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An Insight to The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Recently I had the good fortune to visit UMass Amherst for a campus tour. The public research university, located in Western Massachusetts, is the commonwealth’s flagship campus.  UMass has approximately 22,700 undergraduate students and another 6,500 graduate students. It is also a member of the Pioneer Valley’s five college consortium along with liberal arts colleges Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith.  As part of this consortium, UMass students can take up to 8 credits every semester at any of the 4 schools at no extra cost.  They also provide a free bus system between campuses to make transportation a non-issue.


The average class size at UMass is 36, but ranges from smaller classes with fewer than 10 students to intro classes with more than 100 students.  Class size tends to decrease as you get closer to completing your major. The university features 10 specific colleges and schools, including the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Humanities and Fine Arts, Information and Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, Nursing, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Isenberg School of Management, and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.  Students are placed into each school or college based on their major.


During final exams the campus library, named after W.E.B. Du Bois, is open 24/7.  There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie as students access the most modern technology and fall asleep in Men in Black style egg-shaped chairs.  There is also a free tutoring center that is complimentary to all students. UMass students can become certified tutors through the training program, and earn money while helping their peers. 


Beyond the classroom, UMass has more than 300 different student organizations to get involved in. In addition to traditional clubs focusing on sports, music, politics, community service, theatre, and religion, UMass also offers less common options, such as squirrel watching, bee keeping, and skydiving.  And if you are a sports fan, good news!  Students are granted free admission to home games for all sports.  All students are also allowed free memberships at Planet Fitness.


UMass as a whole is constantly looking to improve and is currently in the process of renovating the Student Union and building Worcester Dining Commons, set to open in Fall of 2020.  The prestigious Isenberg School of Management is currently undergoing a $62M addition, while the brand new Innovation Hub opened this past January.


In addition to offering study abroad options, UMass is also proud to be a part of the Domestic Exchange program, which allows students to travel to over 180 other schools all over the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. But while students have the opportunity to spend a full semester at a different state school, UMass Amherst itself is actually the second most requested school in the entire program, right behind the University of Hawaii.  That’s pretty impressive company considering the climate differences.


UMass is well worth considering this upcoming college application season, whether you live in Massachusetts, California, or somewhere in between. In fact, 30% of enrolled students now come from out-of-state. In addition to allowing students to apply early action in November (which is not binding), every student who applies is considered for acceptance into the school’s honors program.  But don’t worry, even if a student is not admitted in the first year at UMass, you can apply to be reconsidered. 



And for the cherry on the sundae, upon graduating from UMass you will join a long list of notable alumni including NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, singer Natalie Cole, actor Richard Gere, and basketball legend Julius Erving!


All the best, 
Zach & Team Insight


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