Massachusetts, United States
Est. 1863Ranked among top 50 universities in US
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is a public research university, and is the flagship university of the UMass system. It’s also the largest public university in New England (which is a region in northwestern corner of USA comprising of 6 states). It’s a quite highly rated university, and its program in Computer Engineering is to die (or kill) for, which is why most Computer students aim for it. It ranks #119 according to U.S. News' 'Best Global Universities Ranking' list.
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If you like a quiet little place which is far, but not too far, from the hustle and bustle of a big city life, then Amherst is definitely where you should be. A small college town by itself, Amherst is more or less self-sufficient, but if you fancy some fine dining or a weekend getaway, then Boston is just 75 miles away, and New York City is about 140 miles away. Quite the ideal location, we would say.
The least that can be said about the UMass campus is that it’s extremely well designed. A bird’s eye view of the lovely 1450 acre campus would show you a series of concentric rings, with the academic buildings and research labs in the center, followed by residential areas, athletic facilities and parking lots, in that order. Needless to say, all the labs, classrooms and recreational centers are top rate, with all kinds of modern facilities that students may need. The library system is pretty fantastic too, and the main library – the WEB Du Bois Library – is the tallest library in the United States, with 26 stories. Wow. Mind blowing.
Residing options are aplenty if you’re studying at UMass. Since most grad students live off campus, it would probably be a good idea to look around for houses/apartments with a couple of people who you think you can stand living with; roommates are definitely needed, unless you want to spend an arm or two on the rents. As for where to stay, well just about anywhere on the bus route would be ideal. Naturally, the further you go from college, the cheaper it gets, but that would mean a longer bus ride/drive to college. Of course, it’s up to you to strike the right balance between affordability and convenience, and it shouldn’t be that hard, really.
While the weather is by no means bad, it’s quite unpredictable at most times. Spring and autumn (fall, for you cool Americans) normally showcase the best weather, but even then days are littered with rainfall. Winters can get pretty cold, and it snows once in a while. Summers are extremely pleasant, though quite warm when compared to winters.
A lot of emphasis at UMass is given to general learning which, most students agree, is a good thing. So while you’re excelling at your specialization, you also learn a lot of other pertinent things which would prepare you for the outside world. A lot of the credit for the students’ enthusiasm must go to the professors, who are very approachable and are always willing to go out of their way to help. Oh and they’re bloody good at what they do too.
Since it’s a public university, UMass does dole out scholarships once in a while, but they aren’t terribly easy to get. However, if you manage to maintain a decent GPA, it shouldn’t be impossible. And you always have TAs and RAs to keep your head above water, of course.
Where you get placed depends a lot on what course you’re doing. If you’re a Comps student, you can be sure to get a rather fantastic job. If you’re doing another course, you can be sure to get a job, a good one too, but maybe not that fantastic. Either way, the job you land up with has a lot to do with your performance in class, so make sure it’s up to the mark.
Not exactly Mecca for Computer students, but almost that. Plus, UMass has an undeniable geographical advantage.
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