Replies: 20 - Last Post: Sep 3, 2012 8:59 AM Last Post By: VinnyD
Aug 31, 2012 6:21 AM
Univeristy exchangeHi there,
I'm looking into going on a semseter exchange to a US university. My choices are:
East Carolina University
James Madison University
Montana State Univeristy
Northern Arizona University
Univeristy of Texas
Just wondering if anyone has any info on reputations of these universities and some suggestions on weekend enterainment in these places.
Aug 31, 2012 6:39 AM
Aug 31, 2012 7:01 AM
Aug 31, 2012 7:03 AM
Aug 31, 2012 7:15 AM
4University of Texas, Austin is the only one with a high academic ranking. Of course Austin is the Live Music Capital of America. Very mild winters but long, hot summers. Lots of sprawl and heavy traffic now. Close to the HIll Country and a few hours from the beaches. The film, "Slackers" was filmed there and portrayed perpetual students, artists, musicians and semi-intellectuals. Remember their slogan: KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!
Aug 31, 2012 9:06 AM
5On one of our children's shows (I forget whether it was Sesame Street or Electric Company) they used to have a segment called "Which of these things is not like the others?" They sang a little song while they gave you time to pick out the one that wasn't part of the group.
Well, your group has the University of Texas, an excellent (if enormous) institution, and a bunch of places that have, at best, a regional reputation. If your only goal is academics, the choice is clear. Plus, as noted, Austin is a fun town.
If, on the other hand, your goals include being someplace nice: Montana State is in Bozeman--the town itself is nothing to write home about, but it's within easy reach of Yellowstone National Park and in a beautiful area on its own. Northern Arizona is in Flagstaff, another beautiful area that's not too far from the Grand Canyon. James Madison is in the Shenandoah Valley, a part of Virginia that's also beautiful, but in a bucolic sort of way--it's not too far from Shenandoah National Park.
If you go to Flagstaff or Bozeman....hope you like snow. If you wind up at James Madison, you may have to be creative about entertaining yourself; it's in Harrisonburg, which is not at all a big town, and if you want nightlife it'll be a long drive. (Bozeman's pretty small too, but it has a reputation as being a pretty decent college town.)
Obviously, as others have noted, the field you plan on studying has a huge impact. For example, are you going to be studying geoscience? Montana State (being in a mining area) is probably the choice for that.
I know little about East Carolina or Pacific.
Edited by: mrpenney
Aug 31, 2012 9:20 AM
6I am a UT-Austin graduate.
Pros: Austin is a great location, and if you pick your apartment strategically (or live near campus), one can get by easily without a car. Austin itself is a fun place to live, if you can afford to be near campus or near downtown. Huge international student population. There are always activities going on on-campus.
Cons: UT-Austin is either the first or second-largest university in the country (it goes back and forth with Ohio State). Classes are huge, it can be hard to get access to your professors, and nobody cares if you fall behind or are struggling. You might find it difficult to get into classes you want, unless you get high registration priority (this depends on what types of classes you are taking). Austin itself is sprawled, which can lead to long commutes if you can't afford to live near campus. That being said, there are some nice express buses with internet access that take away some of the pain of commuting.
Aug 31, 2012 10:44 AM
Aug 31, 2012 10:46 AM
8While Austin is lovely and UT Austin clearly the leader of the campuses you've listed, "The University of Texas" does not equal Austin. It is only one campus. The others are:
Arlington, Brownsville, Dallas, El Paso, Pan American (Edinburg, TX), Permian Basin (Odessa, TX), San Antonio, Tyler
You need to know which one is being offered.
Aug 31, 2012 12:59 PM
9Why the concern for reputation on an exchange program? You can have good or bad classes at any university, esp. at the undergrad level, and your home university will be the only thing on your diploma. Go to the place you're most interested in hanging out for a year.
I'm a graduate of Northern Arizona University (undergrad and grad). The university as a whole is definitely your standard second-tier state school, but some individual programs are quite good, particularly in the natural sciences. Undergrad classes are often small-ish, and usually taught by actual profs, which is a big bonus over many larger institutions.
The setting and lifestyle ammenities of Flagstaff are hard to beat though, at least in my humble opinion. It's not a large city, but definitely a college town, with plenty of bars and decent restaurants and the cultural events that a university brings. If you're into the outdoors, Flagstaff is the regional hub for mountain biking, climbing, hiking, etc. etc. There's even a half-way OK ski hill. If outdoors is not your thing, you'll probably go a little stir-crazy in either Flagstaff or Bozeman, because it is such a big part of the "scene".
Flagstaff and Bozeman are actually a lot alike, and there's lots of back-and-forth between the two cities, I knew lots of people in Flagstaff who went to school in Bozeman at some point. Bozeman has colder winters, more reliable skiing and water-sports. Flagstaff is a bit larger and there's more to do outside on a 4-season basis for those that don't ski - get sick of the cold and snow, and you can just drive down the hill to the desert. Flagstaff is ideally situated for explorations to the national Parks of the southwest, Bozeman for Yellowstone and Glacier and northern Rockies.
Aug 31, 2012 5:22 PM
10Pacific University is located in several states and not necessarily affiliated with each other. Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, is formerly Alaska Methodist University and is affiliated with the many Methodist Universities located throughout the USA. Its campus is located next-door to the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage, both in mid-Anchorage with a large greenbelt and a pond with nesting loons, which becomes an ice skating area during the winters. There is lots of wildlife roaming the campus. The university is popular and has a good reputation. (Anchorage, along the Pacific Ocean inlet, is warmer than Bozeman, Montana, in the winters.) There are several ski and snowboarding slopes nearby. One Olympic cross-country skier recently attended Alaska Pacific University. There are many miles of paved bike/cross-country ski trails throughout Anchorage.
Seattle Pacific University is well-known in Washington state. There is also Hawaii Pacific University, which I had not previously heard of. California Pacific University is another that I had not heard of. There was a Pacific University in San Francisco, if I recall correctly, but now there are campuses located in several other places -- Fresno, Azusa. At least one campus is affiliated with the Luthern church.
Edited by: trekker502
Aug 31, 2012 8:53 PM
Aug 31, 2012 9:00 PM
12I agree with FlagStuff that a visitor might prefer a smaller program at a lesser-known school where they could get personal attention.
While I agree that there are many UT campuses, whenever someone discusses UT, that generally defaults to UT-Austin. That being said, OP definitely should definitely double check this because there is a world of difference between the Austin campus and say, UTEP.
Aug 31, 2012 9:39 PM
Sep 1, 2012 5:32 AM
14#10/13, there is a difference between "University of the Pacific" and "Pacific University." These are completely unrelated schools.
And this goes for the others as well. Just because a school has "Pacific" in its title does not mean it's related to all the others that also have "Pacific" in their titles.
Of course, the question is whether the OP is confusing them as well.
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