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University of Maine Honors College

Walk through the bears mouth into the Collins Center for the Arts

Walk through the bears mouth into the Collins Center for the Arts

Honors Colleges have been getting a lot of press lately because they can be a more affordable way for academically excellent students to have the experience of a small liberal arts college at a large public university (with in-state or significantly lower tuition). ¬†Honors Colleges are not a new thing, in fact the Honors College at the University of Maine has been around since the 1930′s! Some have set criteria for admission or even a separate application with additional essay. This blog will explore how the Honors College works at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine, specifically. If you are interested in other Honors Colleges, I’m sure that you can find info on their websites or on a visit to the school.

The University of Maine at Orono, or UMaine as it will be referred to here, has had an Honors College for years. Currently, there are about 800 students involved in the program. Each of these students is also studying in one of the other colleges at the university (liberal arts & sciences, engineering, business-you get the picture). Honors College at UMaine is a 24-27 credit program that is an inter-disciplinary approach that enriches the learning that is happening within a students major.

So how do you get into this program that offers access to professors, fellowship opportunities, study abroad programs, honors housing and the opportunity to do a senior thesis or Capstone? At UMaine, the top 20% of the incoming class are invited to join the Honors College. It’s completely up to the student whether she takes advantage of this opportunity. There is not a ¬†separate application (no additional essays) and there aren’t clear criteria for admission to the Honors College. The top 20% takes into account SAT/ACT scores and high school GPA and these variables change every year based on the make-up of the admitted class.

Students typically take one honors class per semester. These classes often count toward the students general education requirements for graduation so these aren’t ‘extra’ classes. Honors classes will be more discussion based due to the small size (typically between 8-14 students). To graduate with honors a student must complete the requirements of the program and have a 3.3 GPA. For more information check out:¬†https://honors.umaine.edu

I was at UMaine on Monday for an open house and applications are already pouring in so if you intend to apply to the university I would encourage you to consider the 12/1 early action (non-binding) deadline. New this year and something I’ve mentioned in the past-12/1 is a hard deadline for certain majors like mechanical engineering and nursing. Be sure to check out your intended major so you don’t miss the boat!

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