University of Texas - Austin '16
Majoring in Computer Science
Member since 1/9/2013
As a commuter student, I despise with every ounce of my being the parking at UT Austin. Surface parking is not guaranteed, and garage parking costs three times as much ($600 yearly for a commuter student). I do not recommend bringing your car here as a resident either, especially since the public transportation around the city is free with your student ID, and it's actually pretty good. Utilize the bus and the train.
UT Austin doesn't give much in the way financial aid at all if your family is middle to upper income, which I think is pretty normal for a public university. Of course, if you're coming from in-state, tuition is very low, and loans are more than worth it, particularly if you're going into something with a high starting salary, such as engineering or CS. For my first year I was offered a loan that was split between me and my parents, and fully covered the costs of housing and tuition. But a loan is a loan, and if you can't get need-based financial aid,apply for scholarships.
UT Austin is one of the top schools in the nation for Computer Science. The professors are at the top of their fields (they recently made news for hacking into a US military drone), the extra-curriculars and networking opportunities abound, and a brand new building is opening up next semester solely for the CS department. The University helps with finding jobs and internships and the major tech companies in Austin all look to UT first for interns. I'm very satisfied.
Classes, at least the introductory ones, are large. However, that disadvantage can be easily overcome by utilizing your TAs and your professors. In a class of 200-300, not many will bother introducing themselves to the professor, and many will not show up half the time. However, you should do both, as the professor will remember that, and all of my professors so far have been very willing to help. They all seem genuinely interested in teaching, and really are passionate about their subjects. 3 of 4 of my professors taught very well, and the one who didn't still cared about student understanding and did his best to help students reach that point.
In addition, at such a large public university, there are plenty of extracurricular groups, lots of different majors offered, and lots of resources available. You do have to actively pursue them, though, don't expect them to fall into your lap.
The weather is wonderful. The "worst" of Texas weather (100+ degrees) comes during the summer, so the heat is not a problem. It never really gets too cold. Light jacket and jeans will do for the worst weather. It's sunny 90% of the time, and the temperature is nearly perfect for much of the fall and spring. Wonderful to just walk around campus breathing in the fresh air.
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