University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst, MA, USA

Reviews

University of Massachusetts-Amherst
4.12 Average Rating

Naja from Millville, MA

a current student here
23 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Bang for the buck
For a great undergraduate education you don't need to spend tons of money, especially if you are planing to continue you education after undergrad. UMass Amherst has understanding professors, knowledgeable teaching assistants, award winning dining, and a campus designed to fit anyone's personality.
Great for these types of students
UMass is great for any type of student. The campus is made of six very different living areas named Sylvan, Southwest, Northeast, Central, Orchard Hill, and North. They each have a different style. So whether you're a study-aholic or you'd rather take it easy, there's a place for you.
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Samantha from Springfield, MA

a current student here
22 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
If you take the right Gen Ed classes, they can be very interesting. Definitely try to take classes that interest you or you will very likely be bored out of your mind. However, I so far get the impression that most professors and instructors are generally interested in their fields of expertise, and are enthusiastic about sharing that interest with students.
Am enjoying being here
Through dance groups, drumline, photojournalism, and just hanging out with people in the dorms, I have met a lot of really great friends in my three semesters at UMass. Definitely find a group that interests you and get involved. Also, don't worry too much about partying... contrary to what some people think, not EVERYBODY at ZooMass parties every night, and if somebody can't respect your choices not to, then they're not worth your time. Another thing: the surrounding area is really interesting. Lots of great stores and restaurants, and it's overall an interesting community.
Bang for the buck
Most of the dorms are surprisingly nice, and if you don't have too much more than the essentials, there's plenty of space. The food is decent, plus you get meal exchanges that you can use at most of the restaurants on campus. One hidden gem at UMass: the Newman Center Cafe. They have very good cheap food, and they serve it up very fast. Another excellent thing about UMass is that almost anyplace you need to go, you can take a bus - and they're all free.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely tour the campus. It can seem big and overwhelming, but once you get comfortable, it's not bad at all.

Some things to check out on campus:
- Newman Center Cafe
- University Gallery (at the Fine Arts Center)
- The campus pond
- The Bluewall
- Berkshire Dining Commons
- Studio Arts Building
- W.E.B Dubois Library
- Antonio's in Downtown Amherst
- Central / Orchard Hill Residential Area
Great for these types of students
Even if you don't like to (or want to) party, don't rule out UMass. There's all kinds of options at UMass in every area - academics, housing, food, extracurriculars, and (most of all) people. However, if you're a homebody and can't handle a little noise once in a while or are uncomfortable being amongst lots of people, then this might not be the best option for you.
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Ashley from West Yarmouth, MA

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Due to the wide range of educational opportunities--whether those are research-based, scientific, liberal, political or extra curricular--The University of Massachusetts Amherst ensures that there's a niche designated for every type of student. With an extremely large population, the University's strengths are not specified towards one group of students, but rather spread across the board to accommodate all students. With academic assistance, guidance, career services, internship assistance and an extremely professional and interpersonal staff of employees, The University of Massachusetts Amherst will keep your story alive, opening the doors to an enlightening college experience.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely go to class. For the majority of lectures--depending on your major--there is no attendance, and thus the success of your academic career is dependent on you. Attendance is not part of your grade, but your lack thereof will shine through when it comes down to exam day. Second, get involved! With an outstanding population size of over 26,000 students (graduate and undergraduate), it can be overwhelming being a small fish in a large pond. Involving yourself in extra curricular activities whether those are student organizations, greek life, lab research or employment will make the size seem significantly smaller, all the while increasing your chances of solidifying great friendships.
Academic Rigor
The academic rigor of The University of Massachusetts Amherst is directly correlated with each student's major. Generally, for each class there is one final grade calculated from three term exams, homework and a final exam, so keeping up with readings and attending class lectures is imperative. If you find something difficult, there are plenty of outside resources to ensure academic success (tutors, office hours with the professors, teacher assistants, supplementary instructor sessions and review sessions).
Dorm Life
The dorm life is split into five different regional areas on campus: Southwest, Central, Northeast, Orchard Hill, North and Sylvan. Generally, students live on campus for the first two years of enrollment (freshman and sophomore) and live off campus for their remaining two years (junior and senior). Southwest is typically designated as the most social of residential areas, as well as the largest. Central is known for a more artistic outlook, combining arts and music into living quarters. Northeast is comprised of students typically studying science or engineering majors. Students wanting a quieter, more concentrated academic lifestyle tend to live in Orchard Hill. Many of these students are Commonwealth Honors College students. North is a series of apartment designated for upperclassmen (and those few, extremely lucky lowerclassmen) who choose to live on campus. And lastly, Sylvan is typically the last preferred residential area and is comprised of the majority of transfer students.
Food and Dining
The food and dining at The University of Massachusetts Amherst is absolutely amazing. As of last year, the university's dining was rated as one of the top ten in the nation by Princeton Review. With a large variety of cuisines from different countries (Asian, Chinese, Japanese, American, Italian etc.), there are many choices to choose from. There are four dining halls on campus: Berkshire (Southwest), Hampshire (Southwest), Franklin (Central) and Worcester (Northeast). The campus favorite is Berkshire, with the largest variety of options. From sandwiches, sushi, stir fry, pizza, salad bar, vegetarian bar, cereal and fruit and gluten free bar, there are choices for everyone!
What to do for fun
With center Amherst a short walk from center campus (ten minutes or less) there are plenty of shopping boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars and bookstores to delve into. As a college town (with five total colleges in the surrounding area: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College) there are plenty of seasonal fairs, events and concerts to keep students occupied through every season. The nightlife is also extremely lively.
Bang for the buck
With the consortium, you can choose to enroll in courses at any of the five colleges within the surrounding area--Amherst College, UMass Amherst, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College--all while paying the UMass Amherst tuition (much lower than the rest). The cost of the university is impeccable in comparison to its reputation as one of the nation's most leading research facilities. The dorm rooms are very large and the food is great! Definitely worth the cost.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There is a list of 100 things to do before you graduate which includes all kinds of unusual traditions and UMass legacies.
Great for these types of students
It is an amazing university for students pursuing a post-graduate career in research, as it is one of the most leading research facilities in the nation. Additionally, the Isenberg School of Management is one of the top business schools in the state; employing graduates who take its opportunities to their fullest advantage.
Clubs and Activities
With over 200 registered student organizations, there are many extra curricular activities to involve yourself in. If there is something that does not strike your interest, there is a way to create a registered student organization with a required minimum of ten students within one semester.
Greek Life
Only approximately 5% of UMass Amherst students participate in greek life. It is not a dominant portion of the university's social spectrum.
Campus Safety
The campus security is very thorough, making sure all students that are non residents of a dorm on campus are signed in from 8:00 PM - 12:00 PM on weekdays and 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM on weekends. There are student cadets, as well as police officers at every corner on the weekend to control crime and prevent fighting, but it is not as heavily guarded during the week.
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Jessica from Rowley, MA

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Here, all of the professors are extremely helpful. They have office hours for students who need extra help or advice, and they give constructive criticism on tests and essays. I have a few large lecture classes which I thought would be boring and impersonal, but the way in which the teachers teach makes the material easy to both learn and understand. In addition, the science classes that I am taking all overlap some of the information, so it is like what you learn is being supported. Also, the labs for the science classes are awesome! Yes, they are three hours each, but the labs you do are really fun and you can get a lot out of them, such as learning how to use expensive lab equipment. Also, the TAs for the labs tend to teach as well, so your knowledge gets strengthened there as well. Basically, you can learn however much you want to learn.
Am enjoying being here
I come from a little town of 6,000 people, so I thought that I would hate it here where there are over 36,000 people on campus everyday. However, it isn't at all how I thought it would be. You get to know the people who you sit with in your classes and you also get to know your teachers and your TAs. As the semester goes on, the campus doesn't seem all that big any more, especially because it isn't as if everyone is in one place all at once.
Also, the dorms, especially the freshman dorms, are great. I'm in a RAP, or a Residential Academic Program, where I take classes with the people on my floor, which is great because if one person has a problem or question about a class, someone on the floor will know the answer. Dormmates are also great people to study for exams with because everyone is on the same page and everyone can contribute a little extra to the study sessions.
Bang for the buck
One of the main reasons I came here was because of their veterinary program-UMass is one of the only schools in this area that actually has a pre-vet program/major. Even as a freshman I'm getting hands on experience already, such as taking vitals, looking for parasites, taking ultrasounds, and drawing blood. Also, working here will give me a huge step up on other students applying to vet schools, because while most people have experience with small animals (cats, dogs, etc.), UMass is giving me experience with large animals (cows, alpacas, horses, goats). In addition, everyone in this program is very helpful and gives a lot of advice, especially when it comes to looking for internships.
Also, there are a lot of great groups here to join that aren't available at smaller schools, like Goat Group, Ski and Board Club, Rock Climbing, Outdoor Club, and others. And there are brand new, multi-million dollar buildings that are beautiful and just amazing, such as the new gym (top of the art facility, with an indoor track and three levels of machinery), and the new science building (with lots of new computers and resource centers!). It's just amazing.
Tips for prospective students
For any prospective students, try to get to know someone on campus whom you can shadow. It will allow you to see the campus from a student's perspective and get a taste for what the classes are like. Also, go on a tour of the campus- you will get to see various dorm rooms and also educational buildings. It looks big, but once you are campus, it will take you less than a week to find your way around. Also- DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK! A lot of people get lost the first week, and upperclassmen really are nice and are willing to point you in the right direction.
Great for these types of students
I believe that this school is great for every student. It's great for students who want to blend in, because of its size, and it's also great for students who want to stand out- all you have to do is participate a few times in class and you will definitely grab your teacher's attention. The science program here is the only one that I am familiar with and it is amazing. Between the new science building and all of the older ones, there are many different courses available and always places where you can go for help. Also- any one who wants to be a vet or do anything with animals should definitely look into this school. Yes, its a state school, but the veterinary and animal science programs are amazing and you will get hands on experience right away.
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Caitlin from Marstons Mills, MA

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
UMass Amherst was not my first choice, but I was happily surprised by how knowledgable every one of my professors was. I feel that even after my first semester I am already more prepared to go out and begin working in my field.
Am enjoying being here
The university is right in the middle of Amherst, which is a GREAT college town. There is always something to do or somewhere to go, whether it be right into convenient Amherst Center or Northhampton for some great shopping and restaurants. Everyone is so friendly on campus and there is a lot of night life. However, because there is so much to do, some people might become overwhelmed by the noise at night, depending on where you live. Also, because the school is so large (over 20,000 students) it is possible to get lost if a smaller school is more your style.
Bang for the buck
Because UMass is funded by the state, the tuition for those that live in Massachusetts is fantastic when compared to the education you receive. It can be a bit pricey for out-of-state students, but not as much as any of the Ivy League or big-name universities. Plus, freshmen are guaranteed housing and I have always been satisfied with the food at the dining halls.
Tips for prospective students
If there is a RAP offered for people in your major, take advantage of it your freshman year. I regret not requesting one because it was harder for me to forge relationships with people in my major because everyone else already knew each other from living in the same building. RAPs help because you meet people in your building that you have classes with and that have similar interests.
Great for these types of students
In-state students will benefit from the lower prices. Also, anyone interested in the sciences will find that UMass Amherst is a leading public research university. It is also great for anyone interested in meeting many new people and anyone not intimidated by the size of the campus.
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Sarah from Mansfield, MA

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Most of my general education classes are very easy, basic reviews of the advanced classes I took in college. The workload is minimal, which I find frustrating because I took extra classes to challenge myself. Even taking a 300 level class that is supposed to be taken junior year, I am still not challenged enough here. Most classes I am in are large lectures, which makes getting to know your professors nearly impossible. Lots of students are here for the parties and whatnot, and this makes studying difficult in the dorms. Also, some professors use online exams that you take on your own time. This means no memorization or understand required, they are open book.
Am enjoying being here
During the week, I do enjoy it here. It is a beautiful campus and not too bad of a walk. Hanging out with friends from the dorm and stuff is a lot of fun, and there are always lots of cool activities to do. However, on weekends, it's always loud and there are drunk people EVERYWHERE. It's called ZooMass for a reason. I live on the quieter side of campus and yet I am often awakened by drunken yells. It's frustrating to me to not get any school work done over the weekend because people are so loud.
Bang for the buck
I'm here on scholarship and financial aid, not paying a thing. This was the main reason I came here. It is a good school for most majors, and a GREAT school for some (management and engineering are the two I can think of right now) so if you can stand being around a lot of people who make a lot of noise definitely come check it out.
Tips for prospective students
-Check out reviews online or ask your older friends who attend which professors to take classes with. There are some great professors here, and also some that are awful.
-Take Microbio 160. I'm not a science major at all, terrible at science in high school, but this has been my most enjoyable and interesting class
-Don't worry if you come in without a major. UMass is very good about helping you figure out what you want to do with your life. There is even a special class you can take to help you figure it out.
-Bring earplugs. Trust me, at some point you will need to write a paper or do homework on a Thursday or Sunday night, and this will be a lot easier if you can't hear the drunks.
-Keep an open mind about living areas. If you're coming here to party, there's plenty going on outside of southwest. If you're coming to study, look at living in northeast or central.
-Wear comfortable shoes when you come for a tour. Some of the dorms in Central and Orchard Hill are indeed on a very steep hill. The campus isn't super hard to walk - it takes about 15 minutes to get across - but the hills are painful in flip flops or heels.
-Visit a Dining Commons (Worcester, Berkshire, Hampshire, or Franklin) when you come visit. If you only eat at BlueWall or The Hatch, you won't get to see the food that you'll actually be eating most of the time as a student. The food is inconsistent in quality. If you come, buy lots of easy mac and other microwave foods
Great for these types of students
-partiers who want a cheap school
-in-state students looking for a cheap school with good quality
-commuters from the area (noise is much less of an issue if you live off campus)
-anyone who enjoys people watching. there's enough strange behavior here on weekends for a large psychology study, and it can be funny to watch the stupid things people do while severely intoxicated.
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Skylar from Roxbury, MA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
There are a wide range of gen ed classes, so you can pretty much try almost every subject in order to figure out what major you want to study. There are also a lot of fun gen eds, so you'll learn something interesting and funny while fulfilling your graduation requirements. It's also very easy to find information on your desired major, both online, and at the school department offices.
Am enjoying being here
UMass is a pretty big school, but it's pretty easy to get close to the people you live with and there are always opportunities to meet new people. There are always a lot of activities, academic and social, and not very difficult to find something to do, on or off campus.
Bang for the buck
UMass is really helpful with financial aid and has great food that you normally wouldn't expect on a college campus. There are six different residence areas, and UMass even helps with nearby off campus housing if preferred.
Tips for prospective students
Even though it seems awkward, try to develop a personal relationship with your professors. Approach your professor after class with maybe something they mentioned in class whether related to the subject or not (keep it appropriate), even if you don't need help at the moment. If you create a dynamic where the teacher can put a face to a name, you will have a much easier time receiving help when you really need it.
Great for these types of students
UMass is really great for all types of students because you can always find someone you can relate to.
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Stephani from Mendon, MA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This is my home. UMASS Amherst is unlike any place I have seen because it is this massive city cradled in a gorgeous, mountain-crested valley. Also, even though the campus is massive, you don't feel anything less than at home in your niche: U R UMASS.
Tips for prospective students
Do exactly what you want, go exactly where you want, and say exactly what you mean. A school as big and open as this one ensures that you will find the people who fit you, so you should never squeeze into a friendship because that distracts from your growth.
Academic Rigor
This place will not crush you and, to be honest, once you get there, there is an immediate sensation that your professors are pulling for your success as much as you are. There is work, but you need it. This institution gives people the tools to become whatever they want to be, but it is up to the individual himself/herself to make use of those tools.
Dorm Life
Once again, just be honest with yourself and with who you are. The reputations about the different sections of campus are true; people do tend to fall into patterns of behavior based on their location on campus. Ironically, this does not necessarily create a divide. We are all a part of the culture and we know it: no matter what anyone jokes, UMASS wouldn't be the same without all of its edges. We need you to be you. That is sort of an unspoken mentality in the dorm life, and I have never been so comfortable in my own skin anywhere in my life the way I was in my dorm days.
Food and Dining
There are no words. Berkshire dining commons is almost ludicrously good: you cannot go wrong because there are simply so many options. They are also very good about making their foods as healthy as possible across campus and are constantly thinking up new ways to innovate the dining experience
What to do for fun
This whole place is a party. There are always people ready to do something outlandish and it is an amazing feeling: when you think about it, this is the only time in your life you are every truly almost exclusively with people your own age. Also, the gym at UMASS is incredible and their fitness classes have the potential to bring the fighter out of anyone.
Bang for the buck
For in-state residents this place is almost a steal, especially for nursing, business, and engineering majors. The reputation of the nursing and business programs are so well-known, that it virtually eliminates the supposed stigma of attending a public university. Also, engineering students here are just honestly worked so hard and pushed so far, that it cannot help but give them an edge.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Never. Ever. Ever. walk through the eye. This is a circle surrounded in a semi-circle by benches and across from The Cage. It may look like it is only a pattern in the ground, but a true UMASS student knows that the risk of terrible bad luck is NOT worth the five seconds extra that it takes to skirt it. Also, the area of grass extending from the basketball hoop in SW is called the Southwest beach because that is where everyone gathers to tan and to play frisbee when it is nice outside.
Great for these types of students
1) You are ready to come into your own
2) You feel comfortable being a small (but integral) piece of a larger whole.
3) You're not sure what you want to do.
4) You're not sure who you want to be.
5) You want to really LIVE your college years.
6) You're prepared to be devastated when graduation rolls around.
Clubs and Activities
Honestly, the clubs here do not have much opportunity to be truly active beyond the board. It seems like more of a Facebook thing at this point. With that said, intramural teams are great ways to meet people and have a good time and club teams revive any lingering desires for a varsity experience.
Greek Life
Greek life here is not crazy, but it definitely has the same element of drama and obligation. The truth is though that these people genuinely have each other's backs when push comes to shove.
Campus Safety
This campus could not be more safe. I have gone for walks at 3 or 4 am and there are STILL other students walking between dorms, walking back from the library, or picking up food. There are always PEOPLE. You will never be in a situation when you are without aid and the campus is heavily lit all night long. Also, there are help phones rigged across the entire campus and cops perched all over the place.
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Julia from Westlake Village, CA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a large and diverse campus with endless opportunities and resources. This school benefits students who can take the initiative to take advantage of these resources. UMass is a liberal arts college with a traditional university experience.
Tips for prospective students
Do your homework and then your classes will be easier.
Visit your professors office hours; it helps to let your professors get to know you and help you understand the material better.
Take advantage of the resources such as the writing center and online library databases.
Academic Rigor
You get out what you put in.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is awesome freshman year when everyone wants to make new friends, but after that everyone is set with friends and don't really try to meet new people. However, dorms are close to campus and UMass dining is amazing.
Food and Dining
There is a large variety of eating options on campus; there are dining commons like cafeterias, food courts, and little student run eating places in residence areas, all with a variety of choices and dietary needs. There is amazing vegetarian food, as well as vegan, kosher, and well marked nuts and gluten free.
What to do for fun
There are hundreds of clubs are societies that hold campus and residential events. There is many performance groups and shows around campus, and the Fine Arts Center bring incredible concerts, events and shows in every week. There are also a lot of sports games, football and hockey are the most popular.
Bang for the buck
Tuition keeps raising just like every other school, but it is more reasonable than other schools and offers incredible opportunities and resources.
Great for these types of students
Students who are self-sufficient and can manage their time wisely.
Clubs and Activities
There is a club for every interest, religion, ethnicity, sport, talent, and art form. All clubs are open and accepting of everyone.
Greek Life
We have it.
Campus Safety
It is a big campus open campus, but we have alert text messages and a campus wide PA system that is only used in emergencies. There is also bluelight emergency call stations everywhere on campus. We also have campus police.
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Annelise from Marshfield, MA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The shear size of the University allows a student to explore every possible interest that he or she may have. A student can create a challenging but manageable schedule; it's all dependent upon an individual's desire to push themselves. In addition to the many courses this college offers, Umass Amherst is part of the Five College Program, which includes all the surrounding schools: Amherst College, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and of course Umass. It is possible to take courses at any of the other four colleges, making the possibilities endless.
Am enjoying being here
Umass can appear overwhelming at a first glance, with approximately 20,000 undergraduate students and a very large campus, but it immediately feels like home. Everyone is extremely friendly and dedicated to making the most out of their college experience. All of the professors are determined to make a student feel like an individual and not simply an ID number, even in large lectures. This large University instantly becomes small, as you make great friends and become comfortable with your classes. The size allows a student to never feel trapped or bored, there is always something going on and someone who shares your interests.
Bang for the buck
This school is very inexpensive, especially if you currently live in Massachusetts, and the education you will receive is greatly outweighs the cost. In today's economic world, the ability to graduate without large amounts of student loans is priceless, especially if you are planning on continuing on to grad school.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure you check out the Commonwealth College, as well. It is the Honors college that is part of the University. It allows a student to take even more challegeing courses.
Great for these types of students
Massachusetts Residence
Honor Roll students (Commonwealth College)
Undecided
Well - rounded
Independent
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