- Class: Senior
- Major: English
- High School: Olympus High School
- Transfer Student: Y
The saddest realization about the University of Utah is that it is a commuter school. What that means is that most people drive to school like they would any job and then take off at the end of the day. This significantly depletes the "school spirit" available on campus, but I think the U realizes this and does a good job trying to "hedge its bets" so to speak. The fact is, generally I think the "college experience" is a little bit different that people generally have in mind when they think of college living. With that being said, I think there are some amazing things about the U that not a lot of other schools have. For one, I think the U has a beautiful campus. You're not going to find a lot of buildings that match, and something is almost always under construction, but there is grass and trees to keep things aesthetically pleasing. The ability to lawfully possess concealed weapons has to be one of the biggest issues on campus. Thankfully the state legislature made it illegal to openly carry weapons, but this is still a big issue that has many sides and it has been made into hot topic given the amount of campus violence that has been seen on various colleges around the country. The other special nuance of the U that makes it different from a lot of colleges outside of the state is that it is a "dry campus." Without a doubt, alcohol becomes a part of the scenery when you mix people that are on their own for the first time, with the fact that at some point during their college career, those people obtain the ability to legally purchase alcohol. One rumor that I will partially dispel is that Utah is a predominantly LDS population. If this is so, then it sure doesn't seem like it. Many ideas outside the LDS religionÑboth good and badÑare readily accepted on campus. Religion is definitely a part of many peoples' lives, but it is rarely discussed more than just a topic of interest that makes one person unique from another.
This has to be one of the big draws of the U. Virtually every program has its idiosyncratic flaws to it, but the overwhelming majority have excellent professors that do a good job enabling and even forcing students to not only think outside of the box, but to incorporate other fields of study into their own methods of teaching. What that mouthful means is, the U does a wonderful job of preparing students for the real world because they don't teach in little bit-sized fragments, but rather teach across the whole breadth of knowledge. There are some amazing professors in every field of study, whether you're talking about the School of Business, Science, Humanities, etc. It always amazes when I look for my professors, how many of them have doctorate degrees from some of the most esteemed universities in the country. Utah also has almost everything a person could ask for. Utah has a School of Medicine, a Law School, a School of Business and everything in between. Being that I know the area of journalism and communication a bit better than most, I will say that a School of Journalism is one thing the U does lack, although I think the learning environment at The Daily Utah Chronicle, KUTE, and other media-based environments do a good job of compensating. When you talk about Utah's academics, it would be wrong to skip over the fact that their are well-known professors in just about every field of study, but it is rare for a university to have a Nobel Prize laureate. The U has Mario Cappechi, who stands as an example of one of the things the U values most, and that is research.
I would say that the U is a melting pot of people. The population is mostly white, americans, but there is enough of a variety that one would find a group to fit into. The socio-economic standing is a good mix as well. There are students and the U that are the first people in their families to attend college, and there is a long list of well-to-do families that have members attending the U. From my experience, there is a healthy portion of the U that comes from out-of-state. In fact, a Utah native was a bit of a minority in at least two of my classes. When it comes to clothes, the U has about every fashion available in some form or another, although I think its safe to say that wearing sandals and/or pajamas seems to be a popular trend.
The Best Things
There is a lot of freedom of thought available and it is a great environment to explore learning options
The Worst Things
The food, the parking and the fact that it is a commuter school