The Perfect “fit” is a Two-Way Street

As many of you may know, we work with a lot of high school counselors from all over the country.  No matter where we are, we always get the same question, “what type of student should I be advising to look at UMBC?”.  It’s a great question, and one that can’t possibly be answered in one little blog post.  But, on Wednesday, while hosting a small fireside chat with a few counselors, Josh (you know, Admissions Counselor Josh!) caught us all by surprise and asked the current UMBC students what kind of student they’d like to see!  Here are some of their responses …

Open-minded.  Our students have a multitude of eclectic and diverse interests, which makes for a very exciting campus culture.  Get out there and try new things, no matter how crazy it may sound!

Creative.  Make sure to add your own flavor to UMBC’s culture.  Create an organization, take charge with a leadership position, or bring your own personal experiences to the classroom.

Curious.  Whether it’s in the classroom or out, question everything.  Our curiosity is what makes us one of the top institutions for Undergraduate research.  We never stop asking questions or delving into new ideas 🙂

These are only a few of the traits that were mentioned, but I think it gives you a good idea of what our current students value.  If this sounds like you, then feed your “curiosity” and come visit us!

Over and out 😎

To the Gridiron!

I don’t know about you, but I’m SO relieved that the lockout ended last summer because Superbowl XLVI was quite a game.  I mean it takes me back to Tyree and his amazing helmet catch in 2008!  Am I right?!?

Ok, I have a confession to make.  I know absolutely NOTHING about football, which, is quite surprising if you’ve ever met my sport-fanatical roommates, co-workers and family.  If you’re like me, you know how excruciating it is to sit through 4 hours of “first downs” and “blitzes” on that dreaded Sunday evening when the entire country is expected to tune in to the BIG GAME.  Luckily this year, my fellow sport-naive co-worker found a list of hot topics on to make me sound like I know what I’m talking about.  I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.

  • During a lull, say something casual like, “I’m just really pulling for my Pats/G-Men tonight.” Smile broadly and hold it for 43 seconds or until someone asks if you are all right.
  • Mention the 2008 Super Bowl and something about “Tyree” and a “helmet catch.” This will be a tricky one to pull off, and is probably best achieved with mumbling and a face-palm, as in: “Mmmbumbammm 2008 mmba Tyree and THAT HELMET CATCH!” (Face-palm. Exit left for more onion dip.)
  • Ask for someone to pass the onion dip, because how many times a year do you get to eat onion dip? Actually, say this: “How many times a year do you get to eat onion dip, you know?!?”

Needless to say, I failed miserably.  But, truth is, it was a blast just having an excuse to get everyone together.  And the commercials weren’t so bad either 😉

Cheap Date

We’re not the only ones who love College (I mean come on, we never really left), there’s someone else who has grown fond of the University culture.  Beware, because in the midst of writing essays, studying for exams and doing homework, you could become victim to … CUPID.  Yes, you may laugh at this at first, but I’ve met many a person who has found that special someone in their Res Hall, during an on-campus job, or in Biology 101.  Why, you ask, does Cupid strike on a college campus (where we all thought we were safe)?!  Maybe it’s because you’re surrounded by 10,000 people your same age, or MAYBE it’s because of all of the cheap date opportunities.

You start with dinner in the city (romantic right?).  By going to Baltimore Collegetown’s Website, you can find a list of 65 restaurants with inexpensive menus.  They give you a description, map of the surrounding area and even a picture of the restaurant.  You’ll be incredibly prepared.

Then, you take them to a romantic movie night.  UMBC’s Student Events Board (or SEB) plays a movie each weekend for just $2 a ticket.  And, the best part is, you get to pick the movie!  Before the start of each semester, they hold a poll that lets current students choose the movies that will be played throughout this semester.  This semester’s poll includes movies like Puss in Boots, Moneyball, and The Muppets.

Finally, you end the night with a warm cup of hot chocolate (from one of the 2 coffee places on campus, including Starbucks) and a stroll around the campus pond.

I know you’re all probably wishing you would have come up with this idea, but fear not!  You may steal it as you please 🙂

Until next time,



Warning: Do Not Read If Hungry

For those of you who don’t know me, I have one big-gigantic-tasty weakness that takes hold of me in the month of November.  The infamous, irresistible pumpkin.  Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, pumpkin latte, you name it, I eat/drink/dream about it.  But, above all, I’m excited about the one and only, Pumpkin Pie.  What better way to pay tribute to our divine fruit, then to dedicate this blog.  So if there are any fellow pumpkin enthusiasts out there, or if you just need a dessert idea for this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner, please enjoy these goodies!

– Let’s begin with a little history lesson on this delightful treat.

– Then, graduate to an informative video on how to make Pumpkin Pie, perfect for first time bakers 🙂

– If you think you’re ready, check out The Food Network’s ‘Best Thanksgiving Pumpkin Recipes’ .  Needless to say, they are too scrumptious not to share!

– Finally, I leave you with a P.Pie themed math joke (thanks to Woot).  Enjoy!

Stay Warm, Stay Healthy

The holiday season is almost here which means it’s time to get those mittens, scarves and … flu shots!  Yes, it’s the season of the sniffles and what better time than now to write about the Health Services office here at UMBC. They are dedicated to your health and their main goal is that you never have to actually step into their office. Their ‘Wellness Works’ program provides one-on-one consultations in everything from healthy eating to stress management to sleep problems! They also provide fun and interactive health education programs to ensure that you know everything you need to about healthy living. There are even opportunities to take advantage of their massage therapy and acupuncture which can be useful during exam week 🙂

If by chance you do get sick, not to worry!  UHS will see you by appointment or as a walk-in. They are very flexible and understand that you have a hectic college schedule. The best part is, they are right on campus, just a short walk away from your dorm.

So whether your currently in the warmth of the south or in the frigid snow of the north, be sure to stay healthy this holiday season!

An Honors College at an Honors University

Well hello there, long time no see 🙂  I’ve been trekking across Northern Virginia all week visiting students, counselors and alumni volunteers.  Besides the traffic, which if you aren’t from the area, just know there is a lot of it, NoVA has treated me very well!  All of the counselors have been welcoming (if any of you are reading this, thanks!) and the students have been extremely curious about what UMBC is all about!

As exciting as travel has been, it is starting to dwindle down to the final weeks.  Around this time, we get numerous questions from all of you regarding application status, deadlines and requirements.  One question that we’ve been getting frequently this year is about how to apply to Honors College.  Now, listen closely, because there are actually 2 different ways to apply, both of which will be reviewed in the same way.

1. Applying directly through the Common Application.  You just have to check that you want to apply to the Honors College and answer a few additional questions.

2. While the Common Application is a fairly simple way to get your application to the Honors College, it’s not the only way.  You can still apply directly through their application, even if you check “no” on the Common Application when it asks if you want to apply with them.

Please keep in mind that there are also 2 deadlines for the Honors College (are you seeing a common trend?)

Jan. 15th (guaranteed scholarship consideration)

March 15th (final deadline)

I hope this entry clears up any confusion regarding how to apply to this prestigious community within UMBC.  To learn more about the Honors College, or to contact them, please visit their website.

Until next time 😀

I blame the GPS …

Hello again!  After a long couple of days on the road, lots of Starbucks coffee, and a close encounter with a Ferry, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and write to all of you 🙂 Just so you know, by ‘close encounter’ I simply mean I got lost while in MD (my own home state, so embarrassing) and almost boarded a Ferry to visit a high school in Virginia.  Luckily, I was able to re-route and still make my appointment on time! Whew.

But anyway, ‘lack of direction’ aside, I wanted to write about all of the wonderful things happening on campus at UMBC!  I cannot tell you how many times students ask me ‘what is there to do on your campus’ or ‘how do students get involved’.  Both are great questions and I have some great links to hopefully give you an idea of what campus life is like at UMBC.

1. If you’re looking to check out the art scene and maybe dabble into your creative mind, be sure to check out the UMBC Arts & Culture Calendar.  Here there are descriptions of numerous art and culture related events happening on campus.  You can also sort the calendar by a specific area such as, music, theatre, dance and more!

2. Maybe your looking more for an adreniline rush or an opportunity to scream “GO DAWGS” at the top of your lungs.  If so, then I would check out the UMBC Athletics Schedule, to see when our wonderful teams are home.

3. UMBC’s Shriver Center also holds great events to help students prepare themselves for post-graduation.  Check out their list of events to see everything from upcoming career fairs to information sessions such as, ‘Intern 101’ and ‘Lunch and Learn: Entrepreneurship’.

Hopefully, these links will give you an idea of what’s happening at UMBC and maybe even inspire you to visit us and see for yourself 🙂

That’s all I have for now folks … GO DAWGS!

Let Freedom Ring!

Apparently Fall has decided to take a vacation this year because I actually saw winter frost on Saturday.  Madness.  Oh well, I hope you are all starting to get back into the groove of school!  Luckily, the crazy Maryland weather has not stopped all of our wonderful visitors (hopefully some of you!) who stop by for an information session and campus tour during the week (sign up here).  One thing I like to do during my information session is get to know all of you.  My favorite question to ask is “what are you looking forward to most about college?”.  If you would have asked me that question back in high school, I would have said the same thing all of you are saying, “FREEDOM”.  Okay, maybe you don’t yell it out like that, but I can see the excitement in your eyes about what lies ahead 😀

And excited you should be! But, before you do anything crazy, I wanted to let you in on a little secret, with freedom comes responsibility.  I know I know, I sound just like your parents, but responsibility can be just as fun as the freedom that comes along with it.  For instance, many UMBC students join one of our 200 clubs and organizations, which provide a smaller community within UMBC’s 10,000 students.  Here at UMBC, we have everything from the Cleftomanics (A capella group) to the Game Developer’s Club to Habitat for Humanity, all of which involve a certain level of time commitment and responsibility while also opening doors to new interests, friends, and opportunities.  Find an organization that excites you!

Lecturing aside, once you find a good balance between fun and responsibility you will really start to enjoy your freedom and hopefully UMBC will help you do just that!

On another note:  I start travel in NOVA and Harford County, MD next week so be sure to keep a lookout if you’re in the area!

Later Gator.

Oh, the places you’ll go …

I think I speak for the entire Admissions office when I say, WELCOME BACK 🙂 Whether you’re a new UMBC student or a returning high school student, I’m sure you’re all adjusting to new classrooms, teachers and the thrill of what’s to come!  Why not let your mind go wild and start thinking about going beyond your borders.

Yes, I’m talking about Studying Abroad!

It’s never too early to start thinking about where you can see yourself studying for a summer, semester or even an entire year.  Common misconception:  you have to be a language major to study abroad … wrong!  Students of all majors can study abroad almost anywhere!  Luckily, UMBC has an entire office dedicated to these exciting adventures, check out their website to learn more.  There are even scholarships out there to ensure that money won’t hold you back from exploring the world.  Learn about one of them in this video made by a UMBC student!

Long story short, let your mind wander early on so you are ready to start exploring when you get to college 🙂

Until next time!

OPA What?

Well, first I want to say CONGRATS to all of the admitted Freshman and Transfers (thus far)!  This has been an incredible year for application reading and I’ve enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you.  So now that the stresses of filling out the application and waiting for a decision are over, it’s time to have a little fun!  That’s where Orientation comes in.  You have all received information on how to sign up for orientation so I won’t bore you with the details (you just need to remember to sign up through your my.umbc account), rather, I wanted to introduce you to our (and soon to be yours too) favorite people in admissions, the OPAs!

No silly, that isn’t a typo, OPA stands for the Orientation Peer Advisors (you can see why we shortened it) and they are the ‘life’ of your orientation experience.  Our OPA crew is made up of 18 current UMBC students who are VERY EXCITED to show you the ins and outs of UMBC.  Get to know each of them before orientation here, that way you’ll already know someone before you arrive.

I look forward to seeing all of you over the summer, but for now just try to stay cool by the pool 😎