The University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut - Comments and Student Experiences|
In the interest of full disclosure:
I mainly went to UConn because my parents had set aside funds for college, and since I was faced with the financial choice of having my education largely or completely subsidized versus student loans in excess of $20,000 per year, I chose to go to UConn.
I do not regret going to UConn, it was a great experience. I didn't have to go to UConn. I wasn't forced to go to UConn. Do I think I could have enjoyed myself more had I gone to a different school? Probably. Do I think that attitude is influenced by the "rose colored glasses" or "could have, have should have, would have" mentality? Probably.
I say all of this because I remember the exact feeling I had when I was reading these reviews five years ago, trying to find guidance and commentary on what would be the largest step I had ever taken in my life. The excitement, the expectations, the sense of wonder and opportunity. I think back on that time fondly, you will too. I hope that this review is helpful.
I went into college thinking that there would be an unprecedented sense of camaraderie and shared sense of personal, fresh, new endeavor. In terms of making friends and academics. After all, as much as social growth is important, so is intellectual. It was that way to a certain extent, but those feelings and intentions were masked by the ever-present sense of social image and most succinctly, posturing. I made friends, and anybody who is reasonably sociable will too, the main point is that an effort must be made to connect with others. A key piece of advice is to "say yes" and see where your college experience takes you.
UConn is not the party school it was when I was applying. "Spring Weekend" is no longer a thing. My freshman year was the last "real" one, and I am grateful I got to experience it. That said, as a new student, you will still have fun and participate and all of the early college shenanigans I did. Freshman year is the time where most people meet their college-long friends so it's important that you make the most of it.
In terms of academics, to those who achieved good scores with the attitude that standardized testing is a easy, high school GPA was achieved by recognizing expectations and meeting them in the most efficient way, "bullshitting", some call it, you will find UConn is not all that challenging. You will have "easy A" classes, where simply showing up and doing manageable work results in a good grade. You will also have a few classes where you are truly challenged, and I liked that mix. I think it was healthy. I think it was beneficial.
As for the student body, a lot of people are into the University's sports teams. Even if you aren't into sports you may find yourself involuntary but genuinely enthralled. Drinking is a big part of UConn culture, and it was for me, but there are still numerous activities that are open to, and fun for people no matter what their stance on that kind of activity is.
UConn is a great place but can feel lonely at times, which is why establishing a group of friends and meeting friends of friends so that you can find like-minded people is so important. There is no shortage of opportunities to this end. Can the student body seem cliquey from the outside? Of course. I felt it, I know it's there. Even so, I find it hard to imagine a person couldn't find their place and be happy so long as they wish to and don't expect a picturesque experience to fall into their lap.
This review will not helpful to all or perhaps even most, but those who understand my approach I hope will glean something beneficial from it. Enjoy undergrad, is my final piece of advice. It's a wonderful time.
UConn was the last school I wanted to attend, in all honesty. I was looking at private, city-schools with a strong focus in political science and international relations. When making my decision, I just could not ignore the affordability of UConn (I received a tuition waiver). Trying to be pragmatic, I made a financial decision to go to UConn.
I tried to go into my freshman year with a completely open mindset, I tried to meet everyone I could, and just made a genuine effort to get involved. But, many things at UConn I felt failed me. My RA barely knew my name and made no effort to get to know anyone on the floor. We did not even have any kind of floor meeting and people weren't even wanting to get to know each other. Greek life rushing happened the first weekend we arrived, and I decided not to rush. Because of this happening so early, Greeks and non-Greeks never really had a chance to get to know each other. Also, being that it is a public school a lot of people came knowing other people from high school, having already come with a group of friends. If anything, I wanted to meet other people than my high school classmates. I am sure that there are many people who have excelled socially here, but I do believe that it is definitely not easy, especially if you do not plan on rushing or do not have old friends.
I am in ACES and planning on pursuing a major in PS. I find that at UConn there isn't much of a focus on liberal arts, but I do believe you can still get an excellent education by coming here. I have not been challenged very much, but if you do the work you will be more than fine. I have been overwhelmed by the sheer size of my classes and often felt like just a number. I was not given much attention by my adviser, and while I understand that it is difficult given the size of the school, I feel as though the school should focus more on enriching each student's education. You really have to self-advocate and try to get opportunities yourself. Oftentimes, I felt as though I was just going to classes and not really getting as much out of my education as I could have at other schools.
Obviously the sports are great! I personally did not make my decision for athletics so it was not a make it or break it for me. However, it is a little disheartening to see how sometimes I feel the focus change from academics to athletics.
I knew going to Storrs would not be anything close to a city. The University itself is its own "city," as there is literally nothing except a few stores that are in the process of being developed. It is completely in the middle of nowhere. For some students, that is not a problem at all. For me, personally, it has left me feeling pretty isolated without the ability to walk on or off campus on my own.
If you know exactly what you are getting into when choosing UConn, then for some it can be the perfect choice! For me, it just wasn't and I am looking into possibly transferring next year. My advice to incoming freshman is to join greek life and try to get as involved as you can, because I believe that is the key to success at UConn.
I'd be happy to answer any questions!
Resource Economics: Fabulous major, interesting and diverse coursework, high placement rate post-graduation. As a prior economics major in the liberal arts school, I highly encourage prospective econ majors to look into the ag school as well. The gen eds are less strict/demanding and the coursework is much more interesting unless you're going for straight financial management and no policy or hands-on business or theory (there are 3 concentration tracks)
Public policy: One of the most applicable minors, very oriented toward professional development, also interesting coursework, faculty are some of the best (especially for public finance)
Reputation: The school is only getting better and more competitive, so get here while you can rely on getting in! Top 20 public school, and many top programs in the nation
Students: Fun, exciting, diverse. Party scene if you want it, alternatives if you don't. Definitely a lot of athletes.
Campus & surrounding town: Beautiful rural area that becomes a mini-city when you're in the center of campus. Everything is beautiful except for the construction areas. There will always be construction, but that doesn't take away from the positive atmosphere of the campus. As for Mansfield/Storrs, there is also a new development called "Storrs Center" that has become a new downtown area. There's tons of restaurants and little shops coming in and everything is brand new and modern. It'll only get bigger with more to do as it develops over the next 3 years or so, and there's already plenty moved in. A new Price Chopper is the most exciting for off campus students! If you don't like the little city area on and close to campus, a bus ride or short drive can get you back in the woods- I recommend Mansfield Hollow Dam or the UConn forest for outings.
Parking: Not wonderful, probably my only complaint; but hey, we have a lot of students!
Food: I work in a dining hall, one of the smaller ones. It's better than most colleges, and there are plenty of healthy options as well as lots of dessert! The biggest ones, South and Northwest, will have the largest in terms of quantity. McMahon and Towers have a lot of specialty dishes. Buckley is a smaller atmosphere but the cooking is some of the best for that reason, in my opinion (I work here). Whitney is all about local foods- go there if you're into that because the salads and fruits are the best. Dairy Bar has the best ice cream for miles. The union has plenty of fast food options as well, healthy and not-so-much.
Class size: You're going to get lecture hall courses for a year, maybe a few as a sophomore, for gen eds- especially if you're in liberal arts/sciences. However, writing sections always cap at 19 for personal attention and all of my major/minor courses have capped around 29-35 over the past year. There's plenty of room for individual attention.
Final impression: As a transfer student, I clearly chose to go here because I found it to be better than the rest after attending another. Highly recommended.Feel free to contact me with ANY questions. I know a lot about UConn, I grew up in the area- and I came back for the school, not out of homesickness I can assure you! I can tell you some downsides, but I honestly can say that most things are on the positive end.