Overall, I love Pitt. It's not gigantic like Penn State, but it's large enough that there's always something going on and unlike in high school, you couldn't even know everyone if you tried. One optimum thing about Pitt is it's location - it's in the city of Pittsburgh, in a neighborhood called Oakland which is so bustling that it's often labelled as a "second downtown" - but the school is located 3 or 4 miles from actual downtown, so it's in a much safter / less-sketchy area. Pitt's campus is essentially integrated into the surrounding city. I hear horror stories of friends at tiny colleges in the middle of nowhere who get sick of their dining hall food within a week - but there are so many restaurants within just a five-minute walk from the main academic buildings that I never have that problem! There's also so much to do, and the rest of the city of Pittsburgh is easily accessible because students get free bus transportation. There is a lot of Pitt pride among students, and this tends to be greater in those students who like sports more. In fact, one experience that I'll always remember has to do with Pitt pride - at our football games, there's a tradition of putting our arms around each other and singing our own special version of "Sweet Caroline" - that song has come to embody everything I love about the school. Something unusual about Pitt is that we have a 40-floor building called the Cathedral of Learning. Inside, it looks like scenery from Harry Potter. It houses a bunch of academic departments and classrooms. Some of the classrooms, "nationality rooms," are actually decorated and themed for different countries. It makes sitting in class a lot more interesting! One negative thing about our school's administration is that they're not very accessible. They're helpful enough and easy enough to find if you have general questions about things, like how to pay a bill or register for classes, but if you want to be more engaged as a student and actually propose major changes on campus or policy changes, it is hard to access any administration. It is essentially impossible to communicate with or access upper-level administration. One thing I'd change about Pitt is to have it be one of those schools where the President (or in our case, Chancellor) is known to interact with students on a daily basis.
It's a great campus. Plenty of opportunities on campus and in the community. Pittsburgh is a unique city because the colleges are what really make it what it is. Oakland is basically a college town comprising of a few colleges, but dominated by Pitt. In comparison to some NJ schools I've seen it is definitely not a suitcase college. Also, unlike WVU you do not have to take a bus to get everywhere fun or to get to downtown. When you become 21 Pitt has an awesome bar scene. It is a city that is recovering from the steel industry collapse, but is wisely investing in future technologies and is on the cutting edge for environmental standards. Pitt students get free city bus transportation for when they want to visit downtown, which is remarkably clean. Pittsburgh is a nice city, but feels like a small town. Especially if you are coming from the East Coast. There is a lot of school pride and the Greek Life is also active. I am involved in the Pi Kappa Fraternity which like others, can dominate some aspects of the school. However, the school does not huge mansions like Penn State and other colleges, so non-Greeks do not feel left out if they choose not to join. Also the Living Communities make excellent areas of learning for some students. My one personal compliant is how it is hard to change a mistake in your schedule or fix a mistake in financial aid. Sometimes you have to make 3-4 appointments with different people in order to get what you need. This is because its a big school and not every school employee knows all aspects for everything. The other concern is that it gets very cold and windy in the winter. This past winter it snowed every day almost. So bring a pair of boots. However, it gets real hot in the fall and warms up quickly in the spring. Also you get out before any other school I know. (As early as April 20)... and without going in excessively early. (You go in around August 20). Some of your breaks are just shorter, but it is well worth it for a long summer break.
As a first semester freshman, I thought Pitt was way too big- I even seriously considered transferring. I came from a small high school where you knew everyone and his or her life story. Once I was at Pitt, I didn't recognize a single face, and that was terrifying to me. But once I came back after winter break, I was thrilled to be back. I almost felt more at home at Pitt than I did at my own home. The friends I had made first semester were popping up in my second semester classes, and as I saw more and more faces I recognized, I felt much more comfortable. I love the size of Pitt because I'm always meeting new people, but through my major and extracurricular activities, I always run into people I know. I never cared much about sports- until I came to Pitt. Going to a Division I school is always an adventure. The football games are a blast and there is no where else quite like the Oakland Zoo (basketball). But if you're like most of the normal kids on campus, Pitt offers a variety of club and intramural sports, ranging from baseball and soccer to quidditch. Every day the Pitt News prints thousands of copies of the daily campus newspaper which is distributed throughout campus. I try to get a copy every day- reading about events and campus news helps me stay knowledgable of the happenings on campus. Pitt also offers a great variety of clubs and activities for every interest so that every student has the opportunity to get involved. Finding your niche helps create a family-esque feel, and as cliche as it sounds, finding an activity definitely enhances the college experience!
Pitt DOES NOT CARE about its students. Pitt cares about UPMC and making as much money as possible. If you come here, be prepared to be lost in a bureaucratic mess, and if you need any help- none will be made available. Though some of the teachers here are excellent; the vast majority are either horrible, non-English speakers (yes, thats right, you'll be taught math by someone with a hand-held translator) or so old that any information they teach is worthless in contemporary society. Everything on campus (including food) is incredibly over-priced. To eat well and go to Pitt is an expensive endeavor. The campus is incredibly crowded, and to make matters worse- Pitt loves to give tours so expect there to be a decent number of non-students roaming the halls of school buildings (especially the Cathedral of Learning). Most Pitt students live in the surrounding city borough known as Oakland. Oakland is a ghetto, in case that has not been made clear. The homes and buildings are in a state of decay, and many students find that their apartment/house has been foreclosed and they are thrown out into the streets. There is NO PARKING in Oakland....well there is, but good luck finding a spot. Once you do find a spot, odds are the next day you'll find a $45 parking ticket. Oakland is also very LOUD, so don't expect to be able to study in a quiet environment. Oakland is also DANGEROUS. Students get jumped, robbed and held up on a weekly basis. Gunshots are as regular as police sirens, helicopters, and ambulances. And watch out for those city buses- at least one student a year gets run down.
City of Pittsburgh: The city of Pittsburgh is certainly one of the more underrated cities which gets a bad rap as an old dirty steel city. That has changed drastically in the last 20 years and Pittsburgh is now a medical, financial and business center with the 5th most Fortune 500 companies in the USA. Pitt is wonderful because it is located in the city and you can acquire connections to extremely top-class corporations that all recruit here (PNC Bank, PPG, US Steel, Bayer, Dicks Sporting Goods, ect.) It is a wonderful school if you are a business/finance major. School Size: About 16,000 but the business undergrad school is probably around 1,500 so you get to meet many people of your own major within the larger school. Reputation: Pitt for the last decade has been drastically climbing in the school rankings and is now a Top 25 public university and Top 60 overall University. It is closely approaching schools like Michigan and Indiana, and by international rankings Pitt is Top 50 in the world and getting better every year. Admission has therefore been getting more selective on a yearly basis. Athletics: A big attraction is that Pitt Basketball and Football are good year in and out. The school is more of a Basketball school and the Oakland Zoo (student section) is full almost every game since Pitt is a perennial Top 25 team. The Football team has seen some tough times lately even though we have had some great talent and the students are much more fair-weather-fans. Tailgating is always fun though!
My favorite thing about the University of Pittsburgh is its urban campus. Oakland, where most of the campus is located, is its own little city with large buildings and small businesses on every street. But, if one wanted to get into a larger city environment, they could take a short public bus ride into Downtown Pittsburgh with their student ID since bus fare is included in our tuition. Also, if there comes a time when you get tired of the city, you can walk to Schenley Park which is covered in lush green grass and you can not even tell that it is right outside of a city. If I could change one thing about Pitt, it would be the weather. It rains quite often and winters can be pretty harsh, but the bus system helps a lot when you need to get around campus and do not want to be exposed to the elements. There is a lot of school pride and spirit here and I really enjoy it because it gives our school a big sense of community. I feel like I could go up to any random person I come across and start a conversation with them just because everyone seems so relatable and has qualities in common with myself. My favorite experience I have had at Pitt so far would have to be the school-sponsored free Kesha concert that was held last year. Looking around at the crowd, it seemed like the majority of the school was there and I was happy to be able to share that experience with so many of my peers. Cobra Starship is performing this year and I am sure that concert will be just as powerful and fun.
I absolutely LOVE the University of Pittsburgh. At our school, we like to say that the "City is our campus". We can go anywhere in Allegheny County using public transportation for free with our Pitt ID, and that opens up a lot of opportunities for fun, internships, and experiences. Although our football team is not the greatest, the football games are still fun. We play at Heinz Field where the Steelers play, which is something that is very unique to our school - co-owning a stadium with a professional sports team! Our basketball team is consistently ranked as one of the best teams in the nation, and our school has an enormous amount of school pride when it comes to basketball. For big games, its nearly impossible to get tickets, because demand is so high (which is one thing I would change... we need a larger student seating section in the Petersen Events Center - also called "The Pete" around campus). The administration is very responsive to students needs, and they are constantly holding office hours and meetings trying to figure out what the students want. After change is implemented, the administration follows up on the changes to be sure its what the students wanted to see. I have been a tour guide at Pitt since my freshman year, and now I am in charge of recruiting, hiring and training new tour guides for our school. I am in LOVE with Pitt and am so happy to call myself a PITT PANTHER!
I must say first off that I love the University of Pittsburgh. The reasons are simple, I live close to home, I love the city of Pittsburgh (it's truly unique), and the people are extremely nice. The hot spots to study on campus vary because there are many depending on what kind of environment you are looking for. I like the Hillman library it has every resource you might need including, books, magazines, newspapers, computers, and of course beautiful girls who love to study. School pride is huge here. We have the Pitt Panthers basketball team which is currently 16-0 and #1 in the nation. Students can go to the games for 5$, it's truly amazing. Pitt also has that mixture of large lectures for those of you who want to stay below the radar, and smaller classes for upper level courses for those of you who like to participate and really get involved. The teachers, just like in any school, are good and bad. I have had my fair share of teachers who drive me crazy along with teachers I still speak to regularly and look to for professional advice. All in all, Pitt is an awesome university and I have had some amazing experiences in and out of the classroom.
Pitt is just right in size...it's large on paper (the actual number) but I guess by the campus being spread out, you tend to see everyone everyday, which gets quite annoying...how does that happen w/ a big campus?! Pitt tends to have a great reputation as far as companies go. It's gotten better since just being here in terms of popularity and rep. I spend most of my time in the Union. It's a true college town though..it's ghost town during Summer when students aren't here. Which isn't a bad thing. The administration is an interesting bunch. Working not too far removed, I hear quite a few stories and....they have a lot of ideas. Good or bad? We'll see. The biggest recent controversy I can remember is JuicyCampus coming to Pitt (on the site). A lot of students and staff were affected. There is not a lot of pride at all...it's being worked on. I don't know what's unusual about it really...I'll always remember my Pitt Start experience. It was very representative of what to expect once a real student. Most students just complain that things need to be open later around the campus and on campus (food places, etc). Pitt also severely overcharges on EVERYTHING.
One of the things I complained about most as a student was the lack of green space. Pitt is missing the big grassy quads that are in all of the movie college campuses. This was partially offset by the fact that at all times, you are within a 20 minute bus ride from downtown. Bus fare is included in tuition, so students essentially ride the buses for "free." It was nice to be able to go to the symphony, ballet, or a play as a student. Since the school is so big, it can offer tons of interesting classes. We used to joke about taking underwater basket weaving. I did however, take both judo and skiing for credit. The school is also not so big that all of your classes have 100+ people. I had quite a few classes after my first year that were under 10 people. Since graduating with a B.A., I have returned to Pitt for my law degree. One of my continued complaints is with the career services department. My mom said the same thing about the M.B.A. program. You just can't count on the school finding you a good job after graduation. You'll have to do that yourself.