The University of Texas
What's it like to be a student at the University of Texas at Austin? As the 5th largest university in the nation, the University of Texas provides students a world-class education, enriching opportunities, lifelong friends and professional contacts, and great fun — all at the same time.
U.S. News and World Report ranks universities, colleges and departments using different criteria. Other organizations also rank them, but this is the most important ranking system. Currently, our department is ranked 9th in the United States for the undergraduate program and 10thfor its graduate program. We are the only university in the top 10 within a 900-mile radius of Austin. Although you can certainly receive a good education at a lower-ranked institution, there are important advantages to attending a higher-ranked one. Some of the most prestigious companies only recruit at top institutions, thus our students' starting salaries are always higher than national averages (see numbers above). This likely means you'll earn more over your lifetime, as starting salaries correlate strongly to lifetime earnings. In addition, UT Austin's ME program is the lowest priced top-10 ME program in the country.
The University is known as one of this nation's "Public Ivies," according to The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Universities by Howard and Mathew Greene of Greenes' Guides. It's no wonder that the university is one of Texas' flagship universities. According to the National Research Council, seven of the University's doctoral programs rank in the top ten in the nation. The university has even had nine Nobel laureates associated with it.*
Over 900 Student Organizations
What is there to do at the university, other than get a great education?
Students will find other like-minded friends here. The university has more than 900 student organizations. The biggest problem is making a choice, as there are so many opportunities available.
If you're interested in more artistic entertainment, the university certainly has plenty to provide in that area as well. The University of Texas Performing Arts Center is responsible for most of the theatre, dance, and music that goes on at the University. The Bass Concert Hall regularly hosts Broadway shows and big-name concerts with student discounts. Besides touring shows, the university puts on plays, dance performances, and concerts through the Theatre and Dance Department and the Butler School of Music.
The school also has a number of museums featuring fine art and items of historical interest. For example, the Harry Ransom Center is the home to one of only five complete Gutenberg Bibles in the country. The Blanton Museum of Art is the university's fine art museum and is the largest university art museum in the United States (The University of Texas at Austin Visitor's Guide, 2008, p.21). It houses approximately 17,000 works, primarily from Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
If you like to watch or play sports, you are in for a treat. The Texas Longhorns Football team, started in 1893, is the third most victorious college football program. They have been National Champions four times, and won countless conference championships and bowls. It's no wonder that they recently had to expand the stadium, making it the fifth largest in the NCAA.
Longhorn Football isn't the only great team at The University of Texas at Austin. The men's basketball team ranks 17th in total victories, and 26th in all-time wins. The women's basketball team has been in the top ten of the Big 12 Conference since 1996. Altogether, the University of Texas at Austin is home to over a dozen collegiate teams.
And if you want to just play, RecSports sponsors a number of intramural sports. The University's intramural sports program, established in 1916, is one of the oldest in the nation. There are 14 sports to choose from, with flag football being the most popular. In the 2008-2009 school year, there are approximately 400 flag football teams registered. Of those teams, at least 16 of the captains are mechanical engineering students.
Athletics/Staying Fit (campus facilities)
Students who want to stay in shape have an excellent resource available to them. The Gregory Gymnasium is free to students and has a number of features for the fitness-minded individual. The gym contains seven basketball courts, nine volleyball courts, a 1/7th mile indoor jogging track, ten handball/racquetball/wallyball courts, two international-size squash courts, a weight training room, a climbing wall, multi-purpose rooms, badminton, table tennis, steam and sauna rooms, and a huge aquatic complex. The aquatic complex has two indoor pools, three outdoor pools, and a heated spa. For more information on recreational sports, visit utrecsports.org.
There are countless other activities available at the University of Texas. The Student Events Center (SEC), for example, hosts concerts, lectures, plays, dances and a regular free movie. The SEC has its offices in the Texas Union, which is also home to a Food Court, the Cactus Cafe, Informal Classes, and the Union Underground, which has bowling and pool.
In all, the University of Texas at Austin is an excellent school. The students and faculty are superior. The facilities and activities are sure to provide for all student needs. A student would be hard-pressed to find a better educational experience anywhere in the world. In-state residents might have to spend two or three times as much money to get a comparable education elsewhere.
Not only is The University of Texas at Austin an excellent academic choice, it's an excellent financial choice. Even students who have been promised extremely good scholarships to other engineering programs, should know that the university's stellar academic reputation may open career opportunities at graduation that would not be available at a lesser academic institution.