Among the backdrop of the University of Maine during spring is not only the mall becoming inundated with slacklines and people tossing frisbees, but also a plethora of fourth-year high school students with invitations to join UMaine’s class of 2022.
Certainly, Accepted Students Day and the admissions process surrounding it pose serious problems for many on campus. Transportation and parking have become increasingly difficult for commuter students, and while the class sizes for incoming first-year students keep getting bigger, university infrastructure keeps dwindling.
However, Accepted Students Day also provides campus with unique opportunities — and not just for graduate students. Undergrads are encouraged to participate in the events in order to facilitate a sense of community and inclusion for incoming first-year students.
“Having undergraduates participate in Accepted Students Day is essential, nothing is more powerful as a recruitment tool than for a student considering attending UMaine to hear the true student perspective from a current UMaine black bear,” Christopher Richards said.
Richards is the Director of Recruitment for the University of Maine and says the responses to Accepted Students Day from attendees “are overwhelmingly positive.”
“Over and over again, we hear the statement that people are incredibly welcoming [and] that everyone is ‘just so nice,’” Richards said. “Our student ambassador program which does campus tours, staffs tables to answer questions, speak in information sessions, help with parking and work as a the general welcoming committee for the institution.”
“I got involved with Team Maine through the club fair. I saw that they were tabling, and I was interested because I knew that was the group that ran the summer orientation,” Megan Arsenault wrote.
This is Arsenault’s first year with Team Maine, and she says the group accepted her with open arms. “Team Maine’s role during Accepted Students Day is to show prospective students around our campus, and to make them feel welcomed and excited about the college transition,” Arsenault wrote. “I am more than proud to be a part of that!”
Brian McDougal, a prospective student that attended Accepted Students Day on March 26, said, “I was given a very close-knit community from the student body, which took me by surprise because it is such a big campus.”
“My tour of campus was led by a very energetic UMaine student. She showed us through the campus, not only throwing statistics our way, but also providing personal stories that really gave the campus a home atmosphere as we went along,” McDougal said.
“I think Team Maine helps first-year students in many ways. In my personal experience, Team Maine has helped ease the anxiety of meeting new people,” Arsenault writes.
As much as we like to act like Accepted Students Day is a massive inconvenience to us and our routines, and considering we were once in the shoes of the very people that (admittedly) might be taking up our precious commuter parking spaces, Accepted Students Day gives students at the University of Maine unique opportunity to help build and bolster a robust sense of community amid a relatively large university. Everyone can do something to get involved. The first step is smiling at the people in the tour groups in the library. Be nice, reach out and help.
“Whether it is realized or not, every single student on our campus has the opportunity to make a difference in whether or not a student decides to attend UMaine, and I’m proud to say our campus community as a whole has been doing an excellent job,” Richards said.
“As soon as I got out of my car I looked across the parking lot and saw Team Maine right in front of the doors leading into the auditorium dancing, smiling and welcoming everyone in. Seeing students that early with that much energy because they are so devoted to their school shows in great lengths how much school spirit the University of Maine has,” McDougal said.
The last of the Accepted Students Day events will take place on Monday, April 9 and Friday, April 13. Commuter students are encouraged to plan ahead when it comes to getting on campus as traffic and parking will be chaotic amidst the arrival of perspective students, the incoming of the latter nervously await what comes next in the subsequent chapter of their life.