U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 06-28-2012, 10:01 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
6 posts, read 9,952 times
Reputation: 10


Hey guys! North Carolina native here, graduating University in a couple of semesters and I'm considering schools in the mid-west for either grad school or a second bachelors degree. Iowa strikes me a pretty great place. Ever since I was little I've had the strangest fascination with the state. I can remember looking at maps when I was very young and thinking it had the best name of all 50 states, and driving to Boise to visit family I remember being sad we didn't spend more time in Iowa (we drove the whole way from Eastern NC, by the way, a pretty awesome drive).

I'm thinking about the three public Universities pretty strongly. All three I like, but I favor the University of Iowa in Iowa City (because it reminds me so much of my alma mater, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill) but Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa seem nice as well. I'm not sure I could get into the University of Iowa for either grad or second bac though, as I really messed up my first couple of semesters and have only now really hit my stride and found my passion (chemistry) so I'm thinking Iowa State or (more likely) the UNI are respectively increasingly more likely.

I'm not sure what I'm asking of you guys, really. I just want to talk about these three places in general, see if people who actually live in Iowa City, Ames, or Cedar Falls have anything to say. I really love all the pictures of Iowa that get posted. It's nice to see others who enjoy this site!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 06-30-2012, 08:54 PM
Location: Midwest
99 posts, read 227,985 times
Reputation: 36
I am a NC native. I was accepted to U of I and was actually all set on attending for graduate school, but changed my mind at the last minute. For graduate school, as long as you have decent letters of recommendation and have a good GPA in your major, you should be okay.

I've only ever visited Iowa City, but I did apply to and was accepted at UNI in Cedar Falls. I chose U of I because the school has a better reputation than UNI and because Cedar Falls seemed like a boring area to live.

I really liked Iowa City for the most part. Compared to where I lived in NC, it seemed like a great place. Low crime and great restaurants were the main reasons I liked Iowa City. The campus was okay. It wasn't ugly, but I've seen more beautiful campuses across the country. I didn't like that it was essentially plopped in the downtown area. However, the traffic was never bad in Iowa City and it would only take about 15 minutes to get from the far side of Coralville to the other side of campus in IC. Also, it seemed like a great place to bike instead of taking a car.

A big turnoff about Iowa City for me was the housing. I only found a few apartments that were available in May, and I believe most of them were in Coralville. I felt like the housing in Iowa City was overpriced (come on, it's Iowa, not NYC). The places I looked at were tiny, built in the 1960s or 70s, lacked basic amenities, and were over $500/month. I wasn't interested in having a room mate and my rent limit was $600/month, I also have two cats, so these factors limited my housing.

I eventually chose another program elsewhere because my current program offered me more financial aid and I felt like it was a better fit for me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-01-2012, 01:32 AM
Location: Midwest
1,005 posts, read 2,384,517 times
Reputation: 246
Out of the three I think you would prefer the University of Iowa. The housing market can be very small, and difficult to find low prices unless you look extensively. If you are not able to attend Iowa, second is Iowa State located in Ames. Ames is less perfect than Iowa City for a college student but is only a thirty minute drive from the state largest city.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-12-2012, 09:42 PM
5 posts, read 6,760 times
Reputation: 20
I went to UNI and it was a great college, but it really depends on what you want to do. Iowa State has a great vet school, ag program, and engineering program. Iowa on the other hand is an excellent choice if you're thinking about a medical profession, or other science related careers. Wanna be a teacher? Look no further than UNI. They have the best school of education.

If greek life is what you're looking for, DON'T go to UNI. Iowa or Iowa State has way better fraternities and sororities (personally, I want to tell you to be a Cyclone vs. a Hawkeye as I was raised near Ames). That's so wonderful that you have viewed Iowa as a place to land. It's a wonderful state with great people and you won't regret your decision. Let us know what you end up deciding!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-13-2012, 08:28 AM
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,542,391 times
Reputation: 1433
Here's a timely article in today's Des Moines Register regarding the schools' national rankings:

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2013, 04:38 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
6 posts, read 9,952 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all for your comments! I really appreciate them and I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner.

I've decided to finish my undergrad career here at UNC. I am, however, considering heavily a move to either Des Moines or Omaha (NE, of course, but almost IA) for law school at Drake or Creighton, respectively. As they are mid-range schools, I don't feel like my past academic mishaps will hinder my entry too much, and I've kinda been seduced by their literature haha. Plus, they're employment statistics are good for my career plan: I want to establish myself in a small city or small rural town as a lawyer. Iowa seems the perfect place for this.

I've had the opportunity to talk to one of the members of my church choir (I'm Episcopalian, fyi) who is an Iowa native. She studied at UI and is encouraging me on this adventure! Also, she's told me that I'd possibly make a good transfer to University of Iowa law after my first year, depending on my performance. That's an exciting prospect, even though I have fallen for Creighton and Drake, as Iowa City really reminds me of a mid-western Chapel Hill, and UI of a midwestern UNC.

Anyway, any further thoughts or comments are appreciated! Thank you guys so much.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-01-2013, 04:46 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
6 posts, read 9,952 times
Reputation: 10
I guess I should also add that I have no romanticized idea of rural or small town life. I grew up in rural NC so I know well it's issues, but I honestly couldn't love it more. My part of NC is so rural that there's only ONE stoplight in the entire county. ONE.

We also boast the northern extent of the American Alligator's territory. I've seen them in the wild, and I've eaten them not infrequently.

Here's a link: Gates County, North Carolina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you read, you'll see it's actually a bit cool for a rural area. We have a nice, rich history, and we're only 2 hours from the Atlantic.

(and the deleted message below, if its former existence is still noted, was just this one again, which I didn't know had gone through)

Last edited by rmb0971; 05-01-2013 at 05:14 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-03-2013, 07:42 AM
3,493 posts, read 4,701,296 times
Reputation: 5358
I spent more years there than I care to remember.

UofI has an excellent program, but the out of state tuition is going to leave you owing more than you can hope to recover in this job market. If you were an MBA program, UofI wanted you to agree to leave the state after graduation so the low salaries of Iowa wouldn't hurt their rankings. If you are going for a program in which UofI does not have a top ranking, you might as well look at Iowa State. Iowa State is in Ames and has a vastly better campus. The difference between the two is shocking. There is kind of a run down city vibe to the UofI campus, while Iowa State is a much better maintained and visually pleasing college campus. Then there is UNI, and you're stuck paying out of state tuition at any of the three choices. But no one outside of Iowa has heard of UNI. Try to find someone that hasn't lived in Iowa that cares about UNI. You won't find it.

As the voice of experience: Look for programs that offer you a much better value. You'll find plenty since you'd have to pay out of state in Iowa. You also won't get in state even after being there for a year. The supreme courts of three states have held that this is invidious discrimination and unconstitutional, however in Iowa it continues to happen. If all you have are romantic feelings about the state, let the memories stay positive by not going to Iowa City to be charged extremely high rent for a midwest city (low for coastal, but it is NOT coastal). There should be plenty of schooling options near your current home, or plenty of great places to move where you can visit first.

BTW. I was being heavily recruited by U of I's masters program before I left, but I was eager to leave and got a much more attractive offer from a more respectable program. The other program had a much lower base tuition, and offered to throw money at me until I got residency. Not bad for a program that was right where I wanted to live. It's hard to put much faith in their national rankings when you get a peak behind the curtain and see how they are doing it. For instance: Their rankings are improved by being selective. --What does that mean? It means the school gets a higher ranking from the formula for enticing students to apply and then reject them. They were planning to do that to me when I first got to Iowa. After I ran my own business for several years and scored a 730 on the GMAT (the average for people admitted to Harvard's MBA program is a 720), they started offering me all kinds of perks if I would just be willing to come to their school. I had already seen behind the curtain, I wasn't interested.

If you are seriously considering this, visit the area. See it first hand to decide what is right for you. Even though it wasn't right for me, it may be perfect for you. You might enjoy the very things about the city that I disliked so vehemently. Do you like intense heat and humidity during the summer? Do you like stupid cold during the winter that makes you avoid stepping outside? Do you prefer not to work? (Nepotism reigns on high in the hiring market. If someone from another state has a job there, they got it before moving.) Just learn the area before you make the move. You might enjoy the "walkable" city. I considered it "hell for parking". You might enjoy the "diverse" food options, I considered them "over-priced". You might like having to drive to campus, only to park over a mile or two away and take a bus to get to your classes. I prefer driving to the class.

PS. Make sure you check out the weather.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-03-2013, 02:45 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
6 posts, read 9,952 times
Reputation: 10
All of these problems, except for the weather, are those which I face here in the state of NC as well. Chapel Hill is a city very comparable to Iowa City, except that it is straddled by a metro area of nearly 2 million (thanks to uncontrolled growth in the past decade on the part of Raleigh and Durham; like 100+% increase in some areas; most around 50%; one town has a staggering 259% increase, needless to say everyone avoids that area at all times as you will be stuck in a jam). It exploded so quickly that the infrastructure could not keep up. You can't park anywhere in town, not even on most weekends. Forget evenings. Luckily we have buses so I don't have to pay the exorbitant $500-per-semester price tag for an on-campus slot. I don't care for driving that much anyway, as there are too many drivers on the road at all times. Plus, North Carolinians really cannot drive; we aren't Florida bad, but we're not great. As far as rent goes, Iowa City is slightly less expensive than Chapel Hill; a 1 br in Chapel Hill will not go for less than $800 a month not including anything. In neighboring Carrboro, you can go down to $600, maybe.

As far as debt goes, I'm a single guy and I'm pretty sure I'm going to remain childless for the rest of my life (and there isn't any chance an accident would happen, as I'm gay) so any debt incurred I might be able to handle it. It'll just take a long time. Debt is serious business though; I don't want you to think I'm not horrified at the prospect. Any place I go in NC is going to leave me a bit in the hole as well (unless I transfer back to UNC, always a possibility). Luckily my parents are willing to help out with that too, which is a big deal. Plus, I may get offered a package, especially if it's Creighton or Drake that takes me (my LSAT is pretty darn good). I've also never expected to get in-state at Iowa; I think you have to live there independently for three to five years first? Not sure. Don't worry, I've done my research and if it's not at all financially feasible I'm not going to sink myself. The idea of being in debt for decades does not appeal to me.

As far as stupid cold winters, I've spent some time in Boise during that time of year. I really am not bothered my the cold and feet on feet of snow and I'm very good at keeping warm while outside. Of course it'll get tiresome/hellish after months and months but honestly what place doesn't have it's crappy weather? The stifling humid heat in NC is what really gets me. We get weeks and weeks of 95+ days of such humid heat that almost all glass surfaces have "sweat" accumulation that drips. It's miserable weather, but even that's managable if you psych yourself out into not noticing. As Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia famously quips: "the trick is not minding that it hurts." Of course, extreme heat doesn't halt the world like 10 feet of snow, but that's a rare duck too. Weather will always be a challenge.

I know I sound stubborn, but I have done research. How well that stands up to reality? Who knows? I've also talked to a few folks who lived there and they encourage me. They think I could fit it. I like Iowa for its diversified economy, clean cities and roads, and smart populous. If you guys refute that, I counter with the fact that I'm from NC. Compare the two. Iowa definitely has a better economy (NC is 10th poorest), cleaner cities/roads (somewhere analyzed this, MQ?), and a smarter populous than NC (MQ definitely determined that). It also doesn't have the stupid-explosive growth that most of the east coast states have. Sure, it may seem crowded now to long-time residents, but I bet central NC/southeastern VA are way worse and they're what I'm used to. Just yesterday mid-afternoon the traffic index was "faster than usual" for the trip between Chapel Hill and Raleigh (a distance of ~25 miles) and it still took nearly an hour to drive because of the ridiculous volume and really stupid drivers. The traffic index is right, though; that was a better-than-average drive. The bit about cleaner cities and roads also holds up for smaller towns. Nearly all of NC's smaller towns are run-down and crumbling and disgusting hotbeds of crime. From what I've read, IA is much better at maintaining them. If that means a generally higher cost of living, so be it. I have and I desire no dependents. IA is also far more rural. I love that, as I want to live in a rural area. You may say "but rural areas are less tolerant of gay folks" and I would once again counter that I'm from the most rural corner of NC; stuff like that doesn't bother me. I also am told mid-westerners are more "live and let live" in general than southerners. I'll have my own life and my fellow rural dwellers will have theirs and we'll mind our own business, hopefully. I'm sure it won't be like down here where I'm repeatedly told to find Jesus (already did, ma'm) and to eat "better" (read: more southern and godawful) so I'd look less like a *** (honestly if you don't have a pot belly by 22 they think there's something wrong).

I've already visited the area. I need to do it again, of course, and for a longer period of time before I decide this. I just wanted to lay out there why I'm so seriously considering it.

Also, I would never plan on staying in Iowa City to work! Never a college town. Maybe one of the larger cities for a few years if I can get a higher paying job there to pay off some of the debt. Then somehow transition out into a more rural or small-town setting. Possibly tricky, but that's what most of the lawyers I grew up around did and currently know did. Work in Norfolk or Raleigh until your mid-thirties then transition out somehow. I've read some of your other posts, lurtsman, and I'm really seeing that you and I want some different things out of a town. Some similar stuff, too, if my skimming was sufficient, but for the most part not really.

Last edited by rmb0971; 05-03-2013 at 03:28 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-03-2013, 06:49 PM
1,509 posts, read 2,057,399 times
Reputation: 2592
RMB0971: Many of your observations correlate with people (medicine & engineering) that I know who have lived in both North Carolina and Iowa. It sounds like you've done thorough research and while there are never any guarantees, I think you will enjoy your time in Iowa if you decide to come here. I've been here for 19 years, work in IC, and think it's a great place to be. Good luck to you and your future.

Last edited by ennaf; 05-03-2013 at 07:23 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top