University of Texas — Austin

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Austin, Texas

We’ve profiled a lot of small schools in our college spotlight, so many that it might seem we’re biased against the big schools. We admit it, we love the way that small classes and close contact with dedicated professors virtually guarantees an enriching college experience.

But we also like to think big. In fact, to assume we dislike the big schools would be a big mistake. Take University of Texas at Austin for example.

Any of our discussions on the nation’s top public schools includes UT
Austin with the likes of UC Berkeley, UCLA and University of Michigan.
Like most big schools, UT Austin offers plenty of opportunities if
you’re willing to take advantage of them. UT is the largest school in
the country with 37,000 undergraduate students. There are over 100
undergraduate majors with especially strong programs in architecture,
biology, business, engineering, computer science and English.

Want to get involved on campus? There are over 900 registered clubs and
organizations, from the "Just Move" dance company to "Eight-Letter
Words" where you can "engage in an educational, yet social game of
Scrabble."

With that many students, that many majors and that many clubs, if you
can’t find something to do and someone to do it with, you’re just not
looking hard enough.

If you’re looking for a big sports program, you’ve found the right
place. Each Texas Longhorn football game packs in 80,000 people, all
dressed in Longhorn orange and chanting their athletic mantra, "Hook
’em horns!" The annual UT game against archrival Texas A&M is a
perfect example of the rich pageantry and tradition of college football
(check out the cannon the cheerleaders shoot from the end zone after a
Longhorn touchdown!). College football fans better watch out for the
Longhorns this year. Sports Illustrated’s pre-season ranking has the
Longhorns at #2 behind USC, and quarterback Vince Young (who rushed for
over 1,000 yards last year) is sure to be in the hunt for the Heisman
Trophy. 

Editor’s note–while Vince Young did not ultimately win the Heisman Trophy after the penning of this spotlight, he did ultimately lead the Longhorns to a Rose Bowl victory over USC in one of the single greatest performances in college football history.  And this writer was fortunate enough to be there to see it happen!

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Austin, Texas is as student-friendly as college towns come, especially
on local Sixth Street where there are plenty of restaurants and pubs
priced for college students’ budgets. Austin is one of America’s best
live music towns with a great selection of live rock, blues, jazz and
even folk music. And don’t forget Halloween. According to the Fiske
Guide to Colleges, "Halloween draws an estimated 80,000 costumed
revelers to Sixth Street."

A lot of colleges talk about having a strong alumni network. But it’s
tough to argue with UT’s numbers. There are around 450,000 living UT
alumni (or "Texas Ex’s"), thousands of whom return home for football
games to bleed orange for their beloved Longhorns. If you ever get the
chance to go to a longhorn football game, you’ll see alumni in their
nineties, infants just weeks old, and everybody in between—all blending
in to the sea of Longhorn orange.

Big universities offer big opportunities. But unlike at small schools,
it is the student’s responsibility to make the most of them. Nobody is
going to hold your hand at UT (or any large school), but there are
plenty of people willing to extend their hands. You’ll just have to be
willing to ask.

If you’d like to think big and maybe get a chance to shout "Hook ’em
Horns" during your college years, learn more about UT Austin here.