I attend the University of Massachusetts-Boston only for the year 2006-2007 because I am participating in the National Student Exchange. My overall review is that UMB is inadequate. And I am being generous.
Trying to be unbiased- although having been instructed at a major university antithetical to this one draws some difficulty:
I like the campus center.
I also like being able to walk through the halls when you're in a rush and not seeing anyone you know. So if you're in a hurry to class you're not stopped by friends saying hey every time.
Also, not living on campus helps your studies a little bit. People only come to campus to go to class and then they leave again, so there's no room for distraction if you're a heavy studier.
The diversity can be a plus or a minus to you depending on your taste. I am indifferent.
Where to begin on negatives?
They are limited on teachers, and spend money on various ridiculous things. Some of my teachers are part-time for this reason, so if you need to speak to a teacher they may hardly ever be on campus. Several of them commute from Rhode Island. I have 3 of them this semester. There are only one or two sections per class unless you're taking freshman english or something like freshman math. UMB holds to their word that classes are usually small and a good teacher-student ratio, but that's only because they offer so few courses and so few sections of each course. For example, lots of people want to take a Principles of Marketing class, essential if you are a business major or minor. This class is incredibly easy to get into at other universities (as I have gone to another), but at UMB there are only 3 sections and they are all capped at 35 students. Undoubtedly, MANY more than 105 out of the 6,000+ students at UMass have tried to take this class. For current students: I've taken it upon myself to start an inquisition on waiting lists.. bottom line is that they don't work. According to reliable sources, once classes start, if you need a class, you will have to suffice without it or withdraw from the university if needbe because waiting lists are erased from Teacher's rosters when classes start so there is no way for them to add you. It is easier to transfer to a different school than enroll in classes at UMass Boston.
Also, no campus atmosphere. If you're looking for friends, go to a "real" school. Lots of old people coming back to get their degrees and nobody stays on campus for any other reason than go to class, which isn't bad- like i said- if you are a heaavvy studier and don't want distractions.
Another aspect is that UMB has nothing around it and is relatively isolated from anything normal in the city. Yes, there is the JFK library and UMB students do get free access to that, and that's all and well but that's the only thing within walking distance that is available, other than the pseudo-student housing residence of Harbor Point. If a teacher's office hours are at 3 and your class ends at 1, depending on how far you live from campus- you most likely will opt to stay and wait 2 hours on campus twiddling your thumbs.
If you are without a car, more power to you. You do NOT want to bring a car to UMB. I don't have a car but I'm sick enough of people talking (when they actually do talk) about how much parking sucks.
Don't let the outside of the campus fool you. Though it is small and hardly worthy of being called a "campus", it seems very appealing from the outside. Apart from the Campus Center, which is a beautiful building, the rest of UMB is in horrible condition, especially only for having been built in 1964. I have visited numerous colleges built in 1700's and 1800's that have been kept up with much better. McCormack Hall I can deal with, and Wheatley is coming around since they just painted the downstairs. Everywhere else is dreary.
Which brings me to the library. I think UMB places the one and only section of computer labs in the library because otherwise nobody would go there except for some classes on the lower levels. It is a HORRIBLE drag to know that if you have to get something printed, or work on a computer, you must first walk back to the library and go down a few levels of stairs- show ID, perhaps wait for computers for 15 minutes maximum, wait in line for the printer, and then you can walk all the way back to wherever your destination is.
Working on campus is inadequate and misleading. If you work on campus, you most likely utilize the work-study program. If this works for you, then you're set to go. UMB usually does NOT cater to those students who do not need work-study to pay off their tuition.
Technology: The technology at UMassBoston is also limited. If you are a student like me, who learns well visually with presentations involving powerpoint or information already at hand to be presented, then UMB is not for you. Typically, in a UMassBoston setting, it is chalk with a blackboard or markers with a whiteboard. It may partially be because teachers opt not to chose with technology. However, I have professors, namely in the economic and physics department (that i know off-hand) that have wanted to utilize technology in their teacher styles and have used UMB equipment but it has failed them. Something as simple as teaching with Projectors and powerpoint computer slides is unfeasible in the UMB system. UMB is so incredibly far from being the epitome, or even REMOTELY exemplary of convenience, it is not greatly accessible, and it is not sociable.