Student Thoughts on Attending the University of Texas at Austin

Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and her master's degree in science education from the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in genetics tutoring, test prep tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at the University of Texas at Austin:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Stephanie: The University of Texas at Austin is an urban setting with great transportation options. I spent the first two years living in a dorm on campus and loved the fact that I never needed to leave campus for anything unless I wanted to. I used the school’s great bus system to get around and also had a bike. The campus is large, but not so large that you can’t walk anywhere you need to go in 15 minutes. I felt safe on campus, for the most part, but took precautions when walking at night.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Stephanie: All of the professors posted office hours and usually had well attended tutorials. The academic advisors were very helpful whenever I went to them with questions. 

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Stephanie: Dorm life at UT Austin was such an amazing experience. While it does depend on who your roommates are, I was very lucky to meet some amazing people that I am still very good friends with. I had a meal card at Jester Cafeteria and found their food to be quite tasty. If I didn’t like the main course, I would simply opt for the salad bar. There is a lot of opportunity for socialization at UT Austin if you seek it out. I was a part of the Longhorn Band and The Texas Rowing team and had excellent experiences.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Stephanie: I studied biology and completed my teaching certification with the UTeach program, which seemed to be very well supported. I chose to participate in the UTeach program because it offered me an opportunity to see if I enjoyed teaching before I had even graduated. It is also one of the premier teaching programs in the nation, and I feel it adequately prepared me for my career.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Stephanie: Making friends at UT Austin was very easy for me because I joined the Longhorn Band and lived on the wellness floor in Jester. There are so many groups to join, including Greek life. I encourage anyone going to UT Austin to find a group of like minded individuals to make it easier to find friends.

How helpful are the Career Center and other student support services?

Stephanie: The Career Center was very useful in helping me choose my major. Although I have always enjoyed the study of biology, I was unsure what I wanted to do with it. I was able to do some career testing, and every single test I took suggested I become a teacher. The Career Center let me know about the UTeach program, and I was very glad that I found that program.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Stephanie: There are many great places to study at UT Austin. I often studied in the study room in my dorm hall with other students from my floor. When I needed a quieter place, I would go to the PCL library, which was open 24 hours a day. On sunny days, we would study down on the lawn or at one of the many coffee shops surrounding the campus.

Describe the surrounding town.

Stephanie: Austin is a very unique town and one of the most exciting places to live in Texas. The university is just a few blocks from 6th Street, which has everything from live music venues to comedy shows. There is a great river in Austin that provides some excellent trails for hiking, biking, and running.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Stephanie: UT Austin is a very large school with over 50,000 students. I came from a very small town in Texas, but enjoyed the change of pace and the diversity offered by this new experience. The undergraduate classes were typically very large, with 100-500 people per lecture. The upper-level classes were usually a lot smaller, with 10-30 students. I never minded the large class size.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Stephanie: I took a class my senior year called Vertebrate Natural History. This was an upper-level class with only 25 students. Our professor was so knowledgeable and took us on several different weekend trips to learn about different classes of animals. We went snake hunting in Winnie, Texas which has the highest density of snakes per acre in the nation. We also went birding in Port Aransas and did a live mammal trap in South Texas. This was by far the best biology experience I had at UT Austin.


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The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.