University of Maine at ORONO

Orono, ME: Talk to teenagers anywhere and you’ll get the same message: they would rather go to a private or out-of-state school than a public state school.

A Maine native, I felt some trepidation when I visited the University of Maine at Orono, the main campus of the Maine system. I was amazed by the friendliness and openness of students. Of all the colleges I visited, UMaine students seemed the most eager to talk to prospective students; one group even invited me to eat lunch with them.

The university has one of the top-ranked libraries in the country and is well-known for its engineering programs as well as its college of liberal arts and sciences. It also has the oldest and most prestigious Honors College program in the country. The campus is located on the banks of Stillwater River in a small town that seems perfectly suited for college life; I noticed three take-out restaurants with neon signs that read “Open Late.”

UMaine offers a wide range of majors and minors and has over 100 extra-curricular options.

The clincher for Orono is that it is one of the most affordable colleges for in-state and out-of-state tuition. You can learn more at

Reviewed in 2005