholarship/internship that will pay for her graduate school program, one she knew nothing about (5 year scholarship with paid internship during the summers)! For being in such a large school she says she feels it is very comfortable and the profs are very easy to keep in contact with and she has yet to have a single class with a TA. Her science labs are even taught by the professor giving the lecture.

    Most of her labs are at the vet school which has allowed her to also meet and work with many of the professors at the vet school which is great since she is pre-vet. Next week is her week for the foaling project so she will be spending her nights at the equine unit at the vet school learning to deliver several beautiful foals. I can't see her having this particular opportunity at the small LAC her brother is attending. It was just a much better fit for what she wanted to do career-wise.

    Kat
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  • JeepMOMJeepMOM 2468 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,499 Senior Member
    A couple other things one can do - other than academics - that can help make life a little more interesting - and may open other doors also.

    - start a sunday evening pot luck group - good social outlet
    - try something you NEVER thought of doing - like the rec center/adventure program - backpacking, rock climbing, etc...
    - be involved in something physical - exercise, frizbee, intermural sports....maybe find a running partner
    - be involved outside ones major
    - take advantage of the arts programs offered at the school - performances, plays, music, etc..... on and off campus
    - go for the whole package the school has to offer - one may be surprised what they find
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  • BLUMINIBLUMINI 210 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    Nice to see some positive spins on the big universities "in state" that, I'm sure, many will end up attending. Thanks for the pointers! ;)
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  • jasmomjasmom 1116 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,153 Senior Member
    And oh yes...
    Ask your favorite prof if you can become involved in his/her research.
    Study abroad for a semester
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    Point 8 in the OP's original post is crucial. Alas, there are students attending state flagship universities who cannot afford to take that advice.
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,725 Senior Member
    Both my parents were at big state U and both loved it. They are decidedly NOT socialite types but both joined greeks. I think it helped a lot in making a big school feel smaller.

    If greeks don't do it for you, consider living in a language-themed dorm or a co-op; living situations can create intimacy.
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  • barronsbarrons 23029 replies1951 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,980 Senior Member
    Many of the big state flagships are in or near the state capital and state internships are often more involving than federal ones.

    I'd also encourage attending at least one lecture, art show, or music event (non rock) per week. Good for the soul and you will learn something new. Most big schools have several of these per day.
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  • JeepMOMJeepMOM 2468 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,499 Senior Member
    '''''8) Don't be stingy with paying for internsips in DC, abroad or wherever. You have saved a lot of money, so spend it on these other programs. Always keep in mind that a year in Europe is probably more broadening than a year in Cambridge MA from what I have seen......'''''

    '''''Tokenadult - Point 8 in the OP's original post is crucial. Alas, there are students attending state flagship universities who cannot afford to take that advice.....'''''

    ACTUALLY - internships - semester/travel abroad, etccc...... can be accomplished quite easily at state U's - they can actually be worked into a semester or summer and costs can be covered by tuition for the semester it is done in - including getting credit for it also!!!!! All is not lost in that respect. Exchange semesters are a great way to see and experience another place (USA or across the pond) AND get college credits. There are many programs available - check it out with schools you are interested in - I am sure you will be surprised at what you find.

    Financial aid covers many of these - maybe except for the plane ticket and spending $$ - but if a kiddo wants to do this - they can find a way.
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  • JeepMOMJeepMOM 2468 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,499 Senior Member
    How to Turn A large State School into YOur Dream Education

    I guess it is the old adage - it is what you make it to be - there are many many opportunities out there - students just have to open their eyes and find them - and take advantage of the them. I think large state schools have such a gold mine of opportunities - many more than smaller schools in any cases. You creat your own dreams!!!!! Go get em!!!
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  • 05_01_0405_01_04 41 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    I know this may sound...er...out there, but there *are* some who don't need to *turn* a large public school into a dream education. It might already be one of their top choices. Some from California might agree with me.

    Eh, but whadda I know?
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  • IslandmomIslandmom 275 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    I agree with 05-01-04.

    There are many around our area who would love to have been able to get into UTAustin. Also there are many on the UTAustin website who also wish they had been accepted. ( I sort of hang out in that area while I wait for d to make her final decision)

    But I like reading those suggestions of how to make the best of your school. Many of the suggestions could be used for making the best of ANY school.
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