The best thing about TU is the community. The week before class at orientation, not only do you have one of the best weeks of college, but you meet an insane amount of nice people that are ready to move above the drama that was once called high school. Once classes start, you will see all of your awesome friends you made at orientation and you will feel at home. That one place you used to stay at with your parents becomes less and less relevant by the day! The relationships you make will carry you through any trying times and will also create some of the best memories of your life, while also making you very passionate for your love for TU. The one thing I would change at the moment is parking. We have quickly built several new buildings and have lost parking due to contruction and building placement. It would be nice to not have to fight for a parking spot around campus! Some would say TU is a little small, but I think it's just right. Any bigger and you wouldn't really have the close relationships with most people you see. The campus is roughly a square mile and has around 5000 undergrad and grad students combined. If I'm out of state, some people have never heard of TU or they don't know much about it. If I'm in state, they immediately assume I'm really smart. I spend most of my time on campus in my apartment. They are currently building a new entrance right next to my apartment so it should be pretty nice when they finish it. I also spend a lot of time at the KA house, my fraternity. My favorite place to hit up for food is ACAC because they have the best selection on campus. TU's administration is fanatastic. Any professor, employee, or administrator will bend over backwards for you. Nearly every employee of the university that I have met is extremely social and personal. I have even had some of my professors over for dinner at my apartment! Our president, Steadman Upham, is revered around campus. We even say things like, "Steadman Upham could kill Chuck Norris with a simple wink." The guy really is a beast though. He is TALL.
TU's administration is far more concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses" (trying to come off as the "Harvard of the Midwest" or some other such nonsense) than actually serving its student community. Right now they are entrenched in a huge "Front Door" campaign that has made campus a veritable war zone for the past few years, with no end really in sight. Construction projects are started and untouched for months, and then there is a giant flurry of activity and they are done. Construction also begins at 7am or earlier, waking up those of us who are living in the brand new apartments. The good news of it all, though, is that the University of Tulsa Performing Arts Center is on the verge of breaking ground. When approached about ridiculous fees, students are told by those in charge that it's "not as bad as some other schools", when the truth is, rates should not be made in comparison with other colleges, but what is best for the students and the community here. Parking is a major problem on campus, and students should expect to pay as much or more than the flat parking rate ($50) in fines if they need to drive their cars anywhere else on campus than their assigned lots. Tulsa, Oklahoma is not only one of the most racially segregated cities in the country, it is also one of the most religiously fundamental (ORU is in the same town, remember). One can expect to find bastions of Health & Wealth Gospel all over the city, from Guts Church to The Wisdom Center to the very existence of Rhema Bible College and Oral Roberts U. Somehow, TU ranks in the Top 10 for Student Happiness, according to the U.S. News & World Report. The truth is that students frequently feel betrayed and manipulated by an administration that operates far more like a corporation than a university.
The best thing about TU is the student body. We have a diverse group of people from areas of the country (and abroad) that you wouldn't expect. The school size is a little small, but I enjoy the community feel of the campus. Most people are surprised that I go to TU when I'm from Saint Louis because they don't know much about the school and they assume Oklahoma is in the middle-of-no-where. I spend most of my time in my apartment or my friends' apartments. Tulsa isn't a college town, it's a medium-sized city with all of the normal conveniences. TU's administration is by far the biggest problem, and it's very upsetting. They try to present themselves as open and caring to students' needs, when actually it's quite the opposite. There are a lot of little problems that add up; I'll name a few for example: 1. Parking lots were destroyed in order to create student commons (giant fields), which created a parking shortage. The solution was to increase the price for parking permit, restrict everyone to a particular lot based on where you live, and increase security and fines for non-compliance. This resulted in one of my friends receiving a $100 fine because there were literally no parking spots in the lot he was assigned to park in. 2. New apartments were just built prior to my junior year, so I naturally picked one during the residence lottery. They are almost identical to the current apartments on-campus except for one glaring problem: energy. While my normal electricity bill was around $40-50/month during the summer and early fall months, I saw it jump to over $170 in December, and part of the month I wasn't even there because I was home for winter break. The administration cut cost corners for themselves by installing the most inefficient heaters at the students' costs.
I think TU is a good size, especially since Tulsa is not a very big city compared to Dallas. When I tell people I go to Tulsa, they either ask me why I chose that school or acted like they didn't know there was a University of Tulsa. Tulsa is not what I would call a college town, but it does have some minor league sports teams close to campus and good restaurants. All residents of Tulsa I have met like the school and have a positive opinion of its students. In my first year I didn't have a car and left campus less than twenty times through the course of the entire year. The campus had everything I needed and I only left five or so times for groceries, five or so times for restaurants, and the three times my family came to visit, plus the times I went to the airport to visit them. I spend most of my time in my dorm where a lot of my friends live. There is a lot of school pride. The biggest controversies included the stealing of bicycles and vandalism of cars and drug/alcohol-related sickness and death. It is a wet campus, which I think is better than dry because that way the fraternities can be on campus and no one drives home drunk from parties and no one smuggles booze onto campus since it is legal to have alcohol. I don't think a lot of drugs go on other than alcohol and cigarettes, but there is some, and one person died from an overdose this year. The cafeteria is by far the worst thing about TU. It is awful. Sodexho took over the dining services last year and the cafeteria did not improve and in some ways declined as I am told.
The good things: There are some really good things about TU. For one, it is easy to make friends. They have a dormitory that is only for Freshman. If you live there you are guaranteed to make friends. Most people on campus are also friendly. Pretty much the entire administration will do whatever they can to help you. There are many campus organizations that will allow you to diversify your experiences at TU. The bad things: There are many inept professors, and many programs are forced to rely on adjunct professors, sometimes unqualified, because they do not have enough to fund their programs adequately. This is because much of TU's funds currently are going to sports. TU does not treat their faculty very well. There are many professors who have left the University since I have been here because they have received offers from other schools and TU does not offer counter offers. With the new President (who has been president since 2008) there have been many negative changes. It seems that the university is much more concerned with appearances and reputation, which they encourage by undertaking too many construction projects at once (campus is impossible to drive in) and too much money to sports. The new President has also brought in stricter conduct policies. More people get in trouble for drugs and alcohol, whereas students could get away with it before as long as it wasn't blatantly ridiculous.
TU is a great school because it gives you the best of both worlds: you have a small, close-knit community and inviting atmosphere with professors who know who you are and actually give a crap about you, but ... you still have DI sports and there are enough people on campus that you can make new friends daily. One thing that blew me away when I started school here was how much the professors care about the students. Classes are small and many of mine were only 10 or 11 students seated around a circular table, like some sort of meeting. Every professor I have had has known my name and been readily available if I needed help outside of class. When I tell people in OKC that I go to TU, they say "... what's that, Texas?" There are some Okies here, but a good percentage of the students come from out of state. Oklahoma has a stereotype of being really hick and weird and crappy, but it's actually a nice place to live. People here are really friendly. There is plenty of stuff to do in Tulsa, and most bands worth seeing come through here rather than OKC. One experience I will always remember about TU is the entire week of Orientation that the school provides for incoming students. It's free, it's fun, and you meet tooooons of new people. Starting out college with that Orientation definitely improved what would have already been a great experience.
One great thing is the majority of students are on some sort of scholarship. This means they have minimum GPA they need to maintain: while majority of students are all about having fun and being relaxed, most are here primarily to study and take school seriously. Also, everyone is very down to earth and friendly--you don't have too many country bumpkins but you also don't have too many rich snobs. The school size is excellent: small enough that teachers all know your names and can help rearrange things (including courses) for you but large enough that you are always meeting new people and have plenty of activities. Most of the time I stay on campus, especially since I am under 21. There are parties every weekend and plenty of events on campus during the week that you don't need to leave. Everyone on campus is a huge supporter of TU, but most support other schools as well: I, for instance, have my university of texas longhorn sticker on my truck next to my TU sticker. It's fun because when UT plays everyone wears their longhorn gear so you have more rivalry than just TU and non. There have been a lot of construction on campus recently and more to come: I am most excited about the two new engineering buildings that are to come! I will also be living in some of the brand new appartments next year.
The best thing about TU is the people! No matter where I go on campus everyone is welcoming--staff, students, teachers. It was really great, especially as a freshman, because I didn't feel completely abandoned like I had to figure everything out on my own. Also I love that there was not a huge pressure to party and to drink as an incoming student, and even now. While you can always find a party if you want to, no one will ever make fun of you if you don't drink or say you can't go out because you have to study---it is VERY different from high school in the sense that everyone understands that academics come first. It is the people that party all the time, don't study, and fail classes that are the uncool ones now! I have lived on campus every semester and so I have spent a lot of time on campus since I didnt'always have a car. Some of my best memories have been made just hanging out with my friends in the dorms or apartments. Tulsa is smaller than my high school but I still find it is definitely big enough for me. I knew that I didn't want to go to a huge university because I wanted smaller class sizes and i really like walking on campus and always seeing people I know. The actual city of Tulsa is smaller than the city I am from but I like it because it is not overwhelming.
one thing I'd change is the housing rates and books costs...... I had to move off campus to save some money. This issue brought me a LOT of trouble. Although living on-campus is great, but the price is too much!! TU is a great place if they just drop the housing rates (and books rates that I found on eBay way a lot cheaper). Student have free fitness center and a lot of activities that come and go. The school is good (I'm majoring engineering)... (but of course nothing is perfect!) Another ridiculous thing TU does to its students (sorry about being rude, but I've kept that inside of me for a long time) is that you have to pay for the dining hall (cafeteria), that is located at the Twin Towers, whether you like it or not (few exceptions apply). Therefore, I had to go to that cafe every single day. I found 3 to 4 meals a week that were good, the rest of meals were ok to bad. I couldn't get my money back neither stop paying for that food because "these are the rules...as long as you still didn't finish 4 semesters, you'll have to pay for that damn cafe...sorry :)"....that what they keep telling me every time I go to the housing office hoping to get my dollars back ( I added the word "damn"). I'm sponsored by a company therefore I have no idea about administration.
One of the things that I cannot wait for TU to finish is the construction. The renovations that the campus is undergoing right now is a bit annoying to the students, but after they are completed, which the administration suspect will be by the start of the fall semester, the campus will look more beautiful than it already is. Tulsa is a beautiful city and isn't really a college town. Everything does not revolve around the university although the college is supported very well by its citizens. I was born and raised in Tulsa. I came from a high school that was just about the size of TU. When I looked for a university, I wanted a small one so it worked out for me. I get to know everyone. Everyone is so friendly here. My parents are very happy that I didn't go far from home. I live on campus this year and I love it. I'm away from home but if I ever need anything my parents are 20 minutes away. When I tell people I go to TU, they are extremely impressed. TU is ranked among the top 100 colleges in the nation.