University of Maryland
at College Park
College Park, MD 20742
Web Site: www.umd.edu
The University of Maryland at College Park is generally considered a top school, ranked behind the first-tier academic giants but steadily increasing its reputation. In the early 90’s a bumper sticker began to appear around campus that said, "I’d rather be studying," perhaps a signal that the school was trying to lose its "party school" image. In recent years, the business and engineering schools (graduate level), have been ranked among the nation's top 25 in their disciplines.
In recent U.S. News & World Report rankings, U. Maryland has been assigned a 3.7 "Academic reputation score" out of a possible 5. This score is the highest in the strong second-tier grouping which includes over one hundred schools and is an indication of the university's obvious emphasis and
This suburban state-supported school covers over 1,375 acres. It’s one of the largest universities in the United States. It’s the flagship school in
the eleven-institution public system, with departments and divisions galore. U. Maryland is about a half hour's drive from the Capitol. On your first visit you’ll note the white-pillared buildings, Georgian in style and usually of red brick. These UMCP housing and school units sit in quadrangles surrounded by grassy knolls with valleys and lifts. It’s like "an immense grab-bag," says one student.
There are over 300 buildings. First, you’ve got seven libraries, holding over three million volumes. There’s the Stamp Student Union where you can see movies. You’ve also got eateries there (Roy Rogers, Taco Bell), a bowling alley, billiards, even a bank. The state-of-the art computer center is a sight to behold. This school is wired. There are over 3,500 PC terminals located across the campus. In the planning stage is a new multicultural center as well as recreational and performing arts buildings. The new golf course, with its pro-shop and showers, is ready now. Imagine, too, the college/classroom locations that are too numerous to list here.
On this campus most students are residents of Maryland, with large constituents of enrollees from DC, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey. The numbers are large. You’ll be one of about 32,000 students
(with perhaps 24,500-plus full and part-time undergraduates). About 13% of these students are of color. And everyday your educational and cultural
options will be considerable.
There are both co-ed and single-sex dorms. Most students reside in either the South or North Hill residential areas. In the North Hill section you’ll
find the Cambridge, Denton, and Ellicott ("Hellicott") dorms. In the South, the Leonardtown and North and South Hill ("The Suites") dorms.
For Maryland state residents it’s not too difficult. The school must accept 75% of its own students. If you’re an out-of-stater, however, you’ll get a careful look. Approximately 65% of all applicants are accepted, with stats for AA’s about the same. Over a third of the accepted students were in the top 10% of their high school graduating classes. Over 77% graduated in the top quarter. Note that in 1990 the Maryland State Legislature voted to point the university toward "higher academic" and related standards, including raising the overall average for SATs (a measuring stick for many prestigious schools).
To gain acceptance you should demonstrate academic ability and clear potential. The courses you took in high school and you secondary school record matter first and foremost. College preparatory courses and two science labs are desirable. In regard to you SAT I or ACT scores you should be in the school’s "ballpark" range (see below). Your essay should showcase writing ability and say what you’re about (leadership, goals, and the positives). Your recommendations should also present and argue
your case for admission.
Students are from all states, DC, and over one hundred foreign countries.
The median SAT score is about 1180 (half of the scores higher, half lower). The lower quarter of accepted students present scores in the 900 range (sometimes a bit lower) but are certainly making their cases by the great amount of support material presented. Keep in mind that the University of Maryland CP usually graduates more students of color than other predominately white colleges. You’ve got to look like a "fit," with staying power.
We have heard stories, alternately, that you can "cruise" along or be greatly challenged, depending on your major. If you’re on that engineering track
or into physics, it won’t be a cakewalk. There are fourteen schools and colleges at UMCP, with a good 300 possible journeys available to you, from theater to journalism to economics majors. The most popular are in business, engineering, biology, education, criminal justice, political science/government, and science. It’s a universe of possibilities, to say the least. And what about African-American students? This university graduates more Black students annually than any of the predominantly white schools.
The overall academic level is not especially rigorous. But if you are a very strong student there is a University Honors Program. It has been called one of "the best values" at a state university. You are routed to special classes and assignments while given the elite treatment: better dorms, better award packages. These students can take courses like "Doctrine and Debate in World Religions" or "Black Women and the Public Eye."
Students with adjustment problems can find support with the Office of Minority Student Education (OMSE). Students can also get academic counseling,
group workshops, seminars on time-management and test-taking. One continuous complaint is that a lot of introductory courses are crowded (50 to 200 students).
Extras: There’s Cooperative Education, internships, Naval and Air Force ROTC, study abroad, and self-designed majors.
The Black Greeks are a pivotal part of the social life on campus. Some say that "our thing"—whatever it is on campus—is like a world unto itself. There are parties galore, with a very active social and nightlife available for those who are interested. For political awareness or entertainment there’s
the Nyumburu Cultural Center which is located in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. There's also a Black Student Union and a group called the Diversity Initiative that is very active.
You can meet and listen to visiting lectures like Henry Louis Gates, Jr. or sit in on seminars like "Time Management—How to Pick classes." At the Hoff Theater you can watch the Annual Homecoming Talent
Show, a Comedy Jam, or a Jazz/Poetry Night. In a recent year there was actually "A Look Inside The World of Hip Hop" conference.
You will always have something to do—there are over 450 clubs and organizations on campus--whether it’s listening to "Yester Now," the Black-oriented radio
show, or reading Black Explosion, our campus newspaper. Finally, Howard University is a popular visiting spot, only a fifteen-minute trip by car from College Park.
You’ll be on the edge of your seat. UMCP is a member of NCAA (Division I) in basketball and football and other sports and is usually very competitive.
Financial Aid deadline: February 15th (priority).
Application deadline: February 15th.
Note: Available aid and housing depend to some extent on when you apply.
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