First-Year Experience

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Life

Should my son/daughter bring a car to campus?
It really isn't necessary to have a car on campus. There is a free Cambus system with routes running frequently from the residence halls to both sides of campus. The buses run from first thing in the morning to late at night. Students can usually walk or take the bus about anywhere they need to go. Parking can be a bit of a challenge for students living in the residence halls because the Hawkeye Lot (where most first-year students store their cars) is located about 5 miles from campus. It is accessible via the Cambus system for those students who'd like to bring a car. Bicycles are also a great way to get around campus.

What sort of computer will my son/daughter need?
If your student has a computer, we suggest they bring it. All rooms have a ResNet data port that provides a fast, direct data connection to the campus network and Internet. Some students bring laptops, some bring desktops. If you are planning to purchase a computer, a laptop might be more convenient. Most people do not bring them to class, but when you have group projects, a laptop is very handy. If your student does not have a computer, you don't need to buy one. There are 26 ITCs (computer labs) on campus, including one ITC located in the Pappajohn Business Building, and five other labs located in the residence halls. Also, laptops can be loaned from the PBB library for two-hour periods.

How much spending money will I need each week?
The amount of spending money you need depends on your spending habits. If you are living in the residence halls and have a full meal plan, then you probably just need spending money for things like movies and late-night pizza. Many students get a part-time job to earn extra spending money. It might be a good idea to keep track of what you spend for a week and then think about how that might change (or not) when you come to college.

What if I do not get along with my roommate?
Enter the situation with an open mind. Get to know your roommate and talk about issues if they come up. If you find that you don't get along, there are people available to help you. The resident advisor (RA) on each floor is a great resource and is trained in mediating roommate conflicts. Remember, you don't have to be best friends with your roommate; you two just need to share a room. If you find you absolutely do not get along, you can talk to the hall coordinator about a room change.

What do students do for fun on weekends? I don't drink; what is there for me to do?
There are a lot of alternatives for students on the weekends:

  • Athletics: Hawkeye sports and intramurals run all year and both Iowa City and Coralville have very active Parks and Recreation departments.
  • Hancher Auditorium and the Englert Theatre host various productions, shows, and entertainers.
  • Downtown movies.
  • Guest lectures and readings at Prairie Lights Bookstore.
  • Campus and community volunteer activities. Business student organizations often have volunteer, social, and professional development activities on the weekends. Join a group this semester and you'll have plenty to do.
  • Just because you go to a bar (e.g., to listen to a band or see a comedian) does not mean you have to drink or get drunk. In fact, as of June 1, 2010, Iowa City adopted a 21 ordinance so you can't be in bars after 10 p.m. if you are under 21. Drinking is a choice and many students at the UI choose not to drink. Unfortunately, their behavior is not always considered newsworthy and does not make it into the local media.

How much time should a student spend studying?
Think of being a college student as your full-time job. The typical rule of thumb is to spend two hours outside of class studying for each hour you spend in class. For a student with a 15 s.h. schedule, this would be 30 hours per week, or a 45-hour work week. This is a guideline only. Some courses may require more time and some less time depending on the material, each student's prior level of knowledge, interests, abilities, etc. The days leading up to an exam or project due date may require more, and the days after an exam or project may require less.

How do I get football tickets?
Student tickets may be purchased online only.

  • Go to and click on “Athletics Ticket Office.”
  • Click on UI STUDENTS! Purchase your tickets online!
  • Student season tickets are $168 for seven (7) home games.
  • There is no reserved seating; all general admission.
  • The student section is in the southeast corner of the stadium.
  • All students need to bring a valid UI student ID with their student ticket to be admitted.


Can my son/daughter get a double major in four years?
In general, a double major will require more than 120 semester hours to complete. A finance and management major, for example, would earn between 127 to 131 semester hours, so the four-year plan does not apply. Students who come to the University with AP or transfer credits, or who take summer courses, may be able to complete a double major in four years. Another option for students considering double majors may be one of three certificate programs. In some cases, certificate courses partially overlap with major requirements making it easier to fit into the 120 s.h. total needed for the BBA degree.

I hear horror stories about international TAs; what if my son/daughter can't understand them?
There are many excellent TAs in the college. They are passionate about their work and strive to make sure that they are understood in the classroom. Their language skills are also assessed before they are hired to teach. If students are having a difficult time understanding the material being taught, it is their responsibility to let the TA know so it can be approached in a different way. Ultimately, students are responsible for their own learning. The TAs are here to help. They can't help if they don't know an issue exists. If a student finds a problem to be insurmountable, an advisor consultation may help to create possible solutions.

How do you graduate with honors from the College of Business?
The College of Business Honors Program is independent of the University Honors Program. To graduate from the College of Business with honors, you need to enroll in an Honors seminar and complete a project or thesis. Students earn 3 s.h. for each component over a two-semester period. Students develop their thesis topic and identify a faculty mentor in the seminar, and they then continue to work with their mentor on their project the following semester. For students who intend to further their education at the graduate level, the Honors Program is great preparation for more advanced work.

My student struggles with math. What resources are available for tutoring help?
The Department of Mathematics offers a Mathematics Tutorial Laboratory designed to support all students within the University of Iowa. The Math Lab supports students by providing an environment where they may receive one-on-one help from a tutor. The tutors are Iowa graduate students, and many are teaching assistants for the classes covered in the Math Lab. The tutors help students with all aspects of their understanding, specifically helping students develop a conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. Students are encouraged to come and ask questions on their homework, lecture, or other background material. Students will also find a variety of computer applications and resources to develop and enhance their understanding. The Math Lab serves around 8,000 students each semester and has helped many students reach their peak performance.

How often do I need to meet with my academic advisor? Are the advisors readily accessible?
Direct admit students who have not declared their major are required to meet with their advisor once every semester to ensure continued academic progress and be cleared to register for the next semester's classes. Students admitted to the College of Business are not required to meet with their advisor to register for classes but are encouraged to set an appointment, if they so desire. Advisors in the college are readily accessible to all students. All advisors hold office hours multiple times per week when students can set up appointments to meet personally. Additionally, the Undergraduate Program Office offers drop-in advising hours each day to assist students with questions.

I know I want to be a business major but I'm not sure what to major in. Do most students know immediately? Is it okay to change my major?
The majority of students are undecided about which major they want to pursue as an incoming first-year student. Introductory and core classes for the College of Business touch on all major areas in business and can help a student determine what areas specifically interest them. It is fairly common for students to change majors while at Iowa. Course work overlaps in many College of Business majors, which allows easier transition if changing majors.

How large are classes?
Class size varies widely at the University of Iowa. Many introductory classes consist of two large lectures (approximately 200 students) and one small discussion section (approximately 25 students) per week. As students progress in their major, classes become smaller, with a typical schedule of two or three small lecture/discussion sessions with 20 to 60 students per week.

External Opportunities

Can you study abroad and still graduate in four years?
Yes. Study abroad programs typically give students the opportunity to take general education, business, or elective courses that fulfill degree requirements. With proper planning, fulfillment of these requirements abroad may allow students to graduate in four years.

How can study abroad be funded?
The UI Study Abroad maintains a database of scholarships that students interested in going abroad are encouraged to apply for. Students receiving financial aid can work with the Office of Student Financial Aid to have their financial aid applied to the costs associated with studying abroad.

Does the college help students find internships?
Students interested in finding an internship are encouraged to utilize the resources of the Pomerantz Career Center.

Are College of Business scholarships available?
The college has more than 200 scholarships available to help you finance your education. Each year the scholarship application is posted on the Undergraduate Program website. The deadline for applying is the last day of February.

Where do most students take full-time positions? What is the college's placement rate?
According to the May 2008 Placement Report, the placement rate is 91% (within 6 months after graduation). Of that, 51% of business graduates accepted offers in Iowa, 21% in Illinois, and 11% in other Midwestern states. The average starting salaries ranged from $37,000 to $51,000.

What does it take to sit for the CPA?
It takes 150 hours of college education (30 hours more than is required for the BBA degree). The college does offer a Master of Accountancy Program that satisfies this requirement. Students with a BBA in accounting can finish this program in one year.