Baltimore County Now
Intern, Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences
It’s August which means that the summer season is coming to a close. For many Baltimore County residents, this means the time has finally come to see their victorious Ravens on the field again. For me, August means it is time to buckle up for nine months away at school. Come August 31, I will be making the trek down I-95 to my temporary home at the University of Maryland in College Park.
While I bid “adieu” to the 410 area code, thousands of other students will be pouring into Baltimore County, home to five of the fifteen colleges in the Baltimore metro region.
This includes the Community College of Baltimore County, which educates a whopping 74,000 students each year and accounts for half of all Baltimore County residents who are undergraduates. Towson will once again be bustling with Goucher and Towson students. Owings Mills will be welcoming back Stevenson University scholars and UMBC sweatshirts will be popping up all around Catonsville.
Many college graduates call Baltimore County home. With great proximity to Baltimore City and Washington D.C., what college grad wouldn’t want to live here? The Baltimore-Towson area landed a spot on The Atlantic’s 25 Best Places to Live for Recent Graduates in 2012. It isn’t just recent graduates that are drawn to Baltimore County. An impressive 35.2% of county residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Baltimore County Public Schools excels in preparing students for college. According to a recent study in Education Week, BCPS has the second-highest graduation rate among the nation’s fifty-largest school districts. Additionally, 52% of Baltimore County traditional and magnet high schools earned a place on national “Best Schools” lists. Many of these impressive graduates will be making their college debut this fall.
Here are a few words of advice for the soon-to-be college freshmen. As a rising sophomore, I am well-versed in surviving the back-to-school chaos. These three tips will help you start on the right foot this school year.
- Join the Facebook group.
Social media has revolutionized college orientation. Students are now getting acquainted with their fellow classmates in school-specific “class of 2017” groups. Students have the opportunity to get to know floor mates, ask for advice, and even find a roommate.
- Know what not to buy.
Before you go and buy tons of fun décor for your room, keep in mind the amount of space that you have. I am only packing half of what I brought last year! Consider making another shopping trip after move-in day so you don’t overbuy.
- Don’t run right to the bookstore.
The cost of textbooks adds up quickly, but a couple strategies can help to cut the cost. Try comparing prices. You might even want to wait until after the first week of classes to buy books. There could be a more cost-effective online book, or you might not even need the book at all.
Remember this August that Baltimore County is more than Ravens nation. It is home to an impressive network of colleges and universities and a central hub for the countless college students who will attend them this fall. And, for me and thousands of others travelling beyond the county borders, Baltimore County will always be home.