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PhilosophReese

Tuscaloosa, AL

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Where should I live? I'd prefer to be able to walk/ride a bike to class if that is possible. I am not very familiar with the area and could use an inside track.... Thanks.

-Reese

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I might end up in Tuscaloosa as well. So info needed about this place. HElp Plzzz!!

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I'm not sure I'd be MUCH help, but I do live in Alabama and have visited T-town as it's called a few times.

I didn't attend UA, but I've heard that most students have to walk long distances (but that might be subjective...maybe it isn't THAT far) to attend class.

You'll DEFINITELY want a car if possible. T-town is like most other towns in Alabama. Hardly anything is truly within walking distance. It seems that a lot of the 'main drag' type stuff is on McFarlane Blvd, and the mall is on University (I think).

Tuscaloosa isn't a particularly nice town overall. Of course I'm an Auburn fan, so I might be a bit biased there! Truthfully, there are some parts of Tuscaloosa I'd stay away from in terms of living, of course I don't know enough about the town to tell you where that would be.

My friend that got her Masters there lived in Cottondale about 10 minutes up the interstate.

I think most of the apartments around the university are infested with loud partying undergrads.

hope this helps, and you guys can message me if you want to know anything else. Sorry I'm not a huge expert.

Roll Tide WAR EAGLE! (You'll get used to that if you come)

hehe

Edited by sociolog86

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I'm not sure I'd be MUCH help, but I do live in Alabama and have visited T-town as it's called a few times.

I didn't attend UA, but I've heard that most students have to walk long distances (but that might be subjective...maybe it isn't THAT far) to attend class.

You'll DEFINITELY want a car if possible. T-town is like most other towns in Alabama. Hardly anything is truly within walking distance. It seems that a lot of the 'main drag' type stuff is on McFarlane Blvd, and the mall is on University (I think).

Tuscaloosa isn't a particularly nice town overall. Of course I'm an Auburn fan, so I might be a bit biased there! Truthfully, there are some parts of Tuscaloosa I'd stay away from in terms of living, of course I don't know enough about the town to tell you where that would be.

My friend that got her Masters there lived in Cottondale about 10 minutes up the interstate.

I think most of the apartments around the university are infested with loud partying undergrads.

hope this helps, and you guys can message me if you want to know anything else. Sorry I'm not a huge expert.

Roll Tide WAR EAGLE! (You'll get used to that if you come)

hehe

Gosh, I hope you don't take the above post seriously. UA and Tuscaloosa have made dramatic improvements since the eighties and early nineties, when I was an undergrad. For one, UA is much bigger, and has a much more accomplished student body. UA is tenth in the nation among public schools in enrolling Nat. Merit Scholars. Personally, as a UA alum, I am jealous that you get to go to Grad school there. For the field I am in, FSU has the better program, but UA is by far the more attractive campus. You will love Dr. Chotiner!

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I'm just an undergrad, so I can't speak for the graduate experience. But here are my two cents, just in case anyone comes by this thread looking for some info...

Tuscaloosa is very much a small, southern town. Though the town is much larger than the campus itself, it is your stereotypical "college town." The campus explodes on game days. If you're a football fan, there's PLENTY of that to go around, and if you're not, it's entirely possible to avoid it altogether (I have!) There is not much to do in town if you're not a sports fan/drinker, but on occasion, the university's different departments host plays, concerts, art exhibits, etc. Birmingham is around an hour away, and a likely destination for more 'culture' (concerts, etc).

The campus is constantly undergoing construction, which is both good and bad--recently, they have constructed BEAUTIFUL new facilities for Chemistry, Biology and some Computer Engineering. They are in the process of building two new Engineering buildings that will complete a "science quad" within 1-2 minutes' walk of the student center. I have been in both the Chemistry and Biology/Computer buildings, and the facilities there are fantastic--clean, new, plenty of space. The campus is gorgeous and often well-kept; if you're looking for green grass and blue skies, this is your place.

As for the people, this is a rather diverse town--for the area. The grad programs attract a lot of international students as well as students from the region. It is overwhelmingly Christian and conservative here, and southern accents abound. If you aren't Christian, you probably won't encounter any problems from anyone. If you aren't conservative, there are some liberal-minded people around here for you to interact with, just not enough to make much of a difference politically. And you'll just have to get used to the accents.

If you want a fast-paced environment full of people and excitement... this is not the place for you. At all. But if you want a friendly and slow-paced, somewhat secluded grad experience, with fairly cheap housing and some beautiful new facilities, you should check it out! Let me know if you have any questions.

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Where should I live? I'd prefer to be able to walk/ride a bike to class if that is possible. I am not very familiar with the area and could use an inside track.... Thanks.

-Reese

Hey, I think that the best thing you and all you guys looking for where to stay, while attending, should do, is, to book a hotel room for a couple of days and check out the area, first. My brother did so and he found a roommate immediately. You can find some hotels on http://ua.universityhotelnetwork.com/. Hope this helps.

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While I didn't go to the University, I grew up in Tuscaloosa, and I can tell you pretty much anything you need to know about the area. My advice is to avoid large apartment blocks unless you know someone who lives there. A lot of them (that aren't insanely over expensive) are traps for foolish undergraduates to sink money into, being poorly made and providing very little service in terms of security and repairs. I would recommend either calling a realtor (Sherrill Realty has some nice apartments at reasonable prices—that's who my sister leased her apartment through) if you want to live within walking distance to campus or looking for apartments farther up either 15th street (look for some near veteran's parkway) or in Northport, the city next to Tuscaloosa that is within a 5-10 minute drive to campus.

The university is trying to become a walking campus, so there is bus service to campus from several major places and parking lots, so a car isn't a necessity, although I really don't recommend coming without one unless you absolutely must. Avoid renting apartments in the Alberta City or the West End/Downtown area unless you have visited them first as these areas quickly transition from safe to unsafe. I'd also avoid The Links, Boardwalk, and The Retreat apartments, all of which have definite security issues.

On the up side, rent in Tuscaloosa is pretty reasonable, and while there aren't a lot of entertainments, there are some good bars and clubs, and its within easy driving distance of Birmingham if you need something a bit more exciting.

Hope that helps!

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I forgot to add; don't let the university convince you to try graduate housing. Even though it looks ok from the outside; they have a definite mold problem. They also stick transfers in there so you could end up with an unfriendly undergrad as your roommate.

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Can anyone elaborate more on the housing situation. I would be starting grad school in the fall with a wife and small daughter. We'd like to rent a house if possible and in a safe area. Can anyone say a bit more about what areas may be safer and offer house rentals and what to expect in terms of rent $$?

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Can anyone elaborate more on the housing situation. I would be starting grad school in the fall with a wife and small daughter. We'd like to rent a house if possible and in a safe area. Can anyone say a bit more about what areas may be safer and offer house rentals and what to expect in terms of rent $?

Hi Piparoo! I can't get too detailed without some more specifics about places you're looking at.

I can tell you generally though that I think you should look at Northport (north of town) as it's a pretty safe area and the housing is even cheaper than in Tuscaloosa. It also has a lot of rental properties. We lived off of Flatwoods road in a rental house for a couple of years, and it was very safe and reasonably priced. If you're wanting to live in town, look either east or south. East, there are some great areas with condos and rental housing (try Woodland Forest subdivision, or condos/housing branching off of 15th St./Veterans Parkway). On the south end of town in the Taylorville/Hillcrest area, it gets a little more "rural" (pretty relative in an already non-urban area), and there are more rental housing opportunities. You could look in Inverness or some of the garden home subdivisions. This area is also really safe and you can't go too wrong here.

You could try going a little farther out. Someone mentioned Cottondale, a town nearby Tuscaloosa, that will certainly be cheaper and generally safe. Keep in mind though that in all honesty, cost of living in Tuscaloosa is very low (I honestly think you can find what you're looking for than less than a 1000 per month, although the best deals will take some searching for. My sister lives a 10 minute walk from campus in a nice apartment and pays about 600; if she'd gone with a similar property in Northport it would have been closer to 500) and safe (as long as you avoid the areas I mentioned in an earlier post, esp. Alberta City and the West End, unless you're from here, it's hard to tell which places are actually safe in those areas).

Hope that helps!

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Does UA even do graduate housing anymore? From what I could surmise from the website, it seemed like they had turned the only place that was for grads into freshman dorms.

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Tuscaloosa is a nice, Southern college town, as is any in the SEC with the exception of Starkville. The only major problem is having to deal with Alabama football fans. If you really want to get a good Southern experience, try City Cafe or Waysider. They are both great "meat and three" joints that will serve as good field research both for local foodways and for heart disease.

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Okay, so now that I've accepted my offer from Alabama, I have some obsessing to do about the move for the next few months :) I'm wondering what is the best time to secure your rental for the fall. We were thinking of heading to T-town in a few weeks and seeing if we couldn't get a lease signed now to move in Aug 1. Anyone else going to Alabama in the fall?

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Okay, so now that I've accepted my offer from Alabama, I have some obsessing to do about the move for the next few months :) I'm wondering what is the best time to secure your rental for the fall. We were thinking of heading to T-town in a few weeks and seeing if we couldn't get a lease signed now to move in Aug 1. Anyone else going to Alabama in the fall?

I will be coming to Tuscaloosa in the fall to start the MBA program. I have only done brief housing research, but so far The Reserve at North River apartments look the best to me.

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Tuscaloosa is a nice, Southern college town, as is any in the SEC with the exception of Starkville. The only major problem is having to deal with Alabama football fans. If you really want to get a good Southern experience, try City Cafe or Waysider. They are both great "meat and three" joints that will serve as good field research both for local foodways and for heart disease.

What's wrong with Starkville?

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We were able to find a nice rental house for $650 so thanks all for the info. We did notice that it seems like March was when a lot of these places were being rented so we were glad we looked when we did. Congrats Lethal on doing the MBA, we may have some stats classes together!

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UA has great housing opportunities close to campus and an excellent variety within walking/cycling distance. Without knowing your housing needs I would suggest looking at the newer apartment communities in town such as The Woodlands, The Village, and The Retreat. Message me and I'll give you specific contact names. Hope your search goes well.

Where should I live? I'd prefer to be able to walk/ride a bike to class if that is possible. I am not very familiar with the area and could use an inside track.... Thanks.

-Reese

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To the people accepted at Alabama--congrats!!

I have a question about your notifications. When I log onto the myBama website to check my application status, I can't really tell what my admission decision is exactly. I'm sure the ambiguity either means my app hasn't been processed or that there isn't a decision ready, but it also looks like I might have been accepted? They have an old e-mail of mine on file and I don't seem to be able to update it, so I haven't received anything there. Can anyone give me any insight on what your myBama application status looks like, or how it looks once your app was accepted? I guess I could just e-mail the grad school and ask.. Thanks!

Edited by andsoitgoes161

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I have started looking already, although I don't plan on trying to sign a lease until May or June. I will be moving to Tuscaloosa, AL and I currently live in Milwaukee, WI so I'm quite a ways away, which is what has me worried. I plan on visiting for a weekend to view as many apartments as I can, and also talking to current grad students to see if they have recommendations.

 

A couple people have mentioned realtors - has anyone actually used a realtor to find an apartment? I thought of doing that but haven't looked into it. If you have used a realtor, have you had good experiences? I think it might make it easier to have someone helping in my search, who is maybe able to find the smaller places that I don't see online, but I don't want it to be more of a hassle than it is worth.

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Guess not that many people are attending UA, based on the activity in this thread haha!

 

In any case, I am thinking about attending UA and would love some more info on Tuscaloosa. How affordable is it for a grad student, is there housing near campus, anything to do around town etc?

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Is it safe to say I should give up on hearing from UGA and accept the offer at UA? I can't imagine why they haven't rendered a decision. Let me take that back...I can't imagine why they haven't sent out rejection letters.

 

It's defintely time to give up hope and turn my sights toward brighter days in Tuscaloosa B).

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I'm a senior at UA right now and may be staying here for grad school too. Honestly, the apartments close to campus are not something I would recommend. Most are very loud and filled with partying undergrads. I am even looking into renting a house right outside Tuscaloosa in Northport or Cottondale. With morning traffic it would be a 15-20 minute drive. There are a few bars that grad students frequent, but overall from what I understand grad students mostly hang out with people in their department. Don't worry about parking or having to walk a lot, like someone else posted about. You can take a campus bus or walk from the parking areas and most grad classes will be in one or two buildings max. 

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In the worse case scenario, you could take a non-ideal place for a year that doesn't break the bank and then move next year when you have more time on your side and you have a better idea of where the good places are at.

 

As an international student, I did exactly that. I signed a lease in an University-owned apartment complex so as to get to know the area and then, once I am settled and have a clear idea of where I want to live, I'll start looking for a place on my own. I am relieved I already have somewhere to sleep, being at a distance is very difficult. 

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