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I am a third year English Major at the University of Maine. In my free time I can be found playing rugby, working out, or enjoying a good book.

 Fall enrollment numbers for the 2021-2022 academic year at the University of Maine have grown from the enrollment totals from the previous four years. With a sense of renewed hope for the fall semester to return to normal, UMaine has seen an increase in interest in students returning to campus.

After making announcements for a plan to return fully to in-person classes in the upcoming fall semester back in March, UMaine has seen an uptick in interest in enrollment. The promise of a traditional college experience seems to have influenced a number of students to either return for the semester, or to enroll for the first time at UMaine.

The university received around 25,000 first time enrollment applications from students around the country. The applicants who have already submitted enrollment deposits, according to University of Maine System spokesman Dan Demerritt, represent 48 states, 24 countries and reflect a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Among those enrolled, there are valedictorians and salutatorians from fourteen counties around Maine.

“Students and their success comes first at our universities,” Chancellor Dannel Malloy told News Center Maine. “Our plans for returning to normalcy this fall include a promise to do whatever it takes to make sure Maine students and their families have a chance to pursue their college dreams.”

UMaine also implemented a new application and enrollment processes to encourage a greater number of students to attend the university. This process expedited the turnaround of acceptance and scholarship award information for students, and provided interested students with virtual information sessions and COVID-19 safe in-person tours around campus.

UMaine still intends to enforce social distancing practices and keep up COVID-19 testing on campus to fully ensure the safety of returning students in the fall. Students are excited for the potential to return to a sense of normalcy in the upcoming semester.

“I am excited to be returning in the fall. I hope the university is good at following safety precautions because that’s important,” Alex Mackay, a third-year political science student said.“I’m looking forward to having in-person classes as I believe students learn better in person.The atmosphere of campus will be a lot more positive with more students returning in the fall.” 

Amanda Popadack, a third-year biology student, touched upon the potential for a safer and more comfortable environment on campus for students with the vaccine being available for citizens over the age of 18.

“I think it will be more lively than this past year and that will be nice, as long as people try to get vaccinated before they come back,”Popadack said. As the unprecedented and unusual 2020-2021 academic year draws to a close, the university and its students hold out hope for a brighter and happier return to campus in the fall.