Should I Go to University of Maryland, Baltimore County?

Teauna earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She specializes in algebra tutoring, biology tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Check out what she shared about her time at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Teauna: I recently graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the campus was very diverse. Just by stepping on campus you are sure to encounter someone from a different culture than you.

We are located near two rural towns, but not far from the city of Baltimore. There are free shuttles that transport students to and from the surrounding towns as well as a shuttle that goes to the Baltimore Harbor. There is also access to MTA (Maryland Transit Administration) buses which you will have to pay to use.

I felt extremely safe on my campus. The campus itself is encircled by a road that is typically used only by people who are coming to or leaving campus (so, mostly students and faculty). We have blue lights located throughout the campus that can be used to call for help and you can contact the campus police at any time even just to walk you back to your dorm at night if you ever feel unsafe.

The campus is pretty small and if you live in on-campus housing, you will never need a bike or car to get to class. Your farthest class takes 10 minutes to get to, and that’s if you’re walking at mild pace. The campus is also wheelchair accessible.  

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

Teauna: Most professors are very available and approachable. They love taking questions after class and respond quickly to email. They also have several office hours during the week in which you can talk to them.

As a freshman, you get a general advisor and they have many students so it may be a little harder to get in touch with them. However, during your sophomore year you are placed with a major specific advisor. These advisors have less students and are more available. They are interested in getting to know you as a person and not just your academic life.

Teaching assistants can vary. Some are more approachable than others. Because many teaching assistants are also students, they may have less availability.

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

Teauna: UMBC’s dorms are great. You may find yourself complaining here and there about small cosmetic issues, but compared to most colleges the dorms are amazing. Most freshmen end up in the typical dorm room which includes two beds, two desks with chairs, two wardrobes, and a sink to be shared between you and your roommate. Then you have a bathroom that connects you to an adjacent room. The people who live there are your suitemates. The four of you will share a bathroom which is much better than having a communal shower. You can also order a microfridge from the school which will allow you to have a refrigerator and a microwave in your room.

You could also choose a dorm that has two bedrooms (that hold two people each) and is connected by a living space which includes a couch, coffee table, end table, and chair. You also have a bathroom.

Then there are the apartments. There are 3 apartment complexes on campus which include 4 bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, and a full kitchen. And they are furnished! You get a couch, coffee table, kitchen table with 4 chairs, beds, closets, and desks with chairs.

For dining you could eat at the dining hall, which some people enjoyed (I didn’t). It’s similar to a high school cafeteria. Then there’s the Commons. The Commons is a building located in the center of the campus that has a student organization space, gameroom, restaurants and more. Here you can choose restaurants that serve Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, Italian food, a grill that serves typical American burgers and chicken tenders, or Mondo’s which sells subs. There is also a Chic-Fil-A and Starbucks located at the University Center. Most dorms are a 5 to 10 minute walk from all the dining options and classes.

There are plenty of opportunities to socialize with other students. The student events board plans many events throughout the year for students to get to know one another. If you live on campus, the residential assistant will plan programs for you to get to know the people on your floor. If you are commuting then there are programs for you as well. There are several student organization and if you don’t find one you like, it’s pretty easy to start your own. You can also attend a summer bridge program so that you’ll start the year already knowing several people and some faculty.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Teauna: Majority of students at UMBC are STEM majors and there is a lot of support for STEM majors, from scholarships to tutoring to research positions and more. I studied biological sciences because I want to be a dentist and most of the prerequisites for dental school would be covered in that major. Also, I genuinely love biology! UMBC offered all of the aforementioned support to me as well as supporting me in my goal to go to dental school through their pre-professional advising and the pre-dental student organization.

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?

Teauna: I actually attended the summer bridge program called Collegiate Success Institute. We did a lot of team bonding and spent a lot of time together during the 6-week on campus program so I actually started my freshman year with several friends and made more friends soon after simply by living on campus and participating in activities with the people I lived with.

Greek life does not play a significant role in the campus social life. We have a few fraternities and sororities, but not being in one will not affect your social life.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? 

Teauna: The Career Center is very helpful in providing advising and resume critiques. There are also several career fairs that are hosted on campus and have included companies like Kennedy Krieger Institute and Northrop Grumman Corporation, Stanley Black and Decker, and more. Career Services also posts job listings in every academic area.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Teauna: The libraries can get very crowded during the week and may be hard to find a place to work. However, if you can find a place you can choose from quiet floors where everyone has to be quiet or normal floors where talking is allowed. Dorm lounges can be nice but they cannot be reserved, so it may be hard to find a lounge where people aren’t already there. Since most people hang out in the dorm lounges and the Commons, you’ll probably be better off studying in your room. If not, you can try reserving a study room in the library.

Describe the surrounding town.

Teauna: There isn’t too much to do for fun in the surrounding towns. There are a few old fashioned shops in Catonsville that might be fun for some, but taking the shuttle to the Baltimore Inner Harbor can be really great. The Inner Harbor is full of shops and restaurants. The Gallery Mall is a huge mall with several floors and great stores. You could rent a boat and go for ride or simply hang out by the water with friends.

Most students just go to Arundel Mills Mall on the shuttle because it’s only a few minutes away. It’s all a matter of personal preference and how far you’re willing to travel. However, these shuttles are only available on Saturday and Sunday, but you can get there by taking the MTA any day of the week.

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

Teauna: The student body is fairly small in comparison to most universities. The school has about 11,000 undergraduate students. I was generally pleased with the typical class sizes. Most science classes were large lectures that had about 200 students, but as you take higher level classes the size gets smaller and smaller. In my last year at UMBC I was taking science classes that had maybe 40 people in them. Most psychology and history classes are also around 40 people. Even with the large lectures there would often be a discussion portion where the class sizes were much smaller.

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

Teauna: My most memorable experience was with my Calculus II professor freshman year. I had done horribly in the class and waited until the end of the semester to talk to her (side note: always meet with your professors as soon as you notice you aren’t doing so well]). She was very honest, but extremely kind and forgiving. She told me that she’d be teaching the class in the summer and to register for the class. She assured me that she would not let me fail. I took the class in the summer and with her help I got an A.


Check out Teauna’s tutoring profile.

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