The University of Maryland - College Park
The University of Maryland - College Park - Comments and Student Experiences|
I do regret this choice at all. I think that the campus is absolutely beautiful. The surrounding city is not very pretty or safe, but the campus itself is beautiful, with many flowers and trees.
I do honestly have to say though that I do not think I would be as happy here if I did not join a sorority. The social life is great if you know the right people. People are friendly. The people in my classes are approachable.Classes are definately challenging. All classes are taught by professors, but TAs are allowed to run the discussion classes. Professors are required to hold office hours so you can go and ask questions. Most professors post their classes powerpoint slides online so you also have access to that.
The bad part of this school is the students. I was shocked by the lack of cute guys who attend here. In terms of the white guys, they all look like geeks! To me, girls who wouldn't have given these guys a second glance in high school, do nothing all day, then get all dressed up starting 10pm just to go to a bar and get attention from them. The few cute guys this campus has have a girlfriend or have so many girls all over them all the time because they are in such short supply!
I heard that in college you can be yourself but at this school, you really can't. Drinking dominates. Maybe it's like this at most schools, but weekends, evenings, it's all drinking. This school has something like 11% of students in sororities, but the mentality (getting drunk, being hard to deal with, casual relationships, etc.) is more like 90% of the girls. It is unbelievable to me how students who had high gpas in hs and so many extracirriculars then only care about drinking and grades in college. If you don't drink, no one wants anything to do with you. If you don't drink or aren't a hard core Christian, it is very hard to find a niche, because you don't fit anywhere!
Besides alcohol and grades, students also care for one more thing...sports! Basketball and football are big here. Students get drunk before games, go to the game, and scream the whole time they are there. Again, geeky guys cheering for the jocks so a little bit of a puzzle and girls who like to watch 4 hours of football...interesting. More watchable sports to me like baseball and golf are not supported by the students at all. Students also play intermurals, but for the most part, you need a team when you sign up and you have to be good, so playing for fun or to learn isn't really an option.
The area closest to the school is DC. DC is grimy and unsafe mostly. PG county is also unsafe. Students can take the metro to get to DC or some places in PG or Montgomery County, Maryland. Word of advice: try not to get off anywhere on the green line, except to change stops because the areas are not safe at all. Bethesda is the best place, most clean and safe, to go. Dupont Circle is alright too, lot of business / government people work there. Many students go to Georgetown to shop, but you have to take a bus from the metro to get there, which eats up a lot of time. It's better to go to Union Station, stores are right at that station. Arlington, VA is 35 minutes by metro and is a nice area with a good mall right there.
Overall, so many opportunities exist at this university. It is just a shame more students don't take advantage because with a lot of fun things the university offers, such as clubs where you can go on trips: sailing, surfing, white water rafting, hiking, etc. a person can't really go by themself. Because students can join or start clubs, it is very easy to grow in leadership skills which I have immensely--did nothing in hs, have an unbelievable resume right now.
Out of Maryland you can get an experience in which you were forced to find your own niche among the many that focus on getting their doctorate and the majority who can't see past the next weekend (NOTE: Overlap prevails). This is the variety of students one finds at Maryland; a variety caused by quickly increasing academic standards combined with legacy students that don't know how to graduate.
Maryland is an overall great school that has the resources (i.e. connections and research opportunities) to get you into the job or graduate school of your choice. While some come here to prepare for a doctorate at a costly private and/or ivy school (Typical Maryland Student: you were accepted the private and/or ivy out of high school but weren’t offered scholarships), others are content to party and not worry too much about the comfortable desk job they'll be offered upon graduation.
These two types of people are the ones who (like me) will graduate having loved University of Maryland. If you know what your goals are, and are willing to take the strides necessary to achieve them, you will enjoy this school. In truth, this self-actualized type of person will be OK at just about any selective school, and can save a lot of money by attending a public one.
This is a big school. If you come hear not knowing what you want (maybe your goal in college is to figure out what you want) you will struggle, probably prevailing with the pessimistic attitude of these recent posters (POI: Most of them are about to graduate). Come to this school not because of scholarships, because you like sports, or because you want to party; instead, know that like most selective schools in the US, you are just as likely to get an excellent as a lousy experience. It boils down to what you want from education.
PS. If you are looking to be spoon-fed your goals, two words: Ivy League.
About my Freshman year:
My deviation from the Typical Maryland Student (TMS) will be shown after each statement. I was going to do this TMS thing more until I realized that a lot of the stuff that is perceived as the ‘jock’ thing to do is stuff that is either done whole-heartedly or not at all, as such there is no typical Maryland reaction to these things, and so I simply provide my experience which I hope you can glean something useful from.
Scholars program provided me with a large clique of 15 with random other friends. I hang out with my high school friends rarely. Knew I wanted to do research, but rejected UMBC’s Meyerhoff program (TMS: Expected). Realized electrical engineering wasn’t my thing, and instead pursuing Math, Physics, Philosophy, and Computer Science (TMS: Common, most have enough AP credits to have class standing greater than the number of years they have attended Maryland). Physics book is the same as that used in ivy-league and ivy-league-esque colleges (TMS: Common within major). Continuing job at NASA over summer, offered permanent government position (TMS: most that pursue relevant jobs during college are offered full-time positions after graduation, i.e. most tend to stay in the area). Drink rarely, sometimes on weeknights. Enjoy sports games and large school spirit. Don’t do drugs, don’t plan to. Just as likely to go to a party as to stay in Scholars dorm and talk math/physics/politics speak all night (usually do both). Good grades while hating lecture halls. Taking no lecture hall classes next year (TMS: Most lecture halls end freshman or sophomore year). Car on campus. Oh, I think UMBC is a joke.
I realize I can’t tell much more about my personal time at Maryland without rambling (any more than I have), so feel free to e-mail me: .
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