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The University of Maryland - College Park

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Students are apathetic toward national and campus politics,Quite BrightOther
Students are apathetic toward national and campus politics, and the world and life in general. Students are extremely friendly - for the first month your fall semester freshman year. Once that time has past, you'll rarely be able to make a new friend; most students unconquerable superiority complexes and are too good for you. If not for the university, College Park would be a slum. Violent crime occurs in CP and on campus. Both CP and campus are ugly and in disrepair. There are technically several bars in town, but most are patroned by local scum, thus, for practical purposes, there are only 4 bars in town, only 2 of which you will consciously elect to attend once you are actually 21. Despite your best intentions, you will rarely make use of Baltimore or DC for academic, social, or any other purpose - believe me, it just doesn't happen. UM athletics are awesome, except for the two most important, football and men's basketball, which are perennially disappointing. The administration is 100% concerned with image and marketability, and 0 % concerned with the actual running of the university, funding and improving the quality of education. They are also 100% despotic when it comes to their 'big brother' student life policies (they expect you to be as good and perfect as Wally Cleaver and if you are not they will actively search for a way to discipline you). The one strength of the university is academics (though how strong depends on your major). The school has no funding and, if you keep-up with your U.S. News & World Report, you know that the university has actually fallen in the past several years.
4th Year Male -- Class 2006
Scholastic Success: B, Individual Value: F
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UMD is what you make of it.Quite BrightCivil Engineering
UMD is what you make of it. I'm an in-state student and to be honest, Maryland was my LAST choice. I got into ivies but was faced with either $200k of debt for the top-notch schools or just paying for room and board here at Maryland (I received a merit scholarship to cover tuition).

I chose the latter to avoid being in a mountain of debt and am so glad that I did. The engineering program is top-notch. Many group projects and applicable work throughout your academic career. My friend who just transferred to MIT (also in civil engineering) said that it's all theory based over there and very minimally application-based. And to be honest, we're going to need the application-based knowledge when we get into the real world.

The engineering school is also helpful in matching students up with career and additional scholarship opportunities but ultimately it's UP TO THE STUDENT to pursue and follow through to land the opportunities. Thanks to the engineering career services and the great location of UMD, I have been able to do undergraduate research, work at the Dept. of Energy, and will soon be working at a national engineering firm, during my summers and during the school year. So by the time I graduate (which I completed in 4 years with no problem), I will have over a year of work experience in addition to my degree. I have made great connections with faculty during my research and my classes. I have also applied for and won over 10 additional scholarships, some exclusive to UMD students and some not, effectively paying for my tuition, room and board, and then some.

Okay it may seem like I'm an overachiever and maybe I am. However, I am by no means the most brilliant person you've ever met. I'm not a genius. I don't get straight A's. I didn't score over 700 on any of my SAT sections. But I have used UMD to my advantage by connecting with faculty and taking the initiative to apply for all that I can.

I've also made a lot of great friends here, most of them that I met during freshmen year. I've met a lot of genuine people here but don't get me wrong, there are a lot of snobby and arrogant people too.

Sports here are strong. Students really get into it. Tons of extracurricular activities where you can meet even more people. The Alternative Breaks program here is great.

UMD has helped to shape me into the person that I am. Sure the campus isn't in the best location, safety-wise. But it's a 20 minute ride into DC and that can't be beat (hello, internships). The staff and faculty won't hold your hand when you're here, but they will offer assistance and guidance if you need it. You've just gotta ask. So my bottom line is: It's the real world here and it is what you make of it. If you take the initiative and have the right attitude, then Maryland won't disappoint.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2011
Education Quality: A+, Perceived Campus Safety: C
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University of Maryland provided me with everything IPhysics
University of Maryland provided me with everything I needed to succeed in my field, which is research in electronic materials. The physics and math courses that I took at Maryland were generally very well taught. Those of us in the Physics Honors Program at Maryland had no trouble geting into top tier Physics and Engineering schools like MIT, Cornell, and Illinois, due in part to the reputation of the Maryland Physics department. Some of my friends also benefited from doing undergraduate research at Maryland. Perhaps I would have done well to have taken advantage of the undergraduate research program at Maryland, although I did work at an engineering lab not associated with Maryland during the summer and benefited from that experience.

I went to Maryland because I wanted to be part of a challenging academic program--unlike that of the provincial rural high school that I attended--and I found that challenge at Maryland. I have known, however, people who have gone onto great careers in research after starting out at small liberal arts colleges. So students do not necessarily need to attend huge research universities like Maryland in order to successfully embark on their career in science or engineering. Just find a college where you will be happy (which is a tought job in itself). The nominal status of your college is secondary. Nevertheless, University of Maryland at College Park is a good place to future scientists and engineers (especially if you are a Maryland resident)--if you don't mind attending a large university. My friends, my brother, and I, who got Maryland degrees in science and engineering have all done quite well. I had visited the Physics department a few years ago and saw that they still taught an introductory Physics courses for Physics majors which only had 30 or 40 students in each class. As I scientist I follow the research in science and engineering at Maryland and know many of the professors. They really do a lot of good research there. It is unusual for a univeristy to have stong research efforts in both science and engineering, but Maryland has all that.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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The University of Maryland - College Park
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