San Jose State University
San Jose State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Why would I go so far from home for college? A big aspect of it was my major -- I'm a Computer Engineer, so I wanted to be where the action is at. San Jose State University is right in the center of Silicon Valley. There are so many job opportunities, meetups, seminars and other programs in the area which I would have never had access to if I went to a small private school in the middle of nowhere or even a large school in Boston, NYC, etc. The ability to get onto transit and go to an interview at one of the major companies here is great. (And yes, I have gotten interviews and job offers from Intel, NetApp and other major companies).
At the same time, the quality of the education is on par with what I would have gotten from other universities. Is every class perfect? Absolutely not. But every class is not perfect at other universities -- the problem with SJSU is that more students will whine about it here, while at other universities students will just "suck it up" and get it done. So yeah, perhaps you will see more whiny / lazy students at SJSU, especially during your first year. The good news? They all disappear -- and I mean it. I lived with 8 engineering students my first year in college at the CVB suites (very nice building to live in BTW). Only 2 of them are engineers now. Why is that? It's not because the course work is impossible -- it's because the engineering department has high standards and they get booted out.
How do I know the quality of education is on-par? I've worked with students from other universities while working as an undergraduate researcher for the National Science Foundation at a major research university (another one of those positions SJSU helped me get). The only difference between me and them was that most of them had to put up with crappy weather during the winter, while I didn't =).
Class quality, for classes in my major and general education classes, has been excellent. I feel like many of my general education classes have actually been fun and worthy of my time. Except for one major class, they've all been fun and add significant value to my degree. I've never felt like I was just wasting my time in my major classes (although I wasn't a fan of my Calculus prereqs, but thats just because I'm not a math person).
Professor quality? It's OK in most classes. You will of course get a few Professors who are terrible, but that is true with any university experience. The one or two which have been terrible for me have been sufficiently countered out by the numerous excellent Professors I've had. One important thing to remember about SJSU -- we are not a "research university" -- meaning our Professors are paid to teach, not to perform research. As a result, you always have direct access to your Professors and are never expected to go through a TA. This is great in comparison to what my friends at "big name research universities" experience -- they have to ask their questions to TAs who can barely speak English. You should never experience that here (I haven't yet and I'm 3 years in).
Responding to a few other concerns -- social life. This has never been a problem for me, but this is partially because I lived on campus at CVB and CVC for the first two years. The reason social life is problematic at SJSU is due to the high number of commuter students (the vast majority of students here do not live on campus and many do not live near by). That said, I have many commuter students as friends and hangout with them often. So, if you are not living in the dorms for your first year, you'll need to make a stronger attempt to meet other people, primarily by talking to them during classes, etc. As you get into your major, you'll start to see the same faces in your classes and meeting other people will become significantly easier. There are also numerous clubs on the SJSU campus which can help you meet other students. For those who have an interest in Greek Life, it seems pretty active here (but I wouldn't know for sure, as I don't participate with those groups).
Housing on campus, if you can get into CVB or CVC, is excellent. Joe West and the Bricks are alright, but the quality of the new Campus Village is outstanding. Air conditioning, single rooms, bathrooms shared by a group of people rather then a floor, digital cable TV. It's great.
Problems? Sure, there are lots of problems. The state has had funding issues recently, so the maintenance quality of some of the buildings has decreased (paper towel dispenser not working, light fixture broken in hallway, etc). Are these terrible things which will negatively impact your education? Not really -- just use the other paper towel dispenser and wait a month and the light fixture will be fixed. Overall, the campus itself is still beautiful. And with the renovation work which is currently going on with the Student Union, the campus will only get better.
Another main problem? Administrative bureaucracy. I once had to travel between 5 different buildings to determine what (if any) classes my AP tests got me out of. Request your transcript to be sent somewhere? They say it will be processed in 10 days, yet I received an email half a month after submitting my request alerting me it would be processed in 10 days. Not very good when you are sending your resume out to potential internship sites for the summer and its delayed half a month. However, the administration seems to be improving -- I've seen many improvements made which are focused on increasing the efficiency of the University.So should you come to SJSU? If you agree with me that the pros (great location, friendly faculty, good quality education and low price) outweigh the cons (paper towel dispenser in Physics building not working, administration issues, the occasional bad Professor), then by all means come. If you plan on being a whiny person and complaining about the small things rather then focusing on what this college can give you and making the most of it, don't bother. You have the opportunity to do anything here, you should come here wanting to make the most of it, not complaining about it.
I am absolutely amazed at the negative reviews about SJSU. I think the average immature entry-level college student is looking for something other than an education. If so, I have some strong advice for you. Stop wasting your/your parents' hard-earned dollars and withdraw from SJSU. If you are looking for fun and games, enroll into a junior college or trade school. This will create more space for the students who want to learn and grow. San Jose State is an excellent institution and it can only continue to be successful at providing quality education when it is free of those so-called students who aren't attending the school for what it has to offer...AN EDUCATION. You can waste your money at the UC's and the private schools if you'd like, but if you want a good education without breaking the bank, San Jose State University and the entire California State University system is the way to go.
When transferring here, I had quite a time with transcripts from my community colleges being accepted and processed in a reasonable amount of time; nonetheless, I managed to get into 17 units' worth of classes both this semester and the next! The only headache I'll have this semester is trying to change my major since they processed it wrong.
Ratemyprofessors.com is accurate in terms of who to take and who to avoid! I had all sweetheart professors my first semester; my lowest grade was an A-. Word of mouth also tends to be accurate, so if you're new to the campus, look up last names at Rate My Professors: it could save you from unnecessary headaches!
One of my biggest qualms with this school is its lack of safety. I took light rail my first semester and didn't get out of class until 5:45; it would already be dark! Walking back to the station in the dark gave me the heebie-jeebies, even with pepper spray. Luckily, I scheduled myself a bit better this semester. If you're going to be in the area after night falls, bring a buddy or two; traveling in groups can help.But despite the bureaucracy and the safety, I feel like I'm getting something out of this school while everyone else I know is running themselves into the ground with student loans. SJSU may not be anyone's first choice, but it's not necessarily "settling" as long as you try to take everything out of the experience that you can :)
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