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The University of Maryland - College Park

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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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I was pleasantly surprised by this school's amazingQuite Bright
I was pleasantly surprised by this school's amazing facilities. So many student organizations exist. Teaching is not too great overall. Many good lectures though, but not a teaching school-my gpa reflects this. I have needed better explanations than what I've gotten and my opinion is you shouldn't have to go to office hours to get this. A good source for teacher reviews is pickaprof.com

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.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2006
University Resource Use/ spending: A+, Surrounding City: D
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As an in-state, environmental science major, I likeBrightNatural Resources
As an in-state, environmental science major, I like UMD. I'm not sure it would be worth the high tuition for out-of-staters, but in-state students get a good price for a good education. I love how big UMD is. So many people and so many opportunities. Some people say you're like a number, but at an university, especially a big one, it's ALL what YOU put into it. If you put in the work and take opportunities you will get noticed - if you plod along quietly in the background without motivation, you won't. UMD has so many connections to the surrounding area (Washington DC!!!!!), both socially and professionally. The campus is beautiful. Intro classes suck (as they do at every university) - hundreds of people, don't really know your professor, etc. - but it does get better. Close to DC, good price, good education - I'm happy.
1st Year Female -- Class 2016
Collaboration/Competitive: A, Scholastic Success: C
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The University of Maryland - College Park
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