It's basically a very cliquey school, people walk around and ignore strangers, greeks hang with greeks, Asians hang with Asians. I know that is a huge stereotype and I try to prove it wrong whenever possible, but I seldom do. For me, that sucks, it basically feels right off the bat, I won't be able to relate or make friends with 50-70% of the class...Coming from traveling abroad for a while, that was very hard to get used to... But...you do get used to it and generally start to ignore the greeks and the frats. Most people at the UW seem like they're there just to do the college thing and get out, do not expect it to be some thriving intellectual scene. This all combined with the Seattle freeze makes it very hard to feel connected to the school... But...you do find a way to make it cool, you will find the occasional engaged person in your class or a teacher who makes the class fun and you'll walk away with great friends from that. If you get involved with the right clubs, you'll meet even more interesting engaged people. It's a huge school but you get used to that quickly, it's just depressing to be around so many drones... All that said, I find that getting involved in clubs, talking a lot in class, checking out a lot of great books from the library, getting into the house party scene, sailing, kayaking, there are ways to make the place more engaging and fun, you are responsible for your experience ultimately, and you'll need to bust your ass for a bit to get into the UW life.
What's the best thing about Washington?: The mountains to the right, the water to the left. Pick your recreation and go. Name one thing you'd change: About Washington? Fewer Californians clogging our highways. Is your school too large, too small, or just right?: Too big for the average student, just right for someone wanting to do research. How do people react when you tell them you go to Washington?: By being impressed. Where do you spend most of your time on campus?: The library and research lab. College town, or "what college town?": Here it seems to be the middle of the city. Kinda sucks when you're used to more greenery. What's your opinion of Washington's administration?: What administration? All we have is a bunch of ex-graduates who try and make student life as difficult as possible while offering just enough to keep us interested in staying. What was the biggest recent controversy on campus?: For me; the (lack of) ability to protect myself from bodily harm despite the numerous armed muggings and beatings (one of which was brought on by no fault of the victim). Is there a lot of school pride?: Probably. I see enough of the t-shirts. Is there anything unusual about Washington?: Other than the rain? What's one experience you'll always remember?: My girlfriend's report of the East Coast's opinion of the UW; "It's mind over matter. They (the administration and professors) don't mind and you don't matter". What are the most frequent student complaints?: Cost of living.
Some people think that UW is a huge school and that it won't appeal to them because of the massive size. To be honest, I thought the same thing when I applied. After choosing UW and actually becoming apart of the campus community, I realize that the university is only as big as you choose to make it. I always saw friends while walking to class, even though there were 40,000 other students walking around. You tend to make friends with those that are interested in the same subjects as you - who will be taking the same classes - who you will see multiple times a week. Once you really find what you're interested in, the school is SO much smaller (in the respect that you recognize people in your classes and have overlapping study buddies for different classes). On the other hand, UW still has the awesome entertainment and activities of a large school: THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO. Two of my all time favorite musical artists have already graced the lawns of UW and I got to meet them personally! If you like you're partying, but still understand that there is more to life than beer pong and late night trips to taco bell, the greek life at UW is the largest on the West Coast. When it's time to buckle down and study, you'll always have buddies to do that with - when it's time to let loose and go wild, there's ALWAYS a party going on.
Honestly, every school has it's pros and cons and making them shouldn't be something that you take lightly. Something to be aware of is that this campus is enormous. There are almost 30,000 undergraduates and over 10,000 graduates, not to mention professors and non-matriculates students. That means that at any given moment, there could be at least 20,000 people. The key is to be out-going, if you have an invisible personality, you will remain invisible. If you join clubs and talk to people, you will surely make friends. Also, with such a large enrollment, classroom sizes can be huge, i'm talking in the hundreds. As in there will be hundreds of people in your giant lectures. I can spout the age old adage: office hours and study groups. A million people can tell you these simple things, but it's up to you to take them to heart. Do know that while UW is in Seattle, it's at the northern end, so the "cool" places, downtown, Capitol Hill, ect are either a REALLY long walk or a medium bus ride away. It is beautiful in the spring/summer and awful in the fall/winter. There are some really historic and breathtaking buildings, and there are some butt-ugly ones. Also, people bleed purple and gold here and they just won't understand if you don't as well, so save up so you can buy those student tickets because they sell out fast!
Seattle is a great place to live. People here are very laid-back, but still very active. There is much to do outside the city, including hiking, camping, skiing, kayaking and boating, as well as plenty of high-end shopping, restaurants, clubs, bars, theater, music (Seattle has one of the top Jazz scenes in the world) and organizations within the city. The area around the university provides a lot of support for students in terms of housing, cheap and diverse food, and part-time jobs. The crime rate in the area is low compared to most other urban settings. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that UW is a very large school. While this can provide a lot if you're unsure what you'll be doing with yourself, it can also make you feel a little lost, especially when first starting out. UW is one of the top research universities in the world, and thus a lot of its energy and focus goes into its graduate programs. Many undergrad students feel as if they are being marginalized by this attitude...on the other hand, it means your TA's are usually top-quality. Many of the more specialized classes like English and philosophy still have small class sizes, too, and are often offered in multiple sections--enabling you to choose the schedule that works better for you.
I love that my school is so diverse - there are people from all different backgrounds here. I can take a small class or a large class if I want to, and there are so many more options that in high school. I can explore what I want to study, and even experiment with my electives. I think UW is just the right size. I can see people that I know easily, or if I want to blend in and make new friends, I can do that as well. When I tell people I go here, it's a good reaction. Our school has a good reputation and I'm proud that I go here. I spend time in my dorm, or my friend's dorms and houses, or at places like Jamba Juice or local cafes. The University District is a great place to live because we're in an area mostly made up of college students, local families, and professors. Then downtown Seattle is just a bus ride away. Another great thing is the pride and unity we have, even for a large school - Go dawgs! We stick together through everything, and I love that. Like last year, when there was the Virginia Tech incident, we came together as a campus to remember those students. That was really cool. On the other hand, the most frequent complaints I hear as a student are about the dorms, which yes, are like dungeons with cramped rooms and greasy, expensive food.
The University of Washington is a big school. Many people don't like this, but I love it. There are opportunities to stand out here. To stand out amongst 26,000 students. When you get recognition in something that is inherently competitive, it gives your work more value. I am pretty involved in theater and it is one of the coolest feelings to know that I am working with people that have worked on Broadway and popular TV shows. There are opportunities for the type of people who go out and get what they want. Do not expect things to be given to you, you must find them. Seattle is always busy. There is always something to do for someone that wants to find something. Because UW is so big, buses go to and from UW to just about everywhere. There is always a band or a play or a mini festival or a big festival. The only thing that suffers in the night life. There aren't many late night places. Unfortunately, the food is over priced. If you plan to live in the dorms, get ready for bland repetitious food at high prices. I plan to move into a house next year where I can get food from the store and restaurants. If you are living in the dorms, you can eat on the Ave, but you still must by a food plan and if you don't spend your dining money, you loose it.
I love it here. The beginning sucks though. It's mostly people hanging out in old high school groups since it's a lot of people mostly from Washington. Since I didn't really like anyone from high school, I hated the beginning. But it gets better! The giant intro classes also kind of suck--it's fairly easy to fade away into the crowd and it's just as easy to get a horrible TA. But the fact is, I still love it. Not to mention, for the most part, the school pride is overflowing. The campus is huge, but it's gorgeous. Seattle is beyond amazing (if you like cities), but UW still has a nice little nook outside a big city. Although it does seem to have a heightened crime rate and for the most part, except for one time this year, UWPD is worthless in counter acting the crime (have they caught anyone? but seriously....) For the most part, you come to UW knowing what you're going to get. I expected a large school outside of a large city that is able to provide me option. That's exactly what I got. Although I wish someone of the douchebags wouldn't come here and that the dorms situation was waaaaay better (tiny rooms with 3 people shoved in them is not uncommon), I can't say I don't love it here....because I most certainly do : )
University of Washington is a big school. This is a boon and a blessing, depending on the student. For me, it is a blessing. It gives me the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people and try new activities, while also allowing me to find like-minded people who share my interests. It is possible to find your niche at this school. One way is to choose smaller classes or a major in a small department. I am earning a double degree - one in a popular major (Economics) and one in a small major (Scandinavian Studies). The Economics major is great because there are always activities like lectures from visiting professors and pizza lunches. I always see new faces in my classes. The Scandinavian Studies major is great because there are intimate gatherings at professors' houses and the advisor knows my name. For a while, my Norwegian class would meet on Fridays at a student's house to watch Norwegian movies. That was fun! One complaint is that the school is not very collegial- many students are commuters, so it can be hard to meet up for group projects. One great thing about the school is that it is very casual. I have seen students in their pajamas at the library late at night.
I am in love with UW. I'm from Clemson, South Carolina so I live about two minutes from Clemson University. Clemson is very much a "college town". I do not especially find UW to be this way. I like the fact that downtown is only a 10-15 minute bus ride away. I love the downtown area. However, UW definitely has the college campus/town appeal. The ave and the Greek system definitely define UW as a college town. The school is now too large nor too small. A lot of my SC friends find it unbelievable that I traveled all the way across the country to come to UW. I would have never missed an oppurtunity like this though. I think our school has a lot of pride, however, i'm very much used to Clemson University pride. The pride at Clemson is so great. Football games are a major event! Death Valley stadium is known to attract the largest crowds in the nation for football games. I find that UW does not especially have that appeal which is one downside for me. UW is definitely a party school. There are parties every night it seems and once you're connected or in the Greek system you find the urge to party to be very great. Overall, UW is such a great school and I wouldn't have gone anywhere else.