What is your overall opinion of this school?
U of A has one of the most beautiful college campuses I've ever seen. The Poetry Center, where I spend most of my time, is a completely unique offering. The school is quite large, but never feels that way even hanging around "the mall". People are surprised I go to Arizona because of the stereotypes associated with it (see above), but with a large school there is something for everyone. U of A is a huge part of Tucson, but it doesn't feel like much of a college town, although the bar scene is great. There seems to be a great deal of school pride, everyone wears Wildcats gear and you can hear the marching band practicing at nearly any time of day.
Describe the students at your school.
Again, since it's such a large and diverse student body, no one can really feel out of place. Unless maybe you are very unattractive. Even handicapped people are well accommodated, almost every building has wheelchair access. Students generally dress very casually, often in Wildcats gear. Different types of students interact in their non-major classes but, since Greek life is big, there is a clique-ish mentality here. Most Arizona students are from Arizona and California, or NYC kids looking for better weather. I'd say middle/upper middle class is the standard here. Students are not that politically aware or active from what I've seen. I'd call the school very much in the center politically, since it's a Republican controlled environment in a Democratic city with kids from both backgrounds. I'd call it kind of purple.
What are the academics like at your school?
These questions are hard to answer since I'm a graduate student, but for most classes you'll take as an undergrad, especially the into/lecture classes, the professor will not know your name. In the discussion I teach I know everyone's name, and class participation is very common. Professors even in the graduate department don't socialize with students much, but in terms of Creative Writing we have a slightly older faculty. Creative Writing workshops are the best classes to take here! It's actually a highly ranked undergraduate program here, surprisingly enough. I think an Arizona education, as with any other university education, is what you make of it. Since it's a big school it's easy to slip between the cracks so ambition and motivation are necessary.
What are the most popular student activities/groups?
Going to football and basketball games is the big thing here. The dating scene seems alright, but I'm pretty removed from all that. Like I said, it's a very attractive campus so girls I would rate a 6 or 7 seem like 4s and 5s due to their surroundings. People party a lot though claim not to. Obviously Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays are the big days like anywhere else. Fraternites and Sororities are important. Last weekend I spent all Friday night drinking at a bar for blue collar types and bikers, to be ironic natch. On Saturday I went to Hooters to watch UFC with a cage-fighting friend of mine, also to drink and eat chicken. There is a good art house movie theatre for non-drinkers, lots of local theatre, poetry readings, bigger multiplexes, mini-golf open year round, bowling allys, salsa dancing. Lots of shit to do.
What is the stereotype of students at your school?
The frat/sorority mentality predominates. All we care about are our sports teams (football and basketball specifically). Academics are secondary. The student body is generally very attractive (though not as attractive as ASU, which according to polls conducted by Playboy I believe, is known as the Hottest Student Body). Everyone is very tan.