When it came down to it I was deciding between College Park and UMBC and there were a few different reasons that I came here. One of the main things was that at College Park you are just a number. It is so hard to get personal help there because of how many people go there. Here there is always help and everyone tries very hard to get you through the year happily. One thing I would change is I would give the school a football team because I think that is a big reason that some people lack school spirit. To summarize though, the school is very convenient for me and the knowledge that is provided to me and the people who are here always makes me feel that there really is something special about this place.
UMBC is a good size and very student accessible for academic purposes. However, it is hard to find things to do in spare time, the Involvment Fest takes place once a semester and is overwhelming. UMBC needs to find another way to publicize activities and provide information about them. I spend most of my time on campus, because I did not have a car and it is hard to get off campus without one. The biggest recent controversy was over the ROTC program possibly coming to the campus, which it was decided that it would. School pride is something I feel is lacking, and something I wish the campus would work on fostering, there is not much cohesiveness as a whole student body.
I really enjoy studying at UMBC because UMBC provides good education. The professors are very devoted to teaching and helping their students, and there are many academic resources and help available for students. The campus is a little small, so I get to know almost everyone on campus. People are very friendly and close to each other. One bad thing is that UMBC does not really have a lot of campus life activities or clubs on campus. Some clubs are not well-organized. When I tell people I go to UMBC, they usually ask me if I take a pre-pharm or pre-med major. I am actually planning to go to a medical school, so I enjoy hearing the assumptions and stereotypes.
It can be hard to find someone who says UMBC was my fist choice school. I admit it wasn’t mine. Having been rejected by other schools, it was the next best thing. In reality I guess it was THE best thing. I have had opportunities to do research along side some of the top professors in my field and I’ve been able to have an on campus job and play rugby, things that I may have never been able to do at a bigger school. UMBC is growing, and I hope that more people will see its changing reputation and respect it as a honors research university. I want to hear that UMBC is someone’s first choice, not an alternative.
UMBC is a fairly quiet, suburban campus. It's good for people who want a medium size research institution, people who live near baltimore and want to stay close to home, and commuters. Much of the population commutes. Even though it's quiet, people still drink and party, but there are no huge on-campus parties. Walk off campus and you will find the blue collar town of Catonsville, but Baltimore is about 15 minutes up 695. It's also one of the most racially diverse schools you will find, but that is probably due to its location.
I definitely loved going to UMBC. Classes were difficult at times, but the professors are often available to help a student and there are plenty of Assistant Teachers in our classes as well as tutoring centers for several courses! I was there for four years and had a chance to do EVERYTHING (join a dance team, work as a Resident Assistant, study abroad, make friends, join an amazing sorority...) I wanted to do during my time there as an undergraduate.
My overall opinion of this school is that it is a school for education. I know you say education isn't every school however, it is not. Majority of colleges and universities there are a plethora of parties and drinking and drugs on campus. At UMBC there is not a lot of that going on. The students here get there work done and party later, but the library is always packed so I highly doubt there is much partying going on.
I feel UMBC is one of those colleges that can be whatever one wants it to be. It's big enough to be big, small enough to be small. Almost all sorts of clubs and extra cirriculars are offered, from cultural orgs to Greek Life and SGA, and none hold any weight over the other. It is not a party school however one can find the party crowd if they want to.
I was a transfer student with HCC. The only thing I can tell you is that you will work hard. The courses are very diffcult and the expectations for your do to well are higher than most other schools. If you aren't one of those over achievers, than consider another school. If your party a lot then consider another school.
I like UMBC's size. I wish there was more in the immediate area of UMBC. No one really cares or supports our Athletic teams. UMBC lacks school pride. Parking sucks.