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College of the Week: UMASS Amherst

November 15, 2010 / Posted by in Blog

Nestled in the foothills of the Pioneer Valley, The University of Massachusetts is one of the fastest growing public schools in the Northeast. The 1,450-acre campus can be daunting at times, but with just a few steps off campus, one is surrounded with the small town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Right around the corner, students will find Main Street, which is filled with independently owned restaurants, shops, and hang out spots. There is always something to do, whether on campus, or in downtown Amherst. With 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students who attend the University of Massachusetts, it is easy to feel like a number, lost in an abyss of people. But at UMass, upperclassmen and faculty do a great job of helping you gain an identity. There are many options for students who want to branch out and find their niche. UMass has a competitive, division I athletic program that provides its athletes with state of the art facilities. If you are not ready to compete at the Division I level, there are plenty of intramural, club, and recreational sports to participate in. A common scene on a Friday evening is six on six games of volleyball right in the middle of campus. There are also over 200-registered student organizations (RSOs), not including Greek Life, that are available to whoever shows up with an idea and a smile.

From the Stockbridge School of Agriculture to the Isenberg School of Management, the University of Massachusetts offers limitless opportunities for its students. Like any college or university, a student gets back what they put in. For those students looking to be challenged a bit more, the Commonwealth Honors College provides students with an outstanding academic experience. Likewise, if you want a change of scenery, UMass allows you to take any class at any school in the Five College Interchange program. Students can expand their horizons and become a part of the Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke, or Hampshire College community. Needless to say, the University provides its students with every advantage available as they pursue one of UMass’s 88 bachelor’s degrees.

Masked by the reputation of being exclusively a party school, UMass has been working hard to improve its public image. Although it is true that some students spend most weekends partying around Amherst, the choice to party is left up to the individual. On the contrary, the University’s Engineering and Public Health colleges, to name a couple, are world-renowned. There are also endless possibilities for weekend fun outside of the party scene. Located a few miles down the road, the charming town of Northampton is a great place to escape the daily rigors that come with being a college student. With hundreds of restaurants, concert halls, bars, and shops around Northampton, home to Smith College, it is a little slice of heaven for those who want a nice dose of culture. Amherst and its surrounding towns are great for biking, hiking, camping, and many other outdoor activities. For the beginner or expert golfer, Cherry Hill golf course is a pleasant, affordable way to spend an afternoon. Right down the road you can find the world famous Eric Carl Museum, Amherst College’s Museum of Natural History, and Smith College’s Museum of Art.

The University of Massachusetts is an eclectic experience. Students live and study in what feels like an academic city, but are nurtured within their programs to explore personal niches. The surrounding small-town communities offer something for everyone: music lovers, foodies, shoppers, and outdoor enthusiasts. UMass is a place worth visiting, and certainly a great place to explore yourself.

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