University of Maine-Orono

Can anyone give any insight on University of Maine Engineering Program and the school in general. My son loves the outdoors but is not into partying for four years. We have been reading a lot of information online and it seems to be a huge party school. Is that the case? Are there activities to keep the non partiers occupied such as skiing, hiking, club activities etc. Does the school run buses to Sugarloaf ( pre covid).

We are also concerned about the low graduation rate.

The Ferland Engineering building is under construction and it appears that UMO is investing into the program. UMO is ranked just a little lower than the other NE flagship schools.

Any insight would be appreciated since there is not much information on line about UMO.

One of my sons is a sophomore at UMaine-Orono. He is not an engineering major, but has really loved the school. He is in the Honors Program at Maine and has enjoyed the courses and activities that program has offered. The school has lots of outdoor activities that are run through the campus rec programs - cross country skiing, hiking, winter camping, etc. Tons of student organizations to get involved in. Partying will be forever changed due to COVID, but will be present on all college campuses for students who lean in that direction. My son joined a fraternity, which I never saw happening in a million years, but has enjoyed having a small group in a larger school. Involvement in greek life has brought him out of his shell and he has participated in philanthropy events, volunteered at a local school (pre-COVID), and done lots of outdoors activates with his fraternity brothers. Happy to answer any other questions that you might have!

Thanks for your reply. It seems that your son is enjoying UMO.

Good point about Covid curbing the partying.

We have not visited UMO due to Covid and being 7.5 hours away. We plan on making the trip before my son makes his college decision. Any suggestions on where to stay? Are we better off in Bangor since there will be more to do? Black Bear Conference Center and Inn seems nice.

He has applied to several schools in New England and UMO seems to be moving up the ranks.

I imagine that Orono is your typical small college town. Is Bangor easily accessible for the students? Does UMO run a bus to Bangor? Do the kids go to Bangor often?

I know UVM and possibly UNH ran ski trips and organized buses-pre-covid. Did UMO also do this pre-covid?

Are there any dorms that your son would not recommend? The campuses seems quite walkable but I know UMO has buses. Are the dorms near the buildings where classes are located? UMO seemed to do well with controlling COVID on campus.

WE have visited several times - I have stayed at the Hampton Inn in Bangor and then elsewhere in Maine in AirBNBs (we live in Baltimore, so our trips to ME become vacations!)

Orono is a small town dominated by the campus, but it is fun to check-out the local places to eat (recommend the The Family Dog), find the grocery store, walk through the Botanical Gardens, visit the University Farm and the museum of indigenous art in the Collins Center. Also, hopefully you can get to see a sports event or a show at the Observatory. So much to do! Finally, I would check out Home - Maine Bound Adventure Center - University of Maine for more info about outdoor opportunities.

Public bus routes to Bangor, the Mall, and the airport. Also, we have found the Amtrak train/bus route to UMaine campus to be a great transportation option. My son takes the train to Boston, then a bus directly to campus. The campus is beautiful in fall, winter, and spring. Very walkable, lots of trails and groomed trails for cross-country skiing in the winter. The Memorial Gym is a fantastic place and worth checking out beautiful LEED certified building.

Dorms and dining halls are dispersed around campus and are convenient to the academic buildings. My son lived in a honors dorm, then moved into his fraternity house (has his own room due to COVID spacing). Dorms are dorms - some are squat cinderblock buildings that are a bit institutional, but the honors dorms are a bit better.

Good luck to your son and his college decision, my 4th (and last child) is currently a senior!

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Does anyone know if the honors invitation is sent separately or if it’s usually with the decision letter?

My S was accepted last year. I believe he received a separate email invitation at a later date.

Timing is everything - she just texted me that she received the honors email.


My son applied to engineering as a NMSF, and was accepted into the honors program with almost a full COA merit scholarship (still waiting on FA). I’ve heard from 4 graduates of UMaine who loved the outdoor opportunities there. It’s not far from Acadia, either. Don’t think we’ll be able to visit so I’m suggesting my son look at the research programs detailed on their website. I read on UMaine’s site about a $75mil. donation to help Maine colleges coordinate and improve their engineering programs; plus the new building is due by late 2022.
Are the xc ski trails accessible from campus? DS is at early college on a campus just a bit too far from xc trails, with no car, and no bus trips this year due to COVID…

You mentioned your son was in an honors dorm. We haven’t been able to visit, so choosing a dorm sight unseen is difficult. Do you have any insight into which honors dorm is preferred by students?