A Comparison of Schools Part 2
As promised, here is part 2 of yesterday’s comparison post.
It is a good idea to compare schools on multiple levels in order to figure out which school is the best fit for you. By multiple levels I mean comparisons on various aspects, the two most crucial being your prospective major and the school as a whole. Since I am majoring in architecture and not industrial and systems engineering, I cannot compare Texas A&M and Illinois by major and therefore I will stick to the school in general.
Let’s start with locations.
Just like Illinois, A&M is fairly secluded in the sense that it is not located near any major cities. College Station, Texas, is about an hour away from Houston, the nearest big city. Champaign-Urbana on the other hand is about two and a half hours away from Chicago. So smallest distance to a big city is definitely A&M, but I think it is important enough to mention that Houston is nowhere near as cool as Chicago. Unlike Chicago, Houston is largely a business center; there are not many people who actually live in the city.
Next lets consider the campus of each school.
Illinois has an extremely nice campus. Most students can walk from their dorms or apartments to all of their classes and restaurants, stores, etc. A car is definitely not necessary at Illinois. The academic buildings are all, for the most part, arranged along the Quad. The Quad is a picturesque place and the buildings at Illinois are mostly designed in the New England and Classical styles – architectural styles that are quite collegiate. The feeling of walking around the Quad on a sunny day is unbeatable.
Texas A&M on the other hand is located on a much larger piece of land, making it difficult for students to get around without a car. Most dorms, apartments, sororities, fraternities, etc. are separated from campus by large and busy streets. A&M thus is not a walkable campus like Illinois is. In addition, the buildings of A&M are quite ugly, for the most part, and do not provide the campus with that nice collegiate feeling that Illinois has. **But I would like to give an honorable mention to A&M’s new industrial engineering building, designed by Perkins & Will.** Another aspect of A&M that I found to be a negative is that since most students drive, the campus is interrupted by large concrete parking lots – a colossal eye sore in my opinion.
Texas A&M is nationally famous for their school pride. Texas Aggies are so prideful that their school spirit is often times described as cult-like. Yes, it is really that intense. Football is HUGE in Texas and rivalries are taken VERY seriously. While I was there for Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the very last Texas A&M and University of Texas football game (A&M is joining the SEC next year). UT is A&M’s biggest rival and the two teams have played against each other every Thanksgiving for years. The student section at A&M is also very famous as the students bring so much energy to the game. Now some of you may be wondering how it compares to Block I at Illinois, well I’m afraid there is just no contest – the Aggies win hands down.
Illinois has many great organizations through which students can demonstrate their school spirit in an organized fashion – Block I, Orange Crush, etc. But it just doesn’t compare to the scale of the Aggie spirit.
Climates are also very important!
Illinois, being in the Midwest, has extremely cold winters and very hot summers. Autumn; however, is quite lovely as the leaves change colors vibrantly before they fall to the ground.
Texas is a very different story. Texas summers are swelteringly hot, humid and all around uncomfortable. Spring and fall are still very warm and during winter it rarely dips below fifty degrees.
In short, Illinois is the best school ever and there should really be no need for any comparing of schools. But for those who I haven’t quite convinced of this fact, (yet) I hope my brief comparison has helped with the process of choosing the right school for you.
As always, please feel free to leave me any questions, comments, or concerns in the section below. I wish you all an easy and stress free week!
P.S. Sorry to all of the Aggies (my boyfriend included) who I may have offended with this post.