The University of Mary Washington
The University of Mary Washington - Comments and Student Experiences|
Having spent a semester at ODU myself and being very familiar with other schools (GWU, Georgetown, American, UVA, etc.) where friends have gone, I would say I have a decent perspective of where UMW falls in terms of student life and academics, relative to other nearby colleges.
UMW is not a difficult school to get accepted to, but oddly still seems to attract above average students who made the honor roll in high school and the coursework load coincides with this. Classes tend to be fast paced and challenging, so do not be deceived by the high acceptance rate.
My professors have all been great! Very passionate about their field of study and very accessible *if you take the initiative*. Expectations are high and in general, late submission isn't a thing and if it is then the point penalties are severe.
I've found that UMW has great faculty (both academic and administrative) and various resources, readily accessible, but only for those who take initiative and take it upon themselves to utilize them. It's easy to get on a first name basis with anyone here, but it's equally as easy to fly under the radar.
In terms of the student body - the school is small and can be "clicky." UMW will be a good fit if you fall into one of the following categories: 1) you're a social butterfly and don't mind putting yourself out there, 2) you're an introvert and don't need many friends, or 3) you play a sport. You either need to be extroverted enough to go out and make friends or be on an athletic team, in which case you basically inherit a team of "friends." Otherwise, students are friendly and polite, but tend to stick to their preexisting group of friends.
UMW is NOT for anyone who wishes to have a party life on weekends! Seriously, do not attend UMW if keg parties and wandering from house party to house party is part of the "college life" you're envisioning. We don't have it and Fredericksburg doesn't offer very much nightlife to make up for it.
I will also say that UMW is pretty accepting of various races, sexual orientations, and so on, but it is NOT a diverse school. If you're comfortable and secure with your own race or sexuality (etc.) UMW will generally embrace you with open arms and you'll enjoy your experience here, but if you're still in the process of "finding yourself" then this likely isn't the place where you're going to do it. Overall, there are plenty of complaints many students have about UMW, but in most cases, that's more about them not choosing the right school than it is about the school itself. UMW has a lot to offer and provides an excellent education for far less than what a lot of schools charge in tuition, but it simply is not for everyone.
The professors here are great and very understanding. I had a couple things happen this semester and my professors were willing to work with me and give me extensions.
The people in your clubs and organizations will get to know you very well and care about each other which is awesome. I have made friendships that will last for the rest of my life. There are also a lot of community service and volunteering opportunities and those are really fun. There are "alternative breaks" which means over the fall and spring break, you can go to another town and build a house or something. This spring we have three groups going to Florida, Alabama and Maryland.
I know several students who have graduated from here and they're doing very well in their respective fields.
There isn't much of a party scene and you usually have to know someone to get invited to a party but that's not really my thing, so I don't know too much about partying. A lot of people complain that there isn't anythjng to do in Fredericksburg or near campus. You do not need a car. Downtown Fredericksburg is within walking distance and there are lots of great restaurants and little family owned stores. If you need to get to the large shopping area, make friends with someone with a car or ride the FRED (but not alone, because I had a friend who got on the wrong bus and she was alone and lost with a dying phone). Be safe.
There are blue lights (stations where you can call the police) everywhere and campus is very well-lit at night. I've walked back to my dorm at 2:30am and felt totally safe. The police can escort you to your dorm if you don't feel safe walking alone. I believe the police will also give you a ride home if you're drunk, no questions asked but don't quote me on that. Overall, UMW is an awesome place and I wouldn't want to go anywhere else. Come by for a tour!
The people I meet (for the most part) are great; I came to this school because it seemed like a very open minded place and I was right. I have never felt judged on this campus and can be myself without any harassment. The LGBT+ community is so great here and people are so supportive of it. The faculty here really does care about their students; they do not put research ahead of their students and they want to them succeed. If you talk to your professors about something you are struggling with, they will take their time to help you.
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