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Anybody going to Arkansas University

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Arkansas has just informed me that i was admitted to the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies PhD Program. I am really thrilled about this admission because I have not prepared well as my GRE and TOEFL scores are not very competitive. I applied to Binghamton and Indiana as well and I am still waiting for the results... Now, I live in Jersey City, NJ, and I am a permanent resident. I am thinking about moving to Fayetteville and was wondering if anybody is moving there as well. I would appreciate your help about what to expect and what i should bear in mind before moving... 


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Hey Gouaghou,

I'm actually a Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas. I'm in the second semester of the Econ Ph.D. program. I've lived all over the place but grew up in NY. I can tell you a bit about Fayetteville and feel free to ask any specific questions...

Fayetteville is nestled in Northwest Arkansas, which has its own unique culture separate from the rest of the state. This region revolves around the University and the major corporate headquarters here (WalMart, Tyson, JBHunt). As such, there is a relatively large makeup of university affiliation or corporate affiliation in the population. People around here love football and the Razorbacks are a big deal. As a grad student, it'll really be up to you if you want to buy into the sports culture, but any grad students that did their undergrad in the state or another SEC school seem pretty well invested in the athletic culture. I've noticed most grad students, not from the south, don't go to games much.There is a lot to do beyond that though. The activity of choice around here seems to be biking. The "greenway" is a paved bike trail that stretches about 40 miles and connects to a network of other trails. The camping and hiking aren't bad either. I lived in Alaska before Fayetteville, so I've had to get used to the shorter "mountains" that the Ozarks provide. If you are into the arts, then there are a lot of great shows here ranging from country, classical, jazz, etc. Nightlife is definitely pretty good, as well.

The resources for research down here are kind of fantastic. Arkansas tends to fully fund grad students, limiting the number of acceptances, increasing our opportunities to work on projects, get our pick of advisers, and publish before graduating. In my program, at least, cohorts average about 4 a year and typical completion is 4 years expected, 5 occasionally. We are also a direct flight from: NYC, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Dallas, and a couple other major hubs. 

Weather is weird here. The summers are quite hot and humid. Winter is pretty mild, rare snow each year, freezing rain. Arkansas has pretty bad drivers and I've been to a majority of states. Overall the weather is way more tolerable than the northeast and you will chuckle at the southerners wearing big down jackets at 45 degrees.  

Cons (to me):

  • Way too much hype around athletics.
  • Hot, humid summers
  • This place can be socially behind at times. Still, a lot of people thinking women should just find someone to marry, for example. You won't find it in the grad students circle, though.
  • The campus is culturally homogeneous. This is primarily the undergraduate population I'm talking about. Obviously, the grad school is very diverse given worldwide recruiting.
  • Megachurches. I have no issue with any religion, but just remember, this is the bible belt. As expected, the graduate school and faculty are much more indifferent towards religion.
  • Bad drivers

Pros (again, to me):

  • Great funding.
  • Awesome conference and research budgets (College dependant).
  • A great graduate school community
  • Bike trails and running trails everywhere!
  • Good nightlife and pretty solid food options
  • Pretty friendly campus community
  • Research Support
  • Library!!! The librarians at UArk are seriously fantastic. ILL takes less than a day for digital material, often as quickly as 3 hours.
  • Direct flights to the major cities

This is just a short list of my thoughts. Keep in mind, I've only been here for under a year, but feel free to ask any questions!

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