Impressions Of
University of Maryland, College Park

Academic Experience

Female English and Film Studies Double Major C/O 2017

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It was pretty similar for both my majors. There were not a ton of sit-down exams, we mostly had essays. When we would have exams, they’d be very writing heavy. Some professors have you do readings each week or read some of a book, maybe with a forum post or summary. Work for the Creative Writing minor is mostly reading other peoples’ short stories and writing your own.

Did you especially like or dislike anything about your majors’ departments? Did they do anything especially well or poorly?
It more has to do with the number of people in the major. English is a bigger major than film studies. Film Studies didn’t always have a ton of things to choose from, but that’s a function of it being a smaller major. It’s not something they didn’t do well because there are only so many people to cater to. I liked that there were so many options in the English major. I liked pretty much all of my professors, they were pretty receptive to student concerns. Both majors had smaller classes, so you could get to know professors. Even in the low-level courses they kept class sizes small. I don’t have any major complaints academically speaking.

Male Government & Politics and Finance Double Major C/O 2019

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
For my Government classes, it’s mostly reading. The way the coursework works is you get a participation grade, maybe a midterm exam and paper, and a final. It’s not a lot of grades but they all have a really high percentage. For my business classes, you will typically have weekly problem sets, or something of that nature, and big midterms and big finals.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
It depends. The business school can certainly be competitive but it depends on who you associate yourself with. There are groups of people in the business school who are extremely competitive, but that’s just the top 1% of people. Besides that, it’s pretty collaborative. For all of my Government classes everyone is extremely collaborative. I don’t really sense any type of competition at all.

Female Russian Language and Literature Major C/O 2017

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major and minor?
The first two years my courses were much more grammar and language heavy. Freshman year I had class every day, and then gradually it got lighter and lighter and we could move away from grammar-based classes and focus on cultural classes. We would have homework exercises and then the big grades were exams. Most of the language classes were smaller, plus I had a small major, so sometimes I’d have classes with 10 other people. The classes for my minor were larger, so 20-30 students. General Education classes, like Economics, Statistics, and Astronomy, can be like 200 people, but in those classes you have big lectures twice a week and then once a week you have a discussion with 20-30 people and your TA.

I was in the International Studies department of Scholars, which is conceptually similar to adding a concentration. For that I had to write government style essays, so no more than 3 or 4 pages. It was helpful because that’s what you have to write in the field. I also did the Global Fellows Program where you take a class pertaining to a topic and then you do an internship pertaining to the same topic. I took US Diplomacy and Policymaking, we had professors from DC who were experts in the field. It’s nice having those resources right there without being downtown. That was all essays too.

Social Opportunities

Male Bioengineering Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I will go to the three main bars that everyone goes to, Bentley’s, Cornerstone, and Terrapin Turf. Depending on how busy I am during the week, each bar has something going on every day except for Monday. Happy hour is a pretty big thing at Maryland. Thursday and Saturday nights there are usually fraternity events like socials with sororities. A lot of Greek life doesn’t go to the bar those nights. If I’m not too busy, I’ll go to the bar on Wednesday and Friday. If you’re not in a frat, it’s more of a bar school even though we don’t have many bars.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I would say joining Greek life gives you more options in nightlife because anyone can go to the bar whenever they want, but just being in a frat gives you that other option to go to socials or go to parties. Clubs and organizations have parties and people who live in Old Town [College Park] have parties too.

I think nightlife is more accessible if you do join a Greek organization. I’ve been to the bars on a Thursday night and I normally know a decent amount of people there, but I went on a Thursday and didn’t know anybody because Greek life isn’t at the bar. They’re having parties and socials. At tailgates, there is a giant IFCPHA tailgate [see Diamondback article on IFC Tailgate], which is a giant tailgate for all the sororities and fraternities. If you’re in one, you get a wristband so you can get in. You can give away some wristbands to friends, but for the most part, it’s fraternities and sororities.

Male Biochemistry Major C/O 2017

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife did you like to participate in?
I would definitely go out Friday and Saturday. Freshman and sophomore year when I had less work and when the frat was going I went out Tuesday and Thursday too, so at most Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday would be social nights with the frat, then Friday would be a night at the bar. You could also go to the bars on Sunday and Wednesday if you wanted, but I didn’t that much. You can go to the bars any night of the week really.

What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
You can always go to DC. The metro stop is very close to campus. In the Student Union there is a bowling alley, and lots of Xboxes, etc. set up. In general, when you’re a freshman you can chill in your dorm. Dorms usually surround an area with a basketball hoop or volleyball net. There are a lot of concerts and stuff on campus. The student center has free movies every Friday. Unfortunately, Prince George’s county doesn’t have a lot to offer outside of the Maryland campus.

Female English and Film Studies Double Major C/O 2017

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
One or two nights every weekend, and once during the week depending on the week. I’d average about 2-3 nights a week. We’d usually either have people over to our apartment or go to a friend’s apartment and then go to a bar in College Park or hop around if the first one wasn’t fun. Sometimes there would be house parties or we’d take the metro to D.C., so it varies.

How happy are you with the nightlife at Maryland? Is there anything you would change if you could?
It’s okay, but there are not a lot of options. Options do exist, but they are all pretty similar. It would be cool if there was a music venue bar or a more upscale bar, they’re all sports bar like places. I think it’d be better if they just opened up a more artsy bar on the strip. I also think that it’s a shame that if you’re not 21 there’s very little do in College Park.

Campus Culture

Female English and Film Studies Double Major C/O 2017

Do people seem happy with their choice of Maryland by senior year?
It’s a difficult thing to say. I know I was very happy and my friends were really happy with their decision. I think a lot of in-state people go into Maryland not super excited about it, but over the years people see how many student loans and debt their friends are racking up and how much nicer it is to not have to worry about that as much. People also realize that it is a very good school and that there are lots of resources because it’s such a big university that they grow to appreciate. There are obviously people that are ready to leave and are bored with the nightlife, but most of the people I talk to are happy to be there. [In Fall 2018, total costs for an in-state student was about $27,000.]

Male Secondary Education and History Double Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s pretty fun. There are a lot of people on this campus that want to meet new people and get a better experience. There are a ton of opportunities and so many things to do on campus through sports, the bowling alley, or going out or hanging out with friends you’re never going to be bored. It’s not some crazy party school, but you’ll always have an opportunity to have a good time.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I came from a pretty diverse background, so I’ve always been able to mingle with other groups. On campus, I don’t see that being a problem with people butting heads or anything like that. There have been problems with race in the past, but it’s not like there’s some sort of heavy tension. I think Maryland has done a good job of trying to keep the campus open and foster relationships between different groups, but when you have [about 30,000] students there’s always the possibility for some sort of issue to arise.

Female Russian Language and Literature Major C/O 2017

How would you describe the social scene?
For me, my freshman year I think what happens is a lot of people socialize with who they’re physically around, so people in halls, classes, programs, etc. As you start to learn more about things on campus people self-select to join other groups. Freshman year my friends were from my dorm and program. Then I made friends through Language House, made friends through prevention education stuff, alternative breaks, as you put yourself in different situations you make a mix of friends. Some people join Greek Life and that’s their social scene.

College Park, MD

Pros of

  • “You’re close to D.C. and really close to the metro. You can go there whenever you want.”
  • “Basically everybody in College Park goes to, works for, or is affiliated with the university. Because of that, there are lots of people to meet and hang out with.”
  • “I like that the area is walkable.”
  • “There are good off-campus housing options.”
  • “Internships. You have access to Baltimore and D.C., so interviewing is really easy. If you have a year-long lease, you can use during the summer and commute.”

Cons of

  • “There are some areas that are unsafe and rundown if you wander off campus too far.”
  • “I wish there was more nature around. You have to go pretty far to find any sense of nature.”
  • “There’s not a big grocery store within walking distance.”
  • “College Park isn’t very pretty.”
  • Even though you have access to the metro, College Park is remote. It takes about 30 minutes to get to D.C. If you want to drive less than 30 minutes, you won’t hit too much.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Secondary Education and History Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Maryland before entering as a freshman?
I guess how hard it was going to be because there have been some classes that have [been really hard]. There have been times when it’s been a shock because I have not put in the effort where it’s needed and then the grades have shown it.

What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
The surrounding area. That’s something you don’t think about on a visit. Hyattsville can be nice, but then you also have Greenbelt which is not as nice. Then also understanding how many buildings there are. On a visit you see the size, but don’t really understand all the opportunities Maryland offers.

Male Government & Politics and Finance Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Maryland before entering as a freshman?
I wish that I knew more about financing my loans as an out of state student. It’s a pretty expensive school out of state relatively speaking. They don’t have a lot of help for financial aid because the vast majority of students are in-state, and in-state is such a good price that financial aid is not a big issue for a lot of people. I wish I knew that they weren’t going to help me that much with financial aid. I wish I was more independent with it. [In Fall 2018, about 75% of undergraduates were in-state students.]

What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They don’t take them into Cole Field House. Right now, it’s heavily under construction, but that is where the new football facility is going to be and there are going to be a bunch of classrooms. It’s going to be absolutely amazing. They’ll probably show you the outside, but you can get in if you go individually. I’d also walk around Old Town [College Park], like where fraternity row is, for no other reason that it gives you a good feeling about what kind of school it’s going to be.

Female Russian Language and Literature Major C/O 2017

What is something you wish you knew about Maryland before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I had more confidence in the idea that I would find my niche and place and social circle. I didn’t want to go here at first but ended up really loving it.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Take a moment to yourself and sit by the fountain and watch everyone and get to know the feel and let it sink in around you. It’s a really nice place, in the midst of everyone doing everything it’s cool to sit there and watch.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of Maryland, College Park

To Attend

  • “Tailgates, basketball games, and other sporting events are a lot of fun to go to with friends.”
  • “It’s a big school, so you have a ton of resources. Most students don’t learn how to use them all, but once you figure that out it’s super helpful.”
  • “The cost. There’s a lot of bang for your buck here. You aren’t going to be deep in debt.” [In Fall 2018, total costs for an in-state student was about $27,000.]
  • “Maryland is big enough that anyone can find something they want to do there, do it well, and find a small community for themselves.”

To Not Attend

  • “It’s not the safest college town or the nicest. That’s the biggest con I can think of.”
  • “Certain majors have more large lecture-style classes, so if you have a learning disability or really thrive in a small environment that could be difficult.”
  • “It’s a very large campus and some people aren’t comfortable with that. It’s big in terms of the number of people and also the physical size.”
  • “Parking is terrible.”
Notice: University of Maryland, College Park is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by University of Maryland, College Park.

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