The University of Texas at Austin Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (59)
Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, UT-Austin was an excellent school. I learned a lot, and what I learned has been relevant in my career. I made some good friends while I was there, including my spouse, and I always found plenty of fun things to do in Austin. I think Austin may be the most livable city that I've ever been to, and that includes cities in about 20 states and 20 other countries. But things have changed for the worse. My son attended UT-Austin starting in 2013. He wanted to double-major in clarinet performance and something in a science field. UT course advisers discouraged his double-majoring because it would cause him to take longer than 4 years to graduate, telling him to wait until he reached upper division before considering it. When he finally decided to do it, they said it was too late -- he needed to start when he was a freshman. In fact, the university would not allow it. Forced now to choose a single major, he was afraid music job prospects were too risky, so he decided he wanted to change his major. He tried to survey courses in other fields, but the university no longer allows students who are not majoring in a field to take courses designed for students who are majoring in the field. For example, the only physics class he was allowed to take was "Physics for Nonmajors," which he found so basic that it was less rigorous than his high-school physics class. During this time, the clarinet professor was forced to resign due to inappropriate relationships with students, which I understand is out of the university's control. But they failed to hire even a part time replacement for 2 semesters, and the third semester they hired exactly that - a part time professor who commuted from Chicago to teach half the classes in the first half of the semester. Do you think they would've waited 1 and a half years to hire a new football coach? My son told the professor about the university preventing him from surveying courses to choose another major, and the professor tried to step in on his behalf. If I remember, his words to the adviser were, "What are you doing? This kid's trying to find himself, and you're saying that's not allowed here?" Despite the Chicago professor's efforts, they still wouldn't allow it. My son then asked about changing his major without surveying courses first, which I myself did after my junior year. They said that except under extraordinary circumstances most in-demand degree programs don't allow it, and this included all of the fields he was interested in. So UT forced him to stay in a major for which they only offered part-time professional instruction. This also was the experience of two of my other relatives (nephews of sister-in-law). They both started in Computer Science, didn't like it, and tried to change their major. They were not allowed entry into their top two or three degree programs, and eventually chose to change to less in-demand majors that they're not at all excited about. It's almost tragic to think that at a time that they should be inspired by the prospects of starting careers they love, they are instead faced with the prospects of spending their entire careers wishing they were doing something else. On top of that, things are very different socially in the dorms now. When I went, it was very common for students, especially freshmen, to leave their doors open to increase the chance of meeting new people. Now, they don't allow this for fire safety reasons. Fire safety is important, but the social implications are devastating. Whereas the entire wing of my dorm became fast friends who ate together almost every meal and went out on weekends, etc., it's no longer anything like this. Not only did my son make zero good friends in the dorm, when I visited with him and ate in the cafeteria, I don't think I ever, even once, saw a large group of friends eating together. It's very isolating now. When I walked through the dorm hallways (dozens or maybe hundreds of times), it was bleak. There were no and I mean never - groups of kids sitting together talking in the hallways or study rooms. UT was a great place for me to come of age, but except for social butterflies, it's a terrible place for it now. After getting poor instruction in clarinet for 3 semesters and not being allowed to change his major, my son transferred to the University of North Texas after his junior year at UT-Austin, and what a difference it is. He surveyed courses with no objections from the staff, and afterward chose computer science as a second major. He applied and was granted entry to the computer science program also with no objections. He is now back on track to reach his goals, though the misguided crank-the-students-through-in-4-years philosophy at UT-Austin has set him back a year or two. What is particularly sad is that, since UNT is primarily a commuter school, my son missed out on the quintessential college experience, which for me was the most profound experience of my life. We passed on a $25,000 college scholarship offer to instead send him to UT-Austin for that experience. Though he made nearly straight A's, the university failed him in almost every way. I'm writing this review because the policies of UT-Austin are harmful, and they need to change. Perhaps if more alumni like me make our voices heard, the powers that be will take notice. I only wish I had withdrawn my tuition dollars sooner to make our dissatisfaction more acute for them. My star ratings attached to this review reflect my son's experience rather than my own, and I want you, the reader, to know that the low ratings are not at all vindictive. The 1-star quality of instruction rating is due to the unusual circumstances with the dismissed professor; I still believe that the quality of instruction at UT-Austin more generally is excellent. The 2-star degree program rating is due in part to the fact that the program did not include the flexibility to study out-of-major fields, and I was disappointed that the music performance degree lower-division coursework was surprisingly not at all well-rounded. And obviously the overall experience was a complete failure.
I like to say the University of Texas at Austin (UT) made me who I am. While studying for my Bachelors I learned what it is to ask for help, gain confidence in my intellect, and contribute to global discussions on people like me. I also tell people that undergraduate studies prepare you for the challenges ahead: finding a job, continuing your education, and immersing in the real world. It is not so much about what you learn as an undergrad as much as it is about what you make of it. I learned to view issues and day-to-day occurrences in a global perspective, as everyone at UT has something to contribute to the world. UT is a place to do just this because it offers a wide range of ways to evolve into a better student and a better citizen of the world. The tools the university offers are not only helpful immediately for an assignment or test but are helpful in the long run. These tools create a foundation for asking for help and collaborating with others in groups for class and for the future. While the school is not as diverse as I would have liked it to be, working with people outside of my race and comfort zone allowed me to learn how to do so. I went to UT after having lived in a homogenous city where 99% of the population is Mexican and speaks Spanish. The university, however, taught me both the positive and negative impacts of diversity, and at the same time, it taught me how to deal as well.
The campus offers the ultimate college experience as well as resources needed to complete your program. I got my bachelors in three years while changing degrees. There is a lot of support for freshmen and organizations for almost every type of interest.
UT: Austin is a great campus and environment to be in. At the beginning of your schooling, the huge lecture halls are intimidating because there doesn't seem like you can form a close relationship with your professor, however that's what office hours are for. As the years go on and your class sizes grow smaller it's easier to stand out in class and get to know your professors better. There are so many opportunities on campus to join clubs or get a job, I regret not taking further advantage of it.
The time I spend at my alma mater was priceless. At the University of Texas, our motto is, "What starts here changes the world." I can attest to the fact that every teacher, counselor, and faculty member I came in contact with intentionally guided students towards this standard. The focus of UT is not on maintaining the status quo to succeed in careers that exist in 2017 but to be creative and motivated toward bettering communities and the lives of everyone on the planet in future arenas. My major, Urban Studies, was not just a study on urban areas today, but what urban areas may look like in the future. The Architecture and Nonprofit courses that I attended were future-minded as well. It is my opinion that focusing on improvement and the future is the only way societies can move forward and progress to reach humanity's potential. I adored attending class every day knowing that what I was learning, and the ideas that passed between faculty and students could one day become a reality and be apart of lives of those who had no notion of these topics beforehand. The one critique I have of my degree is the lack of "hard skills" I came away with. I am a strong problem solver, I am comfortable asking questions, I am not satisfied until existing conditions are analyzed and made better, and I am an instigator that seeks to spark change in communities; all of these qualities I gained through my UT experience. However, I am lacking in basic skills such as advanced Excel functions, financial analysis, managerial techniques, basic coding, or knowledge of SalesForce that employers are currently seeking in their entry-level employees. Many of these skills I have had to learn on my own and convince hiring managers that I can learn these things on the job. Overall, I loved my degree program and the insights that I gained. If more courses designed to develop tangible, definitive abilities within its students had been required for the Liberal Arts degrees, I would have rated my education with five stars.
The four years I spent studying Jazz Performance at UT were the best of my life. The campus is beautiful, and bustling. The juxtaposition of buildings both old and new give an interesting and eclectic sensation as you walk through the grounds of the school. One minute you walk by a 50 year old statue and the next you gaze at a 50 foot tall modern sculpture made entirely out of canoes. The campus captures the hip, artistic vibe of the city. The main drag is just on the western edge of campus and is full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and live music. One thing that is certain is that you never have an excuse to be board. The faculty at the school are all incredible. Many of them are esteemed alumni of the nations top schools. I never had a professor that didn't have the student's best interests at heart. I always felt welcomed and comfortable in the classroom. It was the perfect place for me to study jazz. The jazz department was small which allowed for me to receive the care and individual attention that I wanted. My instructors were incredibly knowledgeable on all areas of jazz study. Theory, history, performance, were all taught with the highest standard of pedagogy. Lessons with my private instructor were both compelling and engaging. At every turn, I was challenged to become a better player. Overall, I could not have asked for a better place to earn my bachelor's degree. Austin holds a special place in my heart and will always feel like home.
Be sure to ask fellow students concerning rigor of classes or professors before taking them. In my experience, the professors in the business school on campus always had an open door policy. Those within the science department have just as large as classes in the lower division coursework and may not be as available.
The Human Development and Family Sciences Program is a great program and place to get trained. The teachers are highly knowledgeable about the subject and are leading experts in the field. As well, the program offers many opportunities to really know more about the subject as well as practical lab and practicum experiences to provide hands on experience for the students.
I loved my time at The University of Texas at Austin. It prepared me for life and I am using the skills I learned there to navigate my way through New York. It has prepared me for graduate school at New York University. I am thankful for the opportunities and experiences The University of Texas gave me.
"What starts here changes the world" says the deep, rustic voice in the commercial. Although state schools often get overshadowed in the public consciousness when it comes to prestige, this heuristic is unhelpful when it comes to considering the actual quality of the school to which you are applying. I was a student within the competitive Turing Scholars program in the Computer Science department of the University of Texas, and as a student and now as a graduate I can see here in particular the catchy slogan rings true. For example, we had a TA who had taught the same class (CS315H, Data Structures and Algorithms) in an Ivy League university, and he had found that not only was our coursework more difficult, our students were more capable. I can speak to the Computer Science department specifically; with cutting-edge research in self-driving cars, robotics, network security, and artificial intelligence (wherein I undertook my undergraduate research), the University of Texas at Austin has a world-class program. I encourage any student of computer science to consider this institution for their undergraduate or graduate studies, and although I can't speak firsthand for students of other disciplines, I saw the same excellence in other programs in the peers alongside whom I studied during my time there. I am truly thankful for the opportunity I had to study at this paragon of educational excellence, and I expect that any students who decide to apply themselves to this institution will experience the same.