There are several jocular proposals for what UMBC really stands for, and one of the most popular is: "U Must Be Chinese." This mainly stems from the fact that UMBC actually does have quite a strong presence of Asian students (close to 25% of first year students identify themselves as "Asian.") The stereotype also has its roots in another feature of UMBC : its notable emphasis on the sciences and technology. Thus, the stereotype of Asian students being highly tech savvy also plays into the perceived accuracy of the name, and some people appear to be under the impression that UMBC is only for "computer nerds" and "science junkies." They say that it lacks a creative vibe with regard to the fine arts, and that the students tend to be rather boring. But these stereotypes are totally overblown. Sure, UMBC certainly has great strength in the fields of science and technology, which is one of the positive aspects of the university that attracted me in the first place, but it is also one of the most ethnically, socially, and ideologically diverse universities in Maryland. So naturally, there are many students with a myriad of interests, many of which don’t have anything to do with computer engineering or biochemistry. I have several friends who major in the humanities or fine arts and never step foot into another science or math class after they've fulfilled their general requirements for such courses. I know a student who is double majoring in biology and dance, and in her free time she works as a writing tutor in the Writing Tutorial Center. I myself am an environmental science major, but I'm also a scholar of the Sondheim Public Affairs Program, which focuses on service learning experiences and public policy issues. I'm also training to become a writing tutor, and I study Spanish as a minor under the Modern Language and Linguistics Department. In other words, despite my major being concentrated in science, I, like many other students, am still pursuing my many other interests that are not directly related to the focus of my studies in environmental science. Additionally, UMBC is filled with young people who actively participate in recreational and competitive sports as well as in student organizations that range from College Democrats and Model UN to the Break Dance club and the Cleftomaniacs (an a cappella group.) UMBC’s campus is a multicultural environment filled with students who have a wide array of interests, talents, and skills that they continue to develop throughout their time at the university.
I must admit, at my college, University of Maryland Baltimore County, we have the stereotype of being a "nerd school" and that the current students fall under that category. They're are two types of "nerdy" students per se; you'll find the academically focused, "spend everyday in the library" kind of people who strive for above average grades because their parents push their education on them or for personal achievement. Or, (while roaming the campus ) you'll find the "gamers," who lock themselves up in their room and play countless hours of video games. These people tend to be very anti-social and even their own roommate couldn't name their favorite color. This stereotype in a way is both false and true; UMBC is an honors college and even though it may not be too difficult to get into, it's extremely hard to stay. The school has a very popular engineering program for example that requires its students to work hard. The programs ultimate goal is to weed through the slackers and people who have the high school mentality of "i don't have to study to get good grades" in order to find the students who are very committed. And yes, the school has drawn in many so-called "gamers" but if you look around, the campus is full of people who have many other interests such as sports and other varying activities.
There really aren't any serious stereotypes at UMBC. Our Frat and Greek organization are mostly based on academic achievement, volunteering purposes or awareness. There aren't any that are based solely on fun. Honestly 85% of students are geeks so whose to point fingers and make fun of anyone. Odd Stereotype 2. Only Asians go here. FALSE. Although we do have a good amount of Asian students, UMBC is VERY diverse. We have students from all over the world (ie International students). There is a club for every ethnicity on campus so feel very much at home. You can definitely find your home people down here. UMBC goes against the jock stereotype funny enough. Our esteemed sport group is actually the chess team. The jocks here are fairly good but sadly we are not a sport heavy university. This isn't to say we have no sports because we have so many (even ultimate frisbee and cricket). UMBC is more based more on academia (ie we have no football team) but we do have spirit. Our jocks are pretty smart. I tutor them in Math and Chemistry and I've even tutor some who were biology or biochemistry majors.
There are honestly not a lot of stereotypes about the students on campus. We are known to be an academic school and not a party school, however we are not really seen as geeks. We are known to be hard workers and determined to achieve. There are some frats and sororities you can join, however they are more academic focused or volunteering to better the community. We have many division 1 sports teams and club sports but UMBC is more focused on academics and learning than on sports. You always feel comfortable when on campus and find a place to fit in. There are so many organizations, you are bound to find someone with an interest as you have, and if there isnt a group already made for you, if you find 4 people with the same interest, you can make your own recognized group. So there are constantly new types of people emerging and there will always be stereotypes, but this isnt something that has been a hateful problem at UMBC.
Majority of students who goes to UMBC are commuters from all over Maryland, or Pennsylvania, etc. The students who do live on campus usually are also from Maryland, DC, VA area, and they usually go home on the weekends. There are numerous campus events during the weekdays but not a lot of them are on the weekends. Due to the fact that most students are commuters and on-campus residents are not on-site during the weekends, it is best to have a part-time weekend jobs if you do elect to live on campus, or like everybody else, go home on the weekends, if possible. The other students who goes to UMBC are international students, and they either live at Walker Avenue Apartments and are graduate students, or they live off-campus for the most part.
Have YOU turned your GEEK on? When I first saw those posters all over the campus, I would snicker and keep walking. I wouldn't say that us kids at UMBC are geeks, per say. We're a very diverse group ranging from geeks to jocks to zombie vs human players to express-dressed smarties to straight up classy nerds. One thing in common at UMBC however is this: we never show our smarts in public. You will find the most annoying, childish, goofiest, silliest, un-collegelike behavior around campus sometimes. But you know what? That's okay. We all grow older, but not all of need to grow up. It's nice to let loose appropriately every once in a while... or every four hours in a day.
People say UMBC is filled with Asians, commuters, science nerds and chess players. These aren't true at all. Asians make up less than a quarter of the student body. While most of the population commutes, the resident population is growing. Our school is well known for its many science programs, but more than half of the students are not majoring in science. The chess team only has 4 people on it and most students don't play chess regularly. People also say UMBC is boring. This is kind of true. If you want to have fun, you have to find it yourself. There are school-sponsored events, but they tend to have a really low turnout for whatever reason.
The stereotype of UMBC is that it is an all Asian campus even with nicknames like U Must Be Chinese, but while there are many Asians at UMBC, there are also students of every nationality imaginable. It is one of the most diverse campuses in the country with people from all different races and cultures which makes it very interesting. It also gets the stereotype of being a nerdy campus which is not true. The people here are smart, but as the sports editor of the school newspaper, I see a lot of support for the athletics on campus and other things of that nature.
Students here are definitely more study oriented than other schools and therefore may be called geeks, nerds, or workaholics. UMBC is referred to in this way because we don't have a football team and we are definitely not known as a party school. This definitely is an accurate stereotype even though you can still find a party if you looked for one! Another stereotype is that we are a commuter school. While a majority of the students live on campus, many live within a 50-60 mile radius and therefore decide to commute.
Because UMBC is an honors university many people assume UMBC students are extremely committed to their studies and, consequently, very straight-laced and boring. I've found that this stereotype holds true for a portion of the UMBC community, but it doesn't take too much effort to find students who know how to balance doing coursework and having fun. Although there is a reason the stereotype exists, many students on campus want nothing more than to defy the stereotype of the typical UMBC student.