What is it Like to Attend University of Maryland?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Gabby is a Washington D.C. tutor and 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland. She holds a Journalism degree and specializes in many subjects such as Writing tutoring, Italian tutoring, and SAT prep tutoring. See what she had to say about her undergraduate experience:


VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Gabby: The campus is beautiful and sprawling. UMD has a reliable shuttle system that goes to every corner of campus, although many students also walk or bike to class. The campus is generally safe, but it’s always a good idea to use the buddy system when walking around at night.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Gabby: The professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants are very accommodating to students’ needs. They all hold office hours and are often willing to schedule appointments outside of their posted hours.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Gabby: Dorm life is one of the best ways to get to know your fellow Terps. Most freshmen live in the high-rise buildings on campus, and many are grouped with other students in their majors. The rooms are nothing luxurious, but they are perfectly suited to house two students. The underclassmen dorms are located next to a dining hall, 24-hour snack shop, fitness center, and recreational spaces.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Gabby: Two of UMD’s best known and highest ranked programs are Business and Engineering. I studied Journalism – another nationally ranked program. During my junior year, the university completed construction of a new Journalism building that features state of the art production facilities and computer labs.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Gabby: Making friends as a freshman is easy thanks to a week of fun orientation activities. Resident advisers in the dorms are also great at organizing floor meetings to help students get to know their neighbors. Fraternities and sororities are popular, but it’s just as common to not participate in Greek life.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?

Gabby: UMD does of a fantastic job of offering career services to students. The Career Center offers free resume workshops and mock interviews. There are two major job fairs, one each semester, that attract employers ranging from the federal government to engineering firms.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Gabby: No matter where you live on campus, you will be close to at least one of UMD’s eight libraries. There is always a quiet place to sit and study. For a more casual space, there is the Stamp Student Union which also has a variety of fast dining options. 

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?

Gabby: UMD is located in the heart of a college town. College Park has scores of student-friendly restaurants, many of which deliver and stay open late. Students also go into the town for bowling, ice-skating, or to catch a movie. There is not much in the way of shopping. Luckily, College Park is just a short Metro ride away from Washington, D.C.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Gabby: One of the best things about UMD is the combination of large school perks and small school feel. Nearly 27,000 undergraduate students attend UMD, which makes for a strong network of Terps fans. The university draws exciting speakers and performers, as well as prestigious faculty. But one should never feel lost in a crowd. Opportunities abound for finding your niche including extracurricular clubs and teams, specialized learning communities, and small class sizes. In my four years there, I had only two lectures with more than 50 students. Usually my class sizes were 20-25.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Gabby: One of my favorite classes was a survey of world religions. The class attracted students from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors. To break up the lectures, we would split into small groups for discussion. I met so many new people and broadened my viewpoint at the same time.


Check out Gabby’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.