Worried About How to Write Your College Essay? We Have Your Back!

The reason colleges and universities require students to write an essay for their admission application is for us to get to know who you are. We want to know what your values are, what your preferred learning style is, and what you would bring to a community of learners.  An essay displays your personality, provides admissions representative insight beyond your grades, and helps determine if you as an applicant will “fit” into our institution’s community.

Here’s exactly what we look for:

  1. Grammar and punctuation

Proof reading is key!

  1. Clear and concise

Please don’t write us a two page essay…:)

  1. Who is this applicant?


Remember to start early by researching your topic, complete an outline and rough draft, develop three parts (introduction, body, conclusion), be specific, get creative, be honest, and edit! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your peers, friends, and/or mentors.

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I hope this helps make the essay writing process better for all of my Future Retrievers! As always, get the latest news from the Undergraduate Admissions Office by following our social media accounts @UMBCadmissions!!!

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And The Award Goes To…


We have had an amazing summer so far and we hope you have been too! UMBC has been in the news quite a few times recently including recognition as a top 100 public university from both Money Magazine and Forbes. Money Magazine made note of UMBC’s impressive 50 year record in their College Planner notes. They went even further naming UMBC one of the top three public universities in Maryland! There’s something to celebrate.

Forbes had a number of accolades on their Top Colleges list including the recognition of UMBC as the #6 mid-sized public college and a #134 top research universities nationwide.

Time Higher Education named UMBC one of the world’s top young universities for a fifth time in April. Add in UMBC appearances in the Princeton Review’s 2016 “Colleges that Pay You Back” Guide and the 2017 Fiske Guide to Colleges for students’ access to academic and social resources!

UMBC was also just named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education, one of only 80 universities on the list. What we are trying to say is that from the students to the faculty and staff, UMBC is really topping the list!



Interested to see more? Come visit us and check out UMBC for yourself!

Have a great summer everyone!


Summer Preview Day!!!

UMBC True Grit!

We are less than a month away from one of our favorite events of the year, Summer Preview Day! On Friday, August 5th, students and their families will be able to learn more about admission, financial aid and scholarships, residential life, the Honors College, student activities, and more. Guests will also have an opportunity to go on a tour led by our enthusiastic student guides. If you are a rising high school senior, this is a great event for you to get to know more about UMBC before applying later on in the year.

If you are interested in registering for this event, click here!

After visiting UMBC, you can explore Baltimore by using the Baltimore Collegetown guide.

We look forward to seeing you there! :)  As always, follow us on our social media sites @UMBCadmissions to stay up to date with the latest information from our office!

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Summer Time is The Perfect Time!

I’m sure many of you are enjoying summer vacation by going to the pool, the beach, or other awesome vacation spots with your family and friends!

Another great thing to do during the summer is…



We are officially back to having daily tours Monday through Friday! You can register for one of our Black and Gold Tours by clicking here.

We are also extremely excited about our Summer Preview Day on August 5th! This is an great day to learn more about UMBC and get many of your questions answered by faculty, staff, and students! You will also have the opportunity to go on a campus tour. To register for this event, click here!

We can’t wait to have you visit our beautiful campus and enjoy all the wonderful things UMBC has to offer.

Don’t forget to follow our social media accounts!






5 Things With Ed: Find Your Perfect College Edition

Happy 5th of July! Okay, so I missed by a day but it’s time for another 5 things. This post will hopefully help rising juniors and seniors find a college that fits them and their needs and navigate “the process” as many are calling it now.

  1. Do your homework! – I’m not talking about geometry or chemistry here (but still do that type of homework).  There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. You have a ton of options and all that choice can be overwhelming. For many of you, you haven’t had a say in your education to this point. Study up on a variety of schools that offer a few majors that you are interested in. There are a plethora of resources to help you such as the Princeton Review’s College SearchBig Future from the College Board, and US News Best College Search Tool. Check with your high school to see if you have access to Naviance. These will let you sort schools based on size, location, areas of study, cost to attend, and a number of other factors. Make a list of 10 or so colleges to put some additional work into once you have identified them as schools of interest.
  2. Start Local – We need to take some small steps before we really get running. Check out local area universities or colleges on a weekend that you are free. Explore a large, medium, and small school (keep in mind those are all relative to your preference) that are relatively close to home. You may not be interested in that particular school but it can help you gauge the scale of the university and if you would fit in at that university. Try contacting the Admissions Office at the school for tour dates/times.
  3. Attend a College Fair – Chances are, you will have a college fair in your area (or within an hour drive) this coming fall. College admission representatives spend months every fall bringing their universities to you. These fairs are great opportunities to ask a lot of different institutions about your future! Avoid pitfalls though (I may make a future 5 Things about college fairs) but talk to schools you haven’t heard of, gather information, ask questions that will help you past application requirements, and decide if the university requires more of your search time.
  4. Visit “Your Schools” – I really struggled with placement on this list item. Certain students may have this as a last step depending on resources or distance of a university from home. You can do all the research in the world on a school but until you step foot on campus, you will never really know if that place is going to be “home” for the next four years. This is called a lot of different things but most admissions professionals call this “fit.” The feeling a student gets where they are comfortable to study, live, explore, build relationships, and a 1,000 other things. Colleges and universities are a lot like people in the sense that they have different values and views on the world. Taking the time to visit your top universities is a critical step in the college search process.
  5. Pick Your 5 – This piece may be the most important (and I’m stealing it from a colleague of mine). I personally believe the single biggest pitfall in the college search is the concept of a “dream school,” or a single school that you are putting everything into. It creates a lot of negativity in the search where other schools are treated like inferior options and are in some cases labeled “safety schools.” The alternative I recommend is getting a “Fit Five” or five schools that you would be more than happy to attend if you are accepted and the schools financially work with your circumstances. These five schools can look very different as well, academically, socially, physically, and geographically. That is perfectly fine. It allows you, as a student, to focus your time, effort, and energy on a selection of schools that are manageable to visit, contact the admissions officer, plan a visit, and work on the application all while maintain a busy high school life. This approach gives you choice while avoiding a lot of the negativity associated with the college search process.

So this has been a bit longer winded than most 5 Things but I sincerely hope it helps. As always, you are welcome to contact us at UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions with any question. Leave a comment below if you have questions or if you would like me to write about a specific topic for a future “5 Things With Ed.”


Happy belated Independence Day and enjoy this wonderful week!


How Neat Is That?!

Happy Monday Everybody!

One of the many unique aspects of UMBC is how much our students, faculty and staff value cross-disciplinary collaboration. There are endless possibilities for students to explore other areas of study outside of their own.

One wonderful example of this is the result of a new course introduced this past Spring 2016 dedicated to “prepare students for careers requiring interdisciplinary, team-based approaches to creative projects” (UMBCNews, 2016).


Image by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

The “Designing and Developing Effective Mobile Applications” class brought together the Visual Arts, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering departments to help students create their own apps. How cool is that?!

Our wonderful students came up with many incredible apps, from one that silences your phone from ringing during a meeting or an appointment to a fun puzzle game.

You can learn more about the apps and how the class came to be by clicking here!

Can’t wait to see what great things you all will accomplish during your time at UMBC!


As always, don’t forget to stay connected with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by following us on our social media sites @UMBCadmissions!



“Colleges That Pay You Back!”

For all my new and future Retrievers, UMBC has been named as one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking an exceptional education with great career preparation at an affordable price in The Princeton Review’s 2016 Edition of Colleges that Pay You Back! Once again, our fifty-year-old university has been acknowledged for giving our student’s the best bang for their tuition buck.

colleges-that-pay-you-back-cover-227x300Princeton Review’s profile of UMBC notes:

Arguably the “best public college in Maryland,” UMBC is an “extremely diverse school” that manages to maintain a “small community feel.” And from the moment you set foot on campus it’s evident that the university is focused on “providing exceptional education and research opportunities for students.”

For more information, please click here!

Remember, you can always stay up to date and find out what’s going on with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by following us on our social media sites @UMBCadmissions!


‘Tis the Season for Orientation!

Hello all my Retrievers!


Today marks the very first day of Summer Freshman Orientation 2016! We are beyond excited to welcome you all to the House of Grit and your new home. We have decked campus out in black and gold for you, the campus is buzzing to meet its newest additions, and the faculty and staff cannot wait to start working with you!


School spirit is in this Summer Orientation!

So what can you do if you are still waiting for you orientation? Check out all the action on Twitter! @UMBCorientation has the scoop on what’s happening all over campus and be sure to check their hashtags. You can also visit orientation.umbc.edu for many helpful tips and tricks including what to bring, how to connect to the Class of 2020, and meet your OPAs, the Orientation Peer Advisors, at http://orientation.umbc.edu/meet-your-opas/.

Make sure you meet your new classmates, make connections, and get excited for the Fall Semester!


On behalf of the entire Retriever Community, welcome to UMBC Class of 2020!

The House of Grit!

Hello all,

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

If you haven’t already finished school, I’m sure you are counting down the days. For those who have already graduated, CONGRATS!

You should all be very proud of yourselves and more importantly excited that you have completed one milestone and will now be on your way to a new journey this fall! As you will soon learn, UMBC students are well known for their hard work, innovation, diversity, and creativity.

As you prepare yourself for Orientation and starting your first year at UMBC, I encourage you to discover where you fit in The House of Grit.

You may be wondering…what does this mean?! Well…click HERE to find out!

Once you’ve taken the brief survey to determine what kind of Retriever you are, feel free to comment on this post and connect with other future Retrievers!

As always, you can stay up to date and find out what’s going on with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by following us on our social media sites @UMBCadmissions!



P.S. I am a UNITER!

Congratulations, UMBC Class of 2016!!!

Hello Future Retrievers,

Today is the day of our Undergraduate Commencement, and we couldn’t be prouder of our Retrievers who are leaving the Dawg House! With nearly 2,000  graduates, the Class of 2016 will now be able to turn the tassel and close this chapter of their lives. UMBC’s “Top Knotch” education has prepared our new alum to go on to receive graduate degrees at schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton; begin positions at major government agencies and companies, like Amazon and Northrop Grumman; or to career opportunities around the globe.

To learn more about the Class of 2016, please click here.

Check out our Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Admissions, Orientation, and School Partnerships, Dale Bittinger, with some of graduating student workers. He’s even matching!


Congrats again Retrievers!!!

Remember, you can always stay up to date and find out what’s going on with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by following us on our social media sites @UMBCadmissions!