By Amanda Swart, Contributing Writer 

When applying to colleges as an expected education major, you always seem to be asked the same question: will you be going to UMF? It’s emphasized by parents, teachers and guidance counselors that UMF is the best place to go to become a teacher. While this may be true, this kind of hype can cloud your judgement. It is important not to be so distracted by this feature of the university that you forget to look at what other colleges may be offering. You definitely don’t want to find yourself looking back and wondering if you might be missing out on what another school may have to offer.

Senior elementary education major at Husson University, Chantel Poland, had trouble deciding where to go when she was applying to schools. “My number one choice was Wheelock College, however it was too expensive. Right after I figured out I couldn’t afford it I went to Husson for a tour,” said Poland. “I met a few of the professors and instantly fell in love with the program.” For her, the best part of Husson was how early they put you out into the field; starting with doing clinicals during your freshman year, racking up three 30 hour practicums and then student teaching in your final semester.

While the program at Husson does not offer as many concentrations as Poland wishes they did, she says, “comparing my program to other schools I think that Husson University prepares us more than other Universities,” adding, “I considered UMF but didn’t think they offered as much field experience.” At UMF you take practicum during your sophomore year and then student teach in your senior year, plus an additional ‘advanced practicum’ is required for elementary education majors.

Senior art education major at the University of Southern Maine (USM), Michael Rice, said he was drawn to USM because of how they emphasized their focus in both education and art. Although he also considered going to the Maine College of Art (MECA) he felt, “they concentrated more on the arts than the education, where USM focused more on both.”

For Rice, the art program that drew him to USM is also what lead him away from UMF. “I did consider UMF as a school, but I was not entirely impressed with their art program,” Rice said. “Once I visited USM, I knew that this was the school that I wanted to attend.” Rice believes that while UMF offers concentrations such as social sciences, english, math and science, they do not have as strong of a focus on their art programs.

It is easy to get caught up in the reputation of a college, and while other people’s advice may be valid, you should never let what other people say cloud your judgement. It is up to you to your own research, form your own opinions and find the school that will be the best fit for you.