Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Academically speaking, I think NAU on the whole is mediocre. In my departments (English and Music), there were outstanding faculty and there were faculty who need to see a therapist, or have their classes evaluated for effectiveness, or both (I can think of three whose struggles with mental health issues interfered with their classes). Simply doing the minimum of assigned work is enough to pass classes. I was in the Honors program for most of my time here, but had to drop out in order to graduate on time. The Honors program was evaluated this semester by an outside panel because of its unusually high requirements and ~50% retention rate. The program requires 21 units of Honors classes, which I was only ever able to take when I was assigned into them my freshman year (6 units) or when I took a class outside of my major. I never saw an honors class offered for my major or minor, and the idea of making a class honors by doing contract honors did not appeal to me, nor seem to hold the standard of set by the program itself. Honors students must also take math to precalc and go through to calc 2 or take two semesters of a foreign language AND have a 3.5 GPA to graduate, with very high GPA benchmarks along the way in each year. Everyone I know who was in Honors dropped out. It?s true that academic rigor is not for everyone, but as someone who consistently tested in the 99th percentile and above throughout schooling and was an A/B student, I feel it should have been more possible to graduate with honors.
As an out of state student, I might have a mistaken perspective on Arizona people, but students from Phoenix, Flag, and Tuscon were mostly distant and cold. Personally, I always felt like I needed to do more than simply be friendly and fun to keep the other person?s interest, and rarely just ?hung out? casually. I felt that there needed to be a reason for spending time together, like eating food or watching a show, which meant that I spent money to sustain friendships. But that could just be me. When approached, students were reasonably friendly and collaborative. Staff at the school always treated me well, and any mistakes or issues were quickly cleared up by speaking in person, not over email or over the phone where you don?t have their full attention. Every semester, I had to direct the bursar?s office on how to distribute my financial aid the same exact way it had been for the past semesters.
Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen to stay at home and attend school in-state. Living out of state has allowed for personal growth, but none of it was because of the university. Flagstaff seems to be unaware of its giant student population, as only some pizza delivery and bars are open past 9pm, and one student dining option on south campus. Living without a car was terribly boring, it meant I was stuck on campus or limited to the expensive downtown scene all the time. However, as a year of parking is 440$ and the parking system seems to be designed to be as inconvenient as possible with hawk-eyed enforcement, maybe it wasn?t a bad idea to leave a car at home. The bus system in Flagstaff is top-notch, with a free line for students that stops at apartment complexes, a shopping center and the movie theater as well as through the center of campus and up through downtown.As NAU moves into its money grabbing stage, I will be cautioning future college students against attending NAU. Unless you are a resident of Arizona wanting a change of location and/or you have been awarded well enough that you don?t have to take out huge student loans and can afford housing and high cost of living, this university is becoming just like any other mediocre state school and not worth extra effort, pain, or money. You can make a place to belong here, but you can also do that anywhere else.