UMass Amherst Questions!

My D21 has been admitted to a few EA schools and one school she is seriously considering is UMass Amherst (we are in state) and the school has so many positives. But also wondering a few questions for any parents or students who are currently attending.

  1. Is getting the classes you want a problem as a freshman (or any year)?
  2. Is the campus manageable for walking or do you need to take the shuttle bus daily, and if so how reliable is that shuttle bus/is it a hassle or not, esp in winter months?
  3. Daughter is not in the party type crowd but still I’m sure will be eager to make friends, be social, and go out and have fun not centered around alcohol/pot. She will be a science major. Is Northeast dorms a good option for that fit, or should she consider other dorms as well. Which ones? (She was not offered Honors.)
  4. Many students seem to say the school feels smaller once you find your own community. True? Is the size overwhelming?
  5. Does the class sizes seem too large? How are the discussion groups led by TAs? Are they helpful? Is there good coordination between the TA and professors?

Ok, sorry so many mom questions! Any feedback is appreciated!

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I wish someone would have responded back, those are great questions. My D is also considering UMASS but was not offered honors. She wants to be surrounded by serious peers too. She has been offered honors elsewhere.

Same with my daughter, although I believe Rutgers also appears to have an honors program that doesn’t appear to be based on just grades and scores (it was the only one D19 didn’t get into), so I’m curious about D21 with almost identical stats). I signed up for an accepted parents zoom session at 2:30 today. I did hear they can apply again freshman year.

Yes my D has a session this evening. Please report anything you learn and I’ll do the same. I watched a session online and they did report that they offer housing all 4 years which is nice.

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They said they are recording it and posting it later, if anyone wants to watch later.

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How did you find the link? My mom wanted to join, but on my portal the family panel didn’t show up. Glad to hear they are recording it though! Will that be on the video page?

I signed up yesterday and was emailed a link. I’m sure they will mention again where it will be posted. It’s not a lot of factual information, but parents giving their impressions of UMASS.

I read an article from the Boston Globe that said intro to Biology had 469 students @ Amherst in 2010. Do they still have classes this large?

I have no idea, no information was given, it was basically parents saying kids will enjoy and be fine at UMASS. It was pre-recorded.

I watched today’s session. I agree, could have been more factual. I was hoping they would at least take some questions. I will cut them some slack that they said this was the first time they did this virtually. My daughter has a session tonight on the day of the life of a student, so hoping she finds that helpful. Hoping that as the months go on they can offer something in person.

There is also a UMASS Early Action 2025 group here on College Confidential and some there have kids at UMass currently and they have provided helpful info, mostly all positive. You can definitely apply for honors college once you are student there and seems much easier to get in.

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Okay thank you. I’m not sure I gave my mom’s email address on the Common App, so that might be why we couldn’t find a link.

We attended Student Success at UMASS this afternoon.

For parents/kids who weren’t accepted to honors but want to be surrounded by hopefully likeminded studious peers, they have living learning communities. Each LLC -they used a different acronym (RAP)- consists of 30 kids. I thought the presentation was done very well.

However, I was hoping they would take questions too. I thought it was also ironic they turned off chat but said to ask them questions anytime and not to rely on social media.

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My daughter and I watched A Day in The Life of A Student and found that one much better than the family one. They answered a ton of questions from the chat and had lots of good pictures to show classrooms, a dorm room, the campus, etc. Still my daughter was disappointed that they seem to have no plans to offer in person tours in the Spring. We were able to tour before the pandemic but I think she really needs to really go back and look again to decide.

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I wonder if we can unofficially tour the campus in the spring. I have a friend who lives off campus who could probably show me around, if it’s allowed.

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My daughter has been accepted and is excited about UMass, and we’re hoping to visit, too (we’ve never been to Amherst). We had intended to visit schools this summer, but COVID de-railed that plan. The “Day in the Life” presentation was good – hoping those that follow this week are also good.

I found the nursing session yesterday very informative- they had three students on to talk about their experiences as well as the dean of nursing, the nursing admissions counselor, the program director, and someone else who I want to say helped coordinate everything? I found it much more informative than the Student Success panel.

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By chance I was browsing and saw this post. You can take my 2 cents on my take on this but definitely doesn’t represent the university. Currently I am a senior and honor student at Isenberg and I’ll try to assist with your questions.

  1. It’s definitely a rush to sign up for courses. We are always told to have extra backup courses in case we don’t get what we want and that stands true.

  2. I can say it definitely depends on the social group that she hangs out with. I have met various type of people and my social group I hang out with does not do any drugs. I know nowadays a lot of kids would be trying it but definitely I have seen more good people.

  3. I usually walk to my classes because it’s not far depending on where she lives. During the snow season, most of us still walk to the dinning halls and classes. The only time I would use the bus is going downtown to hang with friends which the shuttle is free as long as she has her umass ID on her.

  4. The university definitely is huge but I must say it does feel small because everyone knows everyone or at least heard of them.

  5. Classes vary, I can’t speak for your daughter but I was in two marketing classes that had at least 100-200 kids taught by two professors. She might go through the same for her major but all other classes are small (20-30) that I have been in. TAs are extremely helpful, they would keep going over the concept until I understood my questions.

I love this university and never had a single regret :slight_smile:

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My kid is just finishing up at UMass Amherst. I’ve visited her there many times. It’s a beautiful campus, safe, great food. She was in honors, but wound up leaving it to live in another area of the campus that has a lot of STEM students. She said that there was quite a bit of noise and partying even on the honors campus, but much more so in the regular freshman dorms. The dorms close to the STEM buildings tend to be quieter (and the dining hall close to the STEM buildings has a lot of Asian food options). She made up her list of classes and registered as early as possible for the crowded classes (intro Comp Sci) and was always able to get into the classes she wanted - but sometimes it was off a wait list. She had no trouble whatsoever finding friends who weren’t into drugs and alcohol - through her classes, the dorm, and the religious organization, in which she was only minorly involved… She walked everywhere, only taking the bus if she had a class at Amherst college, and even then, she often bicycled. She didn’t complain about the size of the campus. I’ve walked all over it - to me it didn’t see intimidatingly large. She was very happy there, and we were very happy to send her there.

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@Throwaway2021 Thanks so much for your helpful input and so glad you are having a good experience at UMass! Good luck with the rest of your senior year. Sorry it has to be through a pandemic!

@parentologist Thanks so much for sharing about your daughter’s time at UMass! That is great that it’s been a good experience for her! Happy to hear it!