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The University of North Alabama

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I've been at UNA for two years andQuite BrightBiology
I've been at UNA for two years and there are some really great things about the school. Of course, there are also bothersome aspects, but I'll cover everything and you can make your own decision.

I came to college with the intent of getting an education, not just a BS degree (no pun intended). So far, I've felt like my professors are just trying to get students in and out as quickly and painlessly as possible. Of course, there have been exceptions (Dr. Gebhardt, the adjunct religion professor, is AMAZING and the only prof I've had so far that I felt really cared about what I learned instead of just getting through the material.) For instance, in one of my freshman biology courses, several students had questions during a lecture and each time, the professor would say, "See me after class, I really need to get through these slides." I feel like I'm not paying to have someone rush to get through the slides, I'm paying for them to explain this to me so I understand it and actually get something out of it.

As far as professors being available and helpful, I've had pretty good experiences with most of mine, but of course there are know-it-alls who view students as pests.

The majority of the students are so influenced by their peers that you have a bunch of clones walking around. Most of the guys look like douchebags in way-too-short khaki shorts, Guy Harvey shirts, and boat shoes. The girls mostly wear frumpy, oversized sweatshirts, sweatpants or booty shorts, and Ugg boots. Because most of the student body conform to this profile, it's difficult to find good, like-minded friends. By the same token, Greeks dominate the school, so either rush or prepare for ostracism. I've had several good friends that joined a fraternity or sorority and completely changed everything I'd liked about them.

I lived on campus my freshman and sophomore years on the Lifehouse floor (the one where you can't drink or smoke) in LaGrange Hall. The only reason I joined is because I figured the floor would be quiet with no drunken mobs filing in at 3 AM (I was right). Freshman year, I was so awe-struck by university life that I was blissfully unaware what pompous, power-crazy jerks 90% of the RAs are. Sopomore year, during a meeting, my RA told us, "How many of you have heard the statistic that Greeks are more successful in life?" And when I challenged that by pointing out that 'success' is a subjective term, he instantly got defensive and snotty and threatened to report me to Res. Life. Living off-campus is not only cheaper, but you aren't being forced into meetings and social gatherings when you've got six chapters to read and two research papers to write.

Towers Cafeteria - if you live on campus, you have to buy a meal plan if you're a new freshman or transfer student. Be aware that the food just plain SUCKS, and you can't take anything with you unless you OK it with the staff. The way I see it, I'm paying roughly $1000 a semester for this crap, I should at least be able to take a banana for the road.

The campus is really very pretty, especially at night(this is also a plus to living in LaGrange Hall in an even-numbered room: you have a great view of the campus.)

Parking is terrible!!! Get to campus about 45 minutes early in the mornings or be prepared to park in BFE.

The city of Florence is just... tiny. It's full of old people and there's no nightlife. Be prepared for a drive if you're looking for something to do; Huntsville is about an hour away.

Because the campus is in the heart of the Bible belt, almost everyone is a Southern Baptist/Christian. They're close-minded and just unaware that there are actually people here who aren't fellow Bible-thumpers. My roommate sophomore year was so adamant that I was hell-bound for being Jewish that she routinely left me notes on my desk in the mornings telling me to look up Bible verses that proved her religion was the true one.

Overall, I'm enjoying my time here at TUNA, though of course, like anywhere, it's not perfect. Just ignore idiots and don't be afraid to be an individual. We need more of them here.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2012
Campus Aesthetics: A, Surrounding City: D-
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I would not take anything for my yearsPolitical Science
I would not take anything for my years at UNA. Coming from a strong Alabama tradition, I was gently nudged by some family members to go to UA. I planned to go to UNA for only a year before transferring to UA but quickly became hooked. It was the intimacy of UNA, coupled with a readily accessible and competent faculty that did it for me. No, UNA doesn't carry the same clout as a University of Alabama or Auburn University (where I currently work), though it is ideal for the student who lacks some personal confidence coming out of high school and who feels more comfortable with a smaller setting. My biggest criticism of UNA would be the fact that professors in my three majors -- political science, Radio-Television Broadcasting and Sociology -- didn't require much outside reading beyond the textbooks. Yes, the textbooks were generally gone over with a fine-toothed comb, but a more disciplined reading program would have really helped matters when I started graduate school at Alabama, though I managed quite well without this -- a factor I attribute to the academic tender-loving care I received at UNA. One other thing that impressed me about UNA -- and mind you, this was 20 years ago -- is that all of my professors were old-fashioned liberals who tolerated legitimate dissent. They were not the the fiery, intolerant PC radicals you find on my college campuses today. One other criticism: the school is not yet ideal for someone who wants to attend a place with a lot of tradition and identity -- not yet, though this appears to have undergone a drastic change within the past few years, thanks to a major campus beautification effort. As someone who has visited every college campus in Alabama, I can honestly say that UNA now is far and above the most beautiful college campus in the state. One final criticism I would offer pretty much applies to every small public university -- namely, that at UNA you're going to encounter professors who are, by and large, excellent teachers but who, in many cases, are not as well-versed in cutting edge aspects of their fields as scholars at major universities. Moveover, you've got a handful of instructors -- 3 or 4 in some cases - teaching the entire course of study, so you're probably not exposed to the breadth of learning you would be at a major state university with 40- or 50-member faculties. Simply put, a UNA professor teaching Political Science 101 likely will also be teaching Political Theory 500. Despite this limiting factor, I found the quality of teaching far superior to that of my graduate program. UNA instructors also were far more actively engaged with their students than those I encountered at Alabama, many of whom were far more concerned with grinding out research papers than with dealing with a bunch of lowly graduate or undergraduate students.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Quite BrightBusiness - Management and Administration
This is a very good university with a lot odd tradition and history and is quite affordable compared to other similar schools.
2nd Year Male -- Class 2014
Education Quality: A+, Innovation: A-
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The University of North Alabama
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