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College 101

The Insider's Guide To Local Schools

Sure, the current job market remains frustrating for many recent college graduates, but the long-term benefits of earning a college degree are clear: Over the course of a lifetime, college graduates can expect to earn almost twice as much as those with high-school diplomas. And in today’s increasingly digitized, engineered, and information-based global economy, the importance of a college degree—and advanced degree—continues to grow. Successful engineering, computer science, and nursing majors, for example, are in demand, yet many well-paying positions go unfilled because they’re aren’t enough qualified candidates. However, with college costs rising dramatically and a greater share of the financial burden borne by students themselves, choosing the right college becomes ever more critical. With all this in mind, we researched 13 local colleges and universities, digging for relevant data and interviewing school officials, current students, and recent graduates, to create our “insider’s guide” for students and parents considering local schools for the next step up the education ladder.

Coppin State University – Baltimore

Founded: 1900 President: Reginald S. AveryEnrollment: 3,300 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $5,732 Room and board: $8,549 Housing:50% of freshmen live on campus Student body:24% male/76% female Diversity: black: 87%; white: 2%; non-resident alien: 4%; unknown: 5% SAT average: reading and math combined: 850Acceptance rate: 53% Student-to-faculty ratio:16:1 Freshman retention rate: 64% Graduation rate: 4-year: 5%; 6-year: 15% Most-popular majors:psychology, criminal justice, nursing Most-popular grad programs: family nurse practitioner, rehabilitation and counseling, human service administration.

On Campus: Coppin State University is most widely known for its Helene Fuld School of Nursing. The school was also the first University of Maryland System school to go completely wireless. This fall, Coppin will break ground on its new science and technology building and offer the only bachelor’s degree in the state in health-information management.

Coppin added new educational and recreational programs in 2010 with the opening of its 246,000-square-foot sports complex. The new Physical Education Complex is designed to support Health and Human Performance academic programs, varsity and recreational sports, and the school’s community-outreach efforts. The $136-million project includes a 4,100-seat basketball arena, NCAA regulation pool, softball and soccer fields, fitness center, auxiliary gym, dance studio, racquetball and tennis courts, faculty and staff offices, laboratories, and state-of-the-art classrooms.

Nickname: Eagles School colors: old gold and reflex blue Organizations: 31, including Love You Like A Sister, Student Volunteer Corps, nine sororities and fraternities Sporting life (non-varsity): flag football, basketball, volleyballVarsity: known for basketball; competes in NCAA Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Culture:Department of Natural Science’s Ernest Just/Percy Julian Lecture Science Series Favorite class:makeup application for the performing arts On-campus hangout: Austin Grill Off-campus hangout: Mondawmin Mall Cheap eats: J & G Jamaican American Carryout Can’t-miss party:February’s Homecoming Step Show Freshman tip:Take advantage of new rec facilities and activities.Alums: Stephanie Ready, first female coach in men’s professional basketball; Bishop L. Robinson, first African-American police commissioner of Baltimore City; Verda Welcome, first African-American woman in the U.S. elected to a state senate.

Goucher College – Towson

Founded: 1885 President: Sanford J. UngarEnrollment:1,446 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $37,072 Room and board: $10,864Housing: 86% of all students live in college-affiliated housing Student body: 33% male/67% female Diversity: white: 63%; black: 10%; Hispanic: 6%; Asian: 4%; international: 2%; Native American: 1%; unknown: 14% SAT average: reading and math combined: 1139 Acceptance rate: 73% Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1 Freshman retention rate:81% Graduation rate: 4-year: 62%; 6-year: 70%Most popular majors: psychology, communications, business management Most popular grad programs:education, teaching, post-baccalaureate pre-medical.

On Campus: The bucolic 287-acre campus tucked just inside the Beltway nurtures experimentation, often leading to interesting post-graduate endeavors. (To wit: The Baltimore Rock Opera Society is the brainchild of Goucher grads.) The college’s artistic and literary disciplines are stellar, with the Creative Writing Program drawing particular attention for its high-profile faculty, including husband and wife scribes Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires. The dance program is another standout. Goucher president Sanford “Sandy” Ungar has also pushed the college to embrace a global perspective, instituting the nation’s first study-abroad requirement.

A flurry of building activity in recent years has given Goucher the facilities to match its ambitious programs. Most notable is the recently opened $48-million Athenaeum, which houses classrooms, an art gallery, radio station, cafe, library facilities, and meeting and exercise spaces.

Nickname: Gophers School colors: blue and goldOrganizations: more than 60, including Student Government Association; Red Hot Blue, a cappella group raises money for AIDS/HIV nonprofits; Humans vs. Zombies Sporting life (non-varsity):ultimate Frisbee, flag football, racquetball Varsity:19 sports, including equestrian; competes in NCAA Division III Landmark Conference Culture:President’s Office Speaker Series brings politicians, scientists, and media luminaries to campus to speak about current events Favorite class: Any foreign-language class that offers inter-semester trips to the mother country On-campus hangout:residential quad Off-campus hangout: Loch Raven Reservoir Cheap eats: Towson Diner Can’t miss party: spring’s Get Into Goucher, aka GIGFreshman tip: Leave your car at home and utilize campus Zipcars Alums: Sally Brice-O’Hara, vice admiral and vice commandant, United States Coast Guard; Emily Newell Blair, League of Women Voters founder; Laura Amy Schlitz, author and Newbery Medal Winner.

The Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore

Founded: 1876 President: Ronald J. DanielsEnrollment: 5,066 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $43,930 Room and board: $13,390Housing: 99% of freshmen live on campusStudent body: 53% male/47% female Diversity:white: 52%; black: 5%; Asian: 20%; Hispanic: 9%; non-resident alien: 9%; two or more races, non-Hispanic: 4%; unknown: 2% SAT: 25th/75th percentiles: reading: 640/740; math: 670/770; writing: 650/750 Acceptance rate: 18% Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1 Freshman retention rate:96% Graduation rate:4-year: 85%; 6-year: 92% Most-popular majors: biomedical engineering, public health studies, international studies; Most-popular grad programs: computer science, electrical engineering, physics.

On Campus: Consistently ranked among the very best national universities, Hopkins opens the four-story Brody Learning Commons this fall. The new building will be a light-filled, completely wireless hub, connecting to the school’s Milton S. Eisenhower Library on all levels. It will feature interactive media rooms, a 100-seat reading area, an atrium, 75-seat cafe, and will increase the library’s seating capacity by one-third—with 500 additional new seats. The building will also house the Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts, a new laboratory, and instruction space for the Department of Preservation and Conservation.

The university’s Whiting School of Engineering broke ground in the spring for Malone Hall, a state-of-the-art, 69,000-square-foot research center. Scheduled to open in the summer of 2014, Malone Hall will serve as the focal point for Hopkins’s individualized health initiative, bringing together researchers from the engineering, medicine, nursing, and public health schools to develop the best medical treatments for individual patients.

Nickname: Blue Jays School colors: Columbia blue and black Organizations: 370, including 22 fraternities and sororities, Center for Social Concern, Hopkins Organization for Programming Sporting life (intramural): flag football, wallyball, 3-on-3 basketball Varsity: national men’s and women’s lacrosse programs; other varsity teams compete at NCAA Division III level Culture: Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium Favorite class: Acting classes taught by John Astin (The Addams Family)On-campus hangout: “The Beach,” grassy area in front of library Off-campus hangout: all over Charles Village Cheap eats: Carma’s Cafe Can’t miss party: Three-Day Spring Fair Freshman tip:studying in the Hutzler Reading Room (the Hut), Gilman Hall Alums: Russell Baker, writer; Rachel Carson, ecologist and author; Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States.

Loyola University Maryland – Baltimore

Founded: 1852 President: Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. Enrollment: 3,863 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $42,426 Room and board: $9,116Housing: 98% of freshmen live on campusStudent body: 39% male/61% female Diversity:white: 81.85%; black: 4.19%; Asian: 2.9%; Hispanic: 6.78%. other: 4.28% SAT: 25th/75th percentiles: reading: 540/640; math: 560/650 Acceptance rate:63% Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1 Freshman retention rate: 89% Graduation rate:4-year: 79%; 6-year: 83% Most-popular majors: business, communication, biology Most-popular grad programs: business administration, pastoral counseling/spiritual care, school counseling, clinical psychology.

On Campus: Formerly Loyola College in Maryland, the school was officially renamed in 2009. School president and Jesuit priest Brian Linnane’s goal is to make Loyola the nation’s “leading, Catholic, comprehensive university.” The Ridley Athletic Complex, a $64-million soccer and lacrosse stadium, was completed two years ago. A $12-million addition to the Donnelly Science Center, completed last August, features, among other things, a microscopy center and a robotics laboratory. New minors in forensic studies and African and African-American Studies have recently been added. In addition to academics, roughly 60 percent of the school’s undergraduate body participates in service work through the on-campus Center for Community Service and Justice. Nearly 65 percent of students study abroad through one of Loyola’s sponsored programs or an accepted unaffiliated program. One highlight from last year: The men’s lacrosse team won the NCAA Division I lacrosse championship.

Nickname: Greyhounds School colors: green and gray Organizations: More than 150, including OPTIONS (social alternatives to drinking), Student Government Association, Relay for Life Sporting life (non-varsity): flag football, basketball, volleyball Varsity: Men’s lacrosse won NCAA Division I title last year; most varsity teams compete in NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Culture: The Modern Masters Reading Series brings national and international writers to campus. Favorite class: Intro to Dance, where students choreograph end-of-semester performances On-campus hangout: Humanities Building porch Off-campus hangout: Roland Park Bagel Cheap eats: Chipotle Can’t-miss party: Loyolapalooza Freshman tip: Student Center’s third-floor Reading Room remains open late.Alums: Tom Clancy, novelist; Jim McKay, former host of Wide World of Sports; Frank Cashen, former New York Mets general manager.

Maryland Institute College of Art – Baltimore

Founded: 1826 President: Fred Lazarus IVEnrollment: 1,865 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $39,340 Room and board: $10,880Housing: 94% of freshmen live in college-affiliated housing Student body: 28% male/72% femaleDiversity: white: 55%; black: 5%; Asian: 12%; Hispanic: 4%; non-resident alien: 8%; unknown: 9%; multi-race: 8%; Native American: 0.3% SAT average: reading: 602; math: 571; writing: 592Acceptance rate: 54% Student-to-faculty ratio:10:1 Freshman retention rate: 85% Graduation rate:4-year: 65%; 6-year: 71% Most-popular majors: illustration, graphic design, painting Most-popular grad programs: business of art and design, studio art, graphic design.

On Campus: One of the leading art colleges in the country, the construction (scheduled to be completed by fall 2013) of Commons II, a new residence hall, will increase the capacity of the freshman-residential complex from approximately 350 to 590 students. In addition to the construction of the new building, renovations to the existing complex will include an expanded entrance lobby and co-curricular programming spaces for students. There are three new undergraduate concentrations: game arts, sound art, and sustainability and social practice. The MICA Graduate Studio Center at 131 W. North Ave. is in its final stages of construction and will re-open this fall. The century-old former JoS. A. Bank factory has served as a home for grad students for 12 years, and the renovation will make the building—with newly expanded galleries, cafe, and academic activity—an integral part of the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

Organizations: More than 50, including Urban Gaming Club, Black Student Union, Students of Sustainability Sporting life (non-varsity): indoor soccer, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee Varsity: no varsity teams Culture: spring fashion shows and MFA Thesis Exhibition are among the highlights Favorite class: Puppets and Prosthetics On-campus hangout: Café Doris Off-campus hangout: The Windup Space Cheap eats:Pizza at Two Boots Can’t-miss party: Halloween costume party Freshman tip: Buddha statue is a quiet gathering spot. Alums: Jeff Koons, sculptor; Michael Owen, Love Project muralist; Gaia, street artist.

McDaniel College – Westminster

Founded: 1867 President: Roger N. Casey Enrollment: 1,600 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $35,800 Room and board: $8,010 Housing: 95% of freshmen live on campus Student body: 48% male/52% female Diversity: white: 73%; black: 13%; Asian: 4%; Hispanic: 7%; Native American: 1%; Unknown: 2% SAT averages: reading: 553; math: 553 Acceptance rate: 74% Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1 Freshman retention rate:84% Graduation rate: 4-year: 70%; 6-year: 73% Most popular majors:psychology, exercise science and physical education, biology Most-popular grad programs: curriculum and instruction, counselor education, BEST Initial Teacher Certification.

On Campus: Technology has been a focus of President Roger Casey, who is active on both Twitter and Facebook, since assuming leadership at McDaniel two years ago. He created the new position of director of digital communications and social media. As part of a pilot program in the fall of 2011, 15 first-year students received an iPad2 for use in a three-course curriculum.

This fall, McDaniel launches a new master’s degree in public administration and a graduate certificate in romance writing established with a grant by the Nora Roberts Foundation—both offered entirely online. McDaniel also has received approval to offer a new major in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Earlier this year, the school broke ground on an $8-million stadium project, and the college is also in the process of renovating Hoover Library, which will include academic learning spaces.

Nickname: Green Terror School colors: green and gold Organizations: more than 100, including Asian Community Coalition, Canine Companions for Independence, eight fraternities and sororities Sporting life (non-varsity): flag football, golf, kickballVarsity: 24 teams compete in NCAA Division III Centennial Conference Culture:Common Ground on the Hill, celebrating 18 years Favorite class: South Park and Contemporary Issues On-campus hangout: Casey’s Corner coffee shop Off-campus hangout: Birdie’s Cafe Cheap eats: Harry’s Main Street Grille Can’t-miss party: Annual Spring Fling Freshman tip: Don’t miss tailgating before football team takes field to original Star Wars theme Alums: Thomas Roberts, MSNBC anchor; Greg Street, “World of Warcraft” game designer; Frank Kratovil Jr., Maryland congressman

Morgan State University – Baltimore

Founded: 1867 President: David Wilson Enrollment: 6,711 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $7,012 Room and board: $8,878 Housing: 25% of all students live on-campus Student body: 42% male/58% female Diversity: white: 3%; black: 85%; Hispanic: 3%; multi-racial: 3%; other: 6% SAT average: reading and math combined: 909 Acceptance rate: 56% Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1 Freshman retention rate: 73% Graduation rate:4-year: 13%; 6-year: 30% Most-popular majors: business, electrical engineering, nursing Most-popular grad programs: social work, engineering, urban educational leadership

On Campus: Morgan State University is one of the few historically black institutions offering a comprehensive range of academic programs in business, engineering, education, architecture, social work, and hospitality management, including 14 doctoral degree programs. This fall, the school will open the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies, a 125,000-square-foot, $67-million facility housing the research and academic programs in architecture and planning, transportation and urban infrastructure studies, and civil engineering. Morgan ranks second among all campuses in Maryland and among the top 25 campuses nationwide in the number of doctorates awarded to African-Americans. Morgan will launch two new master’s programs beginning this fall in hospitality management and professional accountancy. University students led the fight for civil rights in Baltimore, and Morgan hosts annual Black History Month and Women’s History Month lecture series, bringing notable African-American activists, writers, and entertainers to campus.

Nickname: Bears School colors: blue and orange Organizations: 77, including S.M.O.O.T.H. (Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard Work), National Council of Negro Women, nine fraternities and sororities Sporting life (non-varsity):basketball, tennis, softball Varsity: 14 teams compete in the NCAA Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Culture: The Morgan State University Choir ranks among top university choral ensembles in the country. Favorite class: History of Morgan StateOn-campus hangout: McKeldin Center Cyber Cafe Off-campus hangout: Inner Harbor via Collegetown shuttle Cheap eats: Sunny’s Subs Can’t-miss party: Sigma Sweat Party Freshman tip: Avoid “Bridgeology 101,” (Hanging out on Coldspring Lane Bridge). Alums: Robert Mack Bell, chief judge Maryland Court of Appeals; Monique Angela Imes, Academy Award-winning actress; William C. Rhoden, The New York Times columnist.

Notre Dame of Maryland University – Baltimore

Founded: 1873 President: James F. Conneely Enrollment: 1,290 undergraduatesTuition and fees: $29,850 Room and board: $10,150 Housing: 53% of all students live in college-affiliated housing Student body: 5% male/95% female Diversity: white: 67%; black: 22%; Asian: 4%; Hispanic: 2%; unknown: 3% SAT average: reading: 533; and math: 509 Acceptance rate: 55% Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1 Freshman retention rate:75% Graduation rate:4-year: 49%; 6-year: 61% Most-popular majors: nursing, business administration, education Most-popular grad programs: education, nursing, pharmacy

On Campus: Earlier this year, the Notre Dame of Maryland University Board of Trustees chose James F. Conneely, as the new school president. Conneely is the first man and only the second lay person in the school’s 117-year history to serve as Notre Dame’s president. Conneely succeedes Mary Pat Seurkamp, who retired after a 15-year tenure.

This fall, Notre Dame breaks ground on a new 38,000-square-foot academic building for the School of Nursing and School of Education. Designed to meet LEED certification in keeping with the university’s commitment toward sustainability, the facility will feature a lobby, student hub, gallery, and study space, as well as clinical laboratories and medical simulation labs.

Nickname: Gators School colors: royal blue and white Organizations: 32; including Omega Phi Alpha, a community-service sorority, Student Activities Board, Student Environmental Organization Sporting life (non-varsity): pick-up volleyball, soccer, and softball Varsity: Notre Dame fields eight NCAA Division III women’s teams Culture:Gormley Gallery displays the works of local and national artists Favorite class: Homer to Star Wars: The Epic Tradition in Western Literature On-campus hangout: Gator Lair Off-campus hangout: The Avenue in Hampden Cheap eats: Evergreen cafe Can’t-miss party: Winter ball Freshman tip: Do homework and meet new friends at Gator Alley. Alums: Dr. Susan Love, breast cancer surgeon; Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun director of content; Eileen O’Neill, group president at Discovery and TLC networks.

Stevenson University – Owings Mills and Greenspring Valley

Founded: 1947 President: Kevin J. Manning Enrollment: 3,575 undergraduatesTuition and fees: $23,636 Room and board: $11,422 Housing: 43% of freshmen live on campus Student body: 33% male/67% female Diversity: white: 66% black: 19%; Asian: 3%; Hispanic: 2%; unknown: 9% Acceptance rate: 63% Freshman retention rate: 79% Graduation rate: 4-year: 45%; 6-year: 62% Student-faculty ratio: 16:1 SAT average:reading: 492; math: 499; writing: 488 Most-popular majors: health professions, business, visual and performing arts Most-popular grad programs: forensic studies, nursing leadership, business and technology management

On Campus: Stevenson, formerly known as Villa Julie College, has been boosting male enrollment and overall enrollment—up each of the past 14 years. Last fall, Stevenson purchased the former 28-acre site of Shire Pharmaceuticals for $10.5 million. The newly acquired property includes two buildings totaling 168,000 square feet, serving as the new location for much of the university’s School of the Sciences and School of Design. Earlier this year, Stevenson announced new master’s programs in cyber forensics and health-care management and a newly approved bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. Additionally, the school recently added a varsity football program, playing in a new $12-million field on campus—also home to its lacrosse, field hockey, and varsity soccer teams. The women’s varsity ice-hockey squad, the NCAA’s southern-most women’s team, begins play this year.

Nickname: Mustangs School colors: green and white Organizations: 48, including Phi Sigma Sigma, a service group of college women; Phi Beta Lambda, a fraternity of future business leaders; Wilderness and Ecology Club Sporting life (non-varsity):ultimate Frisbee, basketball, volleyball Varsity: 22 teams compete at NCAA Division III level, mostly in the Capital Athletic Conference Culture: Stevenson’s Baltimore Speakers Series in 2012-2013 opens with Bill Clinton Favorite class: Science & Science Fiction—Where Films Get It Right and Wrong Freshman tip: Don’t schedule Owings Mills and Greenspring campus classes back-to-back. On campus hangout: Jazzman’s CafeOff-campus hangout: NY Pizza Co. & Italian Bistro Cheap eats: The Flying Avocado Can’t Miss: Mustang Fest Alums: Martha Scanlan Klima, former Maryland delegate; Chris Tsakalos, part owner H&S Bakeries; Marc Bunting, owner of Alpine Bagel Co. and professional race car driver

Towson University – Towson

Founded: 1866 President: Maravene Loeschke Enrollment: 15,590 undergraduatesTuition and fees: $7,906 Room and board: $9,942 Housing: 85% of freshmen live on campus Student body: 40% male/60% female Diversity: white: 67%; black: 12%; Asian: 4%; Hispanic: 3%; unknown: 10% SAT average: reading: 540; math: 547; writing: 546Acceptance rate: 57% Student-to-faculty ratio:17:1 Freshman retention rate: 83%Graduation rate:4-year: 43%; 6-year: 73% Most-popular majors: business administration, education, social sciences Most-popular grad programs: information technology, human resource development, teaching.

On Campus: Founded as Maryland’s first teacher’s college, Towson still produces more teachers than any other university in the state. However, with 64 undergraduate majors and 45 graduate programs, the school’s mission and size—it’s the second-largest university in the state—continues to grow.

Last fall, the first new academic building on campus in more than 30 years, the 293,00-square-foot College of Liberal Arts Building, was constructed. In the spring of 2013, a new 5,200-seat multi-use arena facility, complete with state-of-the-art video screens and entertainment suites, will open.

The school’s “Towson Unplugged” wireless system remains one of the largest wireless networks in the Baltimore metro area, spanning the university’s 328 acres and campus residence halls. Parkville-native Maravene Loeschke, an alumna and former Towson professor, took over as president this year after previously leading Pennsylvania’s Mansfield University.

Nickname: Tigers School colors: black, gold, and white Organizations: 240, including Sports Club Council, 29 fraternities and sororities, Black Student Union Sporting life (non-varsity): soccer, basketball, beach volleyball Varsity: 20 teams compete at NCAA Division I level, mostly in the Colonial Athletic Conference Culture: 400 performances, exhibits, films, and lectures annually at campus Center for the Arts, other venues Favorite class: The “Colbert” course, aka Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity, and Democracy On-campus hangout: “The Beach” outside Cook Library Off-campus hangout: Recher Theatre, Towson Diner Cheap eats:Towson Hot Bagels Can’t miss party: Tigerfest Freshman tip: Go to Burdick [the gym]. Freshman 15 is real! Alums: Catherine Curran O’Malley, associate judge, First District Court of Maryland, First Lady of Maryland; Brian Stelter, The New York Times journalist/blogger; Charles S. Dutton, actor.

University of Baltimore – Baltimore

Founded: 1925 President: Robert L. Bogomolny Enrollment: 3,257 undergraduatesTuition and fees: $8,664 Room and board: UB does not provide housing Housing:84% increase in students living in midtown in recent years Student body: 42% male/58% female Diversity: white: 46%; black: 35%; Asian: 4%; international: 2.5%; Hispanic: 2%; unknown: 8% SAT average: verbal: 501; math: 480; writing: 484Acceptance rate: 58% Student-faculty ratio: 20:1 Freshman retention: 86%Graduation rate:N/A Most-popular majors: business administration, criminal justice, simulation and digital entertainment Most-popular grad programs: business, public administration, publications design.

On Campus: For three decades, UB was as an upper division-only institution, plus its graduate and law schools. The University System of Maryland school began accepting freshmen and sophomores in fall 2007 and has been functioning as a four-year university since. Three years ago, The Fitzgerald at UB Midtown luxury apartment complex was built on university-owned property and now serves as home to community members and students—as well as the school’s Barnes & Noble bookstore. This fall, The Varsity at the University of Baltimore, an 11-story, privatized student-housing project opens as more students move to housing within walking distance of the campus. The UB campus has grown significantly in the last few years, expanding its campus facilities by 150,000 square feet, with another 322,000 square feet, including a new law center, under construction.

Nickname: Bees Colors: blue and green Organizations: 67, including Digital Designer Guild, Black Law Student Association, Criminal Justice Association Sporting life (non-varsity): flag football, disc golf, billiards Varsity: No varsity teams Culture: Spotlight UB series features music, art, theatre, dance Favorite class: pop culture minor offers “zombies” course On-campus hangout: Student Center Starbucks Off-campus hangout: Charles Street cafes, restaurants, late-night pizza shops Cheap eats: Oriole Pizza Can’t-miss party: Annual block party Freshman tip: Catch the BeeBall Classic, the annual student-faculty hoops match Alums: William Donald Schaefer, former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor; Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles’ chairman of the board and CEO; Tom Condon, NFL agent.

University of Maryland Baltimore County – Catonsville

Founded: 1966 President: Freeman A. Hrabowski III Enrollment: 10,573 undergraduates Tuition and fees: $9,467 Room and board: $10,142 Housing: 72% of freshman live on campus Student body: 54% male/46% female Diversity: white: 48.6%; black: 16%; Asian: 21%; Hispanic: 5%; non-resident alien: 4%; two or more races, non-Hispanic: 3%; unknown: 2% SAT: 25th/75th Percentile: reading: 540/640; math: 570/670; writing: 530/630 Acceptance rate: 61% Student-to-faculty ratio: 20:1Freshman retention rate: 85% Graduation rate:4-year: 37%; 6-year: 57% Most-popular majors: social sciences, computer science, biological sciences Most-popular grad programs: education, information systems, computer science, electrical engineering.

On Campus: Known as a commuter school a decade ago, UMBC has raised its status in recent years. President Freeman A. Hrabowski III and the school were profiled on 60 Minutes last year and U.S. News & World Report named UMBC top “up-and-coming” national university for a third consecutive year. Scheduled to open this fall, UMBC’s new Performing Arts and Humanities Building (PAHB), located on 4.8 acres, will provide state-of-the-art facilities. The building will enhance UMBC’s teaching, research, and public outreach, and increase the visibility of the arts and humanities as major academic components on campus. The PAHB will be home to the departments of ancient studies, dance, English, music, philosophy, and theater, as well as the James T. and Virginia M. Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Humanities Scholars Program, and the Linehan Artist Scholars Program.

Nickname: Retrievers School colors: black and gold Organizations: 231, including 26 fraternities and sororities., Game Developer’s Club, Swing Dance Club Sporting life (non-varsity): co-ed flag football, indoor soccer, dodgeball Varsity: 19 teams compete in NCAA Division I America East Conference Culture: Center for Art Design and Visual Culture Favorite class: Social Psychology and Belief in the Paranormal On-campus hangout: The Commons game room Off-campus hangout: Habibah Cafe Cheap eats: Sorrento of Arbutus Can’t miss party: Spring Quadmania Freshman tip: Wear UMBC clothing to bookstore on Fridays for discount Alums: Jon S. Cardin, state delegate; Duff Goldman, Ace of Cakes owner; Kathleen Turner, actress.

University of Maryland, College Park – College Park

Founded: 1856 President: Wallace D. Loh Enrollment: 26,826 undergraduatesTuition and fees: $8,908 Room and board: $9,893 Housing: 93% of freshmen live in college housing Student body: 53% male/47% female Diversity: white: 56%; black: 12%; Asian: 15%; Hispanic: 8%; unknown: 3% SAT: 25th/75th percentile scores: reading: 580/680; math: 610/720 Acceptance rate: 44% Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1Freshman retention rate: 94% Graduation rate:4-year: 65%; 6-year: 82% Most-popular majors: criminology, economics, accounting Most-popular grad programs: business and management, public policy, electrical engineering

On Campus: The University of Maryland College Park serves as the state’s selective flagship university, and new infrastructure projects include Oakland Hall, the first residence hall to open since 1982. The new student dorm features semi-suites, consisting of mostly two, two-person bedrooms connected by a shared bathroom. The building is environmentally sustainable and includes a large lobby, indoor bike storage, lounge, laundry facilities on every floor, study rooms, and a 24-hour service desk. Coinciding with the opening of Oakland Hall was the completion of the 251 North dining hall, a renovated, all-you-can-eat diner. In January 2010, the university opened the new $30-million home for the school’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. In May 2010, ground was broken on a $128-million, 158,068-square-foot Physical Science Complex, which will include 18 prep labs, 27 laser and condensed-matters labs, eight bio-physics labs, and 12 conference rooms. It’s scheduled for completion next summer.

Nickname: Terrapins School colors: red, white, black and gold Organizations: 842, including 52 fraternities and sororities, Black Student Union, Student GovernmentSporting life (non-varsity): flag football, basketball, soccer Varsity: 20 varsity teams, most compete in NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference Culture: 318,000-square-foot Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center houses six performance venues Favorite class: History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1950-2000 On-campus hangout: “McKeldin Mall,” grassy area at McKeldin Library Off-campus hangout: Plato’s Diner Cheap eats:Marathon Deli Can’t- miss party: Saturday football tailgates Freshman tip: Find your classes before the first day—this is a huge campus. Alums: Jim Henson, Muppets creator; Kevin Plank, Under Armour founder; Sergey Brin, Google co-founder.

Getting To Graduation:

College presidents monitor graduation rates. Politicians talk about boosting graduate rates. So, should parents and students care about graduation rates? Yes. Of 4.3 million full-time freshmen entering college in the fall of 2004, roughly half had not reached graduation through 2010, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education study.

Obviously there are enormous costs—requiring loans, part-time jobs, and college savings—incurred to pay for two or four extra semesters of tuition and associated expenses, like housing and books. But what about the nearly 40 percent who never receive a diploma?

“For those who don’t graduate, it becomes a very costly waste of time and money,” says Donna Hamilton, associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland College Park, which graduates 65 percent of freshmen in four years and 82 percent in six years. “There are a lot of good reasons to go to college, but our mission is to award degrees. Four years is the gold standard. That should be the expectation.”

What holds students up?

A million things, Hamilton says. Sometimes it’s financial (a parent unexpectedly losing a job), homesickness or depression, or it’s social, failing to plug into campus life. Or it could be academic, failing to take advantage of campus resources for assistance. Working too many hours at an off-campus job often interferes with academic progress as well.

Often, it’s simply a failure to plot a course to graduation with an adviser and stick to it.

Changing majors, studying abroad, and internships may delay matriculation, but those are not necessarily bad things, Hamilton notes. But there are general rules students and parents can follow to ensure timely matriculation. Working a campus job tends to be better, for instance, than working off-campus. (An on-campus boss is more likely to understand a student needs time off during finals.) And anything more than a 20-hours-a-week job is considered too much for a full-time student.

Students also need to find a campus community. Join a club or two, in other words.

Parents shouldn’t force majors on students. Eventually, they’ll switch anyhow and likely lose time toward a degree, Hamilton says. If a freshman can’t decide on a major, Hamilton suggests narrowing the possibilities down to three options and having an adviser chart a course that will allow a student to look at all three without losing time toward graduation.

Required courses can fill up quickly, so students also need to work with advisers on getting required classes completed in order. Getting to know the faculty helps, Hamilton adds. They’re able to help select courses and garner internships (which lead to real jobs). Also, students struggling with emotional or psychological issues should seek assistance immediately as colleges generally offer free counseling to full-time students.

The bottom line, says Hamilton, is that students ultimately need to take responsibility for getting to graduation day. “At some point, they’ve got to decide, ‘I want a degree and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there.’”

Around The State

Other four-year, bachelor-degree-awarding colleges and universities in Maryland.

Bowie State University – Bowie

Founded: 1865 Enrollment:5,600 About:Maryland’s oldest historically black institution of higher learning and one of the oldest in the country, Bowie State is a diverse university with 23 majors, 35 master’s programs, doctoral, and advanced certification courses.

Frostburg State University – Frostburg

Founded: 1898 Enrollment:5,429 About:Frostburg is the only 4-year University System of Maryland school west of the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

Hood College – Frederick

Founded: 1893 Enrollment:1,485 About:A longtime women’s liberal-arts school located in Frederick, Hood became a fully co-education institution a decade ago.

Mount St. Mary’s University – Emmitsburg

Founded: 1808 Enrollment:1,676 About:The country’s second-oldest Catholic university, Mount St. Mary’s rural campus offers more than 40 majors, minors, concentrations, interdisciplinary and special programs.

Salisbury University – Salisbury

Founded: 1925 Enrollment:8,000 About:Salisbury offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees in it’s Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Henson School of Science & Technology, Perdue School of Business, and Seidel School of Education & Professional Studies.

Sojourner-Douglass College – Baltimore

Founded: 1972 Enrollment:1,100 About:The downtown school offers 18 bachelor degree programs and several graduate programs.

St. John’s College – Annapolis

Founded: 1696 Enrollment:450 About:St. John’s College’s undergraduate program features an all-required course curriculum based on the great books of Western philosophy, theology, political science, physics, math, and history.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland – St. Mary’s City

Founded: 1840 Enrollment:1,992 About:St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a public, state-supported, liberal-arts honor school, offering 22 undergraduate degree programs, including a student designed option.

United States Naval Academy – Annapolis

Founded: 1845 Enrollment:4,603 About:The U.S. Navy’s undergraduate college develops students into naval officers, whose tuition is fully funded in exchange for active-duty service upon graduation.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore – Princess Anne

Founded: 1886 Enrollment:3,862 About:A historically black institution, UMES offers 34 undergraduate-degree programs, 14 graduate programs, and seven doctoral tracks.

Washington College – Chestertown

Founded: 1782 Enrollment:1,450 About: Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, an hour and a half from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Washington College, one of the 10 oldest in the nation, offers more than 40 majors and academic programs.