By Coach Kristine   There is a lot to love about the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK), which I recently toured. Situated along the Tennessee River, the UTK campus is surrounded by beautiful buildings and landscaping. With 86 miles of paved greenway and nature trails, Knoxville, a city of 182,000 people, is ideal for the physically active. Downtown Knoxville has a cool, artsy vibe with an open-air stage, a park, theaters, several eclectic restaurants and boutiques, and even a Farmers Market open on the weekends. Nature lovers can explore Smoky Mountain National Park, which is an hour away, and music fans can check out Nashville, which is less than a three hour drive.   There are also many other activities on and around campus. Students love to paint “The Rock,” which is a 98-ton dolomite used for student self-expression. They can also volunteer for community service projects, participate in clubs, jog at World’s Fair Park, work out at the T-RECS facility, and attend sporting events.


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Ayers Hall (

Connecting with others is an essential part of the college experience, especially at UTK, whose motto is “Community makes a big school smaller.” Since community is so important at UTK, they have over 400 clubs and organizations available. Greek life, ROTC, study abroad, intramurals, and the Pride of the Southland Band are a few ways students can connect to the community and each other. Freshmen are required to live on campus (unless they already live nearby), which gives them additional opportunities to meet people. UTK has a variety of housing options, including traditional residence halls, living-learning communities, and Greek housing.   One school superstition that I observed firsthand was the belief that if students walk over the university seal, then they won’t graduate within 4 years. While on my tour, I noticed a large group of students walking toward the seal, and they parted to walk around it. Obviously, they take this tradition very seriously!   The university is also known for its sports, like football and women’s basketball. The fans wearing Tennessee Volunteer orange can be spotted all around Knoxville. On game day, I experienced the amazing Vol Walk. The fans gathered in front of the stadium, and the band and the football players walked through the sea of fans into the stadium. I was impressed by the school spirit!


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Volunteer Fans (htts://

The academic opportunities also stand out at this school. UTK does a great job of following their mission of serving the citizens of Tennessee and excelling in research. In fact, they are striving to become one of the Top 25 research universities. On my tour, I heard about research projects going on in nearly every area of the school. For example, the supply chain management program has been ranked as one of the best in the nation in research productivity; the school of journalism and electronic media is experimenting with drones; the nuclear engineering students work with Homeland Security on nuclear detection; and the landscape architecture students won an award for their sustainable design on the Norris house.   A unique feature of the college is their forensic anthropology program. UTK has the original Body Farm where FBI and other police task forces train on forensics. They also offer several pre-professional programs, including pre-dental, pre-medical, pre-pharmacy, and pre-veterinary medicine.   In my opinion, an ideal student for UTK would be someone who is active in their school and community with a heart for service and an interest in research. This university should be a top consideration for students interested in highly-ranked academic programs, beautiful surroundings, school spirit, and the feeling of community.   I highly recommend visiting the campus to ensure that you are okay with its large size. If you can’t visit, you should research the website and contact one of their admissions officers. I met several on my visit, and they were all very friendly. Most of them attended UTK and can share firsthand experience. CAA clients can contact the coaches to discuss their college options!