UIC: When you walk around UIC the cityscape is your view almost everywhere you look. Different cultures of people intertwining between newly refinished buildings. Banners of study abroad, and research opportunities hanging on posts outlining the quad. Even in the midst of February four years ago, I knew this was MY campus. So I thought. Throughout my 22 years of life, looks have never been so deceiving.
UIC has many great outsider views. It is a great research school. A great Pre-med, dental, pharmacy, ect. For those of you who do not know what a big research school means it's simple: The professors you will be paying to teach you, won't give 100% of themselves to YOU or any student.They will mostly rely on your non-English speaking TA [who is also pursuing their PhD.] They both are here for their research, and sometimes that's all they care about. To them, you are a number. ******** is mine. Being a biology major with a pre-dental concentration, I am required to take all sciences: Bio, Chem, Organic Chem, Physics, (Math). Out of all my SCIENCE professors, 2 were approachable and willing to help their students. My BIOS 100 and Microbio teacher. In physics and chem classes, I've seen class averages that were about 40% on tests. Curves are high, but will you LEARN anything? [I knew someone who got a 19% on 2 of the exams in physics... ended up with a C in the class] There are those few people who get A's, so it is possible! [I've seen many cheaters - but you see that everywhere, at least at big schools: too many students to watch]
Teachers are rough, and seem like they are constantly, I mean every test and quiz, trying to weed you out. My friend just this week had strep, and our professor told her that if she didn't make it to our exam,she should consider withdrawing. Most really do not care what is wrong with you sometimes. This is a harsh wake up call to "reality". My fellow ACT: 30 and 4.0 students you may get your first B, C, or yes D here.
So, classes are rough. You're in college now, they're going to be rough regardless. However, I will not lie, it is cut throat here. I came from a big high school that is ranked in the top 5% in the nation. I was in the top 12% of my class, all honors and AP classes, and National Honor Society all four years.. looking at my GPA now, you would think I partied my heart out these four years at UIC - [B-C Average]. Are A's possible? Of course, anything is possible. Do A's SEEM impossible? Yes. I study well over 20 hours a week, this weekend alone, 25 hours. I got C's on my 2 exams this week.
Back to pre-dental. UIC offers a lot of pre-health clubs where you can network and have your questions answered. They are ran by your peers, mostly upper class students. I had a great experience with the UIC pre-dental club. Along with applications and personal statements, letters of rec are HUGE. If you choose UIC, make sure to BUG your professors from day 1. It's really hard to hold a relationship with professors when they 1. avoid you, 2. avoid office hours, 3. blatantly say "I DO NOT WRITE LETTERS OF REC" Oh yes, I've seen it all.
So, yeah I sound like a bitter senior, out to get UIC. Do not let the cynicism of this review fool you. I can call my mom and tell her how mad I am at this school, to which I do almost every week, but it is educating YOU what really matters.
This school does NOT have a school spirit feel, AT ALL. People do go home a lot on the weekends, and there isn't a hype for school sports. However, they do try via email to get kids out to the events.
This school IS however, very accepting of EVERYONE. It is very very diverse and well cultured. I have many friends and study buddies from different countries and different roots. Also, I feel coming to this school has allowed me to mature a lot faster than my friends at other IL schools. [Living in the city of Chicago, and living under survival of UIC's fittest, it comes natural.]
The city is beautiful - when it is beautiful outside. You won't be going to the beach until school is out, and you won't be shopping on Michigan Ave or Water Tower when you have 3 exams and no money to your name. A lot of people who come here think there is nothing bad that happens in downtown Chicago. Those people are WRONG. There is crime here-even during daylight, and homeless people, and drug addicts surrounding the exterior of campus - Chicago is our exterior. I see a police car every 2 minutes, no matter what time of day it is, and have never felt threatened on UIC campus. The security here is UIC police, state police, and Chicago Police. I felt safer here, than I did when I went to another IL state school.
I actually love the outside school life here at UIC. I was in a sorority for 3 years and left because I outgrew it. GREEK life here isn't what ANY other state college is. It's VERY small and there is no Greek housing. So if that's what you're looking for, this isn't the place to go. All the coffee shops, little store fronts, so many great places to eat, and the museum campus [free days] is wonderful, your UPASS gets you everywhere and anywhere via CTA you want to go. After the age 21, the night life is every suburban's dream.
Dorms are very pricey. I lived in courtyard, JST, and MRH - this year I have an off campus apartment and pay less than the housing costs. Courtyard is not for first time freshman - Commons South, West, and North is where you want to live as a freshman. JST is cluster living, so 2nd year with your friends [what I did] is perfect [my view was amazing!]. MRH/TBH are apartments owned by UIC. My apartment now is in Little Italy and I wish I lived here since my 3rd year, it's so much cheaper and I have access to it all year long!
All these things that I mentioned should be considered. UIC is a commuter school so if you have to commute it's not awful, I did it for a summer class, but living on campus gives you many more opportunities to study.. because you will NEED to do a lot of it. At the end of the day, you can fall asleep under the skyline lights and risk a GREAT education OR further research other schools. You CAN get an education at UIC, people do it every year, C's do get degrees, and there are students who DO pull 4.0s. BUT If you are looking to go beyond with your studies and are considering UIC, I highly suggest researching it a lot more before you come. If I knew then, what I know now - I would have gone elsewhere. I don't know what kept me here for 4 years, but it's costing me a Masters in Biology to be competitive for dental schools.
**Randomly Facebook messaging a student who goes here is another great way to research!! The tour guides are paid to tell you how great the school is!Good Luck!