The University of Maryland - College Park
The University of Maryland - College Park - Comments and Student Experiences|
The student body is a mixed bag: really diverse in their backgrounds, lifestyles and their interests. You'll definitely find people you can connect with. Yes, the campus is really big with over 30,000 people so the living-learning programs are indispensable. I'm in college park scholars, and through that, you get to have a few classes with the same people, and you live with them all in the same dorm--it really gives a community feel. If you weren't invited to join a living learning program, then definitely try to get involved in a group that meets regularly. Maybe you can write for the Diamondback or one of the many newspapers on campus, join an on-campus group or join a sorority or a frat. I also know that you can apply to some living and learning programs after a year--like the Language Houses, the Writer's House or Global Communities--where you'll meet and live with people with similar interests. I also know that UMD is also working on creating "communities" for people who are not in living-learning programs.
My best advice is, just be open and friendly; everyone is on the same boat as you!
The campus is absolutely gorgeous, and the stamp student union is planning things all the time so--aside from all the various groups- there's always something to do.
The courses are usually very good, but you'll come across professors and T.A.s who really shouldn't be teaching in a classroom. I think all the departments are pretty strong from what I've heard and experienced, except for the ARHU department. I think that definitely needs work! But overall, education is what you make of it and it's up to you to be dedicated.
I also love how Washington D.C. is so close. My friends and I go out to D.C. nearly every week to go clubbing or check out various ethnic restaurants. You just have to hop on the UM shuttle bus, then take the metro and it's a 15-20 minute ride away. Overall, Ive had a great year and I cant wait to go back for my sophomore year.
The University? Very good. Lecture which has 500 students but Recitation which has 20 students. You will get individualized attention.
Dorms? Eghh.. kinda crappy. Very small and no air conditioning and/or cable TV (when I went there, maybe things have changed). Boy does it get hot in those dorms. But they are building alot of new dorms there and look very cool. Im sure standards are being raised.
Campus? The most beautiful campus you'll ever see. Maryland puts alot of heart and soul and $$money$$ into Univ of Maryland College Park. Very unlike my home state of New York. They care about culture and learning in Maryland, which can be seen in their institutions. NY, on the other hand, zero culture (the gov't pays for) but good to business.
Food? Good food. I liked it.
Computer Science Department? Ahhh here the good stuff stops. Is it a good school? Yes. It is easy? No! Expect cutthroat competition and for it to be extremely difficult. Expect these guys to be extreeemely picky in your projects. Expect the profs to want to fail you in order to keep only the brightest students at the end. Do comp sci here only if you expect to really really excel at this field. And let me tell you people, alot of coding is getting outsourced to India so I don't see the point of doing hardcore coding if your going to live in the USA. You might as well do business so that you can manage these offshore people. Coding is like manufacturing - it is excruciatingly horrible and tedious. This is why Americans dont want to do it! So unless you want to work at Microsoft and have a real real real interest in this stuff, dont do comp sci at Maryland. Youll work veerrrry hard and you dont even know if you'll have a job as its being outsourced.
But if your doing anything else? Go there! Its great! You'll meet people from everywhere. Great school. You'll have the time of your life.
The area? Ahh - its ok. Its in suburban Washington DC. Its OK I guess - Prince Georges County (where UMCP is located) can be ghetto in some areas. The Metro trains going into DC area beautiful and very clean, but can stop running after 1am. DC is like a suburban area with no good city center. Long Island has NYC - but suburban MD and VA have crappy DC...its good for school but I don't think I'd like to live in the DC area...
I noticed at other private colleges, my sister went to a private college, there might be racial diversity, but there really isn't as much socio-economic diversity. When looking at UMd as a whole, beyond Frat row, UMd is really rich, both in terms of racial divisions and socio-economic divisions. While the classes and races don't always bond, they do interact, and learning to interact productively amongst society is one of the skills one learns at University.
Before I entered UMd, I received a wonderful letter explaining that college was more than about the books, but about learning all the things around me. And while I did study and learn academically, I learned in many more ways about how to thrive in life.
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