Location: Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Year Founded: 1903
Size: 12,000+ students total
Percentage of Women: 63%
Tuition (Per Year): About $1,800
Most Popular Majors: Business/Marketing, Education, Social Sciences, Biology, Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies
Acceptance Rate: 24%
Greek Life: No
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras’ website.
Why Choose UPR Río Piedras?
"This is the best education on the Island; and we have the best campus. There’s a lot of diversity, which is a cultural adventure. And the professors are extraordinary."
"UPR Río Piedras has the best Natural Sciences program. We have the highest acceptance rate to the UPR School of Medicine."
"To be honest, I chose the university furthest away from home. I remember feeling out of place that first semester as a freshman, but now I’m in awe; diversity has never been so tangible."
"It was a personal decision for me. I was born in Puerto Rico but had lived in the United States for most of my life, so I wanted to come back and spend time here. I also admit that the (very affordable) tuition fee was a perk."
"As soon as you set foot on campus, you can feel the Gallito pride. It made me want to be a part of something bigger! I have never felt more at home."
"It's such a diverse and accessible campus. It's rich in history, academics, culture. Everything has life on campus! Even the benches, the statues, the classrooms... everything."
"I love everything about La IUPI! The people are awesome and the professors will literally blow your mind! It’s amazing how much you can learn."
"I love that our university is known as the university of liberals and all-round weirdness. It’s incredible to experience firsthand how the student body feels comfortable and courageous enough to speak when others fall silent, to express their thoughts so openly, to witness how so many people are incredibly different and yet so attuned to one another."
"There are events every week, whether it's an open discussion on a film, book or a specific topic, a movie night, a play, small celebrations, big celebrations... You name it!"
"The campus is gorgeous, especially the Humanities buildings and the famous clock tower, because I think they've kept their historic charm."
"The faculty members are incredible. I am in awe of my professors!"
"They have great bazaars and activities at all the faculties that are cool to check out; they sell snacks and arts and crafts by students and local artists. I bought handmade soap once. It was glorious."
"I think UPRRP prides itself most on its varied population; there's all kinds of people here but we're all united by the intense pride we have in our school."
"Dealing with the administration can prove to be frustrating. It's a bureaucratic system that tends towards disorganization. The fact that nothing seems to be systemized leads to contradictory information from many sources, which only leads to confusion."
"The entire UPR system desperately needs some kind of makeover, preferrably by someone who knows what they're is doing."
"Some of the buildings haven’t been renovated yet, and sometimes you feel like you're in some kind of factory."
"I never quite liked the idea of freshman initiation. It's absolutely ridiculous. They make you dance, sing… it’s annoying and embarrassing."
"When you’re trying to enroll in classes for the upcoming semester, they always seem to be full."
"The Communications building is too small. It was supposed to be temporary but it's been there for over forty years! There isn't enough equipment and the library is cramped."
"There should be a review committee for curriculums — we need coursework in new, relevant issues!"
"The parking lots! Seriously, they need some work."
New Collegiette On Campus
"These days are horrifying. I remember that when I went to orientation, as soon as it was over, I rushed into each building to know where my classes were so I didn’t seem lost."
"The prepas (freshmen) stick together because they understand each other."
"The first week is definitely overwhelming. Our university’s campus is huge (it’s embarassing how many times I got lost), and the crowds are huge, too!"
"When you're new on campus, it feels like everyone knows you’re a freshman. It's scary because there’s a certain look in their eye that can spook you!"
"Check out where your classes are before the first day of school."
"The first month is scary, the workload is definitely heavy, but you'll meet a ton of new people — and you'll have the best time of your life."
"Don't be scared to wander around campus. I know it seems easier to stick to the area closest to where your classes are because it's what you're most familiar with, but I can guarantee you that you'll find something or someone new and interesting if you just explore a bit."
All About Academics
Most popular majors: Business/Marketing, Education, Biology, Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies
"The workload is heavy and seemingly neverending. At least you learn how to get organized."
"If a professor tells you there's a project due at the end of the semester, start it today!"
"During midterms and finals, people get crazy. I'm talking practically moving into the libraries... some people will even sleep there! The library over at the law school is even open 24 hourse for finals!"
"The semester enrollment process is a painful process, but you have to be patient."
"I have to say, I'm really happy with the classes and professors I've had in all my years here. I've learned so much, academically and personally."
"Academically, college is the best experience and here at IUPI you will learn a lot. You'll have a diverse courseload but it doesn’t mean the classes are impossible. Do your best and be organized."
"The worst part of making your schedule is you have to cybernetically wrangle for your classes in a glitchy and outdated system. Your course load will depend on how you make your own schedule, if course, as well as how you manage your time (if you work, extracurricular activities, etc.)."
Learn from the Best
"Raúl Bernabe. He may surprise you, believe me. Apart from being really pro-student, he likes making classes dynamic."
"I love my Caribbean Experience through Literature professor, María Quintero. The class is eye-opening to the point where you question everything you've known to be real and realize that everything is a social construction."
"The best professor ever is Luis Felipe Díaz! He's a transgender Hispanic Studies professor. He has the greatest stories and the most critical perspective on life."
"The best professors in the Business Administration faculty are Carmen Espina (she teaches Marketing) and José Brenes (he was teaching Commercial Law, but is now retired). These two professors are hilarious, and their classes are dynamic which makes them very interesting.
"If you're an Advertising major... Go for Lipsett! He's a character, but he'll teach you everything you couldn't even dream of."
"I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of Professor Madeline Román's. She's a Sociology professor who teaches Criminology, Sociological Foundations of Law, and Sociology of Violence aside from General Sociology. Her courses are demanding because she's fast-paced and holds seminar-style classes, but I learned so much from each and every one of her classes. I can honestly say that I've applied some of the concepts I've learned from her class to my life. She's one of those professors who really makes you think and question the world around you."
Interests & Involvement
"Getting involved is always a good way to meet new people with similar interests."
"Some organizations are related to different majors and even have programs to help coordinate internships!"
"I’m a senior and I’ll have to admit that I know very little about student organizations. I would have liked to have been more involved throughout college, but I really didn't know much about what was available!"
"I don’t know about the existence of any student organization or association! I only knew about Her Campus through some friends and loved it so much, I asked to become a part of the team!"
"A few organizations on campus make themselves known through small fundraisers or activities. But most go unnoticed, unless a friend of a friend has joined and you hear about it through the grapevine."
"I’d say basketball, volleyball, and soccer are amongst the most famous within our campus, though tennis might be a good fourth candidate, too."
"The best part about being an athlete (aside from participating in a sport you love and and a full scholarship) is the fact that we get to choose our classes before everyone else does, which makes our whole process a lot easier, faster, and stress-free."
"Students are highly supportive of our sports teams and athletes. Sometimes there isn't a great turn-out but it's usually because the games aren't announced at a greater scale."
"Many of my athlete friends tell me it's hard to keep balance between classes and sports."
"Once a year, all the universities and colleges on the Island meet up for Las Justas, a big inter-collegiate sports event. It's a big deal to wear your school's colors and show your Gallito pride!"
"Cecil Maldonado, a Communications student, owns her own nonprofit talent management and entertainment company— and she's only 23! That’s amazing!" [Her Campus UPR interviewed Cecil. Read more here!]
"It feels fantastic that in the majority of my classes, most of the students are female. I like that about the IUPI, there are girls everywhere. They are all different, but they all bring something to the mix."
"Being a girl at the UPRRP is empowering! I think our campus is open-minded, accepting, and encouraging of all types of women and the way they choose to express themselves."
"There's a strong Gender Studies program and a roster of incredible, awe-inspiring female faculty members."
"I don’t really know about women organizations on campus, but there is a strong feminist undercurrent in our student body that makes itself known. I’d like to high-five them."
"Seeing women empowered; loving themselves, mind and body; speaking out against gender inequality; it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen on campus."
"There aren't any majors on campus that can be identified as a major for women or a major for men; you can do what you love, regardless of your gender."
Food & Drink
"My campus favorites are the food stands Las Mamisongas near the Education building and Los Vegetarianos in Humanities. They have fresh, delicious, homemade food. Off-campus you can try Arrope, La Tertulia, Sofía's Café, Pizza La Pizza, Pizza Mobile and Al Natural. As a vegetarian, I love that they all have veggie-friendly menus."
"If you don't feel like having fast food, you can visit Los Merenderos by the Social Sciences building. They have a variety of criollo (local) food... think rice, beans, pork chops, chicken, anything made of plantains, and they also have baked potatoes, burgers, sandwiches, and everything in between. Sometimes students will pop up randomly at different points of the campus selling food as fundraisers."
"Across the main street on campus, you'll find Plaza Universitaria, where there's a couple of independent restaurants with delicious food."
"Some faculties have microwaves you can use to warm up food you bring from home."
"Down University Ave. you'll find that the bars and pubs serve food all day. They have an amazing variety of food!"
"If you need a quick but amazing cup of coffee, try Café Casa Lima on campus across from the General Studies building, Arrope or the coffee stand in Plaza Universitaria!"
"The food options on campus are good and it offers a variety of fare, from hamburgers to vegetarian options. There's also really cheap and filling cafeterías outside of campus, but you have to be careful with these: the food is delicious and they serve a lot, so you could end up in a food coma before class!"
"I have to say, this semester has probably been the best in terms of food options... the pizza at El Calzón de Sofía's is amazing, Los Monkeys is legendary and I've heard that Pitanza's healthy yet filling menu is a thing of dreams."
"I love, love, love the social scene here. The legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18 and the bars on University Ave. are walking distance. Did I mention everything is student-budget friendly? Hello, $1 beers!"
"Some of the most well-known local bars here are Vidy's (beer, drinks, shots and karaoke!), Le Chateau (excellent sangria, calm atmosphere where you can sit on the patio and have a conversation without having to compete with music or a large crowd), El Ocho (play some pool and surprisingly good food), El Refugio (a renowned institution) and El Boricua (salsa, anyone?)"
"People here are friendly and open to strangers so unless you're shy, grabbing a drink alone here isn't a problem."
"Río Piedras can be a little shady late at night, so if you're walking a long distance (from El Refu to University Ave., for example), bringing a friend or two is advisable. Like most schools, drugs are present here but there's no pressure to participate."
"In college you'll meet a bunch of different people. By the end of each semester you’ll have lots and lots of friends, and most of them are going to invite you for a beer after class to Univeristy Avenue."
"Enjoy these little experiences carefully— and, please, don’t smoke under trees."
"Thursdays are the days for letting loose. Most students are free on Fridays; since Puerto Rico is small and it's usually a short commute from college to your hometown, those who live on the other side of the island usually drive home for the weekend."
"There’s definitely a lot of drug use. It gets overwhelming, I have to admit. There’s a certain 'everyone is doing it, you should do it too' vibe that these people exude that makes you either uneasy, uncomfortable or tempted. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate what’s worse."
"San Juan is a bustling city. If you don't feel like getting all dolled up, you can kick back in University Ave; you can make it an interesting night out by bar-crawling around LGBTT clubs in Santurce; the Placita de Santurce and Old San Juan always make for fun times, and Condado is full of cool, young people. There's something happening all at once and on every corner."
"It's not mandatory to live in dorms. The University has a few buildings that offer accomodations, and students usually opt for these because they are less expensive than renting out an apartment around town. You may share your room with up to three people. There's also Plaza Universitaria, which is a little nicer, but it's also a little pricier."
"Puerto Rico is small and many students either live near enough to school that they commute or they rent apartments all around Río Piedras. Dorm life isn't a big deal. Most people I know have off-campus housing because it's cleaner, more comforable and they can choose who they live with."
"I’ve never had the dorm life experience, but I do live in an apartment with my best friend and a girl we just met. It hasn’t been awful, but it does take getting used to."
"A good chunk of our student population commutes from their homes to school but there are some students who come from the West Coast that find living accomodations here."
"I don't know much about the two school-sanctioned dorms (Torre Norte and El Resi), but I know they involve dealing with a lot of bureaucratic red tape and that they usually give preference to exchange students. Also, apparently the living conditions aren't the best. A lot of the people I know who choose to live here just find room and board off-campus: you find a few roommates and an apartment with a rent you split between yourselves. There's plenty of reasonably-priced places."
Exploring Río Piedras
"Río Piedras is a whole new world, I keep saying it's like a city apart from everything!"
"A coffee place called Arrope is perfect for group meetings or just grabbing a cup of cofee and relaxing."
"Río Piedras is a town where everything is closely knit together, there are streets surrounded by book stores and thrift shops, there’s always something to discover (Mondo Bizarro, for example) and always an acitivity to look forward to!"
"About a block away from campus you can find the very heart of Río Piedras: La Plaza del Mercado. It's a small marketplace where you'll find homemade food, fresh fruits and veggies, butcher shops, ice cream treats and just about anything you think of!"
"Personally, I love Río Piedras. It's a really interesting, urban mix of college kids and locals with a lot of cool places to explore, like coffee shops and bookstores and even an art gallery."
"There are so many places to grab a bite to eat off-campus (be it sushi, local cuisine, pizza, ice cream, amazing Mexican food) and you can always hop on the train and check out everything that's near the stations, like Ben & Jerry's at the Torrimar station, an indie movie theater in Hato Rey, etc. You can even get to places like old San Juan, Santurce and Miramar by taking the train and then the connecting bus."
HC's Complete College Guide: University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras
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