University of Maryland, College Park

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#27, overall score 68.17/100

Fun Fact:

Students can buy ice cream made from milk produced by cows that live on university land.

Why should Jewish students attend University of Maryland? “Maryland Hillel is one of the nation’s premier Hillels, engaging 4,000 Jewish students annually. This past academic year Maryland Hillel: provided leadership training to 200 students; served over 10,000 funded Shabbat meals; took 320 students to Israel; ran five service learning trips nationally and internationally offering students critical insights into some of the globe’s most pressing social issues; facilitated a Jewish Women’s Leadership Conference providing 150 college women access to critical female mentorship and leadership; hosted hundreds of lectures and classes; and worked with individual students to foster their personal identities and activism. This is the place for students who seek a leading public university and a robust and entrepreneurial Jewish community. As a public state university, many students come from Maryland and surrounding Northeast states. In addition, each year students travel from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, and other large metropolitan areas to attend the university.” — MJ Kurs-Lasky, Director of Student Life, Maryland Hillel

“If you have decided that you are going to go to college, you should consider a university with a strong vibrant Jewish community with learning and social activities. UMD Chabad offers much for you at school: Social events, community service (Friendship Circle) Greek house and dorm programs, Menorah lighting with the Univ. President and much more! Our signature event is our Home made Shabbat and holiday meals! Celebrate with your Jewish home away from home. Minyanim and kosher food are other important parts of the UMD campus Jewish infrastructure. All in all UMD Chabad offers you the ability to connect, engage and grow Jewishly while growing academically.” — Rabbi Eli Backman, director, Chabad Jewish Student Center


  • Location: College Park, Md.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Campus type: College town
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 28,472
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 5,800
  • Jewish population share: 20%
  • Student origin: 78% in-state / 22% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Diamondback, Mitzpeh
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Terrapins
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Maryland Ultimate / Helpful Corn

What Students Say:

“The University of Maryland has proximity to numerous large U.S. cities, but still the amazing remote campus experience.”… “There really is more drinking than people can understand.”

COST & AID Score: 4.17/15

ACADEMICS Score: 10/20

What Students Say:

“The university could improve by diversifying the Humanities studies more.”

ISRAEL Score: 16/20

SAFETY Score: 4/11

  • Score: 4/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 6
  • Campus crime rate: 1.61/1,000 students (low)
  • City crime rate: 1.61/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 34/34

  • Score: 34/34
  • Hillel: Maryland Hillel
  • Chabad: UMD Chabad
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Other Jewish outreach group: Meor
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: AEPhi, SDT
  • Jewish dorm: Terrapin Row, College Park Towers
  • Jewish a capella group: Kol Sasson, Kol Ish, Mezumenet, Rak Shalom
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 32
  • Hillel Friday night services: 4
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 450
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 100
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 18 (7 Orthodox, 6 Conservative, 5 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Sergey Brin
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: NHBT (National Hillel Basketball Tournament) is comprised of about 30 students whol throughout the year, organize a weekend-long basketball tournament for Jewish college students across North America. This past year, 50 different teams participated in this amazing weekend. NHBT Weekend is one of the most anticipated weekends on campus, where Jewish students from all across the country gather at Maryland Hillel, old and new friends, for a weekend of fun, games and competition.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? As a public state university, many students come from Maryland and surrounding Northeast states. In addition, each year students travel from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, and other large metropolitan areas to attend the university.
  • Kosher food details: Maryland Hillel provides a full university-recognized kosher meal plan offering three meals a day. Additionally, Maryland Hillel provides over 10,000 funded kosher Shabbat meals each year, it boasts challah baking workshops and delivers soup to sick students. Shabbat meals are provided all over campus. It is common to see a Hillel staff member taking food to a Greek House or setting up a communal Shabbat on North Campus.

What Students Say:

“The diversity of the Jewish community and large amount of Orthodox Jews make the university special.”… “The Jewish community is flourishing outside of the Hillel structure.”…”This is the best place to come and be Jewish.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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