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Posted at 4:23 PM ET, 04/12/2010

College Tour '10: University of Maryland, College Park

By Valerie Strauss

University of Maryland, College Park
From a student

I want to study architecture and really liked the program at Maryland. It’s a little different from others.

I told my architecture teacher about it and she said that’s the way it used to be and that’s the way it should be. Your first two years are really about engineering. You take calculus and physics and sketch classes. You don’t even touch like Autocad or Revit [architecture software] for the first two years.

And then you get evaluated after you take the first two years of the credits you have to and they evaluate you to go into architecture. So then your next two years in the studio, building models and working on drafts.

It was a nice campus, well kept. The kids seemed nice. Even though it has a good amount of kids, it’s such a big campus that you don’t feel like you are in the middle of a crowd.

And it’s in a great location. They will take you on a bus from the campus to the Metro, and from there you can be in D.C. in less than an hour for less than 5 bucks.

This is one in a series of reports that parents and students are contributing about their campus tours this spring. If you have visited a school and would like to participate, email me a brief report at You can find out more about College Tour ’10 and how to write about your college visit here.

Go to to see more college posts in the series and a map displaying them all.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Park, College Tour '10, Maryland at College Park, UMD, University of Maryland at College Park  
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Those aged 18-20 are also adults and not "kids" or "teens", meaning they shouldn't be called those words. The person who article this article is an ageist and since this person sounds like a young woman or young man, this person would have the most difficult time with university life because universities and colleges are composed of young women and young men.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | April 12, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse


I'm going to have to assume that your comment is in jest because you cannot be serious. People aged 18-20 refer to each other as "kids." It is not being ageist, it's just a colloquial term. In fact, I'm 27 and still often refer to my peers as "that kid" and the like. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

Posted by: Heather3 | April 13, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

this person must be from out of state if he or she is so impressed with the UMD. the campus itself is one of the blandest I've ever seen. and why would someone want to study architecture at a school where all the buildings are made up of the exact same boring red brick. it is one of the least attractive campuses i've come across. and college park itself is one of the worst college towns in the country with its high crime rate and overall lack of excitement. there really is nothing special about UMD, especially if you're an in state student.

just my honest opinion.

Posted by: abhi18033 | April 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The school's not a plethora of architectural splendor, but it is a good place for a quality education without dumping $100K+. :) Granted, I was a CompSci student, so we were in the oldest, most boring buildings on campus. :P

Posted by: shapeshifter77 | April 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I've also heard Maryland is a good school. I actually considered it when I did my research, and found a wonderful site that allows users to compare and contrast various schools and programs so that you're able to find the one best suited for you. It also has tons of great articles that addressed many of my questions about whether going back to school was a worthwhile endeavor to begin with. Here's their information: Online Degree Reviews, Ratings and Comparisons. Your trusted and unbiased resource for online education. Find the accredited online degree and online school best fit with your educational and professional goals. Campus programs are also available. Follow this link for free information:

Posted by: EmersonKeats | April 14, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

It should be pointed out though despite any good reviews of the U. of MD or its "honor's programs" like Gemstone etc; that it is not the premier state institution. That is St. Mary's College of Maryland which is the legally designated and recognized Honors College of the state's public higher education system. College Park, despite all its efforts to inflate its self-importance may well be the flagship school but it is not the legally designated and primarily regarded premier and prestigious academic institution within Maryland.

Spend a day or longer at either place. You will quickly come to understand how the U of MD is more like a giant and fancy community college while St. Mary's is the Ivy League like school within the State of Maryland.

Posted by: tcmits | April 14, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@Tcmits if you review the admission requirements to the University of Maryland and St. Marys College you will find that Maryland, the flagship university, is more competitive than St. Mary's college, its just a fact. While there are many great options for public higher education in the state of Maryland, UMCP has a lot of the most competitive programs, the faculty, the resources, and much more than any other state university in Maryland, fact.

Posted by: DCTerp | April 14, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

DCTerp, College Park may be more competitive but not due to its perceived excellence. The reason is it's proximity to home for most of its students and the "aura" of being a party school near the big city. OTOH, St. Mary's is THE state school where every student is an Honors Student and every class is an Honors Class. It has no freshman and sophomore classes with 150 students in a lecture hall, taught by a grad students. Instead, no class has more than 20 students and each is taught by a faculty member with an advanced degree. Why fewer apply is because most aren't up for the academic challenge, lack of a party atmosphere, being further away from home and that it is the most expensive state school. As it is the designated Honors College, it is free to set its tuition separate from the restrictions placed on the other schools in the state university system.

Look to every important criteria for admissions and St. Mary's, befitting an Honors College, requires more of its applicants than College Park. In fact, CP is desperately trying to "up its numbers" and appear better than it is by deferring many entering freshmen to the second semester to begin school. That's because those students "numbers" will not factor into the criteria as used by "U.S. News and World Report," etc. as to the statistics of an academic year's entering class.

If you want the big city, party life, big classes taught by grad assistants, many with English as a second language and an average academic environment, by all means attend the U of MD. OTOH, if you want an Honors education from day one, with a rigorous core curriculum, very small classes throughout your college time and taught by PhD's, and still have as much fun (when you can fit it in between a required 16-19 credits per semester) on the water, with sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, etc. and a campus where you know everyone by their first name, including faculty and administration...then step up to the academic challenges of St. Mary's College of Maryland - Maryland's designated Honors College.

Oh yes, it's ranked as the third best public liberal arts college in the country, bested only by West Point and the Naval Academy.

Posted by: tcmits | April 18, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

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