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Pros and Cons at Pitt

iiiicpiiiicp 5 replies2 threads New Member
I've been accepted into the Pitt honors college and was wondering from any current or past students if you would recommend attending the honors college once in. Also, I'd really like to know your views on the pros and cons at Pitt.
edited April 2006
36 replies
Post edited by iiiicp on
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Replies to: Pros and Cons at Pitt

  • venom428venom428 35 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I also have been accepted to Pitt's honor college and am wondering the same thing. I am going to have to make the decision between Pitt, Upenn, and Johns Hopkins if accepted to them all. I want to know which is the best value for the amount I will be paying.
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  • Lex248Lex248 149 replies2 threads Junior Member
    if you're going for medicine, all have really good medical programs/medical schools...
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  • MarchMadnessMarchMadness 4 replies1 threads New Member
    I also got into to the honors college and was wodnering if it was good enough to merit consideration. I'm pretty much deciding between UMD (Scholars program) and UNC and was wondering how Pitt honors compares to these two schools.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I can't help with UMD or UNC, but I have a couple of comments about Pitt. The honors classes have thus far been a step above the regular ones and there is honors advising available. If you write a senior thesis, you will earn an honors degree called BPhil.

    On the negative side, there is no priority registration for classes and some who are not in the honors college may be eligible to take an honors class. I'm uncertain as to whether this is a problem or not. There is honors housing, but it is not guaranteed because demand is higher than availability, and you may or may not be assigned to it. Also, the process for allocating honors housing is rather questionable.

    All in all though, I think if you are going to a public school, the honors college is a good thing. You do tend to meet students who are (usually) a little more serious about their studies and inquisitive enough to go beyond what is required.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    That's too bad about no priority registration. I think that's a major attraction for kids to join the honors program at schools such as Ohio State.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I think so too. Penn State honors students have priority registration and guaranteed honors housing for four years...both huge advantages in my book.
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  • iiiicpiiiicp 5 replies2 threads New Member
    What are the overall pros and cons of the University?
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Would also like to hear a lot more about the intellectual life at Pitt and especially with respect to Honors college. Thanks much for any insights.
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  • venom428venom428 35 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I am also interested in finding an answer to this question since I will be attending Pitt this fall and hopefully be staying in the honors housing.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    There are lots of very smart, very involved students at Pitt. Yet, I don't really sense an arrogant attitude. Some are in the honors housing, others live elsewhere. Pitt has several specialty housing options that seem to be popular: Engineering, Honors, Quiet, Alcohol-free, Business, Nursing, International, Research, Entrepreneurship, First Year Experience, and a few others. There are speakers, freshman seminars, community service, PittArts group (students attend cultural events together for greatly reduced fees), and more. Many undergrads work in research labs.

    Honors students can take honors classes and write a senior thesis, which will culminate in the Bachelor of Philosophy degree (optional.)

    If you stay in honors housing, you get to move in a couple days before everybody else. They have some team-building, get-to-know-you activities during that time.

    One thing I like about Pitt, which you will find at any big university, is that students will be exposed to many different disciplines just by being around people with so many different interests. You will know people from not only Arts and Sciences, but Engineering, Pharmacy, Law, Business, Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, International Affairs, Education, Information Science, etc. Students don't really know what these disciplines have to offer, but learn a lot by knowing others studying in these areas.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for your answer. What is your connection to Pitt and what would you recommend in terms of housing? We are choosing between Pitt and GW. While Pitt seems terrific, d.c. is very exciting. We will see. Again, thanks.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Also, I think you are so right that a big university exposes you to all the different kinds of people in the world and different ways of being smart. Great insight.
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Just put D and H on a plane to Tempe to look at ASU. They scheduled the trip with nonrefundable airfare and couldn't cancel, but I think D is pretty set on Pitt now. The two of them flew up in March for D to interview for the guaranteed med school admission and they were both very impressed with the campus, the city, and of course the med school.

    D is going biomed engineering and liked Pitt's facilities in that area. I think they are also in the process of adding some new buildings and labs for biomed. Having the med school and eleven (?) hospitals across the street from the undergrad opens up all kinds of possibilities for research, etc. at the undergrad level. The two of them went to an honors college presentation and were told that often professors from the med school teach undergrad honors courses to the premeds because (1) proximity makes it convenient and (2) the med profs are very interested in working with honors college premeds.

    We've been researching the school and I noticed that the Philosophy dept. is #2 behind Princeton and has been for a long time. They have special courses in History and Philosophy of Science, and personally IMO a few ethics and morality courses for a biomed engineering major would be a really good thing as there are going to be times when they should be asking not "can we do this" but "should we do this". Anyway, I'm pushing Philosophy as a minor if it won't put my engineering D in an early grave from too much work.

    Another thing is the honors college guy said that Pitt has several joint ventures with Carnegie Mellon and the Pitt students can cross-register for courses at CMU (so many per year, or just certain ones, I forget). There is also some kind of summer science research program that is joint between Pitt and CMU and it joins both faculties and students, and if you're accepted you are paid a stipend.

    Another thing I read is that Pitt built up the Philosophy dept. by getting profs from Yale and even Oxford to come to Pitt. Over time those guys got their friends to come. Like I said they've been #2 for a long time now and I just read their world ranking is #3 (Oxford, Princeton, Pitt). Pretty cool to me.

    We just got a brochure on Pitt research (book actually) and there is another program or "center" that either just transferred to Pitt or is on the way, and it is coming from Johns Hopkins. I think it's a BioDefense Research Center, but I can check and repost. Anyway the entire group is relocating from Johns Hopkins to Pitt.

    All in all I find this pretty exciting. As a mom I also like that the city is clean, safe, and everyone takes care of the kids. It is a college town and a lot of activity centers on the college students 'cause there are so many of them (there are like 5 or 6 colleges or universities there). You can get anywhere you need to go on a bus, for free, and there are Pitt shuttles to the malls on Saturday. We plan on sending D w/o a car and getting an out of state student discount on our insurance. H said the dorms are set up really well and he liked the 24/7 res hall office, plus they have a computer help desk that is also 24/7 and will even send someone to your dorm room if necessary to fix your computer for you. They were told this would even happen at 2am if you broke down before a paper was due. The neighborhood around the campus is overflowing with cute shops and places to eat, most of which are cheap. The eateries all take the Panther Card, as do CVS pharmacy and Blockbuster. Sorry to go on so but mothers of daughters think a lot about practical stuff/safety if the kid is going far away.

    Anyway, those are our thoughts right now. For me, I think D could get a Princeton/Yale/JH/CMU education for a fraction of the cost if she picks the right courses and takes advantage of the opportunities. Plus she will be safe and well taken care of. And my car insurance will be cheaper. Hopefully she won't fall in love with the desert this weekend.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Loved your exhaustive reply; think you and I have a similar relentless research approach and involvement in this process. (I guess I will need to get a life once this is done though my d points out there is always grad. school.) Did I post that my d. plans to major in philosophy/political science? I knew Philosophy was #2 but I had not known who was one. They also sent her an invitation to acceptance (now) into their grad. program! OUr other choice is GW and the city is very very exciting with fabulous intenrships; it is a more glamerous city but the financial benefits of pitt coupled with a much much highter ranked philosophy department certainly make Pitt a sweet possibility. Do let us know what she decides after she visits Arizona.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I have something to add about the honors program. The professors who teach the honors classes do so by application. They actually WANT to teach, so you may get a more engaging teacher. From our limited experience, the profs who taught the honors classes were very good.

    A little bit about my connection to Pitt: I have my pharmacy degree from Pitt, my husband has degrees in economics and MBA, my brother graduated from engineering, my sister got her masters in education and my BIL got his masters (or PhD) in engineering.

    Students can cross-register at just about all of the local colleges, whether honors students or not.

    Definitely don't bring a car. Parking is scarce and expensive, while public transportation is really easy, safe and free.

    As a freshman, I'd stay in the Towers. The rooms are really not bad, with new furniture, carpet and air conditioning. Each student gets a height-adjustable bed, 5 drawers, a closet, a desk and a chair. There are two cafeterias, a gym, the laundry and a coffee shop right within the towers. Between the convienience and the big freshman community there, the Towers is the place to spend your first year.

    DC is really an exciting place to be, especially for a politically active student. But Pitt does have good things too. Probably Pittsburgh is safer than DC. Just keep in mind that there is no "wrong" decision! :)
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    "Relentless Research" - boy, would my family agree with that! I'm an attorney by training so I spent 15 years doing research for a living and I guess it's hard to break the habit.

    Question for lkf725 - we haven't sent in the deposit yet, but will probably do that after D and H get back from arizona. I understand that after you send in the deposit (we'll do it online), then Pitt sends the dorm forms. If you get the deposit in before May 1, there is guaranteed housing, but will it be hard to get in the towers? That looks like the place to be for a freshman.

    Also, is it a real killer to double major if you're in engineering? I've heard that is the killer major no matter what school you go to. Pitt seems to have a balanced life attitude, and the staff at the honors college told us they encouraged double majors, but is that just asking for trouble in engineering?

    Also, since Pitt does not do early registration for classes for the honors kids, does that matter so much with engineering classes (as opposed to say, english, history, foreign lanquage,etc.) My older d is in LSU honors college and all that priority is a major plus - in fact it is almost the primary benefit, but then LSU has 31,000 students and Pitt has only 16,000. The (perhaps)Pitt d says she doesn't think there'll be long lines of people trying to get into honors calculus and honors physics (we are also realizing we won't get first crack at Pittstart now).

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I don't think it will be difficult to get into the Towers because they are so big. If you want honors housing, there is a little application of sorts to get it...I don't think it is guaranteed. Even if you do not live in honors housing, all of the kids in the Towers interact alot. There is quite a bit of studying together, working on projects together, etc. Other students even enjoyed when my son practiced his music and came by to listen. Many kids brought musical instruments. The SPACE (Students Preparing for Academics and Careers in Engineering) floors in Tower B are very popular.

    Engineering is a difficult major, but mostly from a time management perspective. However, my son has managed a 4.0 so far. The engineering students study together and help eachother.

    There is no problem with getting classes needed for engineering. They reserve all of the necessary classes (for example, some calc classes are reserved for the engineering school), as well as a bunch of select electives. So, I guess in a way, everybody in engineering has priority registration of sorts.
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  • nurse123nurse123 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My d is also choosing between Pitt & GW. We are visiting Pitt this week. D enjoyed an earlier visit @ Pitt. She has been accepted to the Nursing school. Can you offer any info on the nursing school? If she chooses GW then she will study Communication Disorders(GW's grad program is highly rated in that field). I am not as familiar with the undergrad major- but it is offered through Columbian Col of A&S. Since i lived in dc for many years, i am very familiar with GW. I am not familiar with Pitt-other than knowing people who have or are presently studying there. I am a bit worried about the name recognition and prestige of degree. However, if she decides to pursue nursing then I am fairly confident the degree is highly regarded. She was accepted to other fine nursing programs, but she wants a city school and a school close to a medical center- any thoughts or ideas or suggestions????
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I sent a pm to nurse123!
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Hi, you wrote to me about the negatives of GW and positives of PItt. (I don't know how to reply in a private message.) We just returned from Pitt and my d. had a fabulous experience and will probably attend--especially as the price tag will be nominal and at gw huge--despite some scholarship money at GW/ Pitt certainly has a more real city (less gentrified and official city) feel than d.c. However, as a life time resident of the suburbs as you are too, I would not exactly agree with your assessment. I find D.C. very exciting for all kinds of reasons, but, again, I see the charm of Pitt. Not sure what you mean about ethnic and international possibilities at Pitt. Would love to hear from you concerning this. In any case, my d. will probably be at Pitt next year though there is still a small chance she will choose GW
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