Disgraceful performance at accepted students day

Just a note to UMaine staff who might swing by here. We attended accepted students day, driving six hours to upstate maine as our final campus visit before making our decision. My daughter was accepted to every school she applied to, Maine was the only state university, and we went because of your attractive “honors college” invite.

Enthusiastic students greeted us outside, and that was the highlight. We toured the activities fair in the lobby, overcrowded but interesting. we then went upstairs to view student research presentations, which were entirely staffed by grad students(doesn’t speak well of undergrad research).
We were then herded into the auditorium for an inspirational video. Then the presentation began. With three speakers all reading from prepared remarks at a podium. Do you mean to tell me that your university president can not speak directly to an audience without notes? she cannot engage the audience? likewise for the next two speakers, none of which conveyed any kind of excitement for the school.

We were then herded off to smaller groups by college. in the science college there were perhaps 200 students, and so began a Q&A where the instructor announced that 100 level classes could have student faculty ratio of 400:1. with TA’s roaming and engaging students…it sounded horrible. Typical university setting where you pay $30k a year to be taught by grad students. regardless, we hurried off to our honors college presentation.
The dean of the honors college did NOTHING to sell this as being in any way selective or beneficial. “you write a thesis” is what we got out of this presentation. student presenters assured applicants, concerned about the workload, that honors was actually “less work”. what?
We were shown to a dorm, where we waited in line to view the ONE dorm room on campus they had available. the hosts crammed, I kid you not, 30 people into a room because “we don’t like to give this presentation too many times”. Nothing makes a freshman dorm room more appealing than touring it with 30 other people.

Lastly…Greek life. Good god, did ANYBODY ever think to tell frats and sororities NOT to have furniture out on the lawn, throwing benders, on a day when you have 2,000 prospective parents driving by?
nonetheless, my wife and I held our tongues. Back in the car for a six hour ride back my daughter announced “well I can tell you I’m NOT going to UMaine”. My wife and I agreed this was perhaps the worst professional presentation we’d ever witnessed. Never did an organization do more to make a large group of students feel less like individuals.

A very soft presentation, almost made me a little nauseated that my daughter might select it.

Very interesting. thank you for the post. My son has been getting a lot of recruitment from them and we were intrigued as we vacation every summer in Maine and it holds a very special place in our hearts. I also liked the fact that UMaine apparently will give us instate tuition rates. Unfortunately it just seems a bit too far away. One passes many equally rated schools on the way up there.

That was not my experience entirely. I was also disappointed with the speakers, but on the biomed engineering tour, we saw significant undergraduate research projects and spoke with engaged students in range from Soph to Seniors. The lab facilities were fantastic and the faculty were interested in our daughter and who she is as a person.

Freshman dorms are the same just about everywhere, as is the frat scene (though to be fair, we didn’t go to those presentations as we saw the dorms over a summer visit). And if you don’t see the Greek Life Scene on a visit, that doesn’t mean the element isn’t present on campus.

It is a large state school, so I believe the 100 level large lectures to be par for the course and that did not shock me.

So while it was far from the best presentation, it wasn’t exactly nauseating. Please keep in mind that there may be students who did not get into “every school applied to” and have fewer options than your daughter clearly does. Those students don’t deserve such a phrase to be bandied about regarding their choice.

As someone who attended the Honors College (though I ultimately transferred out of UMaine), I wanted to speak up because I hope prospective students won’t be scared away by this thread!

The Honors College at UMaine is small, personal, and offers a lot of great research and academic opportunities. The professors are definitely pretentious, but generally good. If you’re a high achiever and UMaine is the best school you can afford, the Honors College offers a wonderful opportunity to stand out and really make your mark. My honors classmates are now professors at Ivy League universities, medical doctors, biglaw lawyers, etc. Most went on to great graduate programs. My former RA and fellow Honors College classmate, Emily Cain, went on to Harvard, was the youngest woman to serve in the Maine legislature, and is now the executive director of a national political organization.

I would not agree that Honors classes “are actually easier;” I think the big difference is that they grade you only on a few major papers/projects and then the final, whereas in other classes you get your typical weekly assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. and your grades are based more on attendance and “participation.” They don’t micromanage you as much in Honors classes.

The Honors environment is a wonderful way to meet other smart, engaged students. I remember many winter nights where my classmates and I would sit in the lounge at Colvin Hall until 2 am in the morning, drinking hot cocoa and debating politics. I sincerely recommend this to any prospective student!