Category Archives: General Tips


A new locally-owned, group-purchasing site, Localiter,  recently launched in Austin that allows users to get huge discounts once a minimum number of consumers purchase a particular voucher.

How it works
Picture this; you wake up and check your inbox to find an e-mail from Localiter offering a 50% off deal to Lift Cafe. You open the e-mail and read more, discovering that you can pay $5 and receive a $10 coupon, provided at least 20 coupons are purchased.

Lift Cafe: Photo by Drew Bean

So you sign up to pay the $5 and forward the e-mail to your friends and then post the deal on your Facebook and Twitter either because you really want to try Lift Cafe for the first time or because it’s one of your local favorites and you want to get a sweet deal.

Then, once enough people sign up for the coupon, Localiter charges your credit card and sends you the voucher, which you then print and take with you to Lift Cafe to get $10 worth of coffee, smoothies, and sandwiches.

Pros and Cons

Pro- huge discounts for buying a coupon and the opportunity to forward the deal to  friends
Con- no discount if enough people don’t purchase the voucher

Pro- opportunity to reach new customers and convert them into “regulars”
Con- possibility of just bringing in old customers armed with huge discounts

Hear it discussed by Kristina Garza, the owner of Localiter, and John Voss, the manager of Lift Cafe, one of the first locally-owned businesses to use Localiter to attract new customers.


Registering For Classes In 1-2-3 (-4-5-6…) Easy Steps!

So it is starting to get close to everybody’s favorite time of the year, you know, registration!

While the actual dates for signing up for classes are April 19-30, now is the time when you should be preparing for those days.

For freshmen that may have registered for the first time during orientation, this whole process is probably new to you. For upperclassmen, let it serve as a little refresher.

First things first, check your Registration Information Sheet, otherwise known more simply as your RIS. Your RIS lists your access periods and access times, information for advising and any registration bars you may have.

The next thing you should do is consult a course schedule. For this registration period, you may need to look at two separate course schedules—those for both the summer and fall semesters. Currently, only the summer 2010 course schedule is available, while the fall 2010 schedule will be available at least two weeks prior to the beginning of registration.

Then make sure that you have cleared all of your bars. These may be financial or non-financial bars, but either way, they will keep you from registering. Many academic departments also have an advising bar and require their students to be advised before registering. However, even if it is not required, talking with an advisor in your department before registration comes highly recommended.

Another useful tool, especially for very organized students, is the interactive degree-audit system. IDA allows you to keep an eye on the big picture and check your progress towards that degree. Utilizing this tool is very effective in making sure that you graduate on time. One benefit of the IDA is that it will help you keep track of your classes using the calendar, and will inform you of your prerequisites and requirements.

Now you are ready to register. Make a list of the courses you want to take, and get ready to punch in the unique numbers as quick as you can!

In the event that a course is full, your only option may be to join a waitlist for it. Keep in mind also that their will be an add/drop period at the beginning of the semester that you are now registering for, so there is still hope that you can get into that course.

A few more tips from my personal experiences:

  • Freshmen, don’t plan ahead too early. Get a rough idea—very rough—of what you want to take, and pray that you can form some sort of a decent schedule with whichever courses remain open.
  • MyEdu, formerly Pick-A-Prof, is your best friend. Pay the small fee and join, you won’t regret it at all.
  • Those Course-Instructor Surveys that you hate filling out? They do matter, and can be useful as well. Check the CIS results for more information about courses and instructors.
  • For the sake of a little bit more time, don’t concern yourself with the options given before you register classes, such as to buy a Cactus Yearbook or LASP. You can go back and purchase these after you get your classes in.

Oh, one more thing to remember–don’t forget to pay your tuition by the deadline. The university sends out too many emails for you to forget, so don’t ignore them, and consequently lose all the courses you registered for.

Registration is hard enough the first time, do you really want to have to do it all again?

For any more questions, check out the Registrar’s website.  

Best of luck!

So Few Calories, So Many Places to Burn Them


Nestled directly in the heart of one of the fittest cities in America, the University of Texas is in no way lacking in gym choices. According to UT RecSports, there are 12 different “workout locations.” While some of these are either very small or may be in the same general area (Gregory Gym, Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex), it is still pretty impressive and a bit overwhelming. I’ll break down and profile the major options and let you decide.


Gregory Gym/Pool: The biggest and probably most well-known gym on campus, this is also the most used. It can hold a large amount of people, and does every day. Among it’s features it boasts 7 basketball courts, a climbing wall. 10 racquetball and 2 Squash courts, a large weight room, steam and sauna rooms, and a 1/7 mile indoor track. It is located in the heart of campus and is open until 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Behind the gym is the aquatic complex, which feature 2 indoor pools, 3 heated outdoor pools, and a spa.

Rec Sports Center: Located right behind the stadium, this gym is slightly less-known and less-used than Gregory. It offers slightly smaller crowds but with slightly fewer options. It still has 3 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, 2 Squash courts, and a sizable weight room. For my first 2 years on campus, this was my gym of choice.

Belmont: Maybe it’s because it’s INSIDE the stadium and fulfills the dream of doing some physical activity inside Daryl K Royal Memorial Stadium, or maybe it’s because you never have to wait for a machine. Regardless of the reason, this hidden gem is the reason that I stopped working out in the Rec Sports Center.

Photo: Caribb

Anna Hiss: Known mostly for it’s dodge ball tournaments and to anyone who’s taken Ballroom Dancing, this small, hidden, wonder can easily elude you for 4 years. Built in 1931, it has a small basketball area and some exercise rooms (limited weights if any) to utilize. But the thing that caught my eye when researching was the archery range. Should’ve spent more time there!

Whitaker Fields: Where Intramural legends are born, this site contains 18 soccer or football fields (or 12 softball diamonds depending on season). It is equipped with lights and open until 10 p.m. M-F. The fields are also utilized heavily for Club team practice and games. It is a few miles from campus, but has plenty of parking and it’s own shuttle bus.


Clark Field – Located just behind San Jacinto Residence Hall, this field is frequently used for pickup football games

Jamail Texas Swimming Center – Not DKR, but the swimming center houses Texas’ most feared and most successful program. Just might run into gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale here too.

Whitaker Tennis Courts – 40 lighted tennis courts located just behind Whitaker Fields.

Penick-Allison Tennis Center – 12 tournament quality competition courts and home to the UT Tennis teams.

Where do you like to do your excercising?


Are you someone who lives on campus who is tired of walking all the way to west campus to visit your friends? Are you someone who lives in west campus who is tired of walking all the way to the PCL and Gregory? Or do you want to go from west campus/Riverside/on campus/etc to downtown without having to drive or park?

Here are some tips and tricks for the most efficient means transportation!


One of the easiest ways to get around is to use the university shuttles. They can take you pretty much wherever you want to go as it’s the largest university shuttle system in the country!

As a student you can ride them for FREE as long as you have a student I.D. with you. If you live anywhere off campus it’s one of the easiest ways to get to school because you don’t have to worry about parking!

Photo by UT PTS

I was always afraid to take the bus because I never knew where they would take me but it turns out it’s pretty easy to consult the map and schedule! On first glance the map is a little complicated but if you check the key in the bottom right hand corner first to see how the routes are labelled it’s not too hard.

Also, there are E-Busses that run from campus, west campus, and riverside, to downtown Thursday through Saturday so that students can enjoy various nightlife activities without the risk of potentially dangerous driving situations!


Driving can be pretty tricky because parking is never easy! If you want to be guaranteed a parking space on campus it’s definitely a good idea to get a parking permit. These parking permits let you park in either garages or surface lots located on or near campus.BUT these permits can be a bit pricey.

If you drive to school your best bet is a C permit. This allows you to park in surface lots east of campus and only costs $110 for the academic year.

Another nice option is an N permit. These are weekend permits that allow you to park in lots and parking spaces along the streets of campus marked “Any UT Permit.” They’re only $36 for the academic year and are really convenient for driving to the library on Sundays to study.


Biking is a fantastic way to get around the greater campus area and Austin is a very bike-friendly city!

If you want to take the bus to school but ride your bike around campus you can load your bike onto the front of any UT shuttle and unload it when you get to campus.

There are numerous bike racks all over campus where you can park your bike. Just be sure to use a lock and lock BOTH the frame and the front tire to the rack or else someone WILL steal your front tire, it’s happened to several of my friends.

Photo by clickykbd

Also, everyone who bikes on campus is technically required to register their bike with Parking and Transportation services. Basically, you fill out a form with the serial number of your bike and if anyone steals your bike and tries to pawn it, the pawn shop will run the number through the Austin Police Department and you will get your bike back! Not bad eh?

Now, a great lesser known piece of information about UT  is that if you can’t afford to buy a bike, as they can be extremely expensive (upwards of $200 for a new one) you can rent a bike! Through the Orange Bike Project, students can check out a bike for an entire semester at no cost! But there can be an extensive wait-list so start looking into it immediately!

Here at UT Austin we have so many options for getting about campus! Many students, like my friend Pauline Nguyen, like to use a variety of transportation options, depending on the destination.

Pauline said, “Around campus and west campus I like to walk, but if it’s north campus or downtown, I like to drive. If it’s somewhere with limited parking, such as an event, I’d rather take the bus to avoid dealing with parking.”

Pick whatever options you feel work best for you and  walk, bus, bike, or drive around the greater campus area to your heart’s desire!

Getting Involved

Getting involved is something so integral to your college experience that we could dedicate an entire separate blog to

It's easy to get swallowed in the sea of burnt orage. Photo:Ernest Bludger

doing it. At one of the largest universities in the country, it’s easy to simply be a number and  fade into the crowd. It’s important to get involved in smaller groups to thrive AND survive in college.

But where the heck do you find out about all of these different groups and figure out which one suits you? The simplest, most basic way to do this is  to check out the organizational database provided by the office of the Dean of Students. You can enter the specific name of an organization, or just such something that interests you.

If the random search isn’t something you’re interested in, there are certain times when the organizations come to you. At the beginning of each semester there are numerous organizations tabling out in West Mall or in Jester and events such as Party on the Plaza.

There are also campus wide showcases such as 40 Acres Fest or Explore UT, the latter of which will be taking place on Saturday, March 6th. It is an event in which hundreds of student organizations showcase what their organization is about.

Again there are over 1,000 student groups to join and many times there are freshman specific groups including Freshman Business Association or Freshman Leadership Organization to help you get integrated for 4 years.