I've heard mixed opinions- some say it has great parties, some say the parties are decent, and some say due to stricter rules it hasn't got much of a party scene anymore. Any opinions from current, past, or future students is welcomed!
Not a student, but my son is. I understand the Southwest dorms, particularly the high rises, have a lot of parties, and the Northeast dorms, not so much. Central is in between, as is appropriate for its name. Like most colleges, if you're looking for parties, you can proabably find them, and if you want to avoid them, you can. The secret seems to be finding a balance between partying and studying, which my son so far seems to be doing, if his first semester grades are any indication (and he lives in Southwest).
My friends at private schools party so much more than students do here... not to say that people don't like to have fun but my friends and I kinda operate on a work hard party hard mentality. Of course southwest is host to a lot more parties, even the low rises, but that might actually be changing now too because of the new residential life changes.
I was actually wondering about this when I got applied and after almost 3 years here Umass does not party any harder than any other 6000+ student school.
My son, a huge Giants fan, not from Massachusetts, watched the game at Southwest. He's not the type to riot and be one of the 14 arrested. He's not answering texts this morning, but no calls from the jailhouse. I'll go with him being in class.
I would say the "scene" where most of the good parties happen off-campus, has died down recently. In general most schools are cracking down, and since you haven't been here yet you won't know what you're missing out on. You will still party and have fun.
In terms of the overall scene, I would say it is still fun, but hard as hell for a freshmen. You have to party in the dorms, the rules make it strict on how crazy it can get, upper-classmen aren't just going to socialize with new people off the bat (unless you're a female of course.)
Also, with off-campus parties, since so many people just up-and-go to whatever's happening, the parties will be too big and uncomfortable, people might not let you in because they're crowded or don't like strangers, they get broken up pretty early if they are in the dense neighborhoods, and/or there may not even be a party close by.
What sucks coming into the school is unless you are a friend of people who are having parties, it isn't as easy to get into them or go as a stranger. Plus, it gets cold within a month of the semester so you spend a lot of uncomfortable days walking in 40 degree weather to get to one. Best thing to do is to friend up with people off-campus. Sounds gimmicky, but joining groups, doing activities on-campus (athletics, student groups etc.), or working off-campus helps this out immensely. These cliques tend to have their own party scenes, and in general you meet cool people anyway.
The good news is Umass still does party. There are 18+ events at some places (like Diva's in Northampton or Monkey Bar or Snowzees in Amherst) that are fun. There has been a huge flux of meat-headism that didn't exist as much as a few years ago, but there are generally a lot of cool people in general to hang with.
Another great thing about the party scene is that it's almost 5 days a week if you find the right people (ie: study and don't get caught up in it). People will drink on a Tuesday if they only have a 1:25pm class the next day. Not neccesarily a good thing for academia, but it is there if you want it.
My view of how it is now vs. when I went is that more people now party just for the sake of partying and don't really go about it the right way. They just drink and go out and yell at people. Fights break out for no reason, kids vandalize houses, especially near the campus like Fearing st. When I went (back in '07) there seem to be more people (and probably moreso before me) that REALLY partied hard, but they enjoyed the scene and kept it going more than just partying in general. Every week there use to be at least 2-3 parties with bands playing; now you'd be lucky to ever witness a band playing in a house past 12am).
Maybe the new town laws made it harder, but I would say overall the kids in the scene as well as the parties aren't as quality. Dorm parties (especially in Sylvan or North apartments) are pretty sick, and since they are suites you can put up 15-20+ good friends and have a good time. The school is so big there are just a ton of options. If you find the right people, avoid becoming a bro or meathead and alienate yourself from upperclassmen, or even make your own mark (start a band, play at parties never fails) it won't matter what type of scene Umass is when you get here. Hope that helps.
Honestly, I am not really one to want to party and that was actually a huge concern for me coming to UMass. I haven't had to go out once all year. There are plenty of people here who don't party that you don't have to, but at the same time there are definitely people who do. I'd say its whatever you want to make of it. Southwest is definitely nearly a 24/7 party zone and other living areas not so much. Still, I know people in Southwest who don't party at all and loved it. College is what you make of it with anything.
I find that campus is pretty much segregated by drug use (or lack thereof). In southwest, kids get s*** faced just about every night, central and O-hill are full of stoners, Sylvan has more hard drug use, and central is about 90% asians or transfer student who don't do anything.
I am social and like to go out on weekends but want quiet to study during the week. I do not want to live in a constant party. I do not do drugs but I do drink in moderation. What dorm would be good for me?
Yeah, I meant to say Northeast, my bad. I'd say that if you care about getting work done, you should probably live in Northeast. It's especially convenient for engineers and science and math majors because it's within 2 minutes of the LGRT, the ISB, and the engineering quad.