After spending more than 6 years talking about the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) with anyone who will listen, you’d think I would have heard it all. But alas, there are still some questions I get asked that make me scratch my head and wonder how such misinformation has unfortunately spread. There are some myths, however, that I hear more than others, and I’m here to set the record straight once and for all:
TOP 8 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT USG (and the actual truths!)
- It’s called the University of Shady Grove.
This one makes my eyes hurt to even type! We are the Universities AT Shady Grove. Our campus in Rockville offers select degree programs from 9 Maryland universities (their programs are AT our campus). By definition, a university grants degrees; at USG, your degree comes directly from the university offering your major. So even though it’s only a few letters different, saying “University of” really does change the entire meaning.
- Your degree and transcript will look different.
As I just mentioned, your degree (and transcript and diploma) comes directly from the university offering your major. That’s where you apply, and that’s who implements your program. The only difference is that you are choosing to take your classes on our (convenient, personalized, and cost-effective) campus, but you are still a student of your “home” university. (There are also no asterisks, italics, different colors, or mention of USG or your previous college on your transcript – yes, I’ve been asked all of these things!)
- The professors aren’t as good.
This is an easy one to clear up, since the professors are hired by the university offering your major. While main campus courses may see classes with 100+ students, the average class size at USG is only 30-35, so students at USG get the same professors, but they also get more access to them! A win-win!
- It’s for students who couldn’t get into the main campus.
Not true at all! Students apply directly to the university offering their major and simply choose USG as their preferred campus on the application (the small classes, convenient location, and more scholarship options are all reasons students select our campus). Since we already established that your degree is granted from your home university, don’t think for a second they plan to lower their standards for anyone earning that diploma! Applicants must indeed meet minimum qualifications (which vary by both university and program) to even be considered for admission. But what often happens is that since so many people are unaware of USG, they don’t select it on the application, and thus, there are more open spots for qualified applicants choosing the USG campus, which can indeed be a plus for you!
- You don’t get the “college experience.”
While there is no housing at USG, don’t let that fool you into thinking our students aren’t on our campus at all hours, simply going home to sleep! There are more than 50 student organizations (and it’s super easy to start your own), a ton of great campus events, a gym with a rock-climbing wall and free yoga classes, a café, and a library open to students until 2am! Plus, you are still a student of your home university, and you are encouraged to take advantage of clubs, sporting events, and networking events there, too. And with 50% of student applicants receiving a USG scholarship (not including scholarships you can still get from your home campus), you have more money left over for socializing with friends on the weekends, wherever that may be!
- You still need to go to your main campus to get student services.
Students never need to go to their main campus except to walk across the stage at graduation to receive their diploma. All of the services students need to succeed are offered and/or implemented here at USG. The best part is that with all undergraduate students starting at junior year, the services are geared to the needs of transfer students as well as graduate students, with conducive hours, to boot!
- Employers will look down at students who did their program at USG.
We’ve already established that your degree will not say USG on it, only the name of the university offering your major. And when you complete the education section of your resume, you also only need to list the name of that university. So an employer is only going to know that you went to the USG campus if you tell them! But you may want to tell them, now that you are in a position to clear up any misconceptions they may have: If it turns out you’re applying for a job or internship in Montgomery County, but you list University of Baltimore as your current university, for example, they’re going to worry that you are not available for enough hours with such a long commute. Conversely, if you tell them you are actually taking your classes in Rockville and thus can contribute more hours, that may just win you the gig!
- There is no way to learn more about USG.
Okay, this isn’t really a misconception, but a lot of times students wait way too long to look into their next steps in their educational journeys. I HIGHLY recommend starting as early as possible to gather information about admissions, deadlines, prerequisite courses, and so on, as well as visiting all campuses you are considering so you can compare. One great way to do that is to attend the upcoming USG Undergraduate Expo on Saturday, April 6th, from 9am-12pm. The Expo will feature reps from all undergraduate majors, sessions on financial aid, campus tours with current students, and much more! A full schedule of events and link to register can be found at www.shadygrove.umd.edu/discoverusg. With all your newfound knowledge, I may just have you join me on my side of the table that morning!