While the seven campuses of the University of Maine System have different criteria for admission and placement, they all share a common understanding of what comprises an optimal, college-ready high school transcript. Students who succeed in college and graduate on time usually have the following high school preparation in the core academic areas:
- Four years of English courses that incorporate a variety of texts (fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoirs, journalism) and that emphasize expository and analytic writing skills.
- Four years of math courses that include at least algebra I and II, geometry, and a 12th-grade college-preparatory math course that provides a solid foundation in quantitative and algebraic reasoning. For those students planning to major in mathematics, science, or a technical or professional field that requires advanced math skills, a pre-calculus or calculus course is strongly recommended.
- At least three years of laboratory science – offered as either separate courses or as integrated core classes – that include the study of biology, chemistry, and physics. Science courses should emphasize the writing of technical reports and the quantitative representations and analyses of data.
- At least three years of history and social science in courses that emphasize the reading of primary and secondary texts, the writing of analytic and expository essays, and the use of quantitative data and research findings.
- At least two years of study in a language other than English.