If your school is listed on http://www.pickaprof.com
, I highly recommend you check it out. You can type in a course you need to take, and it will list all the professors, their average GPA and grade distributions, and comments. I've used this website numerous times to avoid the bad profs. At my school, many classes were taught by graduate students rather than by professors (who were there mainly to do research); I guess that's a standard thing at many public schools, and many spoke very poor english, which is a really bad thing in technically-oriented subjects especially. Most classes I took were pure lecture classes (the instructor gets up for an hour and talks). Many posted their lecture notes on the Internet, so you didn't really have to be writing during the whole lecture, and most gave between 2 and 4 tests, plus a final. Some classes, such as chemistry, had a lab which was either factored into your lecture grade, or set aside in it's own 'one credit hour' class.
I was in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M, so we basically lived by a different set of rules than the "non-reg" folks in the civilian dorms. Comparing my corps experience with my experience living in the regular dorms after I had graduated from the Corps, I'd say that we really had alot more freedom in the Corps dorms. Our day-to-day dorm life was completely student-run. Senior year, myself and my roommate (he was C.O., I was X.O.) were essentially the RAs, and I'm not even going to post here the things that we were able to get away with (until 2010 when the statute of limitations runs out
). But I will say that we knew there was a cat in the dorm and turned a deaf ear to it. There were no "adults" living in the dorms, but once per week or so we'd recieve a cursory visit by our CTO (Cadet Training Officer) during his daytime working hours. We had a no-visitors policy during the week as we were usually busy with school and corps activities, but the weekends were pretty much fair game for anything. As far a roommates go, you're assigned a roommate when you arrive for FOW (Freshmen Orientation Week). You pretty much have to learn pretty quickly to work with and like your roommate (and rest of your class), because they're the only friends you're going to have to rely on to get through the program.
As for my life in a civilian dorm after the corps, I didn't enjoy it as much because there was no esprit-de-corps, the RAs were tools (we were written up for the dumbest things), and there was this wierd politics going on among the RAs and the GHD (Graduate Hall Director, the "adult" in the dorm).
I guess it depends on how conservative or liberal your school is, but you may have alcohol and safety inspections periodically. My advice is to keep a fairly low-profile, whenever you do something which "borders the rules", and you probably won't have any problems with what you do in the privacy of your own room. Don't be stupid, but have fun in college; that's what it's about!
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