Office of International Programs
Determining Which Students are a Good Match for USM
- It is important to the University of Southern Maine that we receive applications from students who are a good match for USM so that we are not wasting anyone’s time or money in the process or bringing students here who are looking for things we don’t offer.
- Does USM have the student’s major/ program of interest? Ensuring USM has the appropriate major or department for the students study is a crucial first step. USM has more than 115 areas of study for students to consider.
To see a full list of undergraduate majors, programs and concentrations please visit the USM Undergraduate Academics website.
To see a full list of USM’s Master’s degrees visit the USM Graduate Academics website. For graduate students it is extremely important that we not only have the department a student is interested in, but more specifically the exact field they are hoping to focus on.
- Does the student meet USM’s application criteria? For undergraduate applicants there are very clear cut minimums that students must meet to be considered for admission. Please do not send us students that fall below these minimums. You will find a detailed outline of the application minimums on the admission pages. For graduate applicants there are minimum requirements for standardized tests and various programs may also have their own major specific requirements. Please review the graduate admission pages for guidance as to individual programs and what type of students they are looking for.
- Does the student have a particular part of the U.S. in mind or prefer a big city over a small town? Of course we all feel that academics should come first, but some students are very sure of the part of the U.S. they would prefer to study in and also the size of the town. The University of Southern Maine is located in the northeastern part of the US with close proximity to Boston, New York and Canada. There are three campuses: Portland, Gorham and Lewiston Auburn. Maine offers the benefits of both rural and city living. Portland has a population of 64,000 while the metro Portland area has a population of 230,000.
Portland, Maine’s largest city is a dynamic creative community overlooking the islands of Casco Bay. Portland’s art scene, dining, shopping and recreation opportunities are comparable to cities twice its size, but USM students thrive in its friendly, relaxed small town pace. Portland is nationally rated for outdoor recreation and is known as one of the safest cities in which to live in the US. Gorham is USM’s oldest campus and home to our student residence halls. This beautiful tree-lined campus has a mixture of historical brick buildings and modern architecture and lab facilities
- Does the student value personal attention at a smaller sized institution or prefer a very large campus setting? The University of Southern Maine is a mid-sized, public university with a focus on personal attention. Many students appreciate the personal attention they receive in the classrooms here and the student to faculty ratio of 15:1 At large institutions students must compete for faculty time and attention, even graduate students. At USM all students, undergraduate and graduate, have opportunities for direct interaction with faculty and for participation in research projects.
- How much money does the student have to spend on education? It is important for students to have a clear picture of what their education at USM will cost over the term of their degree program. We want to be honest with them up front so that students do not get stuck in a bad situation of not being able to complete a program.
- Does the student enjoy the arts, food and outdoor activities? Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, mountains, and lakes provide students with recreational opportunities year round. Maine is also fortunate to benefit from four glorious seasons, including a colorful fall and quintessential American summer. While other parts of the country simply turn cold in the winter, Maine benefits from picturesque snowfall that is perfect for skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing.
The city of Portland is home to a wide array of arts and culture events including dancing, music and theater. Portland also has a large number of restaurants, 2nd in the US for the number of restaurants per capita including a variety of ethnic cuisines and of course, fresh, local seafood.
We believe that Maine has much to offer and is a great first stop for international students who are coming to the US for the first time. After a semester in Maine, you won’t be surprised that Maine’s unofficial slogan is Maine: the Way Life Should Be!