UMass Boston is the type of school that can surprise new students in both good and bad ways. The only public university in Boston, UMB is currently having loads of improvements done with the goal of upgrading the campus and offering higher-quality classrooms for their A-list professors to teach in. So let me inform you on a few things: tuition, professors, the location of the campus, and living options.
First, lets talk about tuition.
As the only public school in Boston, UMB has very low tuition cost in comparison to many other schools in the area. Full time students pay an average of a little over $7,000 per semester (just under 15,000 a year). When compared to the tuition of schools like BU (about 45,000) and BC (around 47,000), this is probably the biggest advantage that the school holds over other universities.
However, to assume that UMB’s low tuition correlates with the difficulty of it’s professors might prove to be a shock upon your first semester.
From my experience at UMass Boston, the school typically has a very, very high standard when hiring professors. I think I noticed this when a buddy and I enrolled in world music, an intro course, expecting to bang on drums instead of taking tests.Turns out the professor had a doctorate in music, and not only did he know everything about just about every instrument around the world, but he could play a lot of them on a professional level. And we’re not talking about the bas guitar here, the things he could play were more along the lines of this.
He was a great teacher, but it was a reality check for me and my friend. Not even the intro-level professors mess around, so be ready to study up. This school takes pride in their teachers.
Next, lets talk about UMass Boston, and the illusion that this title might put into the heads of prospective students.
While they may advertise and even be listed as a Boston address (100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston), the truth is the campus is pretty much in Dorchester. While it’s on a peninsula of it’s own, you really don’t want to go a mile in the wrong direction off campus at night.
So, where should you get an apartment? Let’s look at the best and worst aspects of a few different areas that I’ve lived while enrolled over the years
First, the Quincy area. (Sophomore year)
The good part about this location is you can get rent a house with a few other roommates for relatively cheap money. But, I would recommend being within walking distance to the T. The busses can add twenty minutes to your commute on a bad day. We also had a huge raccoon problem, but that was entertaining more than anything.
Next, Cambridge. (Junior year)
Cambridge is very safe, and there’s a lot to do at night. However, not being 21 in Cambridge kind of ruins that aspect of living there. Also, it’s probably going to be a 45+ minute commute unless you’re willing to pay more money to be right off of the T. We also had to dodge cat-sized rats while walking up to our front door every night. Just absolute mutant rats on Gore St. in Cambridge.
Finally, The North End. (Now)
This is a pretty crazy place to live. It’s a bit of a walk to the redline, but the scenery never gets old. Night life is unreal; you’re near everything. Bad news is the rent is out of this world expensive, and the getting up to jump on a train to Dorchester every day has slowly killed my soul over the past months.
My best suggestion to younger students would be living in the place that I never did- the off campus housing (HP or the PEN). There you will be surrounded mainly by students your age who like to have fun, and the only things getting shotgunned in those apartments are Busch Lights.