It was so easy to become accustomed here. The atmosphere is really laid back, but at the same time students are very disciplined about their studies. UNCA is the perfect size as you see different people everyday and good friends as well on your way to classes. In comparison with my hometown the people here in Asheville are incredibly more friendly. A lot of students spend their time on the quad in the middle of campus especially if the weather is nice there will be a ton of students out and about. Which is really nice so you can stop for a quick chit chat on the way to class and catch up with everyone.
I have a very high opinion of this school-I feel very lucky to be here! The class sizes are small enough that you feel that you are being counted as an individual, not just a "number", and for the majority of professors and faculty I have interacted with here, I have found them to be especially helpful, kind, and informative. There are many student organizations offered here, at the campus is located within the Asheville city limits, which makes this convenient for me, since I live and work in town. I am a Non-Traditional student, and because of my job, I cannot participate much in extracurricular activities, but I understand that our sports teams (including Men's/Women's Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, and the like, but no football team), are very good, and very supported by both the community and the students, both in terms of financial and moral support. However, because UNC-Asheville's campus is small, and unfortunately there have been many cuts made by the State, the faculty and staff have to juggle many more tasks than they were initially hired for. This requires more patience on both sides, including students and faculty/staff, to get tasks completed and work done. The most frequent complaints by the students is that the administration doesn't know what they are doing, or doesn't do what they should, but I believe that this is contributed to a lack of knowledge on the students' parts, along with overworking the staff and faculty. In short, you get what you put into it. If you are agreeable, patient, and flexible, the staff are generally happy to help, and do everything they can, even if it is not their job, or is a new aspect of his or her job that he or she is not very familiar with.
The school is very into environmental issues and activism. People don't shove it in your face, but you'll notice signs around the school about "going green." If you didn't know a lot about the environment in high school, get ready to be exposed to it in college.
You're on stage beginning on day one. This means that the person who sat behind you in psych 101 is the same person your roommate will date junior year and the same person you will go to India with while studying abroad. Now that I am days away from completing my senior year, I am amazed at how many of my friends know each other and at how often I run into people I know all around town. It can be overwhelming at times, but as long as you do not have serious drama with anyone, you'll be fine. Just know that going into it.
The administration sometimes needs help or reminders, but no school has a perfect administration. It helps to stay on your graduation checksheet and make sure that all AP credit goes through correctly. I'm graduating a semester early even after studying abroad because I made sure that what I thought I was getting credit for, I really was getting credit for.
The people at this school are some of the most creative, funny, and genuinely nice people you will ever meet. There is always something to do---but the fun stuff is off campus. Try to move off campus by your junior year at the latest. But if your friends are still on campus sophomore year, it's okay to stay there, too. Just be aware that you will get sick of the caf food and feel claustrophobic in any dorm.
I think the best things about UNCA is that you get to know your professors really well. The class sizes are extremely small (I've had more than one class with less than 10 people in it) and the professors love to meet outside of class. One thing that I would change is how poorly staffed the foreign language departments (aside from Spanish) are. There just aren't enough professors for the demand. I think UNCA is the perfect size. While the class sizes are very small, I still meet new people every semester and I'm sure I will see many people I have never met at graduation. A lot of people in North Carolina that I talk with don't know much about UNC Asheville and think of it as a kind of community college - I guess because it is so well hidden in Asheville, but when I speak with people who live in other states or countries I am always hearing about how good of a reputation the school has. It is definitely the best valued education, as it was voted a few years ago. I spend most of my time in the lounges in the residence halls, the cafeteria (definitely the best in the UNC system) or the library. I also study out in town. There is a really neat place in Battery Park called the Book Exchange/Champagne Lounge. It is exactly that: a classy wine bar that offers coffee and tea also in a two-story book store. Every wall is has a bookcase against it with lounge chairs interspersed. I highly recommend it! But there are awesome places all over town: it is definitely a college town.
The administration here is pretty good. They will take the time to help you work through any problems as long as you are considerate and give them enough notice so they can help you. The biggest controversy recently was the administration wanting to lay off the maintenance staff around campus because of the recession. The faculty and students signed petitions and posted signs around campus about saving the jobs, and succeeded in saving quite a few jobs. The community here is willing and able to mobilize against injustice, which is really nice.
I would say there is more school pride than you would expect from a school without a football team. Yet it is no where near that of one of the more famous schools. Most people take pride in it being a liberal arts school and the education we receive, which I think is fairly unique.
The best things about my school is the professors. They are some of the most amazing and caring people you will ever meet. They truly want students to succeed. They will go out of their way to help students learn. They are the best support system ever. I chose to come to UNCA over some "big name schools" and everyday I would choose to do the same. When people found out that I had chosen to go to UNCA they said I was too smart to come here, that it was a bunch of liberal hippies, I can tell you that this is not true. There are people of every type of belief at this school. I have met all of the deans on campus and have had at least a 30 minuet conversations with every single one. They really care about the students and will do ANYTHING in their power to help them out and support them. I have met the provost and she is a fascinating lady. While provosts at other schools drive BMW's, she drives a Subaru. Asheville is an amazing city to go school in. There is always something going on. Downtown is always alive, whether it be a street performer or a festival. You can always find something to do downtown. There are not many clubs in Asheville if that is something you are into. The food in the town of
Asheville is always amazing, except when it comes to the school cafeteria. I have lived on campus for two years not and I get really tired of the food. The caf does try hard to give variety and they for the most part do. They have vegetarian and vegan options, and the the sandwich bar is always amazing. You just get really tired of it, but this happens at every single school. For when you don't want to eat at the caf there is a grill, a Salsarita's, a deli, a cafe, and a Starbucks. School pride isn't very present. People love going here but are not to expressive of it unless you ask. Sports are not very big. We do not have a football team so basket ball is the "big" sport even though most games do not have a big turnout. . There is everything you could possibly want from this school except a football team. Undergraduate research, a honors program, down to earth professors. Asheville is the perfect school for me. It is just the right size and its is filled with amazing people that have changed my life.
I love this school because it's a community. Nobody's really been too mean and professors actively engage with each individual student. There's 3700 students so I'm always meeting new faces but we have intimately-sized classes based on student and professor discussion. Also, Asheville is a very cool place. It's filled with great restaurants, sounds, and liberal people. It's a very spiritual compelling community in the mountains. We do not have a football team, but we are a Division 1 school, so when our basketball team did well last year, we all united with Bulldog pride. One of the best parts of UNCA is that we have the Botanical Gardens in our backyard--a beautiful haven to study or stay.
I love this school! It has an absolutely beautiful campus, a great selection of majors, fantastic professors, and tons of opportunities to do just about whatever you want. It's a small school, which means the professors know you by name. The dining services are sometimes criticized, which may have something to do with the school's size, but I can almost always find something good to eat. This campus is also big on music (as is the town) and you'll hear all sorts of music and sounds just going from your residence hall to your classes.
The academics are the best thing of UNCA. The school is a good size though, not too tiny but still personalized. Its biggest strength and weakness are the amount of students involved on campus. Many students aren't involved. There is a real chance to get involved within the Asheville community though: jobs, service learning, volunteer work. Asheville isn't a college town but it is a great town to go to school in. There are many inexpensive restaurants and a lot to do. We are also close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, so its a great free place to escape to. The administration can be a little annoying at times but tries to mostly be responsive. Some students have a lot of school pride, others could care less about sports. Our sport teams are starting to get better though. We have a lot of school traditions but my favorite is our mascot. His name is Rocky and he is a bulldog. We have two, a live bulldog and a person in a suit. The real bulldog can be seen around campus and if you go to the math department you can go play with him!
I never even knew UNCA existed until my mom's coworker mentioned it. I figured, what the hell's in Asheville? I was surprised at how much I really loved it. The campus is pretty small. If you're looking for an athletic school, this is not for you. If you're looking for a big school, this is not for you. It really is like a private school at the public school price. Asheville is not strictly a college town. The campus is its own entity, but it is close enough to experience the city.
The best thing about UNCA is it's price relative to the quality of education and life that it offers. During my college search I looked at countless $50,000/year private liberal arts schools; with the exception of impeccably manicured lawns UNCA is on par with these, but at a fraction of the price. I'd even go as far to say that there are a lot of aspects of UNCA that trump those of the private schools that I looked at. The dorms, for instance, at UNCA are huge; and have 4 people to a bathroom. The other schools I looked at, however, had tiny rooms with hallway bathrooms. Another great thing about UNCA is its size--with 3500 people it's not tiny, but it still can afford to have an average of 20 or so students in every class. If you want a school that people "ooooo" and "aaaah" at when you tell them where you go, UNCA is not the place for you--it's well known in North Carolina, but as an out of stater, most people mistake it for UNC Chapel Hill. Asheville is an AWESOME city brimming with artistic and musical energy, and is surrounded by fantastic opportunities for outdoor activity. That being said, it is by no means a traditional college town. This ties in with the most frequent student complaint--that there's no school spirit. In the sense of thousands of people going out to football games every Friday night, UNCAs student body has very little spirit, but if it was to be surveyed about love for the school, I can guaruntee it would be high. All in all, UNCA is great for a solid liberal arts education in a welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment.
This school is perfect if you're looking for a small, engaging liberal arts institution. Unfortunately, where UNC-A is definitely seen as a pretty good school within North Carolina, it doesn't seem to carry much weight anywhere else (at least name-sake wise). However, it's alumni still grab many great jobs, and the career center works hard to assure student success via internships, job availabilities, and advice. Asheville is also a bustling town with a great music scene, awesome downtown, and unique cultural vibe. It's a great place to experience college, and is definitely a counter-culture, hippie housing, hipster embracing, FRIENDLY city with a beautiful surrounding environment. Hello, Western NC is absolutely gorgeous! If you love the outdoors, you have grade A wilderness outings at your fingertips - most for free, too. However, UNC-A isn't for everybody. If you want the stereotypical college experience (like I did, and now am planning on leaving UNC-A), then don't come here. Parties are pretty scarce (esp. if you're an underclassman), Greek Life isn't exceedingly present, NO GREAT SPORTS!, and it isn't unlikely for you to end up with a CRAZY R.A. A lot of times I've heard people refer to this school as boarding school-esque, and I see what they mean. Also, the ILS courses they require you to take can feel forced and unneccesary -- but you HAVE to take them. Anyway, come check it out. It's a fantastic school with great academics, and a nice sense of community.
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