right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
College Confidential stands united with African American students and their families against racial injustice and in pursuit of higher education and equality in America.
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: Zai Dawodu overcame a low GPA to get into top schools like Northwestern or NYU. She'll be attending Northwestern to study Computer Science. ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our June Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Pitt FAQs

AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
edited January 2014 in University of Pittsburgh
Hi everyone,

I'm a rising Senior at Pitt and recently got into CC again. I've noticed a lot of people ask questions about Pitt that can generally be answered quickly/the most thoroughly by a current student.

So, on that note, feel free to ask me anything! I'm not associated with any peer programs/tours/etc. so I'll be able to give my unbiased (mostly) opinion/answers to your questions. I can answer anything relating to classes, student life, housing, the general area, transportation, admission, financial aid, etc...

Some areas of "expertise" (where I would have above-average-student knowledge):

--Engineering
--Honor's College/Honor's Life/Honor's Housing/Honor's Classes
--Certain clubs: Redeye Theater Project, Quidditch Club Pittsburgh, Lambda Sigma Honor Society (for sophomores), Pitt Symphonic Band (with knowledge of Pitt Marching Band)
--Merit Scholarships (specifically through Honor's College and the School of Engineering)
--Out of State students/applicants
edited January 2014
1741 replies
Post edited by AwesomeOpossum on
· Reply · Share
«13456788

Replies to: Pitt FAQs

  • rmac399rmac399 410 replies0 threads Member
    Thanks for being on. My freshman S signed up for three UHC classes - just wondering if doing well (mostly A's) in AP versions of those classes in HS are adequate preparation for UHC versions. Also, do you know anyone who took intro to Arabic and how difficult that class was?
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @rmac399

    It really depends on the classes, do you mind telling me which three he plans on taking? My freshman year I took Honors Chem, Physics and Engineering. I had taken AP Chem in HS (but got a 4 and decided I wanted to learn it better in college) and Honors Chem and Programming in HS.

    I ended up doing really well in Physics and Engineering (A's in both, plus the professors were amazing) and not so much in Chem (B+ both semesters, but I think it was partially to do with the fact that the actual professor ended up being sick and stopped teaching the class 3 weeks in, so we had a different teacher take over who was not used to the curriculum AT ALL).

    Overall, I'd say having the AP background is *helpful* but not indicative of how you will do. If Honors Chem is anything like it was when I started, a LOT of material is stuff the AP doesn't even cover, which is great! It meant I got to go really in depth on an important core class for my major, which was cool.

    The most important thing with signing up for three honors classes is making sure you keep up with course work and attending lecture/recitation. Honors Chem involved lengthy 4-hour labs in the spring semester with additional 10+ page lab reports to do every week. The regular Chem classes had short labs and worksheets in class--no formal lab reports. If your S is confident at being able to balance the work load (which, having taken the AP classes, he probably will be) then he shouldn't have issues with the class.

    I think a friend of mine took Intro to Arabic. I will ask him his thoughts on that and get back to you!
    · Reply · Share
  • MDdad2012MDdad2012 432 replies24 threads Member
    What percentage of math and science classes are taught by TA's?

    How safe is the campus and surrounding area?

    Will out-of-state people feel welcome?

    Thanks!
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @MDdad2012

    I took 3 math classes (Calc 3, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations) and 4 Science classes (Chem 1/2, Physics 1/2). The only class not taught by a professor was Calc 3, which was instead taught by a 3rd year graduate student. I ended up really REALLY enjoying the class, because she was incredibly personable, taught the material well, and was super aproachable for help.

    For lower level math and science courses (up to 2nd year chem I believe) the labs and recitations will probably be "taught" (more like, run) by a TA. The big difference between class and lab/recitation is size and time. Class is a big(ger) lecture taught by the professor for 3 hours a week (this can be in one 3 hour session, two 1 hr 30 min sessions, or three 1 hr sessions). This is where they teach new material and go over book topics.

    Recitation/Lab are smaller classes, generally 20 students or less, and led by a TA once a week (sometimes twice) for an hour. In here you go over homework, sometimes take quizzes, rehash confusing lecture material, etc. The TAs are hired/picked by the professors to help teach those classes and work closely with the professor to make sure the material is being taught accurately/correctly/etc.

    So, to answer your question, 0% of *classes* are taught by TAs. But a large portion of the recitations/labs are.

    Campus/Surrounding area: Oakland (main campus) is incredibly safe. I've been out walking alone at all hours of day/night (i.e. midnight, 1am, 5am, etc.) and never felt uncomfortable. Most surrounding neighborhoods (i.e. Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, North Oakland, South Oakland) are also pretty safe. South Oakland is sometimes a *bit* sketchy, just because the cheapest housing is there and often times you can see patches of drunk/belligerent people. But overall, I've never had a problem with the area. There are also safety lights/poles all over campus and if you ever feel uneasy you can push one and a police officer will arrive to where you are. If you're ever stranded/feel unsafe, you can also call a Pitt safety shuttle called "SafeRider" to come pick you up and take you to your destination.

    Out of State people will definitely feel welcome! I'm from Northern Virginia and had only been to Pittsburgh twice before I moved in. Oakland/Pitt is SUCH a friendly area that I had no times adjusting/meeting new people/feeling comfortable. Even now, I joke with my friends that I'm amazed at how large a school Pitt is (>17,000 undergrads) because I never feel like a fish-in-sea. In fact, I'm almost always guaranteed to see someone I know when I go out walking to class/whereever.
    · Reply · Share
  • bandgeek2012bandgeek2012 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi AwesomeOppossum,

    I am currently a Pitt undergrad and I'm considering joining the band, what instrument do you play? (I'm just curious about the different sections haha)

    Thanks!
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @bandgeek2012

    Do you mean the Symphonic or the Marching Band? I'm not in Marching Band (but this year's Drum Major is a good friend of mine whom I've known since we were both freshman and many other friends are in other sections). In Symphonic Band I play the bassoon (not fantastically well, though, since I only started learning 2 years ago).
    · Reply · Share
  • ppatel05ppatel05 10 replies1 threads New Member
    When will we be given information on our housing assignment?

    Also, what is your favorite dorm and/or apt building(s)?
    · Reply · Share
  • MDdad2012MDdad2012 432 replies24 threads Member
    Is there an orchestra for non-music majors?
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @ppatel05

    If you applied for Honor's Housing, apparently you will hear mid-June. Otherwise, I think most people found out by mid-July where they were living. (That's my guesstimate, you can always contact Panther Central at: Panther Central and ask!)

    I lived in Honor's Housing freshman year, which was in Forbes Hall. I loved it. The rooms were (mostly) big and the layout was great. Plus it was small enough that I got to know everyone by the end of the year.

    Soph/Junior year I lived in the upper classmen Honor's Housing, which was the Forbes-Craig Apartments. Loved that even more (and I wish I could still be there senior year!). A lot of my friends lived in Ruskin Sophomore/Junior year. It's a really nice apartment building near the Cathedral (read: across the street) that was recently renovated in 2009 so it's practically brand new. The only thing is most of the apartments (1, 2, 3 person) are kind of small in my opinion.

    A lot of other friends lived in Bouquet junior year and loved it (4-person apartments). Those were bigger and just as nice, just a little further away from most of the buildings. I've seen Panther/PA halls on upper campus (for sophomore and juniors) and those buildings are AMAZINGLY nice (since they're the newest dorms) but I don't know what the rooms look like. I was never really partial to Towers/the Quad but I know people who lived there and enjoyed it (as well as Sutherland on upper campus, which is now Honor's/Athletic housing). Lothrop is kind of out of the way and mostly singles, I honestly don't know many people who liked it, EXCEPT for nursing students.

    Hope that helps!
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @MDdad2012

    There is an orchestra for non-music majors (since the only orchestra we have is basically open to anyone, to my knowledge). My roommate (an engineer, not a music major) was in it for one year, and I have another friend whom I believe was in it for all 3 years (music minor I believe) we've been at Pitt so far. I'm not sure of the specifics, but I believe you can contact the Conductor to arrange an audition time because I *believe* they practice starting in the fall (unlike Symphonic Band which is only in the spring).

    Here is contact information about the Orchestra: Symphony Orchestra | Department of Music | University of Pittsburgh
    · Reply · Share
  • MD MomMD Mom 6644 replies84 threads Senior Member
    I ended up doing really well in Physics and Engineering (A's in both, plus the professors were amazing) and not so much in Chem (B+ both semesters, but I think it was partially to do with the fact that the actual professor ended up being sick and stopped teaching the class 3 weeks in, so we had a different teacher take over who was not used to the curriculum AT ALL).

    AwesomeOpossom--aren't the professors you had for both honors chem and honors physics gone?
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @MD Mom

    Exactly. Well, the Chem professor left the beginning of my year (he taught for 3 weeks) and we had a "substitute" professor in the fall and I think my professor in the spring still teaches the course (to my knowledge...).

    I've heard that the Honor's Physics Professor is okay. I know of people who have taken the class in more recent years. I believe the course material is the same, although the exam/exam structure/hw may be different.
    · Reply · Share
  • mommapaloozamommapalooza 31 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My freshman year I took Honors Chem, Physics and Engineering.

    AwesomeOpossum: can you clarify re: the freshman engineering course where you opted for Honors -was it Engineering Analysis (ENGR 0011 vs Honors ENGR0711) or Engineering Computing (ENGR0012 vs Honors ENGR0712) or both? I also thought there was an Honors section of Freshman Egineering Seminar (ENGR0082) but I don't see it listed so maybe not.
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @Mommapalooza

    I took both Honors Engineering, so ENGR0711 in the fall, where we did all the programming courses (that is we completed the equivalent of ENGR0011 and ENGR0012 in one semester). In the spring I again took Honors Engineering, ENGR0715 which kind of a group project/volunteer project type thing. In 0715 (which most 0711 students took) we were assigned into groups of 4 and given a real-world engineering project from a client to solve.

    Some kids (about 10-12) take ENGR 0712 in the spring instead. This is a continuation of ENGR0711 in the sense that they continued with doing strict programming languages instead of the real-world applications of ENGR0715. Generally only kids with very high grades (A students) of ENGR0715 were invited to take ENGR0712 in the spring. I could have taken 0712, but liked the idea of 0715 better, personally.

    There should be an Honors Section of Freshman Engineering, but it may be through the UHC site instead of the Pitt Engineering site...

    Here is a link to contact Mike in the Honor's College about it (NB the link is to the old Pitt Engineering site, which is still functioning, but is not the "main" Pitt Engineering site any more) Engr0081/Engr0181
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @mommapalooza

    I took both Honors Engineering, so ENGR0711 in the fall, where we did all the programming courses (that is we completed the equivalent of ENGR0011 and ENGR0012 in one semester). In the spring I again took Honors Engineering, ENGR0715 which kind of a group project/volunteer project type thing. In 0715 (which most 0711 students took) we were assigned into groups of 4 and given a real-world engineering project from a client to solve.

    Some kids (about 10-12) take ENGR 0712 in the spring instead. This is a continuation of ENGR0711 in the sense that they continued with doing strict programming languages instead of the real-world applications of ENGR0715. Generally only kids with very high grades (A students) of ENGR0715 were invited to take ENGR0712 in the spring. I could have taken 0712, but liked the idea of 0715 better, personally.

    In terms of seminar, I took regular seminar (since the seminar is actually a 0-credit class). It was a nice way to relax once-a-week (I played UNO in mine) as well as get some good first-year advice from an older engineering student.

    There should be an Honors Section of Freshman Engineering, but it may be through the UHC site instead of the Pitt Engineering site...

    Here is a link to contact Mike in the Honor's College about it (NB the link is to the old Pitt Engineering site, which is still functioning, but is not the "main" Pitt Engineering site any more) Engr0081/Engr0181
    · Reply · Share
  • thenextbigthingthenextbigthing 379 replies15 threads Member
    How did you finance yoir education as an out of state student? Do are RAs get discounted room and board or is it free?
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @thenextbigthing

    I initially had two scholarships when I started Pitt: one $10,000 per year (= $5,000 per semester) scholarship from the Honor's College and a $2,000 per year (=$1,000 per semester) scholarship from the Engineering School. This amounted to $12,000 a year, which made attending Pitt cost about $20,000 a year, including Room/Board/Books. This was equivalent to my going to a state school, so my parents could afford sending me to Pitt.

    However, starting the spring of my Junior year, my scholarship changed to an Endowed Scholarship Fund. Basically, an alumni from the Engineering school graciously pays my full tuition (about $26,000 a year, or $13,000 a semester) for me. So, that was a big relief, and my last 3 semesters at Pitt will only cost about $3,000 each for Room/Board/Books/Etc. Quite a relief.

    RAs get free Room/Board (i.e. lodging in the dorm they are assigned to and a meal plan) with each year that they work. A nice perk is that for most dorms, they get a single room to themselves, even if the room is meant for two people (they'll only put one bed in the room, so essentially, more space!)

    I think the meal plan is something like 125 passes and $300 dining dollars per semester (but I can't remember exactly which one it is). You can be an RA starting your sophomore year, but it is incredibly competitive to get the position, and you are never guaranteed your position from year to year.
    · Reply · Share
  • melox93melox93 33 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hi AwesomeOpossum! Pitt is my first choice school and I was interested in the Symphonic Orchestra. I have a few questions. First, what is it like? Is it competitive? Was it a fun experience for you? I play the flute and wanted to continue music in college :) Thanks!

    Sent from my M860 using CC App



    Sent from my M860 using CC App
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomeOpossumAwesomeOpossum 1830 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @melox93

    I assume you mean the Symphonic Band and not the Symphony Orchestra, since I was in the former, not the latter.

    Anyways, the Band is super fun and relaxed! Most of the kids are people who did Marching Band in the fall and want to continue playing in the spring (I am not one of them :P). The director, Jack Anderson, is SUPER nice and really friendly! Also, the Band is a 1-credit class which you can sign up to take (I didn't have room in my schedule to sign up for it) and get an easy A on your transcript! (Not required, though). I'm not sure how competitive it is to get into, I play bassoon and am guaranteed a spot every year because...well there's only two of us! Bigger sections like Clarinets and Flutes might be harder, but I don't know of anyone who got turned away (but for all I know, someone may have been). Also, Band is only in the spring, and it's a pretty light rehearsal: 2x a week (Tues/Thurs) from 6-8pm. One concert in April (plus playing at Commencement if you aren't a senior).

    Orchestra is different. The conductor is a violin professor (I believe) and it practices and performs year-round (both semesters). I don't know much about that, especially for a flautist (my friends played Cello and Viola). But, here is the site to learn more: Symphony Orchestra | Department of Music | University of Pittsburgh

    Symphonic Band doesn't have a site, but here is the website of the Director: UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE - Athletics News
    · Reply · Share
  • clarinetzclarinetz 96 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Hey, if you don't mind me jumping in with some info about the orchestra (since a few people are asking):

    Orchestra meets Wednesday nights throughout both fall and spring semesters, as well as non-mandatory Monday nights before concerts. We typically have about 3-4 concerts per semester, also on Wednesday nights. The orchestra is made up of all majors (very few people are actually majoring solely in music). It's a very laid-back experience and good if you were into band/orch in high school and want to keep playing. Auditions take place at the beginning of the semester--there will be sign-up sheets posted inside the music building.

    melox93--Wind players do not usually get as much play time as the strings. This is because the conductor takes in more wind players than he needs (especially for flute/clarinet/oboe), and then rotates them so that everybody gets a few songs to play. I personally don't mind this arrangement because it's less music for me to practice. I'm a clarinet player and I love being in the orchestra. We're not particularly good (our concerts are hit or miss), but we have fun. Feel free to message me if you have any more questions about orchestra!
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity