Maine College Circle Empowering the next generation of Maine . . . through aspirations, education, and effort.

The Maine Pre-Degree Program

Over 20 years of talking with rural Maine students about the opportunity of higher education, I have been inspired by the excitement and motivation of elementary school students. And, I am always disappointed to see most of that excitement and motivation seems to be gone in high school juniors and seniors. If we are serious about helping our students get a better education and build a brighter future, and helping our communities have a brighter economic future, we must find a way to capture and nourish that enthusiasm and that great potential that shines in elementary school. No economic policy has as much potential to build a brighter future for our state and its rural communities. — Bob Stuart, Director, Maine College Circle.

After receiving a Future of Maine scholarship, or after being recommended by a teacher, students will have the opportunity to pursue an incremental, age-appropriate curriculum, elementary school through high school. Each Pre-Degree Level will include 1) independent study, 2) research with a written or oral report, and 3) a local component where students will extend their learning locally. As an example, a fourth grader who has articulated her interest in a career as a doctor will study and learn the parts of the body, then interview a local doctor, then research 10 different kinds of doctors, then research and write a paper on the five most common medical issues in her community. All this will be submitted to the host college, by the student and his or her mentors, for review and approval by the college. Then the student will receive a Maine Pre-Degree Level 1 Recognition from that post-secondary program.

We expect our initial focus to be on careers in nursing, medicine, teaching, wildlife and conversation law enforcement, marine science, automotive technology, art, and criminal justice – the careers most often identified by students in grades 3 – 6.