University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was a positive experience because I made it one. This fall, I am going to transfer because I want to pursue a stronger academic program and feel as though I will benefit at a private school. However, I do not regret coming here at all.
I think that if an future student wants a rewarding social or academic life here it is going to be what they make of it. For example, I noticed that many of the sports teams, clubs, and student government were very close knit. Currently, our school has a really good hockey team. Since the school is pretty big, I met most of my friends in my dorm hall and through clubs. Most of my friends had similiar experiences. I have made some really good friends here that I will stay in touch with when I transfer.
All of the teachers I had were very down to earth and helpful if you showed that you cared about getting a good grade in the course. They also have a really good honors program, which offers special student classes. There were many times where I was able to recieve extra tutoring help outside of class. The school offers free tutoring programs in most subjects.
The freshman dorms are horriable, and the school is facing housing problems since they are closing The Dell . There were many times that I felt the hallways were disgusting and needed to be cleaned. However, the upper class dorms like Birch are exceptionally nice compare to other schools. The food here is pretty good, and there is always a variety of different foods to eat. However, the main eating area has limited hours during the weekend and evening.
The student population was quite diverse: I met all different types of people from party animals, to jocks, to book worms and to hardcore religious students. However, economically most of the people here are trying to save money and come from working class families. Most of the students here were not in the top percentage of their high school graduating class. There are exceptions, but as a whole the majority of people are from Cape Cod, Central Massachusetts and Southern Massachusetts. Although some people come from other regions, most are from New England. I would describe the TYPICAL UMASS Student as: working class, friendly, isn't particulary academic, many like to drink, party& smoke, enjoys New England sports, hasn't really had the opportunites that rich snobby kids have had, slightly naive about current events and intellectual topics as a whole, sweat pants, blue jeans and baseball caps
In terms of activities, many people like to party but complain about how the RA's are always breaking up the parties. The best parties are probably at the upper class off campus apartments. The campus also has a gym that is quite popular among the students. The dances here are really lame and usually nobody shows up to them. Sometimes they invite guest lecture speakers that are really good.
However, I would not suggest spending too much time in New Bedford or the surrounding towns: they have a high crime rate, one of the highest AID populations in the country, and it really isn't that safe. Thursday is usually the part night- since most students go home on the weekends. Bar 1 is a population destination for students that like to drink. The town of Dartmouth has a mall, golf site, and movie theater. During the weekends, the campus is literally dead and there is nothing to do unless you make the effort.
In addition, if you are going to come to UMASS Dartmouth bring your walking shoes!!! There is a lot of walking on campus from classroom to classroom- and it is often hard to find parking. However, during the evening this is The Dart Van which provides transportation for students.
Other random suggestions: Don't lose your UMASS PASS when you get it! It is your ticket to food and getting into the dorm. Academic advising kind of sucks for freshman, so make the extra step to actually set up an appointment to meet with these people. Be aware that the library has really limited hours. Since it is a big school definitely get involved in some type of activity like CAB, RHC, Volleyball, College Republicians, The Torch etc. If you appreciate diversity or are a minority student, The Unity House offers programs that you can get involved in. Overall, the experience here is going to be what you make of it. My experience is that you have to make the effort and reach out if you want it to be good. The school doesn't really offer you too much opportunity- you really have the reach for it. But it is there if you are determined and open-minded.