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2 years ago
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UMass Amherst or University of Maryland for a Computer Science major?

Hi everyone,

So, out of all the colleges that I got acceptances from, I've narrowed my decisions down to either going to UMass Amherst or UMD for computer science. Obviously, both colleges are ranked very well for CS undergrad, so I'm having a hard time deciding which to choose. Yes, finances do play a role in my decision-making, however I first wanted to get some opinions from current CS undergrads/alumni from both colleges about the pros/cons of both colleges. The deadline is obviously May 1st, which is coming up very soon, so I would really appreciate any kind of input/advice please. Thanks!

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2 years ago

I graduated from UMD and live near it now. I’m happy to answer any questions about the area.

Although UMD has a large campus, I consider that a plus. You don’t have to walk or go to every building on campus so the size didn’t matter to me most of the time. Yes, it was not fun to walk a long way as a freshman in the cold to class but UMass would have this same issue. As you progress in your major, more of your classes will be in a smaller area.

For your later years: There is a LOT of off campus housing. One contains workout machines by large windows that overlook Route 1. The first level contains restaurants and coffee shops, including Vigilante Coffee (yum!) and a place where you can play board games called Board and Brew.

What I like on campus:

Central green lawn area with a fountain near one of the big libraries and near most of the main college buildings. Frisbee. Guitar playing. Hammocks. I was just there yesterday and loved seeing the hammocks students had put up near the main admin building.

Student Union has good food choices and a movie theatre.

UMD makes its own ice cream from its own cows. This is the best ice cream in the universe.

Restaurants in walking distance include Insomnia Cookies, Chipotle, sandwich shops, acai bowl places, authentic northern Chinese food, pizza, bubble tea, noodle shop and—soon—a Trader Joe’s. There are also several bars if that’s your thing. A baby Target sits at the edge of campus.

An asphalt walking/biking trail connects into a larger series of trails that take you to a lake or even into Washington, DC. This trail can be taken to more cool spots like a Busboys and Poets restaurant in Hyattsville, MD.

The metro is not far from campus and takes you right into Washington, DC. I think the UMD shuttle takes you to the metro for free.

DC is full of lots of free things to do. All the national museums are free as are the monuments. The Lincoln Memorial at sunset is gorgeous.

The campus also has plays and concerts and a funny improv group, which does a lot of free shows. I went to see a play called Noises Off there a few years ago and also went to see Kronos Quartet when they were in residence at the school.

Feel welcome to message me if you have more questions. :-)

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2 years ago

I did not study CS and I did not graduate from either university, but I can give you some advice. I would say that you should choose UMD if you are interested in a career in government, since UMD is well connected to federal agencies like the NSA that are looking for CS talent. UMass Amherst will put you in closer contact with nearby Boston's budding startup scene. Beyond that, take campus size into consideration as well - UMD is a large campus and has less of a college town feel than UMass Amherst. Hope this helps!

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