The following reviews are the views of students or alumni at this school and are unrelated to the school data and other editorial content on usnews.com. These reviews neither reflect nor impact a school's position within the Best Colleges rankings.
I think the greatest thing about UMass is its vast and diverse population. You never know who or what you are going to see walking (or biking, my preferred method of transport) around campus. However, I admit at times, I feel a bit lost in the shuffle--It is rare that I see a familiar face when walking around. Honestly, for grad school, I hope to seek out a school that has a slightly more...connected feeling. I am from Niagara Falls, New York. Most people in my neck of the woods are not very familiar with UMass Amherst, but they seem to think it's a good school--in Boston. I frequent the library--I love the quiet floors (2nd and 3rd) and the coffee is great! It is a bustling hub of campus, and I like the acitivity. I also spend much of my time in the BlueWall. In the nice weather, I try to take advantage of the sunshine, and hang out by the Campus Pond. I love all the vibes each part of campus has to offer!
UMass is currently expanding it's enrollment. When I enrolled in 2004, there were about 18,000 undergrads. When I graduated, it was over 20,000 and is continuing to increase. To accommodate this, the school is building new facilities for both classes and housing. It's big, but not so big that you don't get to know people. As far as Amherst goes, it's an amazing college town. Downtown Amherst (or Amherst Center) is a great scene at night and the proximity to other cool places, particularly Northampton, make for a great college environment. The five college consortium is generally underutilized by UMass students, but can be a pretty awesome asset, especially with Amherst College literally a few blocks away.
I love the size of UMass, it's not too big, and it's deffinitly not to small. Once you've chosen a major, it's like everything else just kinda dissapears and you almost forget how big it really is. Being a Landscape Architect major, we are a VERY small department, with less than 25 people in my graduating class, we get to know each other very well. There's a lot of school pride when it comes to football, basketball, and hocey games. With nights like "White Out Night" for hocey games where all the umass fans wear white, or "Mullet Night" where they give out free mullet wigs, or "Black Out Night" where the UMass fans wear black. It's a lot of fun.
One of things that drew me to UMass is that they have so many different majors. Since I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in, I was confident that no matter what I chose, UMass would probably have it. Another great thing about UMass is its Domestic Exchange program. You can spend a semester or even a year at another public college in another state. I think the size is great, even though its large size might intimidate some people. I think a large college provides opportunites to meet many people and make many connections. Large universities have great resources and opportunities to network. When I tell people I go to UMass, adults react in the way that they say oh that's a good school, but don't get sucked into the party scene! Which I understand, but like I said, I feel like that should be applied to almost everywhere. Amherst is definitely a college town. Downtown Amherst is geared toward college students, even though it's still pretty small. Nextdoor is Northampton (where Smith College is located), which is a great town that is growing, with a lot of cool stores downtown. UMass has a great transportation system, so Northampton is a bus ride away if you don't have a car. The biggest recent controversy on campus was a student strike to get more money to support diversity, reduce the money spent on "luxury projects," get police out of dorms, etc. I feel like there's not enough school pride yet, but it's on the rise, especially with how well the basketball team did this year. One of the most frequent student complaints is that it's sometimes hard to get classes you want.
UMass Amherst has an amazing atmosphere. Amherst serves as a true college town. So many of the town's venues exist only to serve the college students. There numerous coffee shops, a mall, a movie theater, book stores, bars, great places to eat, pretty much anything you'd need day to day. Plus the atmosphere is supplemented by the presence of other schools like Mount Holyoke and Hampshire College. At first I thought the school was very big, but after a while you get used to the settings. After a month it all seemed perfect. Your really get the feeling that it is its own community. For example city schools have so many distractions, because theres so much going on in metropolitan areas. However, when you're at UMass Amherst you feel immersed in it. You will always feel great here, which most schools can not say.
The best thing about UMass is how many available options there are for courses and extracurriculars. If UMass doesn't offer something you'd like, you can also do independent studies or even participate in BDIC (where you can make your own major). UMass's administration can be a little frustrating -- to get one thing done regarding your account you may have to go to 5 different buildings and talk to 50 different people. The college town is great -- nice stores, great restaurants, and Hadley has Target and Walmart if you need it. I liked the size of UMass. The only part that was frustrating about it is if you need to be somewhere in 10 minutes and it takes 20 minutes to walk there.
Molly AlumReviews provided by: Unigo