The University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus
The University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus - Comments and Student Experiences|
I transferred in as a sophomore (I'm an International student from an English-speaking country), after a gap of a few years in my education. If I applied as a freshman, I'd probably be attending a higher ranked school (I got 2240 SAT, 4.0 GPA and IB), but Pitt was the best school that took all my credit.
For those who felt 'overlooked' in some of their college applications, and have Pitt as a safety school, there's not a lot of ambition going around here. People do their work, go to class, and hang out with their friends.
But that being said, students here are very friendly, approachable, and the school is big enough that you can find your niche socially. People tend to stick with their own groups, some locals of Pittsburgh stick with their troupe of high school friends. But I have made a ton of friends here. From all different backgrounds, and from all different academic and non-academic interests.
Pitt is the sort of school where, if you're willing to work on being academically and socially successful, you'll have a great time. Yes, I kick myself a little for never applying to an Ivy / top ranked school, but I believe this school has everything I need for my own success.
If you're thinking about coming to Pitt and want to succeed socially (I'm a guy by the way), this is my advice:
-Join clubs. Pitt has heaps of them. Whether it's Greek Life, performing arts, club sports, volunteering, academic interest groups, gaming, or Model UN, these are great ways to make new friends.
-Live on campus your first year. Even if you transfer in, putting yourself in a dorm gets you in with a bunch of people.
-Diversify your friendship groups. Get food with everyone you meet, especially around orientation time. People are looking to make new connections. It's a good life skill anyway.
-If you're into partying, go Greek, or buddy yourself up with someone who knows where all the parties are at.
-Put yourself out there. Most people aren't super chatty, so be proactive in trying to get to know people. Talk to everyone.
-Do the RA / group activities. They may seem silly, but you do get to know people that way.
-There are a fair few people here, who just want to hang with their group of friends and talk to no-one else. That's okay, just find people that want to make new friends.So that's my little guide to succeeding socially at Pitt. It's a good school, it has everything you need. It doesn't have the Ivy prestige but if you're willing to really put yourself out there, it's a super fun experience.
Speaking of textbooks, most of the required textbooks are the newest, most expensive edition, while reviews on amazon and elsewhere for these books are very poor. It seems Pitt has partnerships and doesn't care much for the quality of your education - as long as you pay them money, they don't care. For example: one of the books listed as 'required' for me for a class starting one month from now is the 10th edition of a book that currently only has 9 editions, and the 9th edition got terrible reviews on amazon ("Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists" by Walpole).
The course content seems passable, at best. It's not amazing or anything. My friends who went to Case, Penn State, and CMU seem to have come out with much more knowledge than I did from their curriculum. There are very obvious holes in the computer engineering curriculum. Students are taught things like Java and C, which is fine for 2000's era "enterprisey" businesses, but aren't taught newer languages like Python or Ruby; web technology isn't required, databases aren't required, security isn't required, and I'm not sure if we even offer anything related to functional programming (not even LISP, which seems to be REQUIRED, FIRST SEMESTER for any computer science major elsewhere), no mention of design patterns. In fact, to me, it seems like I didn't learn either computer science theory OR the "engineering" side of computer engineering. It seems like I just learned a bunch of basic topics in computer technology.
Dorms are good; apartments around Oakland are generally shady as ****. I generally don't feel safe in South Oakland at night. School cafeteria is mediocre at best. Peers are generally very friendly - I had a lot of fun in the marching band. Some places on campus are beautiful, once you get past Pitt's awful Brutalist architecture. Overall, especially for computer engineers: go somewhere else if you can. Pitt should probably be a "backup school" for you.