Welcome to the University of Maryland, class of 2022!
It might sound like a cliche — in fairness, it is a cliche — but your experiences in college will stick with you for the rest of your life.
UMD has a lot to offer. There are more than 100 departments and programs, with countless combinations of majors and minors — and that’s just academics. You’ll also find restaurants, athletic facilities, libraries, clubs, fraternities and sororities, student groups, concerts, movies, parties… oh yeah, and the longest collegiate mall in the country.
Our location gives us a little bit of everything. College Park is a city with more than 30,000 people, a stone’s throw from the capital, that also has plenty of wooded areas and open spaces to give it a small-town feel. Washington, D.C. is home to museums, monuments and other attractions — not to mention scores of potential internships — all connected by the Metro.
You’re probably wondering how you’ll sort through all this. That’s where we come in. The Diamondback covers any and everything UMD and College Park, which means we know all the ins and outs and can pass on some tips. Our Orientation Guide will tell you everything you need to know to get the most out of your time in college.
Don’t know where to eat? We can take you through all the best restaurants.
Antsy about living in a dorm? We can give you some advice on how to make it work.
Confused about how to get around campus? We can show you the pluses and minuses of buses versus bikes.
Excited to go to a football game? We can make sure you’re ready to cheer on the Terps.
Whether you’re a resident or out of state, an undergraduate or a graduate, the University of Maryland will welcome you with open arms, and our Orientation Guide will make sure the transition is smooth. Even if you don’t get through it all today, keep this link with you as you get ready to come to College Park — we’re here for you, every step of the way.
Good luck on your first year as Terps!
-The Terp Hacks Editors
01If you lose your University ID...
Go to the Mitchell Building. It’s on the end of the mall, opposite McKeldin Library and to the left of the Main Administration building. There’s a $20 fee, but you’re going to need a lost ID replaced. If your swipe no longer works due to wear and tear, it’s free.
02Get Amazon Prime.
Free, fast shipping on most things you order? It’s a no-brainer for college living, which will have you doing a lot of online shopping for dorm accessories, books and more. Plus, Amazon Prime gives you access to tons of video for a much-needed study break.
03Use OurUMD to pick professors.
Other schools may use RateMyProfessor.com and other sites, but the University of Maryland has this unofficial, school-specific site to figure out which instructor is the best fit for you.
04Look for textbooks in the library.
A lot of textbooks are available at the library or through inter-library loan, through which other schools send books to UMD. You can borrow some of your books for the whole semester and never pay a thing.
05Buy apparel on Route 1...
The stores on and off Route 1 have different clothes and accessories than the bookstore.
06...or don’t buy apparel at all!
At some point in each season, almost every varsity sport will have a t-shirt giveaway. You’re going to get a ton of free Terps gear here.
07If you lose your key...
Go to the front desk of your dorm or your community desk. They have loaner keys until you find it or new keys available for a fee if you don’t. The fee is usually about $70.
08Get a rug for your dorm room.
A little bit of carpet can really spruce up your dorm room — and your feet will thank you forsparing them from cold morning floors. But don’t get a shag rug, because it’ll get too dirty and hard to vacuum.
09Use CourseOff to schedule classes.
Before actually signing up, you can see how everything lines up and compare to your friends.
It may sound cliché, but it’s the best way to make the most of your time here. You’ll meet amazing people and have the best opportunities. Survey your options at events like the First Look Fair.
The University of Maryland isn’t in a bubble — College Park is a real city. Sometimes you’ll need to take extra steps to be safe. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available.
911 or 301-405-3333
College Park doesn’t have a police department, so UMPD patrols the city and campus. Give them a call if there’s a crime or an emergency, or if you have something urgent to report.
UMPD offers an escort service that’s available to anyone who feels unsafe at any time. Police will walk or bike with you across campus. Call the non-emergency police number to access this.
UMD Alerts are sent out whenever there’s a report of an emergency or a crime on or near the campus, so everyone is aware and can stay safe. The alerts will also cover weather closings and other things that impact the university community.
As a student, you’re automatically signed up to get UMD Alerts through your email. If you prefer text messages, you can register for that by adding your phone number at alert.umd.edu.
Blue Light phones
Blue Light emergency phones (pictured) are located all over campus. Use these to contact police if you are in immediate danger and can’t use your cell phone.
Care to Stop Violence
CARE stands for Campus Advocates Respond and Educate to Stop Violence. This group educates students about domestic and sexual violence and works with victims. CARE can help with everything from counseling and advice to alternate housing.
Counselors are available for therapy sessions, and the center provides psychological evaluations and consultations. Students are generally limited to eight sessions each year, although exceptions are sometimes made.
Psychiatrists meet with students to offer them psychiatric evaluation or care. The center can also connect you with another psychiatric provider outside the university.
If you don’t feel safe being out at night, NITE Ride can pick you up and take you anywhere around campus, free of charge. It’s run by DOTS, and it operates from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. seven nights a week. Call 301-314-NITE (6483), or use the NITE Ride app (pictured).
So, you’ve declared a major and you’re finding it isn’t to your liking, or maybe it just isn’t enough. Many majors and minors have a sequence of required classes, known as gateway courses, to take before you’re able to add it to your curriculum formally.
Start by going to the major’s website and checking out the various listed requirements. You will need to meet with one of the school’s advisers, who will tell you exactly which gateway courses you’ll need to take and the minimum GPA needed to enroll in each major.
Spill on your new computer? Forget your password? Need any other form of tech help? UMD’s Division of Information Technology is here for you. Located in McKeldin Library, the IT department can answer all of your tech questions and help you with account and connectivity problems, as well as hardware and software struggles. Visit the Division of Information Technology website for more details, or visit the students working at the help desk in the library or in the computer store in the basement of Stamp as well as on the first floor of McKeldin Library.
Find out which books your professors require by viewing your schedule and booklist on Testudo — or wait for the syllabus to make sure the books listed are actually necessary. Then, you can decide whether to rent or buy any textbooks you need, and where to get them.
- Renting typically costs less
- You return the book at the end of the semester to wherever you got it.
- You usually need to be more careful with writing in the book
- You don’t have to worry about finding a place to resell the book when you’re done.
- New books may cost more to rent, but used will be pretty cheap
- Renting can save money initially, but selling books back isn’t guaranteed.
- You can keep the book after the semester ends if you think it’ll be useful later on.
- You have more freedom to mark up the book when studying (depending on what you want to do with it later).
- You can sell the book back to wherever you bought it or to a used books retailer, usually at less than face value.
- You can swap or sell the book to a friend or someone in your major.
- You can choose to buy new or used, and some used books may be even less than $1.
Where to Get Textbooks
The book center is conveniently located in Stamp Student Union (near TerpZone on the basement floor, or in front of the food court). Professors’ book lists automatically go to the book center, so you can order all your books at once and pick them up at the same time.
BookHolders will pay cash for used books up front, though their cash value is often less than what you paid. You can also put a book on hold, and if the store sells it, you may get closer to the used market price. The store stocks most required books and some student notes.
In addition to Amazon Prime, other websites have price comparisons, because sometimes the cheapest books can’t be found on Amazon. On BookFinder.com, type in your book’s ISBN number (listed on the school website) and the website will do all of the work for you.
UMD’s Department of Transportation Services, or DOTS, has one of the most expansive shuttle bus systems in the nation, with more than 20 routes. Not only can these buses take you all across the campus, they also go anywhere from apartments like the Varsity and The View to Hyattsville or Silver Spring.
Most on-campus buses run several times an hour after 5:30 p.m., with off-campus bus schedules varying. You can see bus maps and times on dots.umd.edu. Find out how soon the next bus you want is coming with the NextBus website, text line and app.
For students with cars, parking can sometimes be a bit tricky. Projects like the Cole Field House renovations have eaten up hundreds of parking spaces, and unfortunately, the underclassmen are bearing the brunt of that: Freshmen who are residents can’t currently register for parking (unless they apply for an exception).
Registration isn’t cheap, either. For the 2017-18 academic year, annual parking permits were $567 for resident students and $293 for commuters, with fall permits at $341 and $176, and spring permits at $284 and $147, respectively. There are numerous lots and garages on campus, each with their own rules and restrictions. If you get a permit, you’ll want to make sure you’re parking in the right place.
Many parking lots will be closing or changing in size with all of the construction going on around campus, so be sure to check the DOTS website and Diamondback news coverage periodically for updates.
For as much as College Park has to offer, sometimes you just need to go to D.C. Luckily, getting there is as easy as everyone says. The 104 bus will take you to the College Park Metro station Monday through Friday. If you’re heading there on a weekend, or you just want some exercise, you can take a quick walk or bike ride — it’s only a few blocks from campus. Once you get to the Metro, you’re just a quick ride away from the National Zoo, the Smithsonian museums, the National Mall and more.
Biking is a great way to get across campus when you want something just a bit quicker than walking. You can use your own bike on campus if you register with DOTS (it’s free!) at bikeindex.org/umd. Be careful not to break the rules, though — don’t bike on the sidewalk, and don’t leave your bike at a non-residential rack for more than 72 hours.
If you don’t have one of your own, you can use the mBike bike-share system, which has served the campus since being introduced in 2016. These bikes, part of the Zagster bike share program, allow users to sign up for daily, weekly or monthly passes. There are more than 20 locations on the campus and in College Park.
When you need a longer-term rental, ZipCars are another option. Members can rent vehicles by the hour or by the day. Once you register through the app, you can access ZipCars all around the country (not just in College Park, which has eight ZipCar stations).
Go to the Top
In case you hadn’t heard, UMD is well-known for its sports and its enthusiastic student section. Going to football games on Saturdays in the fall or basketball games in the winter are great ways to show your school spirit. For football and basketball, you have to request a free ticket about two weeks in advance of the game; if you get one and attend that game, you get one loyalty point. The more loyalty points you rack up, the better chance you have at getting tickets to more popular games. For the very popular games, UMD sometimes institutes a lottery policy by seniority, where seniors have the best chance at getting tickets, while freshman are the least likely. Going to women’s basketball games will get you loyalty points as well.
Even if you can’t be a Division 1 athlete, UMD offers plenty of opportunities for students to get their sports fix. For those looking to stay on a more competitive level, practice weekly and travel to play against other schools, club sports are a good option. If you’re looking for a more relaxed way to play a game with friends, intramural sports are a great way to get together and play once a week. Find out more information on the University Recreation and Wellness website.
Non-Social Greek Life
For co-ed Greek Life organizations with a more academic bent, UMD offers a variety of philanthropic, pre-professional and academic fraternities. These organizations post fliers all around campus around their recruitment, and generally have a week of events in the fall and spring semesters.
First Look Fair
As soon as you get here this fall, we’re sure you’ll hear this name being thrown around. The First Look Fair is a two-day-long event on McKeldin Mall, where virtually every club and organization at UMD sets up a table for students to walk by and get a feel for the extracurricular offerings. Be prepared for lots of sign-up sheets and free stuff. This year, the fair is Wednesday, September 14 and Thursday, September 15.
UMD also offers Greek life. For International Fraternity Council organizations, formal rush is held in the fall and the spring. For National Panhellenic Conference sororities, informal recruitment is in the fall and formal recruitment is in the spring.
For more information about requirements, specific chapters, National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, Multicultural Greek Council organizations and more, visit Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life website, online at greek.umd.edu.
Not only is Washington a great place to go to eat or hang out with friends, but it’s also convenient for jobs and internships. Besides trips to the zoo or Georgetown Cupcakes, many students take advantage of the quick metro ride and take on part-time internships in the city.Go to the Top
Studies & Surveys
If you’re looking for some one-time quick cash, these are a great but underrated option. In almost every academic building, students and professors post fliers advertising their studies and surveys, which need participants. For generally just a few weeks’ time commitment, you can get a reasonable amount of money. Sometimes UMD sends out its own surveys through email, and if you’re one of the first people to take them, you might snag some extra Terrapin Express.
If you’re looking for a more steady income, working somewhere on campus is a flexible option. Jobs on campus include: working in the recreation centers Eppley or Ritchie, working at the front desk of a residence hall, working as a Residence Assistant, driving for Shuttle-UM, working for Conferences and Visitor Services and more. If you’re interested in these opportunities, look on the various departments’ websites (Resident Life, University Recreation and Wellness, DOTS, Conference and Visitor Services).
Route 1 Jobs
Many of the Route 1 shops and eateries take on students as employees as well — Cornerstone Grill & Loft, R.J. Bentley’s, Nando’s Peri-Peri, Blaze Pizza, Jimmy John’s, Potbelly, etc.Go to the Top
There are lots of options all around the campus for getting your workout on, whether you live on North Campus, South Campus or anywhere in between.Eppley
The largest gym on the campus, this North Campus facility houses an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool called the Natatorium, a multilevel weight room, indoor running track, basketball courts, outdoor pool, cardio machines and more. If you prefer a more guided workout, there are group fitness classes every day that are free for students. Personal trainers are also available.Ritchie
While this Route 1 workout center isn’t quite as expansive as Eppley, Ritchie still offers a weight room, cardio machines and group fitness classes, all much closer to South Campus housing.
Looking for special dining accommodations or healthier food options? There are lots of choices at UMD, both on and off the campus.Dining Halls
At both on-campus eateries, students have a variety of good-for-you options. In addition to daily vegetarian and vegan specials, both dining halls offer a “healthified” version of the daily Chef’s Feature meal and a salad bar.Stamp Food Court
When you’re looking for a break from the dining hall food, healthy options can be found in the Stamp Student Union, too. The Maryland Food Co-op offers low-priced organic, vegan and vegetarian meals and snacks in a unique atmosphere. Among the chain eateries in the food court, Subway and Saladworks offer healthier options when you’re not looking for McDonald’s, Panda Express or Sbarro. The Co-op and the other food court restaurants accept Terrapin Express.Route 1
If you’re looking to get off the campus, some of Route 1’s best-kept secrets are its healthy eating spots. Sweetgreen, known for its clever menu names and its music festival, offers seasonal salads, soups and bowls.
NuVegan Cafe, another Route 1 restaurant, boasts a 100 percent vegan menu that includes sandwiches, entrees, sides, brunch, juices and smoothies. This university also hosts a weekly farmer’s market in the fall and spring, where local vendors and farmers sell fresh produce, meat, baked goods and more. Throughout the week you can also find the Green Tidings food truck around the campus. The mobile vendor features sustainable and local eats, all of which can be bought with Terrapin Express. Find out where to catch it on Twitter.
For times when you aren’t feeling so hot, the University Health Center is there for you. Located right across the road from Stamp, the health center offers various clinical services (from immunizations to primary care to physical therapy), sexual health services, mental health services, and sexual assault and domestic violence support.
Staffed by licensed physicians, nurses and physicians’ assistants, the center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. If you need medical assistance after hours, there is a 24-hour nurse-run hotline.
The health center also offers transportation to doctor’s appointments when necessary, as well as transportation around the campus for injured students. Find it online at health.umd.edu.Go to the Top
- You can see the Washington Monument from the top of Maryland Stadium.
- UMD has seven, count ‘em, seven libraries.
- More than 100 couples get married on the campus every year, in the chapel.
- There’s a spot on campus that is supposedly cursed — if you step on the Point of Failure, you won’t graduate in four years.
- UMD researchers made a computer that can beat Jeopardy! Winner Ken Jennings.
- There are actually six different Testudo statues at different places around campus.
- Once upon a time, Maryland fans were voted as one of the worst fan bases — due to riots in the streets of College Park.
- People leave offerings to the Testudo statue in front of McKeldin Library. One time, things got out of hand and Testudo caught on fire.
- Some of National Treasure 2 was shot in front of the former Holzapfel Hall on McKeldin Mall. Part of St. Elmo’s Fire was shot on Fraternity Row.
- Part of the music video for Hootie and the Blowfish’s song “Only Wanna Be With You” was shot at Reckord Armory.
- UMD has its own golf course.
- UMD also has its own farm, at which there is a (living) cow with a hole in it.
- Queen Elizabeth II of England attended her first American football game at UMD.
- UMD’s McKeldin Mall is the longest collegiate mall in the country (no matter what the University of Virginia says).
- The Testudo statues on the campus are based on an actual Diamondback Terrapin, whose taxidermied body is in the University Archives.
- Maryland Men’s Basketball won the 2002 National Championship, and the women’s basketball team won a national title in 2006.
- Morrill Hall is the only campus building that survived the 1912 Great Fire.
Probably the most obvious use of Stamp, this building is home to not only the main level food court restaurant chains, but also the Maryland Food Co-op, Terpzone, The Dairy, Adele’s, and the Union Shop convenience store.Shipping & Mailing
Use the campus UPS Store, right next to the Union Shop, to send packages and even take passport pictures.Art & Learning Center
Looking to craft or get your salsa on? Check out the Art and Learning Center for dance classes, art lessons, cooking, yoga and more.Hoff Theater
Each semester, SEE, the student-run entertainment group that plans campus-wide events, puts on free movies in the Stamp’s full-size movie theater. Other events are here too.Terpzone
One of the more underrated sources of fun on campus, Terpzone offers billiards, bowling, big-screen TVs and a Subway, all in the basement of Stamp.Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy
The MICA organization, part of Student Affairs, helps educate students on diversity, race, sexual orientation, multiculturalism, social justice and more.Off-Campus Housing Services
Looking for a roommate or just trying to get more info about living outside the dorm life? Off-Campus Housing Services can help.Stamp Art Gallery
Throughout the semester, The Stamp has an art gallery on the top floor that showcases contemporary art by up and coming artists and university art students.University Book Center
Plenty of apparel and other Terp gear here, along with textbooks - but don’t forget to check out their sale section in the bottom floor, where you can usually find some good deals on Under Armour gear.Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life
If you’re looking to learn more about any of the Greek chapters on campus, this is the place to start.
The department’s website is greek.umd.edu.
- Hornbake Library
If the weather is nice, the tables outside are great shady spots too!
- Stamp Student Union
If you don’t mind a little noise, you can grab a pretty sizable table or comfy chair - and don’t forget to look for seating outside, too.
- Starbucks on Route 1
Plenty of caffeine at your fingertips, plus a more mellow atmosphere than on campus.
- Study Rooms/Libraries in Academic Buildings
Most buildings, such as the engineering and journalism buildings, have computer labs, study rooms and/or libraries that are very rarely crowded.
- Empty Classrooms
In big buildings such as Susquehanna Hall, finding an empty classroom to claim for a little while is easy.
- The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at The Clarice
Closes earlier than McKeldin, but tons of study space.
- Study Rooms in Your Residence Hall
Many residence halls have study rooms or lounges with big tables that are usually pretty quiet and always open.
- Eppley Recreation Center
Lots of large tables and a convenient smoothie shop nearby.
- The North Campus Diner and South Campus Dining Hall
Both of these dining halls have lots of nooks and crannies far away from the hustle and bustle of the students eating.
|First Day of Classes||Monday, Aug. 28|
|Labor Day||Monday, Sept. 4|
|Thanksgiving Recess||Wednesday, Nov. 22 |
through Sunday, Nov. 26
|Last Day of Classes||Monday, Dec. 11|
|Reading Day||Tuesday, Dec. 12|
|Final Exams||Wednesday, Dec. 13 |
through Tuesday, Dec. 19
|Commencement - Main Ceremony||Tuesday, Dec. 19|
|Commencement - College/Depertment Ceremonies||Wednesday, Dec. 20|
Winter Term 2017
|Classes Begin||Tuesday, Jan. 2|
|Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday||Monday, Jan. 15|
|Classes End||Monday, Jan. 22|
Spring Semester 2017
|First Day of Classes||Wednesday, Jan. 24|
|Spring Break||Sunday, Mar. 18 |
through Sunday, Mar. 25
|Last Day of Classes||Thursday, May 10|
|Reading Day||Friday, May 11|
|Final Exams||Saturday, May 12 |
through Friday, May 18
|College/department commencements||Saturday, May 19 |
& Monday, May 21
|Main and college/department commencements||Sunday, May 20|
Summer Term 2017
|Sessions I and I-A Begin||Tuesday, May 29|
|Session I-A Ends||Friday, Jun. 15|
|Session I-B Begins||Monday, Jun. 18|
|Independence Day Holiday||Wednesday, Jul. 4|
|Sessions I and I-B End||Friday, Jul. 6|
|Sessions II & II-C Begin||Monday, Jul. 9|
|Session II-C Ends||Friday, Jul. 27|
|Session II-D Begins||Monday, Jul. 30|
|Sessions II & II-D End||Friday, Aug. 17|
Located on campus, behind the mall, these are public-private housing, meaning you pay rent but still live on the campus in these apartments. They can house 1-4 people, with single bedrooms. Utilities are included.The Courtyards$
Similar to South Campus Commons, except that these apartments are located off of Metzerott Road, and they have a pool. They can house 2 or 4 people. Utilities are included.University View $$$
These two apartment towers are located off Route 1, on the engineering side of campus. They’re right near McDonald’s, a 7-11 and other restaurants and have a pool, workout room and other amenities. The units house 1-4 people. You will have to pay extra for utilities.The Varsity $$$
Basically the View 2.0 - same look, same amenities, similar pricing.The Domain $$$
These are apartment buildings located behind the business and journalism schools on the south side of campus away from Route 1. They’ve got a fitness center and washers and dryers are included in each unit. They can house 2 or 4 people. You will have to pay extra for utilities.Old Town $
This is a neighborhood on the other side of Route 1 from campus. Houses are available here for larger groups. You will have to pay extra for utilities.The Landmark $$$
These are year-old apartments on the opposite side of Route 1 from campus. They house 1-4 people in multiple types of floor plans. Amenities include a fitness center, inner courtyards and direct access to Target Express.Terrapin Row $$$
These apartments are brand new, located behind the south side of campus on Knox Road. Amenities include a pool, a fitness center and outer courtyards. The apartments hold 1-4.Metzerott Road $
A variety of houses are available for rent in this area, just north of the Xfinity Center.Mazza Grandmarc $$
This complex is located further down Route 1 toward Beltsville. Typically, graduate students live here. Tanning beds, a fitness center and courtyards are included amenities. The apartments house 1-4.The Enclave $$
Includes a fitness center, tanning facilities and a courtyard. Houses 2 or 4.