The University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut - Comments and Student Experiences|
Social Life- The university has begun actively killing Greek life. They coerced the town into promoting exorbitant fines and passing ordinances that make off campus parties (the only actual parties left here) a death sentence to the hosts if they get busted. Without fail the police have busted every party this year before midnight- a significant change from even last spring. For a "traditional" social life, Greek life is pretty much all this university has, but that will be practically nonexistent by the time I graduate, or on its deathbed. There are now just two bars near campus (after a merger,) and they have just eliminated all 18+ events; they used to be a staple of campus social life. Pretty much all that remains on weekends are university promoted "late nights," (activities on weekends in the student union) to give students something to do outside of parties. Honestly, the turnout is poor and really the only reason people go is so they can hang out with their friends without risking getting in trouble for being loud or having too many people in their dorms. I've never met people that have gone just for the sake of participating in the activities. Aside from hanging out with friends in the dorms and going to a sporting event (that you have to buy tickets for), thats all there is to do here on the weekend.
Atmosphere- The university is trying to be progressive for the sake of having the claim to be the face of progressivism in universities. There is a significant amount of "social justice" activism on campus- not as bad as Mizzou, thankfully- but you definitely get the feeling that you don't quite fit in if you don't believe the same things; everybody just assumes that everyone else all thinks the same way. God help you if you are a Republican here, you are ostracized and frankly not welcome. Students won't hold back from telling you this either. As a political science student, I've seen no room for actual discussion of critical issues, and the university is quickly turning, if it isn't already, an echo-chamber of emotional coddling over pragmatic discussion. The only way your beliefs and perception of the world will be challenged is if you have right-of-center opinions. To give the professors credit, they present their information in a very non-partisan way, but due to the ideological makeup of the students, the tone of the discussion always shifts back to reflect the majority. The student government is particularly bad at this- they give thousands of dollars to left-wing speakers or activist groups, but will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent any "right wing" speakers to come to campus, even for the sake of balance and political diversity that any respectable institution should promote.Administration- The board of directors and administration are woefully incompetent. They are expanding enrollment faster than they can provide housing for, and thus are forcing more and more students to live in the surrounding town, which they are certainly not happy about. They make poor decisions with the companies that they give contracts to, and because of this no construction ever gets finished within the timeframe that they claim, often at an increased expense.
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!