How to Get Better Grades & Have More Fun!

For those of you reading this title and rolling your eyes, get ready to have your mind blown. Seriously. I attended an eye-opening session at Century High School (woo Carroll!) this past December with this very title, “Get Better Grades & Have More Fun!”. The session was given by our one and only Dr. Mark Marten, a Cellular Engineering & Systems Biology professor at UMBC, (yeah, he’s pretty hardcore), and it highlights the secret to being academically successful with less stress. Get ready to take notes …

  1. Begin with the end in mind. This involves creating an achievable gpa goal, this does not always mean 4.0 (sorry parents), and monitoring your progress.
  2. Time management is key. Treat college like an 8 to 5 job. And yes, that does mean actually getting up early. If you do this, you won’t find yourself cramming during the weekends, which means more time to hang out with your buddies.
  3. Active student is a learner, an inactive student is a dud. Sit in the front row, attend all of your classes and ask many, many questions. The more you get involved in your education, the more you will gain from the class.
  4. Relate to your professors. They are people too! Remember in elementary school, that first time you saw your teacher at the grocery store? I’ll be honest, it’s weird at first. But, once you get to know them, you gain a friend and resource for your professional development.
  5. Finally, be a “well rounded square.” Basically, take care of all your needs equally.


So you may be reading this and thinking, “Really, Jaime? This seems too easy.” Well, you’re right, it is easy, but you wouldn’t believe how many students avoid following these 5 easy steps.

Take it from an avid procrastinator, Dr. Marten’s way is the way to go 🙂


Prove IT!

Have you ever wished you could change something in your High School? Maybe you’d start the day at noon, or lunch would involve a 3-course meal, or maybe you’d make it so that your homework assignment involved bringing puppies to class (because who doesn’t love puppies???) 😉 Well, every two years, UMBC asks the students what they want to change on campus, and then they actually change it! Last year, a student suggested that they open a cafe in the library for some late night snacking, and voila! Noche Vida was created. om nom nom

This year, the winning submission revolved around school pride. A few students from a class called, Civic Agency and Social Entrepreneurship, came up with The Retriever Project, described as “a campus-wide, public art initiative created to celebrate and display the dynamic unique culture of UMBC”. In a nutshell, three new retriever statues will be placed around campus and students will submit and vote on a design. The statues will then be painted with the winning designs, and will bask in the UMBC glory on campus for two years. After two years, they will be relocated to other places, like Baltimore City, to spread the UMBC love!

The best part about Prove IT is that any student can submit an idea. It’s a fantastic way to make your imprint on the campus 🙂

Ni hao

I’d like to take a moment to reminisce on this past recruitment travel season because it was by far my most momentous! Not only did I get to travel to Carroll County, Harford County and Northern Virgina, but I had the rare opportunity to visit 19 schools in China! In just 14 days we visited 11 different cities including Shanghai, Harbin, Beijing, Kunming, and many others. I tried the local cuisine (hotpot was my favorite), saw the Forbidden City, and learned about a culture I knew so little about. It was a life changing experience, and I hope to go back again soon!

My Admissions Family

As yet another summer begins to wind down, we begin our efforts to ramp up for the next Fall recruitment travel season! Our entire office is preparing to receive applications, welcome visitors and support our traveling counseling staff. We have such a dynamic, vibrant group of people working in our office that do everything they can to make sure your UMBC application and enrollment experience is a smooth one 🙂

Each year, before the next Fall semester begins, we always take a day to step away from the office as a unit, and get to know each other a little better. This year we had a blast by taking an office-wide Myers-Briggs and participating in a few improvisation exercises! It was a great way to get to know each other and have a little fun doing it!

I leave you with a few pictures of us making a fool of ourselves …

Rock On, Baltimore

I don’t know about all of you, but when I think of Summer I think of live music! This Summer, I’ve been lucky enough to see a wide variety of artists ranging from the well-known Red Hot Chili Peppers (see previous post) to the witty, low-key Eric Hutchinson . I’m always looking for new and exciting venues, artists and genres so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the first ever Charm City Music Festival happening right here in Baltimore! This is an especially great opportunity for new UMBC students traveling from out-of-state since it will welcome you to Baltimore with a BAM! For more information, check out the video below.

Hope to see you all there 🙂

… also hoping it will be less than 100 degrees outside …

Officially a NAFSA-ian

Greetings from the National NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Conference in Houston, TX where, 8,500 International advisers, admissions representatives (that’s me!) and vendors have come together to talk about the International student process, discuss major immigration challenges, and participate in solution sharing activities. Whew what a mouthful! This entire week, I’ve been attending sessions, listening to inspiring plenary speeches, and catching up with my colleagues from around the world!

In case you didn’t know, UMBC has students from over 150 different countries, making us one of the most diverse campuses in the nation! Because of this, it’s incredibly important that our International student support staff has a network of … well … support! NAFSA allows us to meet other International educators with years and years of experience. Since I was a NAFSA Newbie, I felt it necessary to take 20 pages of notes and collect enough business cards to fill a room!

Ok, so maybe International Admissions doesn’t sound as exciting to you as it does to me, but we did get out and have some fun too! We tasted the local cuisine, danced to music from a local band (led by an accordion and washboard), and made a few lasting friendships.

All in all, this NAFSA-ian had a great time 🙂

Is it Chili in here, or is it just me?

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a HUGE fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yes, they’ve been around for longer than I’ve been alive, but their music is the perfect driving-with-the-windows-down-in-the-summer-heat kind of music. Anyway, they made a stop in DC last Thursday and, of course, I was there front and center! Well more like 30 rows back and to the left, but you get the point. While I was waiting in line for some sort of over-priced memorabilia, I heard a group of kids talking about what colleges they got into and where they were going in the Fall. It honestly brought a tear to my eye! I mean this is our solace as Admissions Counselors. We know how stressful the end of Senior year can be (trust me, we’ve been there) but, it’s also really exciting. Enjoy every minute of it! Wear your new school’s colors with pride, start researching potential clubs and organizations, and jam-pack your summer with fun things to do with friends and family.

Also, just so you know, the Chili Peppers blew my socks off! In fact, today I’ve had their new album on repeat ( I apologize to my neighboring counselors for the lack of music variety) 🙂

Congratulations, Dr. Hrabowski! #Time100

If you haven’t already heard, UMBC has made headlines in a monumental way!  Our President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, who has been a leading UMBC advocate for the past 20 years, was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.  Amazing right?

For the past 9 years, this article has highlighted those individuals that have influenced society in a major way by challenging conventional thinking and inspiring others to do the same.  The list is compiled of thinkers, innovators, pioneers and activists from around the world who have dedicated their lives to a greater good.  Dr. Hrabowski is joined by a wide array of inspiring individuals including, President Barack Obama, COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, Singer, Adele, and numerous others.

We’re all very honored and excited about Dr. Hrabowski’s recognition since he has been an inspiration to the UMBC community for many years.  Definitely check out the full article 🙂

Easter Weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! Mine was filled with good food, family time, and, of course, Easter egg shenanigans!  Let me just describe the scene to you …

72 undyed eggs

3 (adorable) nephews ages 1, 5, and 6

20 different cups of dye

You can imagine how it went … needless to say we had a few egg casualties and more than a few dyed fingers …

It was a great weekend 🙂 Say hi to Jax!


Attention Transfer Students!


This blog is dedicated to you since we’re now releasing transfer decisions.  A few things to keep in mind if you haven’t heard from us yet …

  • It takes us about 4-5 weeks to process an application from the time of completion, so we thank you for your patience!
  • Be sure to keep checking your online checklist at  This will give you a good idea of what we are missing from your application.
  • Don’t forget about our deadlines: March 15th (priority) and May 31st (final).

In the meantime, if you  have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 410-455-2291 or 🙂