Iowa State University
Iowa State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Though the University of Iowa is ranked the #2 party school in the nation, spending a week here will make you wonder why Iowa State isn't in the top ten as well. The majority of people come here for the football program and to drink excessively. The people here are rude and inconsiderate. The students in the "dry" dorms are allowed to carry water bottles filled with vodka, and the faculty members who are supposed to keep the wild activities reigned in do not do their jobs at all, even when you directly approach them with issues. The students here at Iowa State run around in a drunken stupor, banging on doors and screaming in the halls in the middle of the night, pulling the fire alarms, blowing cigarette smoke in your face, and just being general jerks. Since I came here in August, the cops (and frequently the EMTs) have come to either my dorm or one of the adjacent ones every single night without fail. The majority of the population here is inner city kids from the Twin Cities and Chicago, and small town "hicks" from around Iowa who were apparently not smart enough to get in anywhere else. Many of the kids who go here were not raised to know the difference between right and wrong, and they are sure to act accordingly. There is also a big problem here with marijuana, cocaine, and mushrooms, despite what the people in Admissions tell you (remember, they are salesmen; their job is to give you only the good stuff that gets them YOUR money). The people here are very bigoted, close-minded, and just flat out mean (as a distinguished bully victim in high-school, I thought it would be better here but it was actually worse). The University treats you as a number rather than a person, and just about any service you need will be a complete dead-end (trying to work with the Office of Financial Aid is like pulling teeth). The food on campus is also not very good, even though they pride themselves on creating "healthy meals" for students (healthy as most people know generally means disgusting). The weather in Ames is generally poor, with hot temperatures and no wind in August and overcast, rain, and cold wind the other 10 months or so a year. The roads are not very well maintained and are hard on your car (something's wrong with one of my tie-rods now). Also, a few of the instructors who have been here since they were undergraduate candidates tend to be oblivious and biased, thinking that this university is somehow "the Promised land". The wireless internet connections are poor at best, and having nearly 30,000 students attempting to access it at once doesn't really help.
The courses in my Criminal Justice major (so far mostly psychology and a few electives) have been very enjoyable and foster great thinking about critical concepts. The staff is relatively helpful, though the office hours can get a bit confusing and hard to meet. Aesthetically, the campus is about average. They have been doing major renovations across campus recently to fix many broken structures. The recreational facilities are in good shape, but you have to be there when they open at 6 A.M. before a lot of the jocks come in to avoid classes and spend the day lifting weights. The campus is pretty well localized, and the free transit buses make getting to class one less thing to be stressed about. The pool hall/arcade is a good place to go as long as you get in before Friday night. There are plenty of off-campus places to eat (mostly pizza joints) that serve decent food and a friendly atmosphere. Plus there are US Bank ATMs situated all across campus, and the US Bank office is right on the other side of Lincoln Way. A lot of older people in the community break out their classic cars when the weather turns nice if you are in to that kind of stuff, and are generally more than happy to let you check out their rides. To sum up, Iowa State does have some good things about it. In fact, if it wasn't for the majority of the campus population, it would be a good place to go to school. If you are someone who does not enjoy the wild night-life, are focused on good academics, are a little more mature than most people, and want to advance yourself to a good career, I would recommend looking beyond Iowa State University to some other institution. I am transferring to the University of South Dakota and will not be wasting the next three years of my life here (I already dropped $27,000 just for my first year).
The Office of Disabilities as well as School Counselling aren't at all helpful. (Having problems? Get ready to be put on a year + waiting list.) If you have problems that are a bit more advanced or complicated than test anxiety or ADHD, they will not be of any use whatsoever.
If you have any sort of difficulty, expect most of the professors to be fairly unhelpful. Yet there is a point between wanting your students to figure things out themselves, and flat out insulting a student's intellect in front of his peers if he gets confused along the way. (Unprofessional and shameful behavior coming from an educated adult - I have seen better behavior from children.)
Professors will have very limited office hours, and no guarantee they will actually be in their office. In frustration, I have been left waiting for an hour at Bessey just for the chance to talk to one professor for no more than two or so minutes. He never showed up despite rules dictating that they must hold a set amount of office hours. This happens regularly depending on which professor you get, but from others' experience as well... be ready to be frustrated with zero options at your disposal if you ever need further clarification. These people obviously do not want to teach, period.
As far as academics goes, most classes seem to expand on the curriculum of Iowa's high-school classes, making things a bit harder for transfer students. They automatically assume you have a high amount of lab experience in science courses, for example. In my hometown, we never had the opportunity for labs and I only had what would be considered a vague lecture on biology. Assumptions that you have intermediate experience with Apple computers are also troublesome, as most students are PC (less expensive) users.You will be expected to use Apple products on the regular and keep up with graduate students and professors that have had these tools at their disposal for quite some time. There is no time to adjust and adapt to this switch in technology, and you will end up running out of time to finish assignments or slowing down the class progression. Frustrating does not cover it. I have even considered buying a Macbook just to help me with one particular class, unfortunately, such expenses are not an option for every student. The social life is hit or miss, during class days most students are generally frustrated and unpleasant, and I cannot blame them. Binge drinking is a problem as well as STIs and promiscuity, as with any college. However, parties seem to be restricted to VEISHA week and breaks, as most students are overwhelmed. Clubs are impossible to attend if you are trying to maintain a part-time job as well as attend classes. They will kick you out if you miss a certain amount of meetings, even with a valid excuse (medical, employment, etc.) As far as recreation goes, you have the option of several small gyms scattered around campus (expensive equipment with little variety) and no actual place to sit down comfortably and relax. I spend most of my time in my apartment and with a few relatives, the opportunities are very limited.
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