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One of the most unique things about the University of Pittsburgh is that it is in a city; Oakland isn't just a college town, but the tallest building around is Pitt's own Cathedral of Learning. If you go out for lunch at Joe Mama's or The Red Oak Cafe, you'll see other students inside, but chances are you'll run into professionals in suits and scrubs on their lunchbreak, too. And there are plenty of activities and ways to be involved on campus, but there is so much else out there. Pittsburgh is incredibly diverse with a unique history and culture, with nooks and crannies to find if you take a step outside campus borders. We have free access to public transit, so why not take advantage of that? However, there's still a definite sense of community among the students; we still have dining halls exclusively for students and riots when our sports teams beat rivals, just like any other university.
I love the University of Pittsburgh. I transferred here my sophomore year from a very small, Catholic college in Erie, PA. What I found most attractive was the size of the campus and the amount of things to do. Not only does Pitt offer you a wide variety of extracurriculars and student activities, but Oakland is full of things to do, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods like the South Side, Squirrel Hill, and Downtown. When transferring I was nervous and anxious, but the administration really made my transition a smooth one. All of my credits transferred and my adviser was very friendly and made herself available to me for questions, even outside of registering/transferring my courses. Pitt offers students a good atmosphere, which is why I think students have such great pride in the school.
The best thing about Pitt is that it is in the city. You are not confined to just those in your school but yet it is easy to be around them. There are different areas of the city to go to if dirty Oakland isn't your vibe for the night. Also, although South Oakland is dirty and maybe alittle scary, there are amazing little stores and restaurants that people do not find out about until they move into South Oakland. Some good places to check out are the Indian place on S. Bouquet and the little Italian market on Bates Semple.
In so far as the atmosphere of Pitt, the 'big picture', the feeling one gets from walking around campus, it is full of pride. I love the campus, because I like the urban setting, and I LOVE the fact that I am not in a 'college town' that there is a whole city, plenty of things other than just school going on everywhere around me. READ: Oakland is NOT New York City. It is a decently sized city, with lots of things to do, but it is not New York City. I've actually heard complaints that Pittsburgh is too small, or there's nothing to do. They usually come from people from New York or Philadelphia, meaning, they haven't taken the time to look around. There is a thriving arts scene. Whatever your tastes in music, art, food, name it, you can find it. But it won't be thrown in your face. Yes, you will have to explore. Exploring is easy too. Until I tried to get around other cities without a car, I never realized what a truly wonderful public transit system Pittsburgh has. And it's FREE. A student ID from Pitt= FREE buses. They really pushed that when I came on a tour when I was looking at schools. It didn't seem important at the time. IT IS HUGE. You cannot afford to park a car here. I don't care how rich you are, a car is a waste of money here. With the public transit system here, you do not need a car. The city life is wonderful, the whole urban ambiance, makes the Pitt experience so much more rich.
It's a great campus. Plenty of opportunities on campus and in the community. Pittsburgh is a unique city because the colleges are what really make it what it is. Oakland is basically a college town comprising of a few colleges, but dominated by Pitt. In comparison to some NJ schools I've seen it is definitely not a suitcase college. Also, unlike WVU you do not have to take a bus to get everywhere fun or to get to downtown. When you become 21 Pitt has an awesome bar scene. It is a city that is recovering from the steel industry collapse, but is wisely investing in future technologies and is on the cutting edge for environmental standards. Pitt students get free city bus transportation for when they want to visit downtown, which is remarkably clean. Pittsburgh is a nice city, but feels like a small town. Especially if you are coming from the East Coast. There is a lot of school pride and the Greek Life is also active. I am involved in the Pi Kappa Fraternity which like others, can dominate some aspects of the school. However, the school does not huge mansions like Penn State and other colleges, so non-Greeks do not feel left out if they choose not to join. Also the Living Communities make excellent areas of learning for some students. My one personal compliant is how it is hard to change a mistake in your schedule or fix a mistake in financial aid. Sometimes you have to make 3-4 appointments with different people in order to get what you need. This is because its a big school and not every school employee knows all aspects for everything. The other concern is that it gets very cold and windy in the winter. This past winter it snowed every day almost. So bring a pair of boots. However, it gets real hot in the fall and warms up quickly in the spring. Also you get out before any other school I know. (As early as April 20)... and without going in excessively early. (You go in around August 20). Some of your breaks are just shorter, but it is well worth it for a long summer break.
When I tell people I go to Pitt, they usually hear Penn. After I explain to them that I do not in fact go to in Ivy league school but I attend a state school in the western part of PA they give me a sort of uncomfortable look, one that encompasses the movement from loooking excited for me all the way to a look of question because they have never heard of Pittsburgh. I was just abroad for a semester in Israel, where most of the people were only familiar with the really big cities in the US like NYC and L.A. But one great thing about Pitt is that they encourage you to study abroad from the moment you begin your career as a freshman. You are hardly there for 2 weeks before they are telling you to leave the country! But studying abroad is one of the best experiences a student can undertake.
acroburger JuniorReviews provided by: Unigo