University of Maryland, College Park
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
First Generation College Student: No
High School Experience: Public school in Salisbury, MD with a graduating class of about 600 students.
Majors: Double major in Finance and Information Systems
Extracurricular Activities: I was in the Smith Finance Group, I’m in a fraternity, I was part of Terpthon, and I play intramural sports.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have an especially big impact on your experience?
My fraternity definitely did. I’m always around those guys. I’ve taken a bunch of positions in the fraternity, so that’s helped me gain a lot of connections.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
I have problem sets, I sometimes have readings but not really. It’s a lot of math and calculations. Information Systems is doing a lot of stuff with Excel and a tiny bit of coding.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
The business school, in general, helps you a lot with getting connections. They have a really good career system set up. They have a portal called HireSmith where they post job applications for internships and jobs. In terms of the finance department, it has a lot of good professors.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
In the business school it can be pretty competitive, especially among the finance kids because you’re competing for top-level internships. If you go through the business school and you don’t have any connections, it can be hard to compete with the kids who do for the higher-level stuff. I transferred from a different major into the business school, so it was harder because I knew less than the other students did. If you go in as a freshman you learn a lot more about the resources they have to offer you and how the school works.
What has been your favorite class in your majors?
Introduction to Finance.
What has been your least favorite class in your majors?
Probably one of the Information Systems class I took, I can’t remember the name of it. I had a professor that had a really thick accent and I basically had to teach it all to myself.
Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose Finance because I was interested in it and I found it really practical. I was originally an engineering major but I switched. I really like looking at the stock market and reading the Wall Street Journal and stuff like that. It also seems applicable and easy to get a job out of college.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Centreville Hall in North Campus.
Sophomore & Junior: I lived in the fraternity house.
Senior: I living in a satellite house, which is an off-campus house that is associated with a fraternity. That’s where we have our socials and everything. I’m living there with five of my friends.
What was your favorite living situation?
Right now, I’m living in the satellite house because our lease starts in the summer and that’s probably going to be my favorite place just because it’s my own house and there’s a lot of freedom. The fraternity house was nice because we had a chef who’d cook for us and it was nice to be able to walk downstairs and have a bunch of your friends hanging out.
Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
I personally felt pretty safe, but I can see why people don’t feel safe. Around the area where the off-campus houses are there are a bunch of townies and stuff. You hear about a lot of off-campus houses getting robbed. [See University of Maryland crime statistics here.] It’s kind of a bad area around campus, so I understand why people don’t feel safe.
How was going to college in-state?
It’s weird, but I like it. I think that sometimes I didn’t get the full college experience because I got to check out and go home whenever I wanted to or see home friends. What I liked the most is that I felt familiar with where I was and feeling like I didn’t have to take the extra time and steps to acclimate.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Great Falls hiking trail. It’s nice because you can go with a few friends and see nature.
Pros and Cons of being in College Park, MD?
Pros: (1) It’s close to Washington, D.C. Once you turn 21 you can go out there and there are a lot of connections there for internships and jobs down there.
(2) You can walk places. I’ve never had to Uber anywhere in College Park.
Cons: (1) The level of safety. [See University of Maryland crime statistics here].
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I’m in a fraternity so we have socials pretty much every Thursday and Saturday night. There are also three bars that everyone goes to: Bentley’s, Cornerstone, and Terrapin Turf. Fridays you go to happy hour and then go into the night. Sometimes I’ll go to tailgates on Saturdays. It’s kind of like a set schedule that everyone has in Greek life, you have a social on Thursday, go to happy hour on Friday, and then Saturday, if there’s not a tailgate or a day drink, there’s another social. There are also a few other bar nights throughout the week.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Usually Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and occasionally Tuesday and Wednesday.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
I lived in the North Campus dorms which were really far away from everything. We would pregame in the dorms and then take a bus down to where the bars are. After the bars, you’d probably get food and then take the bus back to the dorms.
What have been some of your favorite times at Maryland?
My favorite days are definitely the tailgates. It’s fun to wake up early and party all day.
Do freshman boys have trouble getting into parties?
They do because fraternities will have socials, which are just for the fraternity and sorority. During Rush Week there are lots of parties that guys can get into where you show them around and see if they want to join.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It makes it so it’s a lot harder for people who are not in Greek life to be able to go out and enjoy themselves because everyone in Greek life kind of sticks to themselves. People have friends who aren’t in Greek life, but, if you have a social and you have free alcohol and know the people going, you’re not going to go out of your way to hang out with one of your friends that aren’t in a fraternity and go to the bar with them.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with it. I would maybe change how there is a set schedule for people in Greek life. I also wish that people in Greek life would mix with each other more. There are sometimes stupid grudges for no reason.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Some of my friends from home went to Maryland. My friends from home and I joined the same fraternity, so we’re still really close. Then my other friends I met through my fraternity.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Maryland?
It’s pretty good for the academic caliber of school. I think it has a good balance of the academics and the social scene.
What is the impact of Greek life on the social scene?
It’s better to be in Greek life in my opinion because you have a lot more to do at all times. Whereas if you’re not in Greek life you’re a little bit more limited in what you can do.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think people do. You definitely can see a disconnect between some races because people like to hang out people who are like them. In Greek life you have [more of a mix than some places], it’s not just White preppy kids. Overall, I think it’s pretty good and everyone likes to mix together.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Maryland by senior year? Do you think people leave loving Maryland?
I know a lot of people who transferred from other schools to Maryland, but I don’t know many people who transferred out of Maryland. So, I would say most people are happy in my experience.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah, I actually got an internship from an alum in my fraternity. It’s huge to have the alumni network to reach out to.
How helpful was the career office?
I used it a lot when I was trying to figure out my resume, but now I only use if it I’m going to an interview. It’s really important and helpful when you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing in the job search.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be especially helpful to you professionally?
I’ve learned Visual Basic and Excel.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Maryland before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how good the business school was and what it could do for me because if I had got in as a freshman it would have been a lot better for me.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Definitely check out the bars so you can see where the nightlife happens.
Reasons to attend Maryland:
1) It’s a great balance between academics and social life.
2) It’s a big school so you can meet a lot of people.
3) The campus is really nice and easy to get around.
4) You’re close to Washington, D.C. and there is a lot of stuff to do around College Park.
Reasons to not attend Maryland:
1) Living on campus is expensive and the dorms freshman year are not very nice. [For 2018-2019 Room & Board costed about $12,600 per semester]
2) A lot of the professors are research professors, so, especially in the big lecture classes, they don’t care as much about the students. There are also a lot of foreign professors that come in to do research and sometimes it is hard to understand them.