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Everything a UMD Incoming Freshman Needs To Know

Everything a UMD Incoming Freshman Needs To Know

So you’ve committed to the University of Maryland. Congratulations! You are officially ready to become a Terp. However, you probably received little instruction of what to do before you arrive at the end of the summer. No matter how many emails you send asking about what you need to do, you aren’t getting what you need. Panic mode sets in. Well, no need to worry any longer. After a week of mind-boggling research and 25 tabs currently open on my computer, I have compiled an ultimate guide to everything future students attending the University of Maryland need to do/be aware of. I want to share this with all of you and help my fellow terps out in anyway I can. Therefore, keep reading for everything a UMD incoming freshman needs to do before they start!

1. Everything you need to know about UMD Orientation.

How much does it cost?

Many people moan and groan at the word orientation. This is understandable since UMD charges $176 for the student to attend two nights and $66 for a parent to accompany (actually recommended). On the second day, parents can attend a Terp Tour which also costs about $15 to keep themselves busy.

Is orientation mandatory?

For all of you future Terps who aren’t too hyped up about attending orientation, it is mandatory. It also provides an opportunity for students to meet people and register for their classes (unless you are in Freshman Connection).


How long is it?

Orientation lasts two days for the student (one day for transfer students) and one day for the parent.

Where can I learn more about it?

Once you sign up, more information will be sent by email and you can register and research more information.

Do I need a health form?

(The Guide For Your Arrival link includes more information about the health form which needs to be signed by your doctor and printed out beforehand.)



Do I need to take a math placement test?

Yes. This is REQUIRED. You can do so here.

Do I need a parking permit?

Yes. Make sure your vehicle has a permit. You will quickly learn DOTS is ruthless and will ticket you. You can get a permit here.


Orientation Checklist

There is an orientation checklist you can view for more information here. WARNING: Not all of this list is updated (specifically the dining plan)…

Other Helpful Links to More Orientation Information:

Where to Register for Orientation 

Where to Find Information About Orientation

Where to research Terp Tours

An Orientation Virtual Folder

Information Form for Parents

Guide for your Arrival 

Health Forms and Insurance Information


2. Everything you need to know about UMD Rooming & Dining.

Where do I apply for Rooming & Dining?

The Rooming & Dining Application can be found on the same website in which your application is located. There are many questions on how this works since the application is extremely short and it answers basically none of the questions we need.


Read about the new Dining Plan before you apply!

Before you select your dining plan please read this information about the new dining plan.

Spoiler Alert: Unlimited Dining!

However if you were looking forward to taking food with you on-the-go, you are out of luck because there is no longer take out options.


Tip: Plan ahead to buy your own food if you plan on eating outside of the dining hall.


I already know who I want to room with and which dorm I want to live in. What do I do with this information?

If you want a specific dorm or roommate, you and your roommate have to send an email to with your name and requested roommate’s name, along with respective university ID numbers for both of you (found on the online admission letter).


I don’t have a roommate yet, how do I find one?

Finding a roommate can be hard, but here are several suggestions provided by fellow Terps.


An app created by an incoming freshman (similar to Tinder). 

Facebook UMD Group

A group consisting of students with mass produced introductions.



Group Chats on GroupMe

GroupMe (ask on Facebook to join).

Google Excel Sheet Roommate Questionnaire 

A student created this questionnaire so you can get to know the actual habits of your possible roommate (the link is on Facebook UMD Group). 


Room Surf

A website that matches you with possible candidates. Check it out here!

Room Sync

An email is sent out in late May or early June and you profile yourselves to then be matched.

Random Roommate Selection

Hope and pray you get a good one…


Attending Orientation

Don’t forget orientation! It appears the request deadline is June 30 (although this could be outdated) so if you go to orientation in June, you might meet someone really cool!

“Orientation is how I met my freshman and sophomore roommate and we’re still best friends”- Anonymous 


3. What is the breakdown of the cost of tuition and how do I apply for financial aid/loans?

This section might as well be called “Drowning in Debt.” I couldn’t find four years of my life more expensive than that of my college years if I tried.


Tip: I would calculate how much you need to go to college, subtract the FAFSA money/scholarship/grant money, and take out a loan if you need to. 

Break-Down of the Cost(s) of UMD Tuition 

What do I need to know about loans?

Direct Sub loans are much better than Direct Unsub loans. “Sub” means the government subsidizes the interest on the loan while you’re in college and for 6 months after graduation. While “Unsub” means you’re responsible for paying interest or it will accrue while you’re in college. Only accept the Unsub Loan if you absolutely need to.

What do I need to know about financial aid/scholarships/loans?

Don’t forget to accept the FAFSA money as soon as possible or you won’t be able to use it. Learn everything you need to know about College Financial Aid/Scholarships/Loans in this article.



4. How do I get to know more about UMD in general?

You will spend four years here and spend a thousands of dollars while doing so. Take advantage of every opportunity and start by understanding what opportunities there even are.

Download UMD Apps.

UMD Mobile, UMD Info, Maryland Terrapins.


Look at the Course Requirements for your potential major.

Glance at the course requirements for your degree and if there are any required courses or general required education courses for freshmen as well.

See Also
You can’t deny that fall is one of the best seasons to be an LU student. Keep on reading for 10 reasons to love fall at Liberty University!

Map out (at least tentatively) a 4 Year Plan for your courses and credits.

Pick out some gen-ed classes that you are required to take and then see what options of courses you are interested in and go from there. You can learn more about all of this here!


“I know it’s early, but start thinking about creating a 4 Year Plan. Sometimes taking (or not taking) certain classes freshman year can affect your junior or senior year schedule.” -Anonymous 


What are the courses offered and what are the descriptions for each?

Check it out here.

How do I build a schedule and view multiple class sections at once?

Check it out here.


How do I get more involved on campus?

It is important to get involved with clubs and organizations pertaining to things you are passionate about or interested in while in college. View some of the student clubs and organizations here

Learn more about the First Look Fair here!

There’s an event called First Look Fair during the 2nd or 3rd week of fall semester where you can walk around the mall and talk with current students in all the different clubs and orgs (and get free stuff!!)”- Anonymous

What is The Stamp?

The Stamp is the division of student affairs at UMD. Check out the center for campus life and organizations The Stamp has to offer. Check it out here



5. Are there any Post-Orientation/Pre-College Events I can attend to get to know more about UMD before I start?

Yes, read on!

Turtle Camp

From August 21-25. Essentially a leadership camp for the first few days before you move in – great way to meet new people! Learn more about it here! (More info coming to the website in May.)

Freshmen First

From August 1-19. This is an actual class you can take to help transition to college-level work. Earn 3 extra credits and get used to how college courses are set up. It says applications for this are processed March 25 but it seems like it might be rolling admission- it probably all depends on the availability, but it’s worth the research. Learn more about it here!


Fall Welcome!!

More info coming to website in July, but essentially it’s several days of nonstop fun and free stuff. Learn more about it here

“Seriously, do everything possible this week – don’t sit in your room and watch Netflix until classes start, you have 4 years to procrastinate. Once you’re an upperclassman you don’t get as many of these free events” – Tristan Prejean


6. What do I need to know about textbooks?

Buy your textbooks here!


“Textbooks: Don’t bother buying books from the bookstore (unless they’re only available there), they’re way overpriced and you can find them cheaper from Amazon/Abebooks/Bookholders/current students (super cheap)/current students with PDFs (free) For online stores such as Amazon, eBay, etc, just copy and paste the ISBN number on each site’s search engine to easily find the necessary books and compare prices…” – Current UMD Student

7. What do I need to know about receiving mail?

Learn all about it here!


Anything else we should add to the list of everything a UMD incoming freshman should know? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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