The University of Houston
The University of Houston - Comments and Student Experiences|
The University Environment:
At first glance, it's not the most attractive university. However, as you study on campus-you grow to become a part of the environment. There is a LOT of construction (New dorms, new university center, new buildings, more greenery, new metro rail to city, etc...). This is great for new students, but for those studying on campus, although it brings hope for a promising future, it's annoying. The overall architecture of the buildings are not necessarily planned out-which I grew to like. You can never get bored with the environment because there's always something new to discover!
The Faculty, Students, and Administration: (Population)
The Honors College houses some AMAZING faculty members that really work to make you think. General classes are less involved, but of course that applies generally for introduction (first year classes). The students in the Honors College are really ambitious and welcoming. They don't carry a "snoody" attitude (which I expected) and are ready to "make friends". The students in the general population are somewhat similar-but can be less friendly at times. The administration has two sides. If you're on the right one-you're going to love them. But if you aren't-you'll probably grow to dislike them. UH IS REALLY DIVERSE. I didn't take this seriously at first-but realized how true it was after coming to the institution. There isn't much of a "majority" at the institution.
There's always going to be that one class you have a hard time succeeding in-even if you get an A+. But, if you are a student that is used to A's, had relatively high (or above average) SAT/ACT/AP/IB scores-you should be fine. (Of course-if you don't put in effort-you'll probably end up with a less than desired grade). There are A LOT of majors and there is A LOT this University has to offer to everyone. The University overall doesn't have a competitive nature when it comes to being in the top percentiles (for students)
UH is a tier one university and this new recognition is promising for prospective students. If you are considering UH and you were within the top 10% of your class, participated in some extra-carricular activities, and/or have an SAT score higher than 1200 (M+V)-the school's going to offer you (as I have noticed) a LOT of money (typically enough to cover more than the cost of your tuition and room/board combined). (Future students) As it's rankings are increasing, your degree should be worth more and should help you that much more in your future after your undergrad years. It's a love hate relationship with UH, but the Honors College & the people really make you think twice before selecting other Universities. I was offered a full tuition scholarship from UT-Austin (& some to other schools), but chose UH, and am growing to love it here. Go Coogs!
I think one of the most unfair assessments is that the school is unsafe or located in a high crime area. Yes, it's true the third ward is a low income neighborhood with a significantly prominent African American population. So if you're expecting the Pepperdine or UCSB demographics you'll be dissapointed. I've never had a problem with the surrounding low income area because I stay on the 770 acre campus while I'm attending school. I've never had a problem with the area or been a victim of crime. I frequently see officers in the parking lots when I arrive and leave the school.
The campus is beautiful and the facilities are well maintained. For a school this size, I'm contestantly surprised by cleanliness of the campus. The school has two great libraries and I've never found any significant deficiencies with the facilities. I've noticed that there have been several complaints about having to walk long distances to get around campus. Well despite the frequent and very reliable bus service, I choose to walk everywhere I go. It's great excersize folks. It is a large campus, but why someone would complaing about having to stroll through a scenic, well landscaped setting is beyond me. I can't figure that one out. The fourth largest city is at your disposal with just about anything you would ever want as far as entertainment, dining, the arts, professional sports, and cultural events.
Now to the meat and potatos of the quality of the education itself. The education is what you make of it. The professors (all of which have been Phd.'s) have been very knowledgeable and informative, however, some of them have been a bit demanding. I think I can say that I've only experienced one professor who would fall among the rank of mediocre. So far every professor that I've encountered has been more than willing to talk to me and answer questions if and when there were any. I see some students who'll approach them with timid aprehension. Don't be afraid guys. Tell them if you need something. Folks this is college, so they are not there to hold your hand and sugar coat this stuff. This is where you make the cut. Just wait till you get into the real world with your chosen professional field of endeavor. You'll look back on UH and have fond memories. You think your professors are tough? Wait until you're in a corporate environment with the balding, jaded, divorced middle management that hates their very own existence.
The ethnic diversity at The University of Houston is incredible. It's literally a global microcosm which makes the entire experience just a bit more interesting. The CASA math lab is staffed with highly competent people who are extremely helpful. Most of the folks in there seeming possess incredible mathematic prowess. I think overall this school has plenty to offer. Every school is unique and UH is no exception. In the end, it's what you as the individual decide to make of it.
The campus itself is rather beautiful. There's an art piece or sculpture outside just about every building, not to mention an amazing fountain/pond on the west side of campus. Now I'm not gonna lie, the third ward is situated directly off campus which is a little troublesome when you think of it in and of itself. But when you consider that the dorms are on the complete opposite side of campus, it's a little smaller of a pill to swallow. There is the occasional robbery, but the University always has police officers on call that will escort you wherever you need on campus.
As a freshman commuter, I quickly found out how bad the parking situation could get. Or, so I thought. Yes, it's true that UH is a commuter school with probably too few parking spots. No, it's not true that you can't find a parking spot if you're willing to walk a little further, or take one of the many buses that are running around the clock. Also, in driving to and from campus this summer I noticed that a couple thousand (no exaggeration) more parking spots are being added.
If you are planning on commuting, take it from a commuter and get involved somewhere on campus. It's honestly nearly impossible to not find something you're interested in. There are dozens of intramural and club sports teams, not to mention 14 NCAA Division I teams. If sports isn't your thing, then there are seemingly endless honor societies and other clubs that might catch your interest. And if after all of that, you still are unable to find something you like on campus, STARTING a club is super easy. Either way, if you are commuting, and you don't find a club or some other extracurricular activity, it will certainly be easy to get "lost in the crowd". One word of caution however. If you have financial aid in the form of scholarships, do yourself a favor and make sure that you're taking 30 hours a year. I discovered too late that 30 hours a year are needed to maintain a scholarship and am now having to take summer classes which wouldn't normally bother me except for the fact that 2 summer classes, 6 hours of credit, will end up costing me close to 2 grand. Spending 2000 to save 3500...it's a tough pill to swallow, so make sure you don't have to!!