University of Washington has many incredible departments and experienced faculty, but the class size in the undergraduate level makes it extremely challenging due to the average sizes of 400-500 students. This vast size causes a disconnect between professors and students. I have heard many complaints from fellow classmates about the lack of communication with the professor. Another side effect of the large class sizes influences the curve based grading system. Because the classes are so large, there is a large possibility that a student will not get the desired grade due to necessity to maintain grades above everyone else.
The size is daunting to the new student. One feels extremely insignificant and forgotten sometimes. However, this usually creates two different results; the student learns of the impending competition due simply by the massiveness of the student body drives them to demand attention and accomplish distinction or creates apathy because people get forgotten, usually the latter. Another problem is that it can be very difficult to make friends because there is no sense of college community. Everyone is doing their own thing and often stay in the same groups they were in from high school.
There is not enough financial aid consideration given to those who do not show financial need. Many of us have parents who make a significant amount of money, but that doesn't mean that the student has access to that money. It is very, very difficult to find monetary help at this school unless you can show that your family does not make much. This has resulted in less opportunities for those middle class students whose parents make enough to, according to the FAFSA, "Completely pay for college," but not enough to actually help their child.
The worst thing about this school, is the fact that it is so crowded. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed with all of my fellow students. Sometimes people aren't respectful of others personal space and this can be aggitating. If anything it has taught me to be more patient and to be more aware of people around me. I attended the University of Washington because of everything it had to offer. I just didn't really think about the fact that the same things are offered to thousands of other peopl who are all heading towards the same goal.
One of UW's greatest strengths can also be its greatest weakness: its massive size. There are many resources, which can make it overwhelming at times to discern which will best meet your need. It takes extra self-initiative. UW does a great job of trying to connect new students with a club/activity group to build friendships. I was blessed to start my freshman year in a house with seventeen other women off campus. They were a variety of years and majors, and had a wealth of advice (from choosing classes to the best coffee spots).
There are many benefits to attending the University of Washington. The major issue that sticks out to me are the class sizes. Because this university is so big in size and student population, and with the help of the budget cuts there are huge class sizes and some classes have even been dropped. Some students have to take certain courses in a specific order to get the credits needed for his or her major. The class sizes of three hundred and more can make it difficult for students to learn because there are so many distractions.
The worst thing about attending the University of Washington would be the weather and the affect it has on student activities. There are plenty of in-door events, but with cold, wet weather students don't always attend. This can make it difficult to build relationships with other students, especially if you are new to the area and don't have established friends. I have found that most people stick to their already made friendships and spend a lot of time visiting each other at apartments rather than at events on campus.
I'm not complaining because I understand that I am very lucky to be able to go to school at the University of Washington; however, I often find myself missing my community and my home. It's also difficult to find people who share the same struggles and understand particular hardships being a Native American women in this society. The isolation I feel here is hard to cope with and I do not have the ability to go back home, for home is all the way in Nevada. Besides the location and lack of my people UW is amazing.
From my experience, I have not found any negative elements associated with the University of Washington. I love the environment, the courses offered, the professors, the diversity, the energy, and the thriving desire to learn and advance in the world. Students are always searching for more avenues to further both their education as well as their real-world experience, two areas in which the University prides itself in helping. There is nothing I dislike about the University of Washington, or my experience there.
I would say that the worst thing about my school is the tough grading protocol that some departments have. For example, the Chemistry department puts their average grade at about a 2.8. This means that it doesnt matter if you do "average", you have to be above average. However, if everyone attempts to be above average, then the average grade is raised and its even harder to rise above that grade. It means you have to work SO hard just to get above average. If you ask me, its a little ridiculous.