Why do so many students choose UMD?

As college decision season comes to a close and seniors settle on their home for the next four years of their lives, the trend perpetuates year after year: a large bulk chooses UMD. This year, for the class of 2017, 83 seniors will be attending the University of Maryland College Park in the fall time, accounting for nearly 30% of the senior class. The question remains: why do so many students choose University of Maryland College Park?

The obvious answer is firstly cost and proximity. Located less than an hour’s drive away, College Park is the perfect choice for students who don’t have a fortune to spend on tuition and travel expenses at private universities, as well as those who are savvy enough to be saving now to reduce their student debt. It may be wise to avoid the situation in which almost every university student ends up in some pile of student loans and debts, landing them in difficult positions to pay it off after they graduate and struggle at the beginning of their careers.

Senior Neil Agrawal aptly notes that “although they don’t give too much money to instate students, the in state tuition is much cheaper than out of state.” Counselor Ms. Sarah Pavlik concurs, while also mentioning the presidential scholarship of $15,000 and the partial or full Banneker Key scholarship, which covers all tuition expenses over four years.

Poolesville alumna Manisha Sunil (Class of 2016) and current freshman at UMD points out that “a lot of people in-state go to UMD because of the price and that’s the main reason I went as well. But beyond that, there’s really a ridiculous number of opportunities at UMD for nearly any major, and the connections the university has in terms of internships, employment, and research opportunities are spectacular.”

Senior Alicia Gordon shares her personal experience in ending up at UMD, explaining that “I originally didn’t want to go to UMD because it was too close to home and it seemed like everyone went there. But in the end, it was the best value. UMD has so many opportunities in DC and around college park. The diversity on campus is very much like MoCo and is very comforting.”

Sunil adds that “I really think going affordable (without sacrificing a top notch education) for undergraduate is much better in the long run – specifically for those considering graduate programs and things like that.” She expresses that “I personally don’t think there’s much out there that you cannot find here at UMD. Academically and socially it’s extremely diverse and is such a good launching pad into the professional world.”
For juniors and underclassmen who will soon enter the college application process, UMD is not at all a bad choice and shouldn’t be disregarded. UMD is just proof that the lack of a prestigious label is not a reason to discount a great state school that can provide high quality college education.