By Mykalia Gary, 11th grader at Brien McMahon High School
Today, we visited the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). It is their 50th anniversary. UAB is a public research university and the state’s largest employer. UAB is located in the Southside of downtown Birmingham encompassing more than 100 city blocks.
Birmingham is the most populated city in Alabama and has a rich history with the civil rights movement. We could not visit Birmingham without thinking of the civil rights movement. The Birmingham Campaign was started in the spring of 1963 and is considered one of the most effective initiatives of the civil rights movement. Lunch counter sit-ins, marches and boycotts of merchants were non-violent methods used to protest segregation and inequality. Thinking of the suffering and violence endured by the black citizens of Birmingham still give me the chills. The unrest brought president Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to Birmingham. I encourage everyone to read Martin Luther King Jr. letter from the Birmingham jail - you will be inspired!
The rain on this Good Friday did not alter our plans, as our staff reminded us that this was a business trip, we were off to the business of touring and learning about the UAB. Our tour guides Olivia, Alex, and Kate led us on an hour-long journey to every corner of the campus.
To apply to UAB, you must have strong performance in high school. The average SAT score for acceptance is 1210, for the ACT it is 25.2, and the average GPA is 3.73. UAB provides many scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students. Anyone interested in applying, May 1st is the out-of-state scholarship deadline.
There is an office known as one stop where teachers and administrators respond to student question relating to anything from financial aid to classes. One of the tour guides stated that honors classes are more in-depth and more experienced teachers teach them. This college provides both one on one and group tutoring. The graduation rate is 55%, and the school’s most popular major is science.
UAB students have access to many familiar restaurants such as Panera Bread and Starbucks. All students are allowed to bring their cars on campus, and in fact, the school recommends their students bring them.
This is a Division 1 school, which is one of the most competitive divisions in the NCAA. Their football team was the 2018 Conference USA champions. There is a state-of-the-art recreation center with a pool, weight room, and gym. They also have a place called the dragon den, which provides ping-pong, racket ball, and video games for students during relaxation time.
There are no curfews on campus, but all visitors must sign in with their ID. You can have a service dog on campus. Also, you can choose a roommate by taking a survey online that identifies things you like or what kind of person you are. I asked Olivia if UAB is a diverse school and she stated, “Yes, we are very diverse and members from my trailblazer team are from different races and nationalities.” It is also like that throughout the school, as they celebrate their diversity.
As we drove through the city of Birmingham, there were signs of prosperity and signs of poverty. Education and medical institutions seem to be the driving force of the city’s new renaissance. The city of Birmingham was chosen to host the 2021 World Games.
UAB has captured our hearts and most of my peers see this school as one of their top choices of this college tour.