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University of Maryland-College Park

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Describe the students at your school.

I don't think any kind of student would feel out of place at UMD. There are many different clubs and organizations around causes of all kinds, and it's easy to find your own niche in this gigantic school. The hardest adjustment I think for new students is if they come into the university as a commuter. One of the greatest things about starting out at this school is living on campus and fully experiencing everything it has to offer. Student attire to classes is typically sweatshirts and jeans and t-shirts, nothing too fancy normally. Occasionally a lot of people will be dressed up for career days. The dining hall is a ridiculous example of how students interact on campus; it's quite large and typically groups of 1-8 people sit with people they know. I typically just take my food to go and don't eat in the dining hall itself. Most UMD students are from Maryland, being as the University is the flagship university of the state. Other states well represented are New Jersey and New York. I'm not sure about the financial backgrounds of students here. I know I personally come from a family where my sister and I were eligible for free and reduced meals in high school, and I've never felt threatened by others of higher economic status. A good bit of students are politically active, but there are efforts to create a higher amount of political awareness on campus. Voter registration drives happen often. From what I've heard, the campus is predominantly left, with a good bit of center, and a small passion sect of the right. The College Democrats and College Republicans support political involvement of all kinds, and work together to discuss issues in a civil, democratic manner. I know a lot of engineers and students in the business school, and many of them talk about how much money they'll earn one day. Personally, a lot of the people in other majors I know are really passionate about what they are studying and are really more interested in learning the most they can so they can be ready for the job market and so they are best equipped to do what they want to do in life.

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The majority of students at UMD are from DC, Maryland, New York (the main city or Long Island), and New Jersey. Of course, there are tons of students from other states...but the majority of people that you will talk to are from those places. There are so many students here from different backgrounds, heritages, countries, and everything in between that it is difficult to classify them under one category. The only way to do this would be to call them all TERPS! We all love Maryland and that makes us all the same. No student would be out of place here as this is not high school. You don't need to be accepted by anyone to be a student at UMD. People wear all types of clothing to class. In general here are some guidelines: Girls: -leggings/sweatpants -hoodie/sweatshirt -jeans -t shirts -comfortable clothes -cute outfits -NO party/club wear or heels (some girls do wear heels and all I can think when looking at them is "Take those heels off, everyone knows how badly your feet hurt" lol) Guys: -jeans -sweatpants -t shirt -hoodie/sweatshirt -chill clothes -stylish outfits Obviously anyone can wear whatever they'd like but these things are what most students wear to class. Many students come from wealthy families and many come from families with an average income. You will find that those students living at The View or The Varsity are typically wealthier as those housing options are quite costly (so worth it!!!) but this is not always the case. Also, many students involved with Greek Life come from wealthier families...but again, these are all generalizations. Wealth is not a factor that determines whether you make friends or how well succeed at UMD. All types of students interact with one another, especially in the classroom. Not only in discussions or by participating in class, but classes are a great way to meet people who are from different areas, clubs/organizations, and people who will be your lifelong friends. I met two of my best friends in my classes...and countless other people who I am friends with!

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I don't even need to leave a long answer for this question - UMD is full of all types of people! There are student groups for every possible race, religion, sexual affiliation, ethnicity, and interest. Even within my fairly small major, Animal Science, which you might think would be a bunch of conservative farmer types, I have classes with men, women, lesbians, gays, and a variety of races. There is no discrimination, everyone treats everyone else equally. I have NEVER seen a student berate or discriminate against another based on any of those factors. There are also students from a wide variety of economic backgrounds. Even in my closest group of friends there are people who could not get a job and live off of their parents wealth for the next three generations and there are others who work three jobs just to be able to pay rent, student loans, and eat at the end of each week. As for political affiliations, I would say there are more liberals here than conservatives, although like I said before, there is a group for everything and if you look you will find people that you have things in common with! And even if you don't look, chances are they will find you! On a typical day, there is no telling what students will wear to class. Some people dress up for class every single day, although I will say I have only seen a handful of folks that wear suits/heels to class every day. Most students wear jeans and whatever and some come to class in their PJs every day. For me, it all depends on how much I oversleep! If I hit snooze one too many times I will be at class in sweats, if not its usually jeans and a hoodie because no one wants to sit through a 75 minute lecture on the nutritional requirements of a lactating dairy cow without being comfy!

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Being from NJ, I was a little shocked when I came to UMD and found that (or at least I felt this way) African American students almost segregate themselves. That is not to say that there are not exceptions to that rule. It's just a general tone that blacks and whites don't overly-associate or date one another. It really upset me, but you learn to live with it and those who are comfortable, are totally open to meeting anyone. If you're one who can't deal with being a number ever, I would say UMD may not be for you. But for sure tour campus and sit in a class. There are always ways to make a big school feel smaller. Students wear a variety of things to class. I would say to stay away from sweatpants and sweatshirt get-ups, especially in the business school. Your professors are not just professors. They had/have other careers and your impression upon them can impact their assumptions about you and their decision to give you a recommendation or not. UMD students are typically from MD, NY, NJ, PA and then you get some out there ones from CA, CO, and OH. I feel that people are less political than you would find at a University in DC.

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1. I am a part of a Christian group on campus and have had positive expereinces with other ministry groups on campus. I firmly believe that all groups deserve the right to meet and empower themselves and have had no conflicts with other groups, even if some groups I personally do not agree with (whether it be in principles, politics, whatever). 2. Students who make no effort to do anything would feel out of place. Because the school is so large, if you do not take initiative, nothing will ever be given to you. 3. Jeans, t-shirt. Some people (usually freshmen) take extra effort to look nice, but as they get older it eventually gets to sweats and flip flops. 4. I'd like to say yes, but from what I have seen, students definitely tend to stick to their own race. 5. Athlete table, People coming from or to the same class, people from the same dining hall, and/or various tables according to race. 6. Most are from MD or NJ 7. Most seem middle class 8. Not so active, but definitely not ignorant. 9. Predominantly left, as is MD as a state. 10. Business students do at least. Other majors I cannot say.

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With such a large student population, there is a good chance that whatever people you're looking to hang out with, you'll find them. The number of student organizations accurately reflects the wide array of student interests and advocacy initiatives, from supporting the LGBTQ community to educating college students about sexual health, from growing food on rooftops to playing Starcraft. Although Maryland is a state university, there are a considerable number of students from out-of-state. This only adds to the diversity of Maryland's student portait. Even in my own group of friends, half are working to put themselves through college, several are intensely politically active, most are incredibly involved in at least three organizations on campus, while a few are extremely focused on academics but little else. Having such a great variety of students around is one of Maryland's strengths--you can have as many friends as you want, in as many different places as you like.

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The political affiliations of the student body probably balance out somewhere just left of center, but not far. Because of the size, the student body is totally balkanized. Once I found my group of intellectuals, writers, artists, feminists, and queers, I delightedly self-segregated as well. It's a survival mechanism and a recipe for happiness in the impersonal city that is the UMD College Park campus. The campus is extremely diverse in every way except geographically: socioeconomically, racially, and religiously. Some of this diversity is visible and some is hidden. The diversity, unfortunately, is not coupled with a general sense of political and social awareness/activism. Students who'd likely feel out of place until struggling a bit to find their niche are humanities-oriented intellectuals and people who aren't interested in college sports and frat parties. After a while, though, they'll find their people. Whether they find their classes is a harder question.

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The Maryland campus is diverse. On any given walk to class, you'll see people of different races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, etc. I don't think any kind of student would feel left out because there seems to be social sects for everyone. That being said, the group themselves don't really interact too much outside of class. They probably do more than a typical ivy league school or something, but the interactions between groups could increase. Most students wear sweats to class and are from the state of Maryland. Although there are a lot of students from the New York/New Jersey area as well. For in-state kids, the financial backgrounds all vary, though I would say most are middle class. The out-of-state kids tend to be more affluent, though it all depends on scholarships, aid and whatever else. Most students are predominantly left leaning in their politics and there is always some kind of rally going on on the Mall.

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UMD is composed of a diverse student body. Students come from all over the world and are of various racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many students stay within their own race/ ethnic group, instead of branching out and interacting with people from other diverse backgrounds. However, we have various groups on campus, such as Multiracial/ Biracial Student Association and Community Roots, who work actively to expose and combat these and other issues. The majority of students are White. However there is a large Asian population and a significant number of other minority groups due to the large student population overall. Students are politically aware and very active in human rights, social change, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. UMD students are openminded, green, and supportive of the LGBT community.

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I haven't had any negative experiences with any groups on campus. I think a student that is extremely shy would feel out of place because there are so many people to meet and make friends with. People wear anything from military uniforms to sweatpants. I don't eat at the dining hall so I wouldn't know. I would say middle class would be the average. I would say that a fair number of students are politically aware/active. Barack Obama came to speak at the Comcast Center the day before the Maryland primaries and there were so many people that I had to stand outside in the freezing cold for an hour to get inside. I don't know the political views of most of the students. I have not heard of students talking about how much they'll earn one day.

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