UMF’s Ed360 team recently caught up with Senior Chris Coleman, who is double majoring in Secondary Education and mathematics, to talk with him about his experience as a Transfer Student at UMF. Chris is well known around campus for his role as a Learning Assistant in the Learning Commons where he not only provides supplemental instruction and support for peers, but has also spear-headed a new initiative to provide Peer-Guided Praxis II Prep Sessions. (In short, he ROCKS!)
Chris is a Bangor native and began his college career at a well-known out-of-state Technical Institute with the plan of pursuing a career in engineering. After experiencing a year of large lecture classes with few faculty connections, Chris decided to change his focus to teaching and sought a place where he had access to caring, responsive faculty mentors and a small campus where he could find his niche and be successful.
Why UMF? UMF provided an affordable education with the opportunity to pursue his interests. Chris is an athlete and a musician with an interest in teaching abroad. At UMF, Chris has the opportunity to participate in several different musical ensembles and perform at Open Mic nights. Not only is he pursuing a double major, but he is also completing a minor in French and will be student teaching abroad for 16 weeks in the fall in Daegu, South Korea.
The UMF Experience Chris believes that, although UMF might not have as much funding for flashy student life experiences as larger university, the college makes up for this through the personal connections and tight community that students experience. At UMF, students experience small classes, and have personal connections with faculty who go above and beyond to support them. Chris also mentions the amazing connection that UMF has with the town of Farmington. As a campus embedded in a small town, UMF enjoys access to many local resources and events. Students only have to walk a block or two to find themselves on the main street with its shops and local flavor.
“Transferring here turned out to be the most successful decision I’ve made. The friends and colleagues I’ve made here are irreplaceable, and the town of Farmington works in tandem with the college to create an atmosphere that is incomparable to the big school that I came from. Come to find out that being in a small classroom where everyone knows your name, including the professor, is some of the best motivation I’ve found.”
– Chris Coleman, Senior Secondary Education/Math major & Transfer Student
Challenges that Transfer Students Experience? UMF is always striving to improve its student experience, so we couldn’t leave without asking Chris about the challenges he’s faced and the advice he has for other Transfer Students. Chris reports that “fighting for credit” is one of the most important things that Transfer Students should do. Chris was able to bring with him credit from his first year experience at another school as well as a lot of AP credit from high school–without which, it would have taken him a lot longer to finish his program. Chris also recommends finding and getting to know other Transfer Students who can help navigate the system and be successful.
Suggestions for Improving Transfer Experience? In addition to providing suggestions for future transfer students, Chris also had several ideas for UMF that would help improve the Transfer Student experience. Suggestion 1: Provide a different orientation experience for Transfer Students so that they have their own unique cohort of peers who are in a similar situation as opposed to going through Orientation with the incoming freshmen. Suggestion 2: Set up a team of Transfer Student Ambassadors who can help incoming Transfers to find their way. Great ideas, Chris!
Thank you so much, Chris, for sharing your insights and perspectives! We are honored to have such fantastic students who care so much about making UMF the best place to be and about supporting the success of future students. We wish you all the best in your future and look forward to hearing about your experience student teaching in South Korea!
[Student Spotlight is a special feature highlighting a student in the College of Education, Health & Rehabilitation]