The University of Arizona is located in Tucson, AZ, USA, in the lower-central area of the state. Tucson is about 10 degrees cooler and a good deal smaller than Phoenix, the state's capital, which is about 120 miles away.

Incoming Students:
Go to a community college first. In Tucson, Pima Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the nation, and has about a zillion classes on several campuses citywide. The reason a community college would be good is because like many very large (24,616 full-time students) universities, the UA makes you take very boring classes for your general education requirements, and in very large lecture halls (anywhere from 200 to 550+ student each). There are some saving graces, such as small-group days of large classes (which are handled by Teaching Assistants, TA's), but for a wet-behind-the-ears freshman, it isn't enough to adjust from high school. Don't bother. Their system, called the Tier system, is confusing and stupid at best (at worst, a freshman could get their GPA entangled in it badly enough to jeopardize a college career). This is not to say it's a bad University; for Fiscal 1995-96, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has ranked The University of Arizona 17th among all universities, and 11th among public universities, for research and development expenditures.

Once you get your AGEC (Arizona General Education Certificate) requirement out of the way at a community college, you won't have to take any Tier B.S. at all, and you can just go straight into classes pertaining to your major of study. At the upper-classman level (3rd year and higher), the class sizes diminish, and the general quality of the education increases dramatically.

Departments of Note:
-The Electrical Engineering & Optics is top-notch. If you want to go into electrical or optics engineering, this is a good choice, though a hard one. Should you make it so far as the grad level - which is where the interesting stuff happens - you will have to work your butt off, working a TA or research position at all hours. Be aware that you won't take a lot of classes, per se, that you have to be at at any particular time but you will be working. A lot. So if you have trouble with procrastination and work ethic... think twice. Also, as is true for all TA positions, it's very hard to make a living with the money you earn, you will need to earn a scholarship, or have some other source of income.
-The Fine Arts departments (Music, Dance, Art, et cetera) are very good programs, with a great deal of resources, such as computer labs, foundries, and so on. They have a very, very liberal mindset, very big into very dense, complicated, and (arguably) pretentious 20th century music and art. Some will find this refreshing as it strongly encourages innovation and personal exploration. Others will find it lacking in focus.
-The Business, Law, Et Cetera
I don't know as much about Business/law colleges, but I know that they are very full of Greeks, and that those who do well often succeed because of the many connections that can be made in the school, but I don't know how well it fares in comparison to other Universities. The University Medical Center (UMC) takes up about a fifth of the total area of the campus. Also, the Psychology department is supposed to be very good, too, but I can't verify that.

-The Greeks:
There is a very large Greek (i.e., sorority and fraternity) community at the University of Arizona. The community here are very much within the stereotypes of Greek life: parties, debauchery, scant clothing, and general idiocy. The UA, partly due to said debauchery had the Most Sexually Active Dormatory in the United States, West of the, Coronado Hall. Horror stories of those thin walls abound. On a personal note, I find their behavior revolting, not in what they do, but how often they do it and why: sex & drunkenness are all many of them know; college (as in the education part) is secondary. They are also the source of a lot of the "beautiful people" that come to UA, for reasons I've never been able to figure out. I've been told by many visitors from all over the country that UA has to have the best-looking student body on the planet.

Tution & Costs:
The U of A gives a big discount to in-state residents on tuition. $2264 (+/-) will cover it for in-state, $9416 (+/-) for out-of-state. Monthly rent around the campus is about $350-$450 living by yourself, $250-$350 with roommates, plus electric bills and such. Books over the course of 2 semesters will probably run you about $400 to $600, up to $750 if you're a starting art student who needs to buy a ton of art supplies AND books. Parking in this area is a problem, and passes aren't cheap, either. I use my bike.

Generally, this is one of the nicest things about the UA; Fall and Spring are absolutely gorgeous; around 70F to 80F with rain about once every other month. Winter can get chilly! For some reason people back East think it never gets cold here in the Winter. Of course, 25 degrees is pretty warm compared to what people at, say, the University of Michigan have to deal with in mid-January, but by no means can one go the whole year without a jacket and long pants. You folks from colder climes will, undoubtedly, find it amusing when the Tucsonites bust out coats and sweaters when the temperature hits 70.

Tucson is a kind of very, very large small town. It has a small music scene and is a second-tier touring stop (Garbage, Type O Negative, Too $hort, Ani DiFranco, and Bob Dylan are some of the bigger names to come through recently) because of all of the college kids here. The club district (4th Avenue) has a few pretty good venues and bars, and downtown has some as well. Still, for anyone who's used to a big city back East, Tucson will be boring without a core group of friends to hang out with. It may also be too big for people who prefer very small towns, though arguably the University is a small town in of itself.

The Big Picture:
The University is a goddamn big University (a few square miles). It has an occasionally great sports program (football and basketball, particularly). It offers a dizzying variety of programs. The town it's in is loathed by some and loved by some.

-UA Website:

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