StudentsReview :: The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith - Extra Detail about the Comment
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The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

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Date: Feb 23 2010
Major: Computer Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I attended UA Fort Smith (Westark College) for my four year bachelors program in Information Technology. I chose the school because I received a full scholarship including books and could also live at home allowing me to get through school with virtually no debt. How thankful I am to own no debt to this school because attending UA Fort Smith was a catastrophic waste of four years of my life.

I cannot speak for other programs at UA Fort Smith, but I will speak for the IT program. Being that I graduated in 2007 it could have improved since I was a student…at least I hope it has! I will say that most of UA Fort Smith's IT curriculum is comprised of stuff that anybody who has messed with a computer growing up would know how to do. They are training for the 1990s IT field where if you knew how to use a computer you could get hired on at an insane salary. After leaving was a reality shock.

The program itself is very basic and generalized. When my counterparts at UA Fayetteville were learning the theory and concepts behind Operating Systems in their OS class, at UA Fort Smith we were learning how to add/remove programs and install Windows XP…something that anybody not afraid of computers can do with little training. The program touched on the basics of concepts such as networking, programming, SQL, etc, but was so general these classes did little to prepare me or help me land a job in the IT field. The teachers, many of whom were only part time college professors who spent their mornings teaching at the local high schools, taught the classes at a very low level making them very boring for somebody like myself who actually takes an interest in the content. I was able to breeze through my major without really studying and working a full time job and get mostly straight As with an occasional B. Though I understand that classes are just a part of the learning process and things such as Internships related to your major is a HUGE help while in college to help you be successful afterward. Unfortunately, Fort Smith is such a small dot on the map there is little offered in the town in the way of IT internships. One would have to relocate to a larger city during the summer in order to work (likely for free) and that is just not feasible. Now, I am working a measly call center job just getting considering going back to school somewhere else this fall or next spring to start over.

As for the campus itself, though its a four year University (has been since 2002), it still feels very much like a community college, and the extracurricular activities offered are fitting for a town like Fort Smith (more on that later). The student body is comprised mostly of either the non-intellectuals from the local high schools attending because their parents made them or returning adults going back at age 50 to get their college education. Extracurricular activities are mostly religiously motivated though this is a public school, so if that isn't your thing there really isn't anything for you. If you are looking for a university experience, you won't find it at UA Fort Smith.

Fort Smith is a small, conservative, sleepy town without much to do in the way of social life. You'll find more to do on campus than you will off. Much like on campus, pretty much the only form of entertainment in the town of Fort Smith is religious based. Once again, if that isn't your thing, there really isn't a place for you.

I would advise anybody considering going to UA Fort Smith to save money to consider other colleges like University of Central Arkansas or Arkanasas Tech. Both colleges are far superior and will appear much better on a resume when trying to get into the workforce after graduation. I regret attending UA Fort Smith and if I could do it over again, I would glady take on debt to go to a college which #1…would prepare me properly for the workforce afterwards, and #2…I could actually have fun while and enjoy attending.

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