Very challenging but very attainable!
I am going to star this summer, so I can give you this information next session
Prior to attending UTSA, I only went to two small private schools. When I came over, I decided that I wanted to see how the large class settings are. To my surprise, I loved the large classes much more than the couple I had that were small and decided to stick to large classes as much I possibly can. That being said, most of my professors did not know my name. In the few small classes that I took, the professors did know my name.
Even though I am mostly in large classes, class participation is VERY common! Questions and class discussions are very common in UTSA lecture halls!
Some professors know my name and others don't. It all kind of depends if you make yourself known or if you try to blend in. Right now my favorite class is biomechanics because it is a class of about 60 students, which is a good size for everyone to participate. The professor talks with us instead of to us and makes it easier to learn. My least favorite class right now would be first aid and injury management because there isn't a lot of structure to the class and it is a very large lecture class. Students have opportunities to get extra help outside of class during professors office hours and at SI (supplementary instruction) sessions. We also have this saying "Club JPL," which is our library. Students are there all the time to study, get a study room to study with a group, check out books, computers, etc. UTSA is definitely geared towards helping students get a job. In my major, kinesiology, an internship is required before graduating to help us gain experience. Also, our career services office is very helpful in job searching. They provide mock interviews, edit resumes, and provide an online job search site.
What can I say about UTSA...
Advisers - If you choose the right classes for your major, you'll discover worthwhile challenges ahead of you. Perhaps the worst thing about being an English major at UTSA is the availability of advisers during your junior and senior years. After you complete your freshman and sophomore year, advisers just disappear; you'll need to schedule an appointment several months in advance (and I mean several months!) to discuss anything about your degree. In addition to feeling disconnected from your adviser, you will find that advisers respond to e-mail inquiries only after you've graduated. One sad example is when my friend's adviser advised him incorrectly about the number of courses he needed to take. Turns out that he had one more to take at the graduation ceremony! They "forced" him to take the remaining course during the fall semester without a tuition waiver. What a waste. In conclusion: English advisers at UTSA are absolute duds.
Professors - The good thing is that most English courses are taught by real professors and not TAs. The downside to these professors is their condescending attitude toward students. The majority are not only arrogant but also cordially dismissive of any attempts to elicit student participation. Yeah, yeah, we students are well aware that most of our professors couldn't find a job elsewhere (apparently, their colleagues beat them to the more illustrious positions at UM and UPenn). That's what you get for receiving the short-end of the stick. I think this is a common situation for most of us: Nowhere to go and no choice but UTSA. In my case, I went to UTSA for financial and family reasons.
Note: Not all professors are condescending or ridicule their students for wanting to participate in class discussions. Upper division courses allow leeway.
The only way you'll appreciate your English degree at UTSA is if you study with amazing teachers, but you'll need to sort through the inflated egos in the English department. Teachers play a critical role in your overall satisfaction as a UTSA undergrad. Personally, I am quite satisfied with my selection of instructors. They were courteous and informative. See, the university provides us with the tools for success, but we need to research the instructors before we enroll in their course. Trust me, there ARE pearls at UTSA as well as some extremely qualified instructors. Extremely, extremely qualified individuals that come from Ivy League institutions (outside of the English department).
I think it's only fair that I give UTSA a positive assessment of its professors because they're not too bad once you realize your reasons for wanting a liberal and fine arts education.
Campus - It's not impressive. Sure, some of the buildings are professional looking, but they hide the music and fine arts buildings for a reason. Bland interiors and cumbersome advertisements illuminate the campus grounds; however, the Liberal and Fine Arts Building is - surprisingly - decent. The classrooms are spacious with professors' offices just two floors up, making it easy to meet after class.
I think I've said enough. I rate the UTSA English Department at a firm but reasonable 7.5/10.
Academics at UTSA are awesome. They have a really good education program.
UTSA's admissions standards are known to be pretty lax, but - thankfully - this doesn't seem to adversely affect the quality of education found at the university. Therefore, most who apply are admitted, many drop out, and left at the core are a group of students who are generally motivated and want to be there. Professors are helpful at guiding students towards real world application of the material, but there is also a welcome aspect of traditional knowledge-seeking (as at any university worthy of the descriptor). A healthy amount of proper debate and discussion can be found amoung students, even outside of class, without looking too terribly hard. The general atmosphere of the university, both from the faculty and other students, seems to promote academic discussion rather than supress it.
ALL of my professors that I have taken know my name. I make sure to ask questions in class and event visit them in their office with any problems I have. My favorite classes that I have taken are two different labs that are for mechanical engineers. They are really fun, which makes it easier to learn the material and stay motivated to complete all the reports. My least favorite classes are mainly the core classes that I had to complete. I am not a big fan of economics or history or literature. Students that I go to school with study all the time, and are even here on the weekends. We always joke around and say it is because we are studying engineering. And even as a joke, I have to sit back and think about how true it is, too. Classes for me haven't been too big, which gives everyone the chance to participate in class. And yes, there are a lot of intellectual conversations going on outside the engineering buildings for sure. Competition is not a real big thing that I have seen. Most of the time, all the students help each other out with things instead of trying to be better than each other. But it is always good for design team's to have a good project. The most unique class I have taken (and am currently in) is Senior Design. It is so different from most classes because we make up our own goals as to what we need to get done. Our advisor makes sure all the groups stay on track but it is a really great feeling to know we can almost do what engineers do at their everyday jobs. I am a mechanical engineer. Most students here are very persistent and put in a lot of hours to get our work done. Being a woman, I am also part of the minority of engineers. This is a great feeling, and I do my best to help get out to young girls now and talk to them. I do visit professors outside of class. For guidance on projects or questions on homework or just to let them know when I cannot be in class. I would rather meet with them face to face than send them an email so they do get to know who I am and know that I am here and ready to put everything I have into their class. Academic requirements here are fine, and the education students recieve is great. There are plenty of companies that will hire recent graduates of UTSA. And our career services department does a wonderful job of helping the students out before graduation by having career fairs, helping with resumes, and even helping prepare for interview sessions.
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