What students have to say about the Bachelor of University Studies

photo of Melanie BerryMy experience with the Bachelor of University Studies program at the University of Maine has been incredible! It first began in 2005 with a random visit to the Hutchinson Center. I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful man who reminded me of my own educational goals, how much I had already accomplished and how obtainable my bachelor’s degree really was. I was given credit for most all of the classes I had taken throughout my adult life – even the computer/DOS class in the early 1990s! After a few years (around 2008), I had to pause once again, challenged by the work-parent-wife-school balance.

Unfortunately, I put finishing my degree, not just on the back burner, but in the back corner of the cupboard to collect dust. I had resigned myself to be okay with this goal not being achieved. Shame on me – especially when this program allows so much flexibility! Just before I turned 50 (in 2018) and after talking to a co-worker of the same age who was going back to school, taking advantage of the Adult Degree Scholarship, I realized that the time to do this is NOW. Our daughter is grown (23) with a child of her own (our grandson Arlo, just a couple of months old). My husband and I had finally found our groove with the whole empty nest thing, and work was manageable and extremely supportive, so back to school I went! I didn’t realize how close I was to my degree; over 80 credits completed of my required 120.

From the moment I made the decision to finally finish what I started, I have been surrounded by an incredible support system – from help finding financial aid/scholarships, to understanding what I have left to take to finish my degree. EVERY department at the University of Maine has been kind, supportive and optimistic.

I love that, by December 2021 (hopefully), I will be a graduate of the University of Maine, with a Bachelor of University Studies, Division of Lifelong Learning degree. A true Maine Black Bear! This program is an opportunity for adult learners to finish what they started and achieve the long- term goal of a bachelor’s degree.

– Melanie Berry

photo of Theresa McMannusEarning my B.U.S. allowed me the opportunity to advance in my career. After I received my bachelor’s degree, I was recruited for a salaried position based on my knowledge of event planning at a higher education institution. With the confidence that came with finally having my degree, I did not hesitate at the opportunity to enter a career I love.

– Theresa McMannus
Assistant Director of UMaine Conferences and Institutes

photo of Adam MoskovitzThe B.U.S. degree allowed me to mold together a program that I’m comfortable with. The diverse program lets me choose more classes that I will use in the real world. The program’s flexibility is key to the program and my success.

– Adam Moskovitz

photo of Brian MullisI feel my biggest mistake in returning to the University was that I did not look into this program first.  I would encourage anyone considering a return to college to contact the University Studies program.  The classes have been challenging but for the most part interesting, enjoyable, and accommodating.  What has been a huge help and in my opinion the true strength of the program is the faculty and staff of University Studies in how they help the non-traditional student navigate an often rocky and confusing path to graduation. Read more from Brian Mullis.

photo of Chad Caron As a military veteran, a family man, and a business leader – UMaine’s Bachelor of University Studies program, with its flexible schedule & online curriculum, has been essential to my continued educational success. This program opens up real possibilities for so many “non-traditional” students to further their education and open the door to new possibilities to better their lives. The friendly and supportive program staff are there to help you succeed. The curriculum is thought-provoking and engaging.

– Chad Caron

photo of Vicki RusbultI can tailor the program to meet my areas of interest, and have the flexibility to build a program that was exciting for me.

– Vicki Rusbult

photo of Shawn SmithReturning to college after so many years was quite a decision to commit to. However, once I met with my B.U.S. adviser and went through my old transcripts, I was amazed at how easy it was to enroll and begin classes again. Once classes started, I quickly realized that they are structured to be very flexible, as long as I met each weekly deadline. I have even taken two accelerated classes so far during Summer University and Winter Session. Although that was an everyday commitment and a lot of work, it was very manageable. I chose the Leadership Track, which fits nicely with my career. I have taken six classes and have enjoyed every one of them. As a 47-year-old, I have a different perspective on issues, which makes a difference in my classwork and reaching my degree goal. I can’t thank the B.U.S. faculty and staff enough for helping me get started and answering my questions along the way. This is an excellent program. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to be part of the University of Maine once again.

– Shawn Smith

Photo of Walter GrenierOne of the most important and enduring facets of my life has been my education. I consider that my formal education began in 1961 when I enrolled at the University of Illinois, in Champaign. It was a wondrous experience for me at the age of 17, and the exposure to biological sciences, literature, the French language, and anthropology and other courses entirely captivated me. I had to work two jobs to put myself through school each of the two years of my attendance there. Eventually, I had to find full-time employment, and my dream of obtaining my bachelor’s degree was placed on hold for twenty-six years due to the demands of full-time employment and then raising a family. Read more from Walter Grenier.

photo of Mason EmeryEarning my B.U.S. gave me the confidence I needed to get a job working for the Office of Information Technology and I’ve since transitioned to working in the private sector for Tyler Technologies, Inc. Without the flexibility of the University Studies program, I may never have completed my degree and entered the workforce.

– Mason Emery
Software Developer at Tyler Technologies, Inc.

Photo of Lauren SterlingI can maintain a fulltime job by enrolling in online classes. The interaction with faculty online is creative and innovative. This has afforded me the opportunity to complete a degree while I work. My B.U.S. degree is designed for value to a variety of systems.

– Lauren Sterling

photo of Tina HedrickThe level of support that I have received at the University of Maine’s B.U.S. program has been more than I could have asked for. From the start, the steps of transferring my previous educational credits were very easy and the process of developing a curriculum has allowed me to incorporate different facets of traditional programs that best matched my interests and career goals. As a “non-traditional” student, online courses provide the best format for my lifestyle and the course options available as a student in the Bachelor of University Studies program have never disappointed. The professors and support staff have always been accommodating. Even living outside of Maine, I have always been able to reach out with questions via email, telephone, or video chat. I began my time at the University of Maine with the goal of completing my degree through the B.U.S. program, but with the support, guidance, and encouragement from my academic adviser, I am considering pursuing a master’s degree. My only regret is that I wish I would have found this program sooner. 

– Tina Hedrick

photo of Holly WoodAfter 40 years, I have made the decision to return to the University of Maine to pursue and complete a degree I started many years ago. As an adult learner in the University Studies program, who hasn’t studied, read or written in an academic sense for many years, this decision was filled with trepidation and anxiety. With great surprise, I have had a wonderful experience where I was engaged and excited by the interesting and challenging online classes. Being part of this program gives me a great sense of accomplishment and personal growth as I am completing the circle at the University of Maine that I started so many years ago.

– Holly Oldenburg Wood

Photo of Kathy HillThe start of a college experience can be daunting for anyone; however, for the non-traditional student who probably has not studied for years, it can be downright frightening! Not only do we worry about academic success, but we also wonder how we will fit in with all of the traditional students and how we will balance school needs with our home lives. Fortunately, UMaine has the Division of Lifelong Learning and the Bachelor of University Studies to aid all non-traditional students. Read more from Kathy Hill.

photo of Joanne YoungI like the online classes because I can sit down anytime for my class. It gives me more choices. Contact with the professor and classmates is easy through e-mails. We can stay in touch.

– Joanne Young

Photo of Jackie JonesMy family and work obligations only permit me to pursue a degree on a part-time basis. The flexibility of the University Studies Program has allowed me to fulfill my educational aspirations in addition to meeting my family and work commitments.

– Jackie Jones