STARTING COLLEGE CAN BE DAUNTING AND EXCITING ALL AT ONCE.
There are lots of reasons why your next step should be to start college: to encourage your kids to go to college, to change careers or earn a bigger paycheck, or simply to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with that diploma.
Smart for the future. More and more jobs in the future will require a college degree of some kind. Workers who have college degrees also earn more over their lifetimes than those who don’t. So, college may be a smart next step for you.
Where do you start? The good news is that there are a lot of resources available to you in Maine. On this site, you can explore jobs that require a college degree and are growing in Maine. You can browse through or search for programs and institutions that might be of interest to you. You can find help figuring out how to pay for college, and much more. Connect with information about certificate programs, associate programs, bachelor programs, or master programs available in Maine, right from here!
Click through the resources and links below to find more information about how to get started. Or choose from the menu below to explore specific programs offered in Maine.
LINKS & RESOURCES
You will get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of your results. In addition, you will find interactive popular software tutorials/courses that are video-based and allow you to learn at your own pace.
FAME has tools and information specifically to help adult students plan for and start college. Find everything here from choosing a career or college, to balancing school with work and family, to applying to college and paying for school, and much more: To access the FAME tools, Click here.
What is Accuplacer?
The ACCUPLACER® is a set of exams that quickly and accurately assess reading, writing, math, and computer skills. Maine’s Career and Technical Education centers, community colleges and state universities use the ACCUPLACER® extensively to track achievement and to determine course placements. For more information go to theMaine DOE Accuplacer Page.
Adults in Maine who want to go to community college, as well as some of the other public Universities, may need to take the placement test Accuplacer. This process is designed to evaluate readiness for college level work. Individual colleges and universities administer the tests, so just ask if it’s a requirement that applies to you and if so, when, where and how you can take the test. If you’re nervous about these placement tests, talk with your local adult education office or College Transitions counselor.
What are all of these Certificate Programs?
Educational institutions listed on this site offer multiple certificates in addition to degrees. Certificates are typically awarded after course work is completed within a specific focused area of study. Certificates listed on this site are undergraduate or graduate level, and credit or non-credit.
For Credit Certificates: Students taking a for-credit certificate program may be working towards either a career/technical certificate or degree program, or are taking courses that will be eligible to transfer for a program at another college or university. In some cases, students take courses that are offered for credit for personal reasons or skills updating, even if they do not need the college credit.
Non-credit Certificates: Non-credit certificate students are taking courses for personal or professional interest. These courses do not offer college credit, but in some cases community education students can earn continuing education units, certification or other evidence of class completion to meet personal or professional requirements.
Graduate & Under-Graduate Certificates: You may also notice some certificates are graduate level, and some under-graduate level. The graduate certificates are presumably more intensive than the undergraduate certificates. The main noticeable difference between the two is that graduate certificates likely require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite.
How do I apply for Financial Aid?
Explore ways that you can pay for school by going directly to the financial aid page of this site.
What is PLA or prior learning assessment?
Prior Learning Assessment or PLA is a way that you can receive college credit for what you’ve learned through work experience. This can save you time and money if you’re planning to get a college degree by eliminating the number of classes you may need to take. Colleges and universities in Maine have different methods of awarding credit based on each school’s academic requirements.
Can I get any college credit for time I’ve spent on the job?
Many adults who didn’t start college, or haven’t completed a degree, have a lot of direct, on-the-job experience from the years they’ve spent in the workforce. Some institutions will evaluate your on the job experience to see if you qualify for some college credits based on what you’ve already learned in the workplace. This process is called Prior Learning Assessment or PLA.
Colleges and universities in Maine have different methods of awarding credit based on each school’s academic requirements.
How do I apply for admission?
Every institution has an admissions office that you can contact by phone or email. Most, if not all, institutions allow you to apply online directly from their websites. The institutions listed in this website all have admissions contact information listed. If you’re not sure what the admissions requirements are, you should contact the admissions office directly for more information.
Applications for admission vary from school to school. Some are simple forms to fill out, and some are more involved. A typical application might include an application form to gather information about you, letters of reference, and an essay.
What’s the difference between a Bachelor’s and an Associate’s degree?
An associate’s degree is usually a two year degree that may provide a more general education. Sometimes the topic of the degree is more specific, but a two year associate’s degree in Business would be more general than a four year bachelor’s degree in business for example. You need a high school diploma (typically) to start an associate’s.
A bachelor’s degree is a four year degree that provides a more detailed education in a field. You can earn a bachelor’s of arts (B.A.), science (B.S.) or any other number of other bachelor’s degrees. You need a high school diploma (typically) to start a bachelor’s degree. If you have an associate’s degree, often times you can transfer credits from your associate’s to reduce the cost and time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree.
What if I need help – are there real people to talk to or interact with? What about with online colleges and universities?
- Virtually every college or university will have counselors and people to help you along the way. The best thing to do is start with people in the admissions office, and they will help you weigh your options as well as connect you with college and career counselors moving forward. (You can find admissions office contact information on this site for each institution listed here.)
- Regarding online programs: Every online program at each college or university is different and will have varying degrees of interaction and guidance. You should always contact the admissions office and find out how the program functions, what the expectations are, how much time you may need to set aside for work at home. Ask to speak to a faculty member or advisor if you don’t get all of the details you need from the admissions office.
I already have a busy schedule. Where can I get a degree that will be recognized online?
There are many institutions in Maine that offer online courses, including:
The University of Maine System.
Maine Community Colleges are offering more and more online courses.
Although Beal College does not offer online classes, they do have a unique ‘mod’ schedule that allows many busy students to take advantage of their programs.
Husson University is offering many business classes online.
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine – Online.
Southern New Hampshire University Online has graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs.
Thomas College offers many programs in online, classroom, or hybrid format.
University of New England has multiple online options
How do I know what school to choose?
Once you have a sense of your interests and careers or positions you’d like to pursue, you can search for degree programs, certificates, or training programs that will help you become qualified. You can search some programs on this site, go to the websites of institutions closest to you, or look at the entire list of schools in Maine.
Research the Institutions to ensure that they are accredited. The federal Department of Education has a list of nationally recognized accreditation agencies. Most schools will have accreditation credentials listed on their website, but if not you should call and ask them.
Compare these programs based on your schedule, what you can afford, and any other factors that are most important to you – such as class size, the reputation of the faculty, or job placement services.
What should I study?
Explore your interests and what you can study to turn those interests into employment or a career. The US Department of Labor has several sites to help you explore your interests and skills, and connect them to jobs available: Visit Career One Stop.
Can I afford to go to college?
Explore ways that you can pay for school by going directly to the financial aid page of this site.
How do I know if I’m ready for college?
First of all: if you’re not sure you’re ready, that’s okay. You are not alone. Just don’t get stuck in this moment; you can take some practical steps to find out if you might be ready, and if so, how to proceed.
Your first step should be to talk with someone at your local adult education program. In many areas, career and educational counseling is available. The college transitions program is available in all 16 counties, which is an excellent way to explore your options and prepare in a practical way before you decide. Visit Maine Adult Education.
Explore your interests and what you can study to turn those interests into employment or a career. The US Department of Labor has several sites to help you explore your interests, your skills, and jobs available: Visit Career One Stop.
Evaluate the time you have available: how much time do you have for school, and what options will fit your schedule? Next Step Maine has compiled information about programs that have flexible schedules or formats, but you can also explore college or university sites directly to see all of their offerings – particularly if you’re able to attend school full time.
Figure out what you can afford and where you will get your best value. Go to the financial aid section of this website, or directly to the Finance Authority of Maine, to begin to explore what you can afford.