Does anyone have any "insider" information about UMaine?

<p>Hi all, just posted this a few days ago on an old thread but this school doesn't seem to get much activity, so I thought maybe I would try a new thread and see if I get any responses! Took out some of the specific responses to the original poster and tried to make it more generic.</p>

<p>D just got accepted to UMaine-Orono Honors College as a computer engineering major along with some scholarship $ and it's now my D's first choice, she feels this is the school by which to measure all the others but H has reservations about Northern Maine. He has done a job or two in Maine but only as far north as Portland and says "there's a reason it's deserted and Steven King features it in his writing". We live in a small town in the Upper Hudson Valley and D is anxious to ESCAPE, we're worried that the same small town attitude will prevail. A college town is different though and the experience will be different as most people are there because they want to be not because it's required by the state. Weather wise, she will be in her element and the school itself sounds like a perfect fit. We will be visiting next month but sometimes it's nice to get another point of view, so does anyone have any experience with this school? What are your thoughts and impressions? </p>

<p>Comments from any current or past students/parents are most welcome. Even though nobody visits this thread, I am hopeful :) </p>

<p>I don’t have any information, but I’m interested in this question, too. S is considering University of Maine.We are from NJ, and it’s the farthest college he has applied to. S loves the cold snowy wrather so no problem there. We are planning to visit U Maine soon to see if its a good fit. S wants to major in computer Science.</p>

<p>Ah… U Maine. Well, since this is College Confidential and not College Lie-To-Your-Face, there are better choices. The public high school system in Maine is substandard due to a variety of reasons that I can specify if you ask, but the student body that is produced from this system is fed into the U Maine system. The U Maine system is geographically and administratively overextended, and facing another year in a 20 year cycle of budget cuts, as well as in the course of managing other down-sizing due to progressive declines in enrollment – due in part to Maine being “the oldest state” by median age of the population, and also due to “brain drain” for want of jobs in-state that pay more than $15/hr and are not considered menial labor. The chances of finishing a four year degree in five years is about one-half, and about 20 percent of the freshman don’t come back the following year. The middle half of the student body scores between ~1350-1780 on the SATs, and there are only about 3 percent who score above 700 in the subscores. Which isn’t to say that everyone is mediocre, but there is not much emphasis on education in Maine, or excelling for achievement – the culture is more about being the same as everyone else. Since 2010, there was a system wide loss of endowment from 190 million to about 60 million in 2012 (+/- some 60 million dollars the state may or may not release to the system) – covering about 8000 students. Due to limited grants and Maine students being less well-off in general, three out of four U Maine students who graduate do so with student loan debt, averaging ~30K. In terms of the engineering program, U Maine ranks in at about the bottom fifth of the “top 140”. Apparently a great party scene, though, at some expense.</p>

<p>Thanks PolarBearvsShark, the culture of same was my main concern. The scores and ranking are not a big deal as D will bloom where she’s planted, although I suppose if she can’t find her intellectual equals somewhere on campus or be challenged academically she will be miserable. As far as the Engineering program goes, at least it made the top 140 :). Seriously though, as long as she’s ultimately able to pass the same licensing exams as the graduates of every other CE/EE program (assuming they all take the same exams), I’m not as concerned with rankings as I probably should be, especially on CC! Party scene has no importance whatsoever.</p>

<p>Very helpful, again thanks. </p>

<p>As a current high school senior in Maine I disagree with a lot of what PolarBearVsShark says in regard to my education. We’re not ‘fed’ into the U Maine system. My school, which is public, and other schools around actually do put a lot of emphasis on education. It’s important, and we don’t put more emphasis on “being the same”. In regards to being “fed” into the U Maine system, most of my friends are going out of state for college, and I would be too except that Orono has the program that I think best fits me, so I’m going there. I also have a lot of friends who go to Orono and say that it’s great for them. It’s a great engineering school, which is something one of my friends who goes to Orono for engineering would agree with. I do think it’s a great school, even though I initially wanted to leave Maine for college solely for the sake of getting out (I mean, I am a teenager. That’s natural, haha). It’s not a private school, so of course it’s not the top. It’s public, but I’d say if your daughter is looking in engineering then Orono is great.</p>

<p>Also, I do think it’d be safe. From personal experience I’ve never felt unsafe, even though I live in southern Maine, but again none of my friends who go to school at Orono feel unsafe, either. Your H’s comment about Steven King really made me laugh, though. I’ve never thought that before, so it’s an interesting theory, haha.</p>

<p>I sure wouldn’t be turned off about the school because it is in northern Maine, that is one of the cool things about it, imho. Unfortunately, I know nothing about the school and opened this thread to learn more, because they sent tons of marketing material to my sons. </p>

<p>From glancing at the cover of the marketing material it looks like they give a baby bear to everyone who attends. I did not open the material, in fear of bursting this bubble.</p>

<p>This was in the opinion section of a Maine newspaper last weekend:</p>

<p>"Every million dollars the system sinks into the bureaucracy is an additional million bucks Maine students have to cough up. Most of our students already work. Working more lowers grades, and diminishes the odds of college completion. Or Maine’s students can borrow more. Great. These choices are the direct result of decisions made by system administrators.</p>

<p>The public’s been told the University of Maine System is collapsing. But it’s not. Assets and reserves are growing. Liabilities are declining. Year-over-year revenues exceed expenses. Operating cash flows are positive.</p>

<p>Don’t believe me? S&P speaks glowingly about the system’s financial strength and gives the UMS an AA- bond rating, the fourth highest rating possible. Why? Because the system has such strong reserves and positive cash flows. In 2013 the total reserves of the system reached $283 million, because it was able to generate $17 million of operating cash flows. In each of the past six years, the system has taken in more than it’s spent. But instead of funding education, they’ve built reserves.</p>

<p>Here’s another stunning fact. Over the last six years – while pleading poverty – the system office decided to increase unrestricted net assets from $88 million to $188 million.</p>

<p>Help me out here: How can the University of Maine System be both so broke it has to eliminate another 165 positions and cut dozens of programs, while at the same time it can stash away $100 million?</p>

<p>Any claim that the system is in financial trouble, or that it’s broke, is absurd. If anything’s broken it’s the system’s priorities. The system devotes a mere 27 percent of total expenses to the core academic mission. Every year for the last five years the share of expenses devoted to education has declined while the share sucked up by the administration has increased."</p>

<p>From:
Maine Voices: Top-heavy university takes low road</p>

<p>Campuses face huge cutbacks while the administration – with no teaching responsibilities – continues to spend $20 million.</p>

<p><a href=“http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/Maine_Voices__State_university_system_taking_needed_steps_to_better_fulfill_its_mission_.html”>http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/Maine_Voices__State_university_system_taking_needed_steps_to_better_fulfill_its_mission_.html</a></p>

<p>The University of Maine has a beautiful campus. Except for some introductory classes, the number of students in each class is not large. Many are quite intimate.</p>

<p>Do NOT confuse UMaine with other campuses in the public system. The University of Southern Maine is in big trouble financially but not UMaine. It’s doing well and is attracting students from around the country. About one out of four undergraduates are from outside of Maine.</p>

<p>The current president is a real leader who is encouraging lots of off-campus learning activities for students in all the majors. And the honors college is excellent.</p>

<p>For the bear, if the engineering program at UMaine was not credible then Bowdon would not have a 3/2 program with that school.</p>

<p>*Bowdoin stupid autocorrect</p>

@morkatmom - did you visit? What did you think? I am visiting next weekend with my son who was also accepted to the honors college.

@seashoremom - did you visit? What did you think? I am visiting next weekend with my son who was also accepted to the honors college.