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DePaul University - Comments and Student Experiences |
DePaul has top programs in Music, Theatre and Business, but all programs seem to be solid from what I see. DePaul and Chicago are places that allow you to create yourself into a person that you want to be. The experiences of being independent in the city and at a big city school truly push, pull and shape you into a more well-rounded and wise person, and forces personal development and invaluable life experience. Classes are challenging but are not full of busywork, which is something I love about this place; things are practical and geared toward real-world application.
There is not much school spirit on an athletic level at the moment, because of the fact that our basketball team was top-20 year after year in the seventies and eighties, however there is school spirit on an academic and institutional level. There are definitely positive vibes among the student body about simply being a DePaul student for the school itself, as well as being a Chicago college student.
Job and internship opportunities here in Chicago are stellar when compared with a typical college town. Myself, as well as many of my friends, have jobs/internships during the year that will surely lead some of us to a long-term career. These employment opportunities are certainly easier to find in this type of environment.The social scene here is great, but is for a certain type of person. This person is independent, resourceful, diverse and open-minded. In terms of parties, fraternities have parties and sororities and GDIs show up to them. There are also regular house/apartment parties, which when not hosted by Greeks are generally tamer, however, good times can always be found with the right people and in the right setting. The bars around campus and nightclubs in certain neighborhoods short trips away are always a fun time. There are countless non-alcoholic things to do around the city of course, including world-class museums, the CSO, Lyric Opera, tons of concerts and festivals, Chicago's sports teams, and simply taking trips on the CTA to many of Chicago's unique neighborhoods. If you're looking for the quintessential college experience, you won't typically find it here, because of the fact that DePaul is an open and urban campus and students generally prefer to live off campus in apartments in surrounding neighborhoods. However, if you love the excitement and opportunity of the city, the urban beauty that Chicago is, and the idea of being independent in this type of atmosphere, you might just find your heart stolen by this place.
COMMUNITY. Or lack thereof. There was no school spirit. There was no "We are DePaul!". It was a just a collection of people who came in to pump their brains full of liberal propaganda, to get that B.A./B.Sc. No one socialized outside of class, and my computer science classes were the worst offenders. Trying to organize even a mundane group study at Starbucks (no product placement intended) was like herding cats. I visited a buddy at another school, and made friends within 2 days I was there.
CAMPUS ARCHITECTURE. A few older buildings are amazingly beautiful, like the Byrne hall and the Coreylou Commons. The Richardson Library was built in 1993, but looks almost genuinely historic. There two more historic buildings, but they were torn down. Most other buildings are made of ugly, sterile-looking red brick, the one they build condos out of in gentrifying neighborhoods. No character or wow factor at all! If you walked on Kenmore or Belden, you wouldn't know a university was there unless you read the signs.
FIRST-YEAR LIBERAL STUDIES PROGRAM. It's basically glorified diversity training. You spend $400 per credit hour to learn that all straight white men are bad, and all women and minorities are good. Explore Chicago was nice, though. I still have Chicago's street grid memorized thanks to that class.
DEPAUL ACTIVITIES BOARD, the student organization. I was a member, and enjoyed it at first. But in later years, I started getting a bad vibe. It was an elitist organization for students who live on campus (but not on paper, of course), and my presence as a commuter was merely tolerated. Their events stunk. A famous comedian performed only once a year, the Homecoming dances had enough cops there to make it feel like a prison yard, and the Fest was just meh.
VALUE FOR MY MONEY: Abysmal!!! I'm still paying off the students loans, and for what? An education that I could have gotten at a state school 1/4 the price and a boring college experience to boot. If I could buy out the school, close it, and sell off the buildings, I would.
REDEEMING FEATURES. There are only two: small class sizes and the Students Ambassadors organization. I liked being able to raise my hand in class to ask a question, and the Ambassadors made me feel welcome and appreciated, despite me being the only commuter in the organization.In a nutshell, BORING! I found a better sense of camaraderie and shared enjoyment on a cheap cruise than I did in 4 years at DePaul.
On the plus side, DePaul has an outstanding communications program, top-notch facilities, an extremely helpful internship service, a beautiful surrounding area, and offers highly educational seminars. When I finally found my niche in the communications department at DePaul, I ended up getting a lot out of their program. DePaul offers a wide variety of classes and the teachers, at least those in the communications department, are helpful, accessible, and interested in helping you succeed. They also offer a lot of helpful resources in the library, which is open until two in the morning. Thirdly, their internship service works somewhat like Monster, but gives an edge to DePaul students. You can find an internship on just about anything you would want to study through the school. Fourth, Chicago has everything you could ever want. As my Intro to PR teacher said, "If Chicago wasn't so cold, everyone would want to live here." Lastly, DePaul offers seminars on topics such as LinkedIn and leadership. If you do end up at DePaul, use the resources that DePaul offers you and explore the city as much as you can.
Unfortunately, DePaul's negatives outweighed its positives for me. The school strongly lacks a social life, a sense of community, diversity, student involvement, and challenging core classwork. The little social life that DePaul has takes place at the bars, and if you don't have a fake ID, you're SOL. Students typically do not socialize in the dorms or in class. Since most of the dorm's doors do not stay open on their own, many students close theirs and do not socialize as they would at other schools. As for classes, on the other hand, students attend class and leave out the door as soon as possible.
Secondly, DePaul severely lacks a sense of community. The only people who wear DePaul gear are commuters, transfers, and "bros" who couldn't get into any state schools. Students rarely attend sporting events because the basketball team plays over an hour away and, anyways, most DePaul students do not care about sports.
Thirdly, DePaul advertises more diversity than they represent. Most of the kids are from upper-class families from the Chicago suburbs. For example, I get weird looks when I tell people I'm from Pennsylvania. If the diversity aspect is a selling point for you, think again.
Fourth, DePaul does not encourage student involvement in the slightest. When I discovered that DePaul had somewhere around 100 student organizations, I was shocked because no one participates in them. The only organizations that I know of that students participate in are greek life, religious organizations, and sometimes DAB, or the Activities Board. If you would like to join a sorority or fraternity or find other people to join in your spiritual journey, maybe DePaul is the place for you. If you want to explore other areas of interest that will advance you in your career, or simply in your personal life, I advise looking elsewhere.
Lastly, DePaul lacks challenging classwork. I felt more challenged in high school than I did in my requirement classes. The education was not worth the money I paid for it.Overall, I disliked DePaul because it failed to give me what I wanted out of my college experience; however, I still think that DePaul is a good school. If you are an independent, driven individual, DePaul could be for you. If you want a college experience, look elsewhere.
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