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University of Alaska Fairbanks Question

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Nessman, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Nessman

    Nessman From the western slope of the bell curve

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    The kid is going into his senior year and wants to study computer engineering. We took a college tour to Boise State, WSU and Gonzaga a few weeks back, he liked BSU but still has reservations.

    He wants something different. He's looking at college in Alaska but a campus visit would be difficult.

    UAA was the first thought but UAF has the better engineering department per the interweb.

    Any alumni/students care to chime in on the idea?

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. muckntruck

    muckntruck Adventurer

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    UAF is good if he is a self motivator, Staff at UAF, seem to want to do as little as possible to help (professors and advisors included). Like most small engineering schools lots of opportunity for undergrads to do research and work in actual research. IMO if he wants a Fairbanks winter, I say go for UAF, reasonably priced University and good campus facilities. Advisable to have a car or truck, as the campus is not the most lively of places, also average age of students is considerably older, like 25+, so it is a more mature place. Any questions feel free to ask, as I am still going there :bluduh
    #2
    WhicheverAnyWayCan and Nessman like this.
  3. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    I worked for 16 years at UAF; four as faculty and 12 as Director/Associate Vice Chancellor of Students. UAF can offer a great education and student experience if your son works to make it so. The campus is a blend of a commuter and residential schools. This means that campus life is okay, but sometimes a little more initiative in seeking out activities is required. About 1500 students live on campus with about 1/3 of that number being freshman. As in most schools, freshmen can get off track if they are not prepared and committed, but a motivated and academically well prepared student can do well and enjoy campus life. Alcohol is a serious issue for some freshmen at every school and UAF is no exception.

    A key factor will be your son's ability to adapt to the Fairbanks environment. The winters are very cold, long and dark and can affect people in very different ways. Combine that with the feeling of isolation from being very far from home and some students get depressed and unmotivated in their academics. Some of this is common to all freshmen at all schools, but the Fairbanks environment can be particularly difficult for some. On the other hand, for those willing to try new adventures Alaska offers a great deal.

    UAF has traditionally been the primary center for engineering in the UA system, but budget cuts are causing some significant organizational changes. I would try to speak to the department chair in your son's desired major to get a feel for what the future holds for that major. Worth noting is that most freshmen change their major at least once.

    Having a car during the freshman year is a tough call. On one hand the campus is not within walking distance of any off campus facilities and public transportation is not robust, so a car will make life a bit easier. On the other hand it will be expensive to maintain (the winters are tough on vehicles) and can add to the problem of remaining focused on academics.

    UAF has fairly low admissions standards and a freshman success rate of around 60%. This is lower then most state schools but reflective of some students arriving poorly prepared for college and the university not having a truly effective developmental program for these students. If your son struggled in high school, then I would not send him to UAF for his freshman year. If, however, he is a solid student academically, adventurous and makes friends easily, then UAF has much to offer.

    I've tried to avoid being a UAF cheerleader in my comments, but hopefully have provided a realistic but not overly critical picture of UAF. I loved my time there and in Fairbanks. Be prepared for your son to fall in love with the place and stay there forever. Just don't let him get involved with the local motorcycle hooligans.
    #3
  4. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    I grew up in Anchorage but really enjoyed my 2 1/2yrs up at UAF. I went up there because I wanted to live in a dorm on campus. Being an older campus I was impressed with how well taken care of the student body was. Lots of intramural activities and things to do on campus. Tho I'd never bowled before I really had a lot of fun doing it for intramurals. I also won intramural table tennis, rifle competition, and played center on a winning intramural hockey team. :wink: Silly fun. I'm big into playing hockey and enjoyed being there for that as it's big up there but didn't ever play for the U.

    I was glad NOT to have a vehicle up there because of the extremely cold temps. Easy to dress for as it's a dry cold but as mentioned pretty tough on machinery.

    REI just opened a store up there a couple yrs ago if he wants a nice p/t job that's also on the bus route. Fairbanks has long been renowned for it's camaraderie in the community and I really enjoyed a lot of that among fellow mountaineers and adventurers. I've long loved living in Anchorage but when I went to FBKS to help train the new employees at the REI store I was reminded of how friendly the close-knit community is and actually had fleeting thoughts of maybe even moving back up there!

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #4
  5. Nessman

    Nessman From the western slope of the bell curve

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    Thanks for the input. Forwarded to the kid.
    I grew up in Northern Minnesota and know cold and mosquitoes, the kid doesn't.
    #5
  6. Cubdriver

    Cubdriver Stampede Swimmer

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    Wow. Dave what would the average age of student be if you weren't enrolled? 12? LOL Regards, Dick
    #6
  7. akgsa

    akgsa '16 R1200GSA

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    You may know my brother, Scott Hulac.

    UAF is an excellent school for engineering. My brother is a structural engineer. We helped put him through college there, and he did very well. The university hired him when he graduated, now he's working for a large engineering firm at their Fairbanks office. I highly recommend the college. Especiallyover UAA where my wife and I attended, and ultimately transferred out of. Fairbanks is a much better city for safety. If he travels to fairbanks, I could probably arrange for a tour of my brother's company.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    #7
  8. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

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    I don't think having a car is necessary at UAF either. Lots of ride shares and the like, and fairbanks is a decent walking/bicycling city.

    I've taken a few classes post undergrad and the staff at UAF seems as competent as any other college. More importantly, almost, is there always seems like there is something going on on campus all the time. TRips, concerts, events, there's always flyers for all kinds of stuff.
    #8
  9. Non compos mentis

    Non compos mentis Adventurer

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    Quality of life wise if he doesn't mind the winters he might have too much fun up there (as far as his studies are concerned). Obviously AK has a lot to offer when it comes to the outdoors. If he's as self directed in recreation as school he should do well and enjoy his time at UAF. They certainly have some good programs. Though the other schools draw plenty of Alaska students for similar reasons. If he is into the outdoors working at REI part time might end up being an expensive job to maintain. Just ask Mark which is worth more, all of his gear or all of his motorcycles.

    Will
    #9
  10. Nessman

    Nessman From the western slope of the bell curve

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    Thank you.

    He decided on Boise State and is in his third year of Electrical Engineering, going to be a five year program if not a bit longer due to recent events.
    #10