Don't go here if you're out of state, and don't go anywhere near here if you're an international student who attended an international or English speaking school.
Only go here if you're from Kansas or the KC Metro, and have friends and family in the area. But if that is the case, KU is a money saving option with a built in social network so none of what I say really applies.
The town sucks. If you have ever lived in a good city, you will be suffocated. There is only one street that is pedestrianized. The rest of the town is just badly maintained roads, and generic box outlet streets. If you don't have a car, you won't be able to buy groceries, go to a movie theater, go shopping, go to most of the fast food places, etc. Dining options, car or not, are largely limited to pizza, Chinese, Mexican and fast food. There are good foreign cuisine places, but the few that exist are too expensive to eat at on a regular basis. You won't find much variety, and if anything is good it is likely to be expensive.
You will find the 5-10 decent bars and clubs here fun your first semester, but again, if you're well travelled, you'll soon find you've done all of it and none of them are special.
Campus life is pathetic- the dorms hold something like 5% of the student population, who only live there for the first year, which means there is no long lasting community to speak of. It doesn't help that half the freshman class fails out every year, and given that there is no attempt at any kind of infrastructure for upperclassmen, living in the dorms doesn't expose you to many people at all. The dorms themselves have more rules and regulations than most others in the country, and most of them are completely dead and quiet, although one (McCollum) is infamous for its fire alarms and drunken vandalism. Keep in mind that since this place will admit anyone who has graduated any high school anywhere, you're going to be surrounded by people who aren't intelligent or ambitious. This aspect of the environment manifests itself constantly- the inane student paper, the conversations you'll overhear on campus, the gum under every desk in Wescoe Hall, a giant chalk drawn sign exclaiming "IT'S 420 SMOKE WEED" that hasn't been cleaned off for a year, and the general level of competition you face (and hence your motivation to push yourself)
The worst thing about KU is that it only exists for the convenience of locals, and is no place for anyone who didn't go to high school here. People tend to be artificial and while it's easy to find people to get drunk with, 90% of people who come here come with their friends, and therefore no one is trying to meet new people and treat interactions with you accordingly- as just a momentary diversion. All the regular ways of meeting people when you're new in town tend to be weaker here- most campus groups are for Christian denominations, and not much else.
Also, when pretty much the entirety of the student population come from KC or a handful of small towns in a landlocked state, you'll feel out of place if you've seen much of the world, or even if you're used to living in a slightly diverse place.
If it isn't obvious yet, the social scene is nonexistent- your options are your pre-existing friends (and friends of those) or join a frat/church. Most international students only hang out with others from their country, and these groups do not speak English when they socialize, so unless you are comfortable with that, it's not an option either.
Around town, you'll find wayward part time art students ("local artists") and other locals who failed out of school or have worthless lib arts degrees and just hang out trying to generate hype for a quaint local business or some other inconsequential project. In other words, picture a bunch of failed musicians, acid dropping painters and 6th year philosophy students hanging out in a dingy coffee shop and you have the Lawrence scene.
The problem is that Kansas is such a derelict and backward state that the residents of Lawrence consider themselves special. The rest of Kansas being the way it is gives them the ground to stand on. The sad thing is that most intelligent and talented people go far, far away from this place, so nothing's going to change in that respect.
I haven't talked about the academics much because they are decent- they are more or less what you'd expect from a diploma mill state school. You'll find some classes really easy and some extremely easy professors as well as tough ones. Most of my professors have been decent, a few may have bad attitudes or difficulties with English but this is the case at any state school. In terms of academics you get what you're paying for, but outside of the midwest where people are aware of this school, the name Kansas carries a stigma that many other states don't, and employers in the area who do know about KU expect a higher GPA than they would from other schools.
Again, if you're from the area, this really can be great school to go to, given how much money you save, and the fact that you have a built in network of friends and will always be running into people you know. But if you're not from here there's no reason to go. It won't be entirely unpleasant, but it's not going to be a great college experience to look back on. I wish someone would have explained all of this to me before I went, but they paint a really different picture because they're desperate for out of state students. I hope I can help others avoid making the same mistake I did.