University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Amherst, Massachusetts
374 Whitmore Building Amherst, MA USA
Latest Reviews and Comments
Over one year ago
Great school...but not a lot of school spirit
While in many ways Umass-Amherst is comparable to Big 10 schools in terms of size, facilities, and student population, many people comment that it seems to be lacking the overwhelming sense of school spirit that is present at schools with bigger sports programs. Part of this is simply cultural –Massachusetts residents are passionate about their sports teams (Red Sox-Yankees rivalry anyone?), but the state holds a very different attitude toward big-time college sports than do schools in, say, Indiana and Ohio. While sports are recognized as an important aspect of college life, school is also seen as a place where people go to study – BC might have a great football team, but it also recently produced its first Rhodes scholar. Yes, Umass has a (very) substantial party scene, but there is a difference between sponsoring fraternities and pouring millions of dollars into professional quality sports teams. And in the absence of such teams the university lacks a sense of cohesiveness. The campus is nice but not particularly distinguished: many of the buildings are modern, and upkeep is not extraordinary. Dorms are adequate but often overcrowded. The food, however, is reputed to be excellent.
Over one year ago
Outstanding honors program
The UMass-Amherst honors program is one of the best-kept secrets in American higher education. In fact, top students from Massachusetts routinely turn down offers from far more selective schools in order to participate. The program, known as Commonwealth College, requires SAT scores 1300 or above, rank in the top ten percent of their graduating high school class, and have a minimum of A-minus average in high school. It is also possible for students to transfer in to the program after their freshman year, provided that they earn a minimum of a 3.2 GPA in college. Commonwealth College offers a variety of perks to accepted students: in addition to separate dorms and smaller, seminar-style classes, students are also required to complete a senior capstone experience project or thesis. Students are encouraged to do original research and present their findings at peer-run conferences, and many students also study abroad. This is an exceptional opportunity that should be seriously considered by any student seeking a top-notch education at a very reasonable price.
Over one year ago
Unique opportunities through the five college exchange
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst could not be located in a better spot – in addition to the state of Massachusetts’ flagship university of just over twenty thousand students, the town of Amherst also hosts two small liberal arts colleges: preppy, elite Amherst and alternative Hampshire. The good news, however, is that UMass is part of the five-college consortium, which allows students from UMass to cross-register at not only Amherst and Hampshire, but also at all-female Smith and Mt. Holyoke in neighboring Northampton and South Hadley respectively. The result is that students can get a top-notch liberal arts education for a fraction of the cost of attending. Furthermore, Amherst is a town that is literally built around colleges. It boasts numerous student hangouts and used bookstores and has never completely shed its hippie influences. Yes UMass does have a reputation as a party school reputation (in-staters refer to it familiarly as “zoo-mass”), but students will find myriad opportunities there that are virtually unique in higher education.