University of Iowa Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


A lot of academics are good. Teachers are there to teach well. It is very independent though so a student should go in for help if theyre stuck. Professors won't ask if you need help, you need to meet with them if you're confused.


As a part-time freshman, I have little to say about the academics. But, from what I hear there is a language barrier between some professors and students. Some classes are difficult and others not so much.


Academics are what you make of them at Iowa. Admissions are easy so there's a lot of people who aren't very intelligent or don't care enough to try, but with some top notch programs like nursing, you'll also find some of the smartest people in Iowa (and Asia). If you want to get the most out of Iowa academics, you've really got to show you care. Talk with professors, advisers, and other connections. If you choose not to engage yourself or get involved, no one will notice and you can slip on through with minimal effort. I have yet to take an extremely difficult class as a journalism student. Gen eds are not very challenging for the most part. Students are usually more interested in having a good time at Iowa and graduating with a solid degree than they are in having top notch grades or honors.


Speaking as a student who came from a very competitive high school, I love the more relaxed atmosphere at Iowa. While I am in the honors program and therefore have to keep up my GPA, when I'm in class it doesn't feel like I have to struggle against other students to be the best. I'm an English major, so most of my classes involve discussion of the reading; I've found that students here are quite willing to pitch in with their thoughts, and classes have gone in some pretty interesting directions. Another plus is that many of the classes have less than thirty people, so the professor always knows your name. Even if you take a class in a big lecture hall, there will also be a section with a T.A. where everyone gets to know each other pretty well. In addition to being comfortable and enjoyable, I also feel that the classes here are appropriately challenging. I spend about three hours each night reading or studying, and the assignments encourage me to think critically instead of just repeating a string of information. I enjoy learning, so for me this actually adds to the fun. (I'm a nerd, I know. I regret nothing.)


There are always office hours for every professor so students can meet and ask for help if they don't understand something or even to get to know their instructor a bit more. Its quite possible to get most of your studying done during the week days so you have most of the weekend to yourself. The thing I like most is that I have never had a Friday class yet! you get to choose the classes you attend as well as picking the time and days that best fit you.


Classes usually consist of a lecture section that contains a couple hundred students and a discussion section where you meet usually once per week in a class size of about 20. The professors in lecture usually will not know your name unless you introduce yourself to them or go to office hours regularly, which I highly recommend doing. The amount of studying students do usually depends on what their major is or how many semester hours they are taking. Personally, my major is Health and Human Physiology and I am Pre-PT. As I have progressed through this department, classes are gradually becoming more difficult, therefore I must study on a nightly basis. My favorite class right now is Principles of Biology 2 because I really enjoy sciences and learning how biological systems work. My least favorite class is Spanish. Most majors require 4 total semesters of a foreign language. Most students are pretty competitive and care a lot about their academics. Many classes have final curves on them so that creates a lot of healthy competition between students. The primary educational route at Iowa is geared towards getting a job or preparing students for graduate work.


I am in the college of engineering I lack opinions for many of the departments that Iowa has but my opinion for what departments I have dealt with over the years is as follows... Engineering Department: All professors are more than competent in there areas of teaching but for conveying the information to there students can be a challenge for some teachers. I am an American who can only speak English (unfortunately) and have ran into no language barriers in this department. Facilities for engineering majors are up-to-date and accessible all hours of the day. Professors are very often more than accomodating if a student can not make it to their set office hours. Through experience they are more helpful in person than in class. Get to know them! It can be very rewarding to know your professors. This a very competitive department that will require a strong work ethic and knowledge in the subject matter. Chemistry Department: Again professors in this department are well educated but some can have difficulties conveying information. The lecture hall for the chemistry building was newly renovated in 2010 so is new and very nice for incoming students who will have to take a chemistry class of some sorts. Professors are open for office hours and enjoy students who take advantage of them. This is also a very competitive department. Physics department: Professors are well educated and perform amazing research but their teaching abilities are bad. Intro to Physics taken by physics majors and engineering majors run into professors who lack teaching abilities severely. Facilities for students are old but are slowly being revitalized. Every student at Iowa is required to complete a "Rhetoric" requirement. This is a class that encompasses literature reading and analysis, public speaking, and writing abilities. There can be a wide variety between the topics to be covered since the class isn't managed to follow a particular curriculum. Its graduate student who follows loose guidelines and grading criteria. My point is this class can vary between teachers and professors. Is the education at this school geared toward getting a job, or learning for its own sake? Depends on the major. Engineering becomes very job applicable after the first year and a half of classes. As for premeds, they're undergraduate studies don't fully transfer to jobs but they hopefully make it into medical school. Writing/journalism majors here probably have a very good start since Iowa is world renowned for their creative writing programs. Quite a few of physics and chemistry majors end up in the engineering college so they can be more geared for real-world applications or jobs. Overall University of Iowa has good academics for undergraduates.


The academics at the U of Iowa are secretly competitive. Everyone is looking to get the best grades in their courses, but it's not really obvious. My suggestion for this is to seek support from professors if you are worries about a course, make them remember your name! I had a rocky start in my organic chemistry course but after seeing the professor during office hours, I got all my questions answered.


Professors are mainly involved in research, and to be honest i feel like a lot of professors aren't that interested in teaching. Students study according to their major. Pre-health students rarely go out, whereas business students go out more frequently. Pre-health is very common at Iowa and its extremely rigorous. Overall I think Iowa is a challenging school, if you had a 4.0 in high school don't expect that your first year on campus.


Many of the classes here are very large in for first two years of undergraduate. This can make it difficult to get to know your professors without a little extra effort on your part. Most of the professors are happy to spend their office hours talking to anyone about any subject that comes up. I majored in Microbiology, a very small major. This department made it extremely easy to get to know all of your professors, which was great when it was time to get letters of recommendation for graduate school, dental school, medical school, etc.. The only complaint about the department of Microbiology is that the professors are not always up to par, and the courses don't always offer a challenge.


The professors I've encountered at the University of Iowa have all been very enthusiastic and professional. With that said, there seems to be a lack of departmental oversight in classes taught by TAs; in talking to other students I learned that my Rhetoric class bore little resemblance to theirs. For some, this could be a plus, as there is a more unique experience for each student. I'm concerned about how well my later classes will build on their prerequisites, since the lower courses have so much variation in terms of content.


The academics here can be challenging. Some classes can be only 10 people and other lecture halls fill up to over 500 people. The professors are always available to answer any questions you have and are always at their office hours. My least favorite part about the academic system is the overfilling of lecture halls. Classes over 500 students results in sitting on the floor which is quite uncomfortable for an hour and half. Class participation is more common in smaller classes and is very beneficial. The most unique class that I have taken is youth subcultures where I learned about all the different youth groups outside of the country. I do not tend to spend time with professors outside of class because I manage quite well on my own. Students here are competitive but mostly because there quite a bit of foreign students. The school's academic requirements are justly and adequate. They are not impossible but require hard work and dedication.


Classes are difficult at times; you definitely need to study if you want to earn a good grade! Students are very competitive. I am in business right now. You can see many Asians on campus. They come abroad to the U.S. to study Accounting and/or Finance. This is mostly a white school, though. Some of my professors and TA's know my name, but that is because I take the time to see them after class if I am having difficulty with the class. Getting a job is definitely a priority here.


It's a big public school with so many opportunities, but it's not as huge as schools like Penn State and Ohio State. I'm currently a Resident Assistant and an executive board member in student government (UISG) so a lot of my time is spent in my residence hall or in the UISG office at the Iowa Memorial Union. Early in the fall semester and late in the spring (when the weather is nice and warm) I like to study outside on the Pentacrest or one of the other grassy areas and courtyards that have Wi-Fi. There's also a lot of great restaurants and coffee shops to study at downtown. I've actually had several parents on college visits say that Iowa City is the best college town they've been to on their visits. The campus and downtown Iowa City are right next to each other and there are bus routes that students can ride to either of the 2 malls in the Iowa City area. The one thing that has frustrated me most about the University since I have been a student is that so little has been done to recover from the flood of 2008, but I know from my work with student government that this is because FEMA has slowed everything down immensely. Most of the buildings are expected to be completed soon after I graduate. Apart from the football team not meeting expectations, I would say students complain most about tuition increases. Our tuition has gone up in recent years more than it ever has before, but Iowa's out-of-state-tuition is still about the same price as a lot of schools' in-state-tuition. So, we complain about it because we don't want the price to go up, but we're better off than many students.


The academics are not very impressive, and it's usually not too difficult to do pretty well in a class. My favorite classes have been Organic Chemistry I & II, Arabic, and anything with Professor Belli. Some students freak out and study constantly. Others just party all of the time and flunk. It really depends. Do students have intellectual conversations outside of class.... sometimes....? It's hard to generalize about 9,000 people (or something like that). Again, some classes are very competitive (usually the more advanced you go, the more competitive it becomes). Gen eds are seldom competitive. I am majoring in International Studies. It's an interdepartmental major so I pretty much am allowed to take what I want... be it philosophy, history, linguistics, etc. It all counts. The academic requirements for my major are pretty lax... something like 45 credits or so. It allows me to take on a few minors in addition.


Very good.


The BEST thing about classes at Iowa is the size. I absolutely love the small, intimate environment I find in my classes. Outside of lecture, I rarely find myself with a group larger than 25 students. This makes it so that your professors know you personally, which helps with letters of recommendation later, and so that discussions are really engaging and meaningful. You'll always have the opportunity to make a remark on the subject if you want to. Small classes also keeps students accountable--it's really hard to skip often or sleep through class and not have your teacher know. At least with the classes I've taken as an English and theatre arts major, participation is really core to doing well in the class. Theatre is especially hands on, and English classes expect you to have something substantial to say. Honors classes are even more engaging because you know each and every student has the commitment that you have, AND you can always turn a non-honors class into honors credit by designating it honors.


the classes are nice at least for engineering. Yes they are hard if you don't go to class or keep up with the work. The professors all have office hours that you can go to. if you want them to recognize you then go to these. the lectures are big but then there is a discussion section for each class that builds on the lecture. the discussions are taught by T.A's and really help you understand the material.


If you take a lot of huge lecture classes, your professors won't know who you are unless you're in an honors section. This is true for a lot of the general ed classes. Once you get into your major classes, you'll have a lot of the same teachers and classes are very small (5 - 30 students). As a freshman, a lot of your classes will be big ones but you can choose whether you want to take smaller ones too. Be careful not to get too lost in the crowd, or you may lose confidence and not feel like trying. TAs are very intelligent people and they can help you out just as well, if not more, than your professor!


I am an ex-engineering student who is now triple majoring in English, Theatre Arts, and Marketing with minors in Psychology and German, and I'm pursuing an Entrepreneurial Certificate. The English and Theatre Arts are probably going to become minors, and the Psychology will probably disappear, but at this moment in time I look damn busy on paper. Engineering was an interesting experience for me, and it taught me that I didn't want to be an engineer. During Orientation, we were told that only 1/3 incoming freshman engineers graduate as engineers. We were later told that half of all engineers have to retake one of the upper level classes our junior year because of its difficulty. Maybe if they weren't so intimidatingly pessimistic and emotionally detached, I would still be in Engineering. There's nothing wrong with it. Both of my roommates are engineers, the atmosphere is friendly (in a "we're all suffering together" sort of way), the facilities are wonderful, and the professors are pioneers in their fields of study. The only problem I had with Engineering (besides the fact that Civil Engineers (the ones that design highways) have to take 'C' computer programming) is that there are so many required classes in engineering that there's no room for a second major unless you extend to 5 years. Out of the 120 semester hours, Engineering takes up 96 of them (as opposed to English(29), Psychology(32), and Theatre arts(31). Do you see what I'm getting at?). The schools like the College of Pharmacy and the College of Dentistry seem like they're geared more toward getting jobs, but that's because of the difficulty of the field. In most other cases, even the required courses are, in some way, geared toward learning for its own sake. Iowa is a large enough school that it offers very very many majors, while the school is small enough to offer more intimate class sizes (besides 'gen eds' (100 level courses that all or most students are required to take before they graduate)) Freshman year I went from a class of 400(chemistry) to my Rhetoric class of 26. Larger lecture classes almost always have a discussion section with a course TA that are usually around 20-30 people, so no matter what, you still get that small class size. Elementary school prepares one for High School, and High School prepares one for College. College prepares one for life and the road ahead of don't worry about getting a 4.0 all the time (at least don't worry AFTER you get accepted to the program you're gunning for). There's a class called "World of the Beatles" that explores the history, goings ons, timeline, and little known facts about the Beatles before, during, and after they were a band. Every person I know that has taken it can never stop talking about it and they all say "it's a must" before graduating.


You can't beat the academics at the University of Iowa! While some might scorn us for being a big school, discussions for lectures are always personal and intriguing, and it is not difficult to find smaller classes. I have never had a teacher who didn't know my name! Studying at the University of Iowa is not difficult to do. It is easy to find students working on their academics at most coffee shops any night of the week. This creates a really great atmosphere where you can concentrate and feel confidant in your academics.


Academics is something that the UI takes seriously. Iowa is home to some of the nation's best programs from its amazing medical school to its successful business school academics at Iowa will not let you down. After some of my political science classes I find myself dicussing politics with people after class. Classrooms are also full of discussion. Discussion is so important at the UI your grade depends on it. This helps make students more competitive. I am part of the UI's history and political science department. Both departments offer a large number of courses and having a large amount of well qualified professors. My favorite class that I have taken at the UI is World War I. The professor did a wonderful job teaching us about a war that is often forgotten, even though it played such a large role in shaping the 20th century. Being able to speak with a professor is quite simple at the UI once you get into your major's courses. For the general education courses it can be difficult, but a large number of Teacher Assistants make up for it. Once you get into your major there is no excuse to not being able to speak with your professor. They are always available after class and hold a large number of office hours.


I would say the amount of hours they tell you that you need to allocate for studying is exagerated. Just study a little ahead of time for exams because those are what get you and bring a grade up or down.


Challenging classes for an honors student. Most professors are not interested or passionate about their subject. Classes are uninspiring.


Since Iowa is a big school, lectures tend to have 200+ students. The professors may not know your name but the T.A.'s definitely do. There are always ups and downs to big classes. I like that the professors and T.A.'s have open door policies and are always willing to talk and help make special arrangements if needed.


Though the professors in your lectures generally wont know your names, the discussion teachers will for sure know who you are and how you're doing in the class. There is a lot of one on one time if you want it, with office hours galore, though no one ever goes to office hours. There was only one class I didn't like, which was an undergrad creative writing workshop. It wasn't geared to the genres that I liked to write in, and the students weren't receptive to differing genres. On top of that, they were awful writers, but that's neither here nor there. I would have liked the class better if I was in a different section, so when picking classes, consider what is actually being taught carefully. The best class I took was the Japanese I class. The teachers were beyond helpful and caring, and really were a pleasure to be taught by. It's the most fun and challenging class I think I'll ever take and highly recommend it. Depending on where you are, studying is not generally a big thing in Iowa. Unless it's near an exam, most people don't study except those who care more about academics than having a big social life. You don't hear "I can't go out tonight, I have a quiz to study for," very often. It is very interesting to go to lecture exams and see that the population of the hall has more than doubled for it. My advice to you, don't skip lectures. Some teachers don't put the note up online and you're very screwed in the class. Even if the note are online, be realistic with yourself. If you skip the class, you aren't going to spend 10-20 minutes that day looking over the notes.You'll wait until a day before the exam to cram all of it in. Going to lectures helps you, despite how boring some may be. Don't skip them.


As a business student i just got done taking my first two years of pre-req classes. they mostly consist of lectures, with only a few smaller classes. the two small classes i had were for the accounting pre-reqs and the TAs knew you by name and i still say hi to them when i see them in the halls. My gen-ed classes were always about 20-25 students and i was surprised how quickly they knew everybodys name and there was usually a friendly atmosphere durring discussions that didnt make you feel uncomfortably to speak your mind. I would highly recommend taking a class that is completely different than what youre majoring in every semester. Ive taken Creative writing because it is offered at many different times and Iowas writing program is awesome. it just helps to have that curveball class in your schedule to break up your day


Depending on how large your class is, the professor may know your name. Most of the time the answer is no. HOWEVER, they all have office hours and WANT students to come in even it they have no questions. In fact, I went to my physics professor for help, and after that he knew my name from then on. Basically, the student should take the initiative to introduce his/herself and the professor (from my experience) will remember that person. Another true story, I forgot my purse in my communications lecture and the professor found out my name and whenever she saw me, she always addressed me by my name. I honestly have enjoyed all my classes; however, several have presented a challenge. My physics class is one example. The professor always performed experiments to illustrate his point, but the exams were challenging. My favorite by far has been Gender, Race, and Class in US. I enjoyed the readings, videos, and guest speakers. Class participation depends on who is in your class and how much the teacher makes the class participate. I have had some where it was low and others where it was high because the teacher had planned activities or randomly called on students. STUDYING-It depends on the student, a lot of people cram during finals, but others do it in advance. I study throuought, so once finals arrive, I'm really doing a review. OUTSIDE OF CLASS-it's common to hear intellectual conversations outside of class when it's right after. From my experience it's more common to hear something involving going out or drinking, so I wear m ipod ;). COMPETITIVE- I'm not sure if students are competitive, I know alot who want to maintain their GPA so I guess this would make them competitive. UNIQUE CLASS- The most unique class I have taken is Interpretation of Literature. The TA was very into interpretation, and I found myself interpreting fairy tales(cinderella, beauty and the beast) and reading novels and actually applying them to life. Several examples were parenting, the actual value of beauty and what it can do to a person, and even about being a wasteful student. Very good class. My TA is actually putting out her own novel series so I thought that was intersting. MAJOR- My major is journamlism. I have take two prereqs and one actual class. All of my Professors have been into the subject material. My last journalism class allowed me to interview city officials and people who run the campus. The classes are insightful and good. Journalism is a department in which students have be involved(writing and publishing outside of class). I have lagged in this area, but I will be picking this up this semester. I feel like I have more to learn and have been told the school does so much, but I will gain the most through an internship. REQUIREMENTS- At first I didn't like the requirements, but I think they are good. I believe students get a broad understanding of differents subjects because they have to take different subjects.


Professors usually don't know your name unless you make it a point for them to know your name. You have to make the effort to get to know your professors....go to them for help, attend their office hours and study sessions! You'll be rewarded for it later! Once you get higher up in your major, your classes get smaller and your professors definitely know your name then! :) I have a couple of smaller classes this semester, and my professors made it a point to learn our names because the classes were smaller. Students are competitive at Iowa, but I usually feel like students are competitive with themselves. You're here to better yourself and get farther along in life....why compete with your peers? Do your absolute best for yourself! Some students study a lot here, and some students don't study a lot. It all depends on the kinds of classes you're taking, as well as, how well you want to do in those classes. I'm a Psychology major, and the classes are pretty interesting. However, I'm hoping to attend graduate school for Social Work which is my real interest! :) I believe that the education at Iowa is geared towards learning for its own sake, and towards getting a job. Some classes make you say, "Really?! I'm never going to need this!!" While others make you say, "Oh! That totally makes sense! I can definitely use this in the real world!!"


Its hard for professors to know all their student's names since a lot of classes have a couple hundred students in their lecture halls, but it is possible to establish a teacher-student relationship by visiting professors in their office hours. I've found that TAs who guide labs and discussion classes will take the time to learn the students names. Class participation is often required in most discussion classes that I've been in.


We were named No. 1 by The Princeton Review as "School Where Students Study the Least." I'm not surprised by this designation, but I would guess the amount of time devoted to academic work varies widely between majors. Many academic programs are very strong (journalism, creative writing, astronomy, pre-medicine, construction management, speech pathology/audiology, printmaking, athletic training, business all spring to mind). Some departments are overlooked by their respective colleges, so I wouldn't say Iowa is capable of giving the best opportunity to every student. I've been fortunate to have some exceptional professors who take it upon themselves to look out for student welfare. This is especially important, given the complete lack of academic advising.


I really like how the academics at Iowa are set up. Most courses you have a big lecture with a couple hundred other students but you also have a discussion with a graduate student (TA) with has around 20-30 students in it. Those TA's generally all know everyones know. Also attendance is not manadtory for most classes so if you do go the professors will usually recongize you. Students are competitive more so at the end of the class since a lot of classes use a bell curve. I do go to my teachers office hours a lot and if you can't make it they all email back very fast. Education at Iowa is geared to learning for the sake of learning at first, requiring many gen. eds. but focuses in pretty quickly after your freshman year.


There is school there. Way too big to say anything specific.


My professors were always willing to help and be a larger part of student life outside of class. I met some of my best friends in classes. Academic requirements were challenging at times, but in the end- it's worth it!


Academics at Iowa are very high. We have some of the best professors and educators. I believe there is a lot of competition among students, but at the same time, we all help each other out cause we know how difficult certain classes can be. The academic requirements are easy to obtain and the education given here will give you a rewarding career after you graduate!


Overall, the university is very large, so a lot of general education classes are very large, so you do not know your professor personally and a lot of times you are taught by teaching assistants the majority of the time. Within my department, most professors do know me by name since my department is quite small compared to the rest of the university majors. Most professors are available outside of class for you to be in contact with and email is used very frequently to keep in contact.


Right now, I am in very big lecture classes for Chemistry and Biology, so the professors do not know me name, and I don't expect them to because the classes are so big. However, all of the TA's know you on a much more personal level and you can interact with them as frequently as possible. The students are extremely competitive in my classes becasue they are basically all science classes, which is good because it pushes me even harder.


I'm a nursing major, which impresses a lot of people. The nursing program is very competitive here, mostly because it is so well respected. It's also a very tight-knit program. All my professors know my name, and they aren't shy about coming up to me in the mall and chatting a bit. Now, the nursing program is hard. I mean, that first year that you are accepted into the program, there is like, no social life at all. I studied a ton. After that first year, though, it's not bad. It's completely worth it, too, because I know that I can get a job anywhere with a nursing degree from Iowa.


Iowa is an everybody gets accepted, but not everyone graduates type of school. Class is easy for the most part, but tests can be difficult. Many classes base grades almost solely on tests. Business students do A LOT of group work for classes, so if that's not your thing then look elsewhere. However, you mine as well learn to work in groups before you reach the 'real' world.


Teachers here know your name if you make the opportunity to get to know them. The education here is also geared towards getting a job.


Writing in Spanish was the best class I've ever taken. My teacher was incredible- Gay Allan was her name. Class participation is very common. Even in lectures. For example, one of our professors, Dave Collins, walks around in the lecture and will just sit down in the middle of students and start doing his lesson from there. He even holds competitions in the class, he asks for students to find as many "promotional cards" in their wallet and whoever wins gets money... incredibly engaging and hilarious professor. I love the marketing department at Iowa. The teachers are fantastic and all have a strong background in the field. I even work for one of my professors as a marketing consultant with one of her Iowa based clients. The entrepreneurship program is one of best things about our business school. Despite the name, you do not have to want to start a business to take the classes. You don't even have to be a business major. You learn all about creating a business plan (you create several fake companies even), how new business gain capital, how to market on a small budget, etc- all the very principles that all of the big companies we know of were based off of. Plus, the program is backed by John Pappajohn who is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who owns a venture capital firm in Des Moines.


Yes I know my professors name. I don't think I have had a class yet that I look forward to go to every week. But I think once I get into my major, more excitement will come. Requirements here are good and legitimate. Education at Iowa looks very good for job futures.


Iowa gives a student a pretty good education. It is hard sometimes to be motivated to work for classes with teachers that care more about the research they are doing for the school then about the students they are teaching. This is of course not true of all teachers. Intro to marketing with Dave Collins was a very good class that pushed me to learn and gave me motivation to learn. I spend a lot of time with TAs outside of class. I visit at least one TA's office hours each week asking questions about the class/assignments.


All but one professors know my name. My favorite class is Gender and Society. My least favorite is calculus. Students study often. All classes require students to go to discussion, it counts as participation. Iowa students do have intellectual conversations outside of class. Students are competitive. The most unique class I've taken is Gender and Society. I keep changing my major; I've changed i 6 times already. I do not spend time with my professors outside of class. Iowa's academic requirements are legit. Iowa's education is great for getting a job and/or learning for its own sake.


My favorite class may ultimately be Principles of Biology I. If you plan on being a pre-med student (or a Biology major - duh) then you'll have to take this class. Professor Denburg and Professor Poulton are probably two of the smartest men relating to Biology on campus. Dr. Denburg teaches the old-fashioned way of scribbling down notes and having his students copy them down unlike many professors who throw all of their information on powerpoints and have slides for students to print out. The major benefit of this is that you actually get to learn in lecture because you are forced to write something down and think about it at the same time, which usually helps you remember it better instead of looking at a powerpoint and drooling on yourself because you're so damn bored. Professor Poulton came from Oxford so that's self-explanitory - he's awesome. They both have a good sense of humor too.


The University of Iowa has one of the best Honors Programs in the nation. As long as you take advantage of the numerous possibilities here, you will be at one of the most competitive Universities in the nation.


There are a variety of class sizes here, but mostly large lectures that split up into discussion sections of about 20. It's not as close-knit as a small school so you might not know everyone's name, and the professor or TA might not know yours. The upside of a large campus though is its variety of courses. There are thousands of courses for every interest. Here at Iowa they focus a lot on learning for learning's sake. Hence the extensive gen ed requirements. But, for example, you could take Age of Dinosaurs instead of, say, Principles of Chemistry. A lot of majors have state of the art buildings and learning communities within the dorms. There are great resources available for every major. The professors and TA's however--you really could go either way. I've had great teachers and some really boring or mean ones. Just ask other undergrads.


I have only met one teacher at Iowa I have disliked and thought was horrible, but then, she was a TA. Every other teacher is amazing and class participation is extremely good. Classes are also fairly challenging if you try hard enough to pass. TA'S are very responsive to your needs and teachers love to hear from you. Everyone just seems to want to help. The best teachers I've had are foreign. My linguistics teacher was the funniest man I had every met and all the teachers in the Japanese department are possibly the most caring and hard working people on the campus. They really seem to want you to succeed. Some classes are difficult yes, but just like every other school, classes are what you make them. You'll learn if you want to, and you wont if you don't. It's really interesting to go to lectures because throughout the semester, they're fairly small, but when a test rolls around, the class doubles. you find out who the slackers are, and the teachers warn you not to be one of them.


I hated the large lecture classes I had in most of my intro science classes. Principles of Chemistry I especially. There were about 400 students in the class, and the lecture hall was always warm, so it was very hard not to doze off during lecture. Even in these large lecture halls the professors have an uncanny way of knowing your name. Whether or not you have intellectual conversations outside of class depends on who you surround yourself with. Although curves set up classes to be competitive, the classes that have them are the ones people are most likely to buddy up with others to get through. One of my Teaching Assistants was from U.K., and he said he felt we spent too much time outside of our major as undergraduates. We have General Education Requirements that require us to be well-rounded students. I loved taking Spanish at Iowa. The classes were very small and personal, and I had several instructors that were native speakers.


All the classes that I've taken here are unique. A lot of the people/teachers that I've run into have there own funny quarks that make the classes fun. There is always help for people who ask for it. The professors and TAs are very helpful and aren't as distant as I thought they would be.