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Discover Maryland Day - 2/19/18

DCNatFanDCNatFan Registered User Posts: 310 Member
Did anyone else attend the UMD Open house today? Curious to get thoughts from others.
It seemed poorly organized and they seemed unprepared for the number of people (despite people pre-registering on line). Parking lot they directed everyone to was full.
We tried getting into the campus tours and 12 pm and 1 pm but both times were told it was full. We finally got into the 2 pm tour but had to show up at 1:30 pm to make sure we got a spot.
We were very disappointed with the campus tour, maybe we ended up with a poor guide. She just walked from point to point with no explanation of what we were walking by, it was very odd.

This was our first tour of a large campus. Others have been schools under 10,000 students. Trying to figure out if this is typical of all the larger schools.

Replies to: Discover Maryland Day - 2/19/18

  • BoroDadBoroDad Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    Was not there but have toured UMd before on a weekday visit and had a very good guide. It is a very large campus and the tour is long but sounds like you just got a bad guide. So many people on CC comment that tour guides in general can leave a bad impression yet the schools don't seem to put enough focus on it.

    For comparison we went to the single accepted students day at UCONN two years ago and the events and tours were well organized but still people struggled with parking. Hard to get 5,000-10,000 onto a campus without issues.
  • whenyoubelievewhenyoubelieve Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    I'm sorry you had sour experience! I can assure you that UMD is a lot better than what you probably saw of it. (We have amazing tour guides. The person who showed you around was probably having a bad day...) I hope you don't let this one experience give you a bad impression of UMD as a whole! I think the university wasn't expecting such a remarkable turnout.

    P.S. Parking has been a mess here with all the construction happening in/around Lot 1 recently, which is the big parking lot near STAMP and the Clarice. Some students even have problems trying to find parking on a regular day because of all the construction.
  • maryversitymaryversity Registered User Posts: 1,977 Senior Member
    Ugh, that sounds horrible! No, it is not typical (but not unheard of) at larger schools, nor is it typical of Maryland. However, I can't say I ever went to a Discover Maryland Day; the tours I took with my kids were in the fall during the more personal "Maryland Info Sessions and Tour" dates. I can tell you that you were most likely very unlucky in the guide assigned to your tour, and I know how big of an impact that can make.

    As for Maryland not being prepared despite preregistering online, I can only imagine that they probably had a much larger turnout than expected - people don't always follow directions and probably just showed up. Glad @whenyoubelieve was able to shed light on the parking lot issue though - they probably should have assigned someone to monitor that and start directing cars to a different lot. If it helps to know, at every other big event I attended at Maryland, from orientation through to graduation, it was very well-organized for huge crowds.

    As for campus tours filling up fast, I would say that is not unusual on any weekend open house day at large draw schools. So, it is always a good idea to arrive a little early for the tour time to insure a spot. I think the most well-organized tour was actually at the largest campus I visited with my younger one - Penn State gave out personal headsets to everyone on the tour so we could hear the guide clearly, even though the group was HUGE and we were at the back of the group. The worst tour was at an ivy with my eldest - we literally left in the middle of the tour because not only was the tour guide bad AND obnoxious, but he literally lost half of the group mid-way between entrance and exit of a building and didn't bother trying to double back to find us. Another bad experience was at my younger one's school with the admitted student program. The guide was so quiet and blah (really, if you don't like public speaking, why would you volunteer for this?) and the second half involved shadowing a student in your program - and that person was also a dud. Let's put it this way, if my daughter had not already had a previous fabulous visit, she may not have committed based on that experience alone.

    College visits can and should be a lot of fun. I'm sorry you had such a disheartening experience at Maryland. For other school visits, I would definitely avoid large open house days. Try to plan visits on smaller info session days. If you have a particular major that is of interest, you should contact that department to see if they have any days they recommend visiting (for example, Maryland engineering hosts their own info sessions, so we chose our general Maryland Info Session date to coincide with engineering info session to make the most of our visit).

    The best days to visit any school are during the week while school is in session because that gives you the opportunity to do random student interviews and get a sense of the student population. I know it's not always practical to do so, but if you can, I know my kids' high school gave excused absences for college visits. Maryland will give a time/date stamp note for your visit as proof, as will most admissions offices at other schools as well.
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