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The University of Central Arkansas

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In high school I turned down a scholarshipQuite BrightOther
In high school I turned down a scholarship to UCA Honors in favor of another in-state institution in a different city. It turned out to be a horrible mistake. I went there and hated everything about the place and ended up withdrawing in wake of the damage done to both my personal life and academic career.

I took several years off from school and eventually enrolled at UCA. It definitely doesn't have the reputation of academic prestige, but it has every avenue with which to learn and develop academically. Sure, there are plenty of people who graduate from the University that probably don't deserve to, but never think just because you attend UCA you will be unable to attend a top-flight graduate program or get your dream job. The opportunity and support are both there for anyone seeking to take advantage of it.

Also, it is the only college/university in the state offering a specialized degree in my field, and that is a big plus to me. I was worried about the generic nature or lack of writing degrees in other places.

The campus atmosphere can be very "high schooly" at times simply because of the large number of students from nearby towns simply going for a year due to expectation then dropping out. I don't have the figures, but I would imagine the freshman retention rate is not what it is at many or most establishments in the state. Overall, I recommend UCA. It's a decision I wish I'd made the first time around, but I consider it better late than never. If you're interested in UCA Honors I also highly recommend it, as well. It is an amazing experience.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2016
Education Quality: A+, Individual Value: C+
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Anyone in Arkansas can tell you that UCAQuite BrightHistory/Histories (art history/etc.)
Anyone in Arkansas can tell you that UCA does not have a great amount of prestige attached to it. I made a 32 on my ACT, am an excellent writer, and could have easily attended another university out of state. U of A seemed too absorbed in itself, and UCA showered me with scholarships. I was accepted into the Honors College which gave me free, high-quality housing. This majorly influenced my decision to attend UCA.

I didn't really like UCA at first. No one from my high school attended with me besides my boyfriend at the time, so I was on my own. It was intimidating and I was torn in many different directions; Honors, Greek life, and my boyfriend all pulled me toward different social groups. I broke up with my boyfriend, joined a sorority, and immersed myself in my studies. I became MUCH happier after joining Greek life, even if I don't enjoy it nearly as much now that I am older. I believe it was good for me as a freshman.

UCA has a decent social life and decent people. You can definitely find your place, whether you are more liberal or conservative. I've found the people relatively friendly, if not a bit close-minded. Freshman year, I regretted not attending Hendrix to which I also had a full scholarship, but as I've spent more time around Hendrix folks, I've realized that school was NOT for me. I love my Hendrix friends (my current boyfriend attended Hendrix as well), but they are so far from being diverse that they are often caught in a cycle of their own beliefs and thinking. I'm happy at UCA where I'm able to make my own decisions. I'm not religious, so the extremely religious population of Conway can get a bit tiring, but I've found (both in Greek life and Honors) people that share the way I think.

The History, Spanish, and Honors staff and faculty are absolutely fantastic. I can't imagine having more knowledgable or helpful professors at another school. I admit that the classes probably aren't as challenging as they could be- I see many people pass that are absolute morons- but if you engage yourself you will learn a lot and really grow as a researcher and citizen. The Honors program in particular is the best thing about UCA. UCA doesn't realize what a gem they have in this program. Its founders and staff changed my life.

All in all, I enjoy UCA because you can truly make your own experience. At Hendrix (nothing against Hendrix, it's just the one school I know a lot about to make comparisons with), students are given an exact "Odyssey" they must complete and seem to be babied until they graduate. UCA has a ton of nontraditional students and don't hold your hand-- you are expected to make yourself succeed. They will help if you ask, but they will not force you to become successful. The tools are there, but you must utilize them. There are just too many people at UCA for the administration to hold your hand. It's just small enough that I can become a leader of several different organizations and truly make a difference on campus.

Also, take into account the money you will save by going to UCA. I have had excess money to travel every summer and received a grant from Honors to go abroad for 2 months this summer. It's definitely a good deal.

Some students are total morons, but you learn to deal with them. The professors are great for the most part (avoid the Education department), and will really help you out if you've worked hard. I love UCA and I really think this school has turned me into a more confident, successful person.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2014
Education Quality: A+, University Resource Use/ spending: B-
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I will be graduating from UCA next summer.Quite BrightBusiness - Management and Administration
I will be graduating from UCA next summer. I have found that the University administration is a bit out there and incompetent at times, but that the faculty in the College of Business and many other colleges more than make up for it. I have been taught more about business than most of my friends who were at top business schools. It is also nice to know that there are campus resources that can help you with just about anything. Thanks to Career Services, I have a great internship for the Spring semester, and a job waiting for me to graduate which pays very well. My advisor is one of the brightest and most sincere people I have ever met. The campus is nice, small enough to walk to class and get there on-time. The greeks are pretty active, even though some of them are assholes. There is a very, very diverse student populus. I have many international students in my classes and it is hard to label anyone a minority since every ethnic group and race seem to be represented in reasonable numbers. There are a few religious zelots and rednecks to deal with, but many go through there college career without dealing with these idiots. "Alternate" lifestyles will find the campuse to be warm and welcoming with a very close knit community for support. One word of warning if you are Catholic and didn't grow up in Conway going to St. Joe's.....the Catholic community here is a bit skewed toward the protestant. The deacon who runs College Campus Ministry is super nice and dedicated, but he is a convert and his teachings are very conservative. He is also very influencial at the Church and with the youth at St. Joe's and the priest does feel a bit overwhelmed by this. Basically, the deacon and general Catholic populus here are a bit anti-drinking, etc. To work with the youth at St. Joe's, you have to sign a statement saying that you won't even be around alcohol. I don't know about some of you....but we sell beer at my home parish during celebrations and the annual picnic. For those who don't find the Conway Catholic community to your liking....Little Rock is super close and many of us carpool to Christ the King, or the Cathedral for mass, etc. Conway is a nice town. Small town feel, but big enough to have most of what you need. It is in a dry county and Conway fights to stay dry, but don't worry....some restaurants have their liquor license and more get theirs everyday. There are 3 colleges in this town, so there is typically something to do. If you like's a great campus for that.
3rd Year Male -- Class 2006
Education Quality: A+, Campus Aesthetics: F
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