Impressions Of
University of Texas at Austin

Academic Experience

Female Chemical Engineering Major C/O 2021

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Chemical Engineering?
In your freshman year it’s a lot of general stuff. You take general chemistry, math, an intro to computing class, organic chemistry and the labs that go along with that. As you start taking more upper-division classes you start to actually deal with chemical engineering. I feel like I didn’t really realize what a chemical engineer actually did until my junior year. I didn’t know about the types of problems we solved until I got to my junior year coursework. The week to week course depends on the class. Sometimes the courses have weekly homework and sometimes that homework is due and if not, it’s a quiz on the homework. We then have exams.

Is there anything that you feel the Chemical Engineering department does especially well or poorly?
It’s one of the easier Engineering majors, which is good and bad. It’s good because we don’t feel the same level of stress that other majors feel. It’s also bad because it makes it difficult to get internships freshman and sophomore year because we don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. I have my first corporate internship this summer at the end of my junior year because I can now answer the technical questions they’re asking me. Also, there’s not as much teamwork happening in Chemical Engineering as other majors. We don’t have as many group projects.

Female Public Health Major C/O 2019

How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? Are there systems in place that helped you transition?
My first year I was in an Interdisciplinary Studies FIG (First-Year Interest Group). It’s a group of freshmen with all the same majors, and we had assigned mentors. This helped us figure out our course schedule, and because there was only four of us we relied on one another. Having a mentor who had gone through what we went through helped a lot.

Is there anything that you feel the Public Health department does especially well or poorly?
I think Public Health at UT isn’t the greatest compared to other schools. I feel that we lack hands-on and real-world experience with internships. One thing they are good at is having good access to the professors because of how small the department is.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a mix of both, but a little more collaborative than competitive. A lot of us are pre-med students, so we are all seeing who is going to have the best GPA and who will get into what school.

Male Exercise Science Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel the Exercise Science department does especially well or poorly?
They connect you to a lot of people and update you weekly regarding job opportunities available. They hold lots of career fairs and networking opportunities. The curriculum could be taught in a more interesting way because there are multiple ways to approach exercise science. They are not as hands-on in the labs, so I feel the scientific theory we are learning is not being applied in a practical environment as much as it should be.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s a good mix of both. It’s competitive in the sense that your classmates will push you to be better. It’s collaborative because your TA’s are there to help you out no matter what. Depending on the teacher, they are pretty open to helping you out. The students working collaboratively and pushing each other to be better makes for a nice healthy mix. It’s not a cutthroat environment by any means. We want everyone to do well and earn their piece of the pie.

Social Opportunities

Female Undeclared Major C/O 2022

How happy are you with the nightlife at UT? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with the activities. There’s a wide range of activities for everyone. There’s a bunch of dancing, singing, and sports events going on. During football season the games are a lot of fun to go to.

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I’ll go out with friends to frat parties, we’ll go for dinner, or we’ll chill inside. There are a lot of good food places in Austin. There are lots of activities in the dorm I live in, like movie nights. There is also an underground roller rink and bowling alley which is fun to do on the weekends.

Female Chemical Engineering Major C/O 2020

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It gives you an excuse to go out more and your friends will be going out more, so you definitely will be too. I would also say the people in Greek life start going out earlier, but there are also so many people who go out at UT because we have cool bar areas. There’s 6th Street, Rainey Street, and so many others. You don’t need to be in Greek life to go out or to go to some Greek parties, but it would be a lot harder to find out where and when they are because a lot of that information is sent through GroupMe and stuff like that.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
I like going out to try new restaurants. The food culture is a big thing in Austin. There’s also a lot of outdoorsy stuff to do in Austin. If it’s a nice day there is Zilker Park that is really nice. You can also go paddle boarding on the lake downtown. There are a lot of outdoors activities and almost everyone tries to go do them.

Male Exercise Science Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
There is a fair amount of Greek life around the campus, but it depends on the weekend. Usually 6th Street is the spot to go to if you’re 21. If you don’t want to party at all, there are a lot of restaurant options to go to. My top three are going out to eat, going to 6th Street, or during the day on the weekend, I’ll go hike around Greenbelt or another nature area. There is a Hispanic bar that Is 18+, along with other ones in the area.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Not too much. It depends on how you expose yourself. If you let it come into your life and affect you, I can see it being a negative. I’m not in it, and it doesn’t affect me because I don’t surround myself with it.

Campus Culture

Female Undeclared Major C/O 2022

How would you describe the overall social scene at UT?
I think there’s a wide variety of people here, and everyone embraces diversity. There’s an organization for everyone, so you’ll always find your people whether it’s Greek life or an organization like the Indian or Filipino Association. I think UT does a good job because all the clubs advertise on our main street called Speedway. You’ll find something, and it’s good to try new things, especially if you don’t know what you like.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
They mix well, and I’ve seen diverse friend groups. I haven’t personally seen any discrimination or exclusion based on sexual orientation or race. If you go to the library, you’ll see everyone talking to each other. I think everyone is welcoming to different races, especially in clubs. One time I went to an orientation meeting for a Spirit Group, and even though it was a girl’s Spirit group, they accept you as long as you identified as a girl. [The student body is 41% White, 21% Hispanic, 19% Asian, and 4% Black.]

Female Chemical Engineering Major C/O 2021

How did you meet your closest friends?
Two of them I met through the National Society of Black Engineers. I met my other friends because they lived near me during freshman year. We ended up researching at different labs at the University of Houston over the summer, so that was really fun. I then have another friend who lived next to me during sophomore year in Jester West. I am also still pretty close with my First-Year Interest Group. We had pretty much all of our classes together first and second semester of college, so we became pretty close.

How would you describe the overall social scene at UT?
I feel like it’s a mishmash of people. There are a lot of different groups, but I think the vast majority of them are welcoming. My freshman year I would go up to random groups in the cafeteria because I didn’t like to eat alone and nobody told me I couldn’t sit with them. Even though I’m not part of Greek life, I have plenty of friends in Greek life. I don’t run across unfriendly people, but that also might just be my vibe.

How would you describe the LGBT community? How strong is it?
I think it’s pretty scattered. There are supposed to be clubs that are doing things and hosting events, but it’s not as established as it could be. There are a lot of LGBT friend groups that you stumble upon that aren’t part of a club or anything.

Female Public Health Major C/O 2019

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
In terms of sexual orientations, they mix pretty well. In terms of racial mixing, there isn’t a lot at all. All Greek life organizations stay in their zone. Some organizations try and bring these groups together, but it’s still not where it needs to be at all. [University of Texas is 41% White, 21% Hispanic, 19% Asian, and 4% Black.]

Do people generally seem happy with UT by senior year? Do people love your school?
I think love is a strong word, but I think they are satisfied. It’s a standard college feel, and overall most people like it. It’s a hard school to get into, and we go through a lot so to be done makes you feel proud by completing the coursework. At the same time, it feels like they played you. The professors do not show mercy, so you have to jump through a lot of hoops with the administration to get your classes. This goes along with being played. Being a Black student at UT we’ve experience incidences of racism and discrimination which makes you feel detached from the school a little bit.

How do you like the size of University of Texas? How has it influenced your experience?
It doesn’t bother me. I like it, and don’t think I could do a tiny school where everyone knows each other. I would say I’m an outgoing person that enjoys meeting new people and getting fresh ideas from different backgrounds. Getting that change every now and then is good for me. [UT has 40,804 undergraduate students.]

Austin, TX

Pros of

  • “It’s the live music capital of the world. There are lots of music festivals.”
  • “The Texas Legislature is in Austin and I like going to protests there. There are lots of protests in Austin. You can literally walk to the Capital building from UT’s campus.”
  • “The downtown is definitely up and coming, so there are new restaurants and hang out spots. It’s a fun place for young hipster people.”
  • “It’s a free-spirited community, in the sense that there is a mixture of people in the diverse community. There is a lot of culture, and there is a melting pot of personalities in the city.”

Cons of

  • “It is a fairly big city, but you can essentially do all of Austin in a weekend.”
  • “The amount of stuff you have to do can be a con because you always see people doing fun stuff around you that you would want to do, but then you have to do work.”
  • “There is still not a lot of diversity. If you’re Black, you don’t’ feel as connected with the up and coming culture downtown.”
  • “Because UT runs Austin, we don’t have any professional teams.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Chemical Engineering Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Texas before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I would have known the program was doing more so in terms of the coursework. I feel like they explained it in a very mish-moshed way. They pretty much tell the students to take 17 hours of classes a semester in order to graduate in four years, and I wish I knew how stupid that was. Freshman year I came in and I believed the myth that I had to graduate in four years but now I’m taking five years to complete my degree to make it more manageable. I also wish I took more summer classes because it would have made my life a lot easier and I would have progressed further.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Go check out a research-specific building and talk to the people in that office. Also, reach out to major-specific organizations like the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers to get a better sense of the student culture.

Female Public Health Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Texas before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that in our lab classes your grade depends on the TA because they do the grading. I also wish I knew more about study abroad because if I had known beforehand, I could’ve planned for it.

What is something a prospective African-American student may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
If I could give advice, I’d say find a good group of African American students within your field. It helps to have someone to lean on that knows where you’re coming from.

What is something a prospective first-generation college student may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
There are resources to get help as a first-generation student at UT. There is a lot of pressure and stress and you may not know where things are. Don’t be afraid to ask your peers or professors.

Male Exercise Science Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective pre-med student may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
I did IB in high school and had an English and History class that didn’t transfer, so I wish I knew to focus on my AP classes more. As a pre-med student, you should be aware of what classes get accepted and what classes don’t. It’s not just the classroom aspect, but it’s about networking with the medical school. There are doctors and people that want to help out with the community, which I don’t think a lot of places have.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Come to an ACL weekend. It’s a music festival where you’ll see UT students, grown adults, and families. The whole city comes out to Zilker Park, which is basically the Central Park of Austin. It’s a great music festival with lots of variety including indie rock, rap, and country. It has something for everybody.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of Texas at Austin

To Attend

  • “It’s in Austin, TX. You’re by the capital if you want to get into politics or law. Austin is also the most liberal part of Texas, which is a good thing if you’re liberal.”
  • “There are hundreds of organizations so you’ll find the niche where you fit it.”
  • “For a public university, it’s one of the best ones out there. You’re going to get the most out of your academic endeavors if you come to UT. They will push you and help you become the best student.” [University of Texas was ranked as the #12 U.S. public college in 2018.]
  • “It’s a public school so it’s cheaper if you’re in-state. It’s the most bang for your buck school in Texas.”

To Not Attend

  • “You can very easily get lost in the numbers if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities. I’ve been in classes with 500 students and made it a point to make sure the professors knew my name so that I wouldn’t be just one of five hundred students.”
  • “The city can feel very big. You feel like there are lots of things in the community that you can’t touch in your four years, so if you are someone who wants to know what you’ll get out of the four years or every day, then Austin isn’t the place for you. It’s consistently changing and is a constant flow of different personalities. It’s similar to New York but doesn’t stay up all night like New York does.”
  • “I know a lot of people are intimidated by the size. You have to force yourself to get out there and be brave to get involved with things and meet people.”
Notice: University of Texas at Austin is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by University of Texas at Austin.

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