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U Mass Amherst questions

3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
My D got accepted yesterday with a scholarship. I know nothing about this school except for some reviews from Niche and Student Reviews. I have another thread that discussed the differences between Michigan State and CU Boulder. Can anyone give me any thoughts on Amherst, and possibly comparing them to these other two schools? She has not visited, which may be one reason she is not overly excited, but I wonder if it's worth the $$ to visit. With the scholarship, it does make a solid difference in money, but money aside for the moment - what is this school like in your opinions? I hear it's a big party school, but so are the others.
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Replies to: U Mass Amherst questions

  • ScaredNJDad1ScaredNJDad1 224 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Where are you from and what does she plan to study?
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    California. And for the moment - political science.
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  • ScaredNJDad1ScaredNJDad1 224 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited January 2016
    Amherst and the surrounding towns are very nice. It would be a nice experience for someone from California to be in New England. I have never been on campus but I have been to the town and Northampton, both have that Currier and Ives feel. Amherst College is there as well and I believe she can take classes there. That would be very nice.

    Since U Mass is cheaper, I would go with that.

    Reputation-wise they are more or less equal.
    edited January 2016
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    I do like the fact that she can take classes at 5 other schools, and I have heard that Amherst itself is really nice.

    Reputation wise - more or less equal with both MSU and CU Boulder? My understanding is that the "Zoo-Mass" reputation is going away - but I live really far away and people in the New England area might know more than me.

    Any other thoughts on the general atmosphere/reputation of the college itself?
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  • JamieHJamieH 116 replies11 threads Junior Member
    I visited the campus of UMass last fall and fell in love with the school! I live about 40 minutes away and know a few people who currently attend. There are definitely parties, like most other colleges, but it's easy to stay away from it if that's not what you're interested in, and I've heArd that the different areas of residence halls have very different personalities.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 16082 replies1082 threads Senior Member
    It is hard to shake the ZooMass reputation though.
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston . I take it you are from around there then. Is it getting any better? It "seems" that way from what I read, but I am far from Mass and you all back east would know of the reputation more than I do.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 16082 replies1082 threads Senior Member
    UMass has been trying to shed the ZooMass reputation for a long time. It has succeeded to an extent. The Honors College was built to virtually isolate the top students from the rest of the campus. Some of the residence complexes are still party central. It is no different in that respect than say Penn State. It depends on your student if he/she is able to avoid that scene.
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  • DonnaEvDonnaEv 65 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited January 2016
    @3mamagirls we visited Umass Amherst in the Spring. It is in a beautiful area and the campus is spotless. Btw it's also a non-smoking campus. We were very impressed with the whole tour, from the introduction we got from admissions to the student led tour. My S was accepted yesterday, though not into the major he applied for. He has already gotten accepted into his major in a prominent private college in Massachusetts. Umass Amherst is high on our list of preferred schools. In the end, we need to look at the whole picture and decide what to do, but in the end, I think this school will be our top choice. (We are in-state)
    edited January 2016
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    Thank you all.

    Does anyone know about school spirit? I see it's a D3 school, so no big sports which is fine.

    I think we need to take the plunge and go visit at least because of this unexpected scholarship money. Totally shocked.

    My D is middle of the road. She can avoid the massive party scene, but doesn't want to sit in her room either. VERY laid back.
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  • DonnaEvDonnaEv 65 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @3mamagirls i joined their Facebook page to get a feel for what goes on there. My colleagues from Ma who send their daughters there have nothing but positive things to say re Umass Amherst. My son is quite laid back and not a partier. Every college has it's population of partiers. From what I see and have heard, there are plenty of opportunities on campus, so I doubt my S will be bored.
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  • MADadMADad 2127 replies82 threads Senior Member
    3mamagirls--

    UMass is a D-1 school. Basketball has been decent in the recent past. Football recently moved to FBC and has been atrocious. They play half their home games 80 miles away at Gillette Stadium, home of the NE Patriots. Attendance has been woeful. The on campus stadium holds about 17K and attendance for the on campus games has been good.

    UMass also plays D-1 ice hockey. BB and hockey play in a 10,000 seat arena that is maybe 25 yrs old.

    Maybe you were thinking of nearby Amherst College, which is quite small, old money, and D-3.
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @MADad - thanks. After looking further I realized that. I can't say I have heard much about their sports, though! My D is a sports "nut" in some ways, but really is looking more for school spirit than to attend all the games. School spirit and sports often go hand in hand. She wants a different experience (snow and a different part of the county) which is why she is leaving CA. Hockey definitely would interest her!

    So, it sounds as if many people think this is a good school - the reputation is there but getting better. My D is also looking at CU Boulder which has its own reputation, Michigan State, and waiting for one more school which should come out by the end of the month.

    Like I said - this scholarship threw us all for a loop - in a good way! It really wasn't on MY radar very much, and not even sure why D picked it - but she did. She only applied to 7 schools, so was very focused on what she wanted.

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  • studiesandlistsstudiesandlists 15 replies1 threads New Member
    Current student here! and an OOS Poli Sci major at that. UMass is a great school, and while there are parties if she wants them, I would no longer define it as a "party school". Also, Poli Sci is fantastic here, one of the best places she can study it in the country. UMass has turned out a number of notable alumni in this field.
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @studiesandlists OH - I am glad someone likes the Poli Sci program there! Is it a fairly popular major, or on the smaller side? I see that there are some RAPs connected to Poli Sci - did you do any of those?

    I'll have to get my D on board now and fly out - I think I have enough info to decide it's worth coming out and looking! Admitted students day is in Feb - so I guess we will come in the middle of the snow storms!
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  • ConfusedMominMAConfusedMominMA 1007 replies40 threads Senior Member
    My husband and I graduated high school in the late 70's, maybe the height of the ZooMass days, everybody could get into ZooMass in those days! Those days are long gone! Maybe the ZooMass reputation lingers because of parents like us!

    My daughter is a current freshman in the Honors College and is in the Isenberg School of Management majoring in Finance. Isenberg's average GPA of admitted students is 3.9 (She had a 4.1 GPA). (My son had a GPA of 3.3 from high school and he couldn't get into the engineering program. He was admitted Undecided. He ended up going to UCONN for engineering).

    She is loving it! Has made a nice group of friends in her Honors dorm. They go ice skating at Mullins Center, have gone apple picking, walk to town, go to the football games, the hockey games, the basket ball games, etc.

    Good luck in your search for your D!
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    edited January 2016
    @ConfusedMominMA Oh that is great to hear. The more I look into the school, the more I like it and know we need to go. My D is hesitant for whatever reason, but I think she is just tired of looking. But I like the scholarship, and the school sounds great.

    Does your D say there is a a lot of school spirit? Is there enough to do in town? It sounds as if she is keeping herself busy enough. Does she ever go into Boston or NYC?
    edited January 2016
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  • studiesandlistsstudiesandlists 15 replies1 threads New Member
    @3mamagirls I also had my first visit at Feb accepted student day in 6 feet of snow!! I'm not really sure how many kids are in it, sorry about that. I am in the Poli Sci RAP right now and it is the best choice I ever made. I highly recommend it.
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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @studiesandlists Did many students actually go to the Feb accepted students day?

    Also briefly saw the Poli Sci RAP and looks interesting. Don't you all stay in the same dorm? Which dorm is that - ir does it change year after year? I may have my D PM you after we go and ask some questions.

    Thanks!
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  • MastadonMastadon 1794 replies50 threads Senior Member
    edited January 2016
    @3mamagirls-

    The "ZooMass" reputation dates back to the previous century. I haven't heard that term for over a decade.

    In the previous century, the Massachusetts public school system was overshadowed by the private sector. The primary land grant university (MIT) is private and there are a crazy number of private colleges and research universities.

    UMass Amherst was also designated a land grant college, but it was focused more on the agricultural portion of the land grant mission because it was located in the rural part of the state.

    Around the turn of the century, sentiments started to change. Counter to national trends, Massachusetts started increasing its funding to the public system. UMass also started raising it's own funds more aggressively. It executed a billion dollar capital initiative early in this century and now has a $300M endowment (a little bigger than UCSB). It has lots of new infrastructure, including a new life sciences center and an Honors College "campus within a campus". A new integrated design building is nearing completion.

    Admissions standards have been rising steadily for a couple of decades bolstered by more aggressive out-of-state recruiting and increased appeal to in-state students. In our academically snooty town in the suburbs of Boston, some of the kids who once attended Ivies and NESCAC schools are now attending UMass Honors. Typically they sit above the financial aid threshold, but cannot afford to pay full price.

    An attempt to raise the profile of the school by moving up a level in football has been largely unsuccessful to date. Hockey is really big at the college level in the Northeast. In general, the professional sports scene is bigger than the college sports scene in Massachusetts, so school spirit tends to manifest itself in other ways.

    The town of Amherst has been rated a top college town and there is a cluster of colleges (including Amherst) in the area called the "Five College Consortium". It has a "rural New England" feel. Cross enrollment is possible among the schools, but I don't know how often students take advantage of it. After a visit, my son asked "why do people pay Amherst College prices to take courses at UMass, when they can pay UMass prices to take courses at Amherst College?" The UMass students did say that Amherst College has a yoga class that is popular with UMass students and that Amherst College students do take some science courses at UMass.

    The food is amazing and may be the best in the country. It would make it worth the trip if you were closer.

    If you do come visit allow some time to see Boston. It is a small, walkable city with lots of history. Closest match on the West Coast would be San Francisco. Amherst is couple hours drive from Boston.

    Good Luck!



    edited January 2016
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