Students' Personal Opinions

<p>I have been accepted to UA and I am seriously considering attending. I will attend CSD next month and will come a day early to have a campus tour that Friday. I really just wanted to get the opinions from current students, or their parents, on the overall “feel” of the school. Are the academics challenging, is there a good social scene, how much is there to do in Tuscaloosa (I’m from Chicago), are the people down to earth, and ultimately do you feel that you made the right decision by chosing to attend UA. </p>

<p>Please feel free to include any other aspects that you may feel are important.</p>

<p>I'll give it a shot</p>

<li><p>The academics are fairly middle of the road. UA is definitely not the harvard of the South as the marketing seems to paint it but overall it is a nice academic school at least from my experience. The Honors College is pretty nice, but it's less challenging than it is a more involved classroom style. Also, if you're majoring in engineering/hard sciences, they're currently building some pretty nice facilities to house those departments.</p></li>
<li><p>The social scene--it is a a fairly big school, so you'll be able to find someone to hang out with for sure if you look hard, but to me it seems the majority are of the Southern upper-class, or at least act like it. There's a big Greek scene down here as well.</p></li>
<li><p>Since your from Chicago, it is a definite downgrade (from my guessing and according to my friend who's from Chicago). I'm not a big fan of Tuscaloosa--too much to feel like nice small town and too small to be considered a legit city--but there are things to do and the essentials are here.</p></li>
<li><p>Are the people down to Earth? I guess so. I'm more of a head-in-the-clouds type. If you could elaborate on this I could help more.</p></li>
<li><p>For me personally, no, I did not, but my situation might be different then yours. And that's not to say that UA is a bad school.</p></li>


<p>I plan to study Biology PreMed.
By down to earth I mean not stuck up or closed mined. Are they open to new ideas and different types of people.</p>

<p>Thanx for replying.</p>

<p>ABR1190 is transferring to UTenn in his home state. His costs will be lower there (because he's in-state for UTenn). The quality of UTenn is not better than UA, but he'll find that out when he gets there. :) Right now, he can only hope to have a better situation there - altho his costs will be lower, and it's a nice school.</p>

<p>He's from Memphis - a big city with a lot to do, therefore, Tuscaloosa probably does seem small townish. Knoxville is a big city, so he may like that better.</p>

<p>We wish him the best of luck at UTenn. :) We can understand that money issues can influence things.</p>

<p>My kids are at UA - They really like it. We're California natives; we moved to Alabama with my H's job. </p>

<p>The students are friendly. 40% are from OOS, so you'll get a variety of personalities. :)</p>

<p>The campus is gorgeous.</p>

<p>The academics have been impressive. My kids are majoring in Math, Chemical Engineering and Biology (One is pre-med). My husband (who graduated from 2 Big Ten schools) has repeatedly said that our kids' academics have far exceeded his. I graduated from a UC school in Calif (UCI), so we feel that we can recognize strong academics when we see them.</p>

<p>The honors college has a wide variety of classes. Naturally, some will be more interesting to you than others. So, pick what you like; don't take what doesn't interest you. </p>

<p>the Honors Housing is very nice...the nicest we've ever seen from all campus visits all over. :)</p>

<p>You'll see on CSDay. :) Have a good time. :)</p>

<p>My experience as an undergrad in UA's Honor's program provided me with the type of education and opportunities typically only available at America's elite schools. UA is more diverse and overall, a better school academically now, than when I attended, so Im kinda jealous of the opportunities available to students like yourself. The facility improvements and additions are very impressive, not to mention the enduring beauty of the campus.</p>


<p>How long have your kids been going there? Did they like the school initially or did they grow into it?</p>

<p>I'm glad to hear that the academics are strong and that the beautiful pictures of the campus that are online follow through in person. Yes honors housing does seems very nice. Do your children live in honors housing?</p>


<p>When did you attend? (If you don't mind me asking)</p>

<p>This is my older son's 3rd year and my younger son's first year. They both liked it immediately. The week before school starts there are activities that are kind of "ice breakers". It's called WOW week - Week of Welcome. :)</p>

<p>Both my boys are in the honors super suites housing. They are very nice. It's nice to share a suite with 3 other suitemates, but also to have one's own room when it's time to study or sleep. I don't know if you've seen the pics of the super suites, but they have 4 private rooms in a suite that have a living room, a kitchenette and two bathrooms. Here's a link to my younger son's residence hall...scroll down for layout and more pics...<br>
Housing</a> & Residential Communities - The University of Alabama</p>

<p>I think with ANY school, it's important to make an effort to go to activities and join a few clubs. If you decide to go to UA, then when student football tickets go on sale (around May/June 2010) be sure to buy a set (football tix are $5 a game for students - cheap!). Even if you're not a football fan, it's just fun to do at least your first year. My older son didn't really care that much about football before he went to UA; now he's a big fan. lol</p>


<p>I am almost sure that I will get swallowed up in the football traditions pretty quickly as I am already waiting for January 7th. Glad to hear that it took your kids no time to feel connected with the school and campus. I guess my main concern was that I may feel out of place without being in a large city. But it seems that it wasn't a problem for your kids, even coing from Cali, so I feel a bit better about that now.</p>

<p>Other schools that I have been accepted to so far are:
1. U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2. Tulane
3. LSU
4. Southern Illinois Carbondale</p>

<p>Still waiting on replies from:
1. U of Miami
2. U of Southern Cali</p>

<p>Do you know how UA compares to any of these?
Sorry I know that it's a bit off the original topic.</p>

<p>Well, UIUC obviously has a high ranking. :) </p>

<p>USC is a very good school. I'm still a bit of a Trojan fan (except if they ever play Bama again. lol) I grew up watching USC football - and remember when USC played Bama (way back when).</p>

<p>I think all of the schools on your list are very good schools with many good points. Each one probably has some things that you will really like and probably will have some things that you might not like. That's just the way schools are. </p>

<p>I always tell kids, no school is going to be "perfect." Every school is going to have a couple of profs that you won't like, a requirement that you won't like, an expense that you won't like, or some other odd thing that you won't like. I know a girl who left Vandy. She said, "I don't like Nashville and I don't like some profs." But guess what? She also doesn't like some profs at her new school, either.</p>

<p>I'm not a big fan of rankings, but UA is pretty good for a state school, but not UIUC caliber, IMHO.</p>

<p>I'm from WA (Seattle area). Tuscaloosa is a mid sized city, Birmingham is the big city and it's not that big. Coming from Chicago, there will be a big difference as soon as you land in the small Birmingham airport. There is a big social scene with plenty of opportunities if you make the effort to join.</p>

<p>Academically, classes can be challenging. UA is trying hard to keep the feel of its smaller former self while expanding, which is a good thing. UA is very generous with AP, CLEP, and dual enrollment credit and has many special programs beyond UHP, IHP, CBHP, and UFE that you will learn about later.</p>

<p>People in AL are some of the nicest people you will ever meet; it sold my parents on UA. Students vary in their friendliness, but are generally very friendly.</p>

<p>Since I found about UA the summer before my senior year, I have loved it. It was the only school I found where I was getting everything I wanted and was even the least expensive school on my financially-savvy list. UA is not perfect, but no school is.</p>

<p>pramirez184 has your intended major and knows a lot about LSU and Tulane besides being a UA student. Maybe he'll post or you could message him.</p>

<p>I grew up in Central Illinois, am a UIUC grad, have lived in T-town for many years, but did not attend school here. However I am very involved as an advisor who works with students. Since I'm certain you can find academic comparisions elsewhere, I will concentrate on other aspects.</p>

<p>I found T-town and UA to be very similar in size and feel to Champaign-Urbana and UIUC. In my experience having a large University in any town tends to elevate the environment out of some of typical "small town" mentalities. Even the layout of UA campus reminds me a great deal of UI with its historical buildings and elements, yet interspersed with modern.</p>

<p>I can attest to the fact that Southern Hospitality is alive and well. I didn't know until I got here that I'm a Yankee. I always thought of myself as a Midwesterner :D, but people (both students and others) haven't held that against me and were incredibly welcoming. As Mom2 stated the OOS population is now around 40%. That has been increased by the Admin in semi-recent years as they have purposely grown the University.</p>

<p>Birmingham is the largest nearby city, but it isn't even close to Chicago in terms of size or things to do. Then again, few places are. Yet in about the same amount of time it would take you to drive from Chambana to Chicago or St. Louis, you'll be able to get to Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, or the beach on the Gulf. Definite pluses in my book. It is also worth mentioning that Southwest Airlines has daily flights from Bham into Midway, a couple are even non-stop.</p>

<p>For some the climate difference is welcome, for others not so much. The heat and humidity of Bama summers last about 6 months with July and August being down right hellish (at least for this Midwestern gal). But if you want to get away from scraping car windows, shovelling snow, below zero wind chills, driving blizzards, then it's a good thing. You can always go home to Chicago to see snow. :D</p>

<p>(Please note none of this is intended as criticism, merely my personal observations.) IMO one of the most dramatic differences is the all consuming obsession with football. I personally believe it has to do with the fact that there isn't really any other sports in Alabama except Bama and Auburn football. Bama/Auburn's basketball and baseball teams are but a blip on the radar in comparison. (Though with Talledega so close by there are committed Nascar fans, but IMO it's a distant 2nd.) In Illinois you've got college fans and an assortment of pro sports to commit to with Chicago's Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks; STL's Cards, Rams, and Blues; even the nearby Indianapolis Colts. Yet in Bama college football is king. Trust me, Bama/Auburn fans even exceed the intensity of Die Hard Cubs fans and that's saying something.</p>

<p><a href="Please%20note%20none%20of%20this%20is%20intended%20as%20criticism,%20merely%20my%20personal%20observations.">I</a> IMO one of the most dramatic differences is the all consuming obsession with football.** I personally believe it has to do with the fact that there isn't really any other sports in Alabama except Bama and Auburn football**. *</p>

<p>This is true. Having grown up in Calif where the fan loyalty is split amongst many sports - football, basketball, hockey, and baseball (at the college level and pro), Alabama really only has Auburn and Alabama college football to be loyal to.</p>

<p>In California....My parents were Dodger fans, my son was a Laker fan, I was a USC fan, my nephews are Angel fans, my niece is a Ducks and Padres fan, etc, etc (and this is just in Southern Cal - northern Cal has it's favs). So, two teams couldn't dominate a state in fan loyalty like Bama and Auburn do.</p>

<p>Maybe it's like the cheeseheads in Wisconsin. lol</p>


<p>I have liked UA since I learned about it too. But since I have received the acceptance letter I have really been feeling more and more sure that this is where I want to go. But people keep telling me that I should stop focusing on one school and give them all a chance but I am having trouble doing that. Could you tell me some of the things that you like the most about UA? Thanx for hooking me up with someone who can tell me more about the Louisiana schools as well. </p>


<p>I have been to UIUC 2 or 3 times already but I really don't have that much interest in the school. My mom wants me to go there, she's the reason I applied. Despite that, I like how the campus is set up. I will be able to compare the campuses after my visit to UA next month but I'm glad to know that they are somewhat similar. The weather for me is a BIG factor, seeing that I applied to schools in warm areas. I just can't take another Chicago winter! The heat is being welcomed with open arms. The football craze doesn't seem to be an issue for me, though I can see the point you were trying to make by comparing it to other major cities and how fans are split about. I am already familiar with the south because most of my family is still down there (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia) and I visit pretty often. It's just that I was worried if I would be able to handle being there year round instead of just the summers and occasional 3day weekends.</p>

<p>Hah, I never said UT had better academics, Mom :P. They are definitely on the same level though. Just hoping to give a different perspective than all the rah-rah that everyone else gives.</p>

<p>But anyway, given what you've said 2Smart2Cute, I think you'll like it down here.</p>

<p>Oh, and Sea tide and pramirez are my roommates, btw.</p>


<p>What year are you guys?</p>

<p>Can someone please explain how social the honors dorms are? In case I end up somewhere like Tutwiler my freshman year and just hope to get into a non honors super suite sophomore year, how different are the two residential areas? Is it harder to meet people in the suite communities? Is there a mixture of students or are there areas that have mainly freshmen? Maybe it would be easier if I would just ask for an overall breakdown of dorm life? </p>

<p>PLEASE HELP!!!!</p>

<p>Does the furniture in the pictures of the dorm come standard? Or did they take pictures of the nicest looking one with rich kids' furniture?</p>

<p>I attended from 87-91.</p>

<p>I would not choose Tutwiler unless I was going to pledge a sorority (all the pledges seem to be in Tutwiler). </p>

<p>If I wanted cheaper non-honors housing, and I wasn't pledging, I would choose Somerville.</p>

<p>*Does the furniture in the pictures of the dorm come standard? Or did they take pictures of the nicest looking one with rich kids' furniture? *</p>

<p>LOL - the furniture in the pics is the standard issue. However, if there are pics with bean bag chair and things like that, those are things that kids add. Which pics are you talking about ????</p>

<p>The suites (I'm guessing that you're looking at honors) come with living room furniture, a dinette table and chairs, and bedroom furniture (bed, desk, computer table, chest of drawers).</p>