California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo - Comments and Student Experiences|
My main complaint with CalPoly is with the administration. I had to submit my transcripts to them 3 times because they kept losing them. When I transferred out, I had to request my transcripts from them numerous times because they couldn't be bothered to send them out. Every term that I was here, they put a hold on my registration for some irrelevant nonsense, such as claiming that they needed copies of my vaccination records even though I was over 24 and didn't live on campus, and therefore should have been exempt according to their own catalog.
During the Summer 2004 term, they raised the tuition rates 2 weeks AFTER classes started, and then threatened to kick out every student who didn't pay the balance. We all had to pay up, since they had us by the balls. Then they did it again a week later.
I transferred out in Fall 2004 and was given conflicting information regarding how to drop my classes; I was told to fill out the green form at the window, turn it in to the bursar, and that would be it. 6 months later, I started receiving mildly-threatening phone calls regarding an unpaid balance there for tuition. I told them I had transferred out and had filled out the green form, as instructed, only to be told that "there is no green form, and never has been." That took several more months to resolve, and I still ended up having to pay a part of the balance, all because they have no idea what they're doing.I could go on and on, but let me just sum up by saying that CalPoly's administration is by far the worst of any school I have ever encountered. Expect everything to take 10 times longer that it should. Expect to pay every administrative fee twice, because they will constantly "lose" your payments.
Everyone is white, middle-class, all-American, and lives in CA. I didn't think that would bother me that much, but the lack of diversity is truly troubling - race wasn't as much of an issue as much as it was a uniformity of experiences: everyone liked the same food (American) and the same music (country) and the same things to do (hiking, partying). Personally, I enjoy a little more diversity with my peers, and having friends from all over the world and different backgrounds really brings some interesting viewpoints and excitement to my life. This will not be found at Cal Poly.
The students are also a saving point of the university. Everyone is nice, friendly, and welcoming.
The academic environment is interesting. Since CP admits students by major, you end up with a lot of unintelligent people (a good majority of which are ag majors, due to the high acceptance rate in that field - many people apply to this major just to get into the university and then attempt to switch out)and you also have a lot of VERY intelligent people (engineering acceptance rate is almost in the single-digits). The constant clashes over "engineering vs. business majors" is not only dumb, it grows really old and you will enventually get very sick of the engineering majors who carry the pretentous and condescending attitude around. I would say the majority of the student body is unmotivated, lazy, and lack an ambitious drive. My friends at other universities all had summer internships; CP friends were just "hanging out" all summer or had camp counselor jobs. The laid-back attitude eliminates a "cut-throat" environment at other schools, but I did not have any challenge navigating the academic workload, as I was constantly at the top percent of the class, and the lack of a challenge ended up being a little bit boring. Group projects were also frustrating since most group members were more than likely idiots.
SLO is a nice place to live, but for a college student in the prime of my life, I found it a little boring. On the weekends, hiking and going to the beach can get a little repetitive, and the social scene is lacking, to say the least. There is no Greek row, and frat/sorority houses are small and ratty. Extracurriculars are not as abundant as they are at other schools, and I would not agree with the statement "it's easy to get involved." You really have to work hard and be persistent about finding things to get involved in, as I found that clubs do not have a great campus presence in the day-to-day. I was also hard-pressed to find the "opportunities" that people speak of. Getting an internship or an opportunity through the university is not abundantly provided, and even after thorough searching, I did not find any true opportunities through CP.
The campus is allright. It's set in the hills, which is beautiful, but all the buildings are a little mismatched and there is no "collegiate" feel about the campus. It's very hilly and most people walk places rather than bike. It WILL smell like cow poop when the wind blows the wrong way, especially in fall and spring when it's warm.
I found all my teachers to be very good, welcoming, and genuinely interested in teaching their students. They probably all moved to SLO to find a safe place to live with their families and are teaching for the fun of teaching. No douchey research-oriented staff here. I was impressed with the quality of the education I was given and I would definitely highlight that as a great pro of this university. The education you will receive for the price of tuition is unparalleled. However, education is only half of the ultimate college equation - I would say that CP is quite lacking the college experience department, one of the integral parts of college.
School spirit is also lacking. I didn't think that it mattered that much to me, but even though I'm not a sports fanatic, not having school spirit is a bummer. People wear other college's sweatshirts around campus, and the attendance for any sport event is really quite sad. Nobody is really proud that they go to Cal Poly in the same sense Bruins are proud they go to UCLA.All in all, if you have a smaller budget for college and don't mind missing out on the excitement of a traditional college experience in exchange for a great education, I would say CP is the place for you. Personally, I chose not to return. Freshmen retention rate is around 90% - for every 10 people you know, one of them will not come back next year. I'd say that is pretty accurate, as I know at least five or six people in my dorm who will not be returning (including me.)