The University of Maryland - College Park
The University of Maryland - College Park - Comments and Student Experiences|
Maryland is a good school. This is especially true for many engineering departments, commuincation, business and education. However, good does not mean great. Class sizes can be huge. I taught a junior class with almost 150 kids!
Can you get a good education even with large classes? Yes! However, it is a bit of a fight to get the classes that you need and even, in some cases, getting to the professor to get your questions answered. There are a fair amount of adjuct faculty ( part- time faculty) who are there, which make it tough to meet with the faculty for an appointment. You certainly won't get many close student faculty relationships.
Secondly, the area isn't that safe. There is substantial crime. The school tends to hide this fact,but you must be careful where you are walking around.
As for reputation, it is generally very good in Maryland. However, outside of Maryland, the reputation is only fair. Frankly, Maryland is generally not considered one of the top tier state universities. It certainly doesn't have the national reputation of Virginia, Michigan and many California state universities such as Berkley, USC or UCLA and others such as Wisconsin.
My advice is that if you get into a top school such as top ivy or MIT or top LAC, you should go there instead of Maryland for a quality education. However, I would generally recommend Maryland over that of most other private schools. That said, there are some reasons to prefer Univ of Maryland. They are:
1. Money. If you don't get much financial aid elsewhere and money is an issue, the tuition for in state can't be beat! That is why I would send my kids here over attending most other private schools.
2. Programs: Maryland only has some good programs in certain areas. If your kids are interested in specialized programs such as music, art, etc., you may prefer to go somewhere else. As I noted above, Maryland's best programs are business ( which includes accounting), engineering ( but not all aspects of engineering), commuinications and education. Most other majors are mediocre.
3. Needs specialized attention: If your kids need specialized attention due to be learning disabled or just need a smaller school, Maryland won't be the right fit. You need to find another university.
Just so you are aware, few get admitted with less than a 3.5 unwighted GPA and 3.9 weighted GPA in 2004. Also, if you have SATs of under 1200, you probably won't be accepted for the September semester but might get in for the January semester. You really should have at least 1250 on the SATs to have a real chance.
Also, don't think that honors or scholars programs are that fabulous. You do get special dorms and get first dibs on courses,but the education is basically the same. I would prefer to send my kids to a top "name" school as long as money isn't an issue.
Bottom line: Univ of Maryland has come a long way over the last 10 years in both quality of faculty and quality of admissions. However, it isn't a top tier state university yet. There are a number of top public universities that many consider better ( see US News and World Report rating).Yes, Maryland is better than most but not as good as many. This coupled with very large classes and a strong impersonal climate makes getting a quality education for top kids spotty. If you meet one of the exceptions noted above, by all means send your kids here. However, if not, consider going elsewhere. Obviously, if you have kids that thrive on this type of climate and are very independant and don't mind "fighting" for their education then Maryland may well be the right choice. Just my 2 cents.
O.M.G - RUDEST and most incompetent fucking admin people EVER!!!!!!!!! (And I've been to another state school.) I'm thinking of returning to this school (what the hell is wrong with me?!) for another degree and I see that 2 years down along the line their admin people have not gotten ANY better. Wow.
When I first applied they claimed they didn't get like half of the SAT/SAT II scores that I sent over despite that I paid $45 a pop for those stupid reports. They lost a bunch of that paper work.
I initially got rejected because I was a transfer student and didn't have enough credits as a freshman to transfer. I appealed immediately. The guy I appealed to (tried to find his name but of course they hide that information so these people don't get slammed with inquiries and might actually have to do THEIR JOB) was RUDE. He flat out told me "not to bother" (literally his words) making an appointment with him because it was pointless. RUDE. I pressed on and scheduled it anyway to make my case. He decided to check his email at that moment after I sat there wringing my hands and making my case for 10 min and told me that I was accepted. Not sure why he couldn't have just LOOKED IN THE SYSTEM the night before meeting with me or WHATEVER and had to put me through weeks of anxiety just to tell me "the good news". Total asshole with such an air of self-importance that I have to laugh. You work as a university admin ... your importance is pretty low on the totem pole, guy.
This wasn't the end of it. I was a foreign student (who lived in america for more than 10 years at the time) and they wouldn't let me get the In-State tuition rate even though I had lived in the state for a few years at that point. They sent me away and told me to wait a year and come back to talk them. I waited patiently. A year later I found out this policy was REPEALED and I had been eligible for In-State tuition for about 4-5 months before. An entire semester before. No one called, emailed or sent a letter notifying me of this. I skipped an entire semester of school at UMD because I couldn't afford it and they forgot to mention this tiny detail.
When I was in the actual school one summer their system decided to sign me up for a math class that I didn't register for, randomly. I had NO idea. So, all summer this unpaid class accrued late penalties until I finally realized something was wrong and went to the university to resolve the issue. I talked to THE rudest bitch that worked in the Registrar's office who PRETTY much told me she couldn't help me. Her ANGEL of a coworker must have overheard the whole thing because when the rude bitch wasn't in the office (the SECOND time I came to talk to them about this issue) she offered to help me and got everything resolved in 30 minutes. All of this for a class I did NOT sign up for!
Now that I'm THINKING (writing this review I'm seriously reconsidering) going back for another degree they have sent me in CIRCLES trying to sign up for an informational workshop. That's ALL I want to do - just learn a little more about one of their programs, I'm not asking for the friggin sky here! I've talked to 3 different departments and exchanged like 20 emails and everyone keeps telling me "no I can't help you". DO YOU WANT MY MONEY OR NOT?!
God, please think twice about this place if you think that it's going to be easy to go to school here. If you are boring and typical and nothing exciting or unusual ever happens to you (this is college -do you really think your life is going to be like that??) then maybe your experience will be ok, but if you stand out in ANY way - fuck your life. I'm not going to even get started on their broish frat culture and disgustingly old facilities (we were sitting in tiny old wooden desks in a majority of the buildings on the mall). They have money to build huge stadiums but they don't have enough money to upgrade the furniture their students need to be able to study. I can't even.
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