UMBC should be called "U Must Be Clever." Everyone I've met at this school was brilliant. Many studied the hard sciences so when I told them my major, I got a lot of, "Oh. Really?" comments. Yeah, if you're not studying organic chemistry or engineering, you're a chump. But that was fine with me because I made a lot of solid friendships with people in my major.
There are Living Learning Communities where students can live and interact with people who share the same interests. Students who study languages have their own floor. There's also a humanities floor, an honors student floor, etc. They're worth checking out. Plus you can get academic credit for living there!
Like I said, UMBC= U Must Be Clever. The IQ level at this school is extremely high. Some schools leave a lot to be desired in that department. The benefit of going to a school without distracting sports departments is the intellectual energy you get from the student body. That is not say that college sports equate to sub-par IQs. But there are some campus cultures that are so wrapped up in fraternities, sororities and sports that the other components of a good college, such as academic achievement and intelligent discourse are neglected.
The president of the University-Freeman Hrabowski, is definitely one of the best in the country. He's not all flash and no substance. Dr. Hrabowski transformed this school from a modest, regional commuter school to a university that schools like Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, Columbia, MIT, Johns Hopkins and Stanford respect. I mentioned those schools because UMBC graduates get accepted by these schools and go on to pursue advanced degrees there.
There are parties on campus. I really don't understand the "there's nothing going on" routine. Guess what? If you went to University of Maryland-College Park or University of Florida-both party schools, and stayed in your room all day, you wouldn't find any parties at those schools, either. It's called logging off of facebook and going outside to see what's happening on campus.
It's not really a commuter campus anymore. A lot of people stay over the weekends.
One big point I want to make about this campus is the safety. I felt extremely safe at UMBC. Keep your doors locked and don't go walking around at 2am and you'll be fine. The alerts for crime were exceedingly low. And those crimes were mostly due to someone leaving their door unlocked and finding stolen items.
Another point: UMBC is very, very diverse. UMBC can also mean, "U Must Be Cultured." Students come from all over the world, country, and different backgrounds. Many students study abroad. You can walk around in the middle of campus and hear at least five different languages. I am a person of color and I felt very comfortable at UMBC. There was no staring, pauses, finger pointing, or any of that nonsense just because of my skin color, sexual orientation and socio-economic background. UMBC students are very laid-back regarding diversity, and besides, they have other priorities, like STUDYING!
I recommend UMBC for someone who likes to study and conduct research, isn't afraid of hard classes, truly enjoys learning, and isn't bothered by diversity. Visit the campus and come to your own conclusions. You'll probably find that what I've written is true.