The Promise Scholarship Program serves up to 100 students at the University of Southern Maine. Promise Scholars receive an array of wrap-around services that compliment their multi-year scholarship to ensure their success. Through advising, mentoring, programming, and high-impact engagement, Promise works to empower students with skills and resoures to break down barriers that exist for first-generation and limited-income students.

Promise Scholars are encouraged to develop strategic goals to achieve their educational and career goals. Promise Scholars develop a college success plan (CSP) to articulate and incrementally work towards those goals over their time at USM. While goal development is a primary purpose of the CSP, the form also provides guidance and strategic support around scholars’ four-year pathway to graduation, continued scholarship eligibility, and internship and career opportunities. Promise Scholars regularly meet with the Director of the Promise Scholarship to review their CSP and discuss and strategize how to best meet their stated goals.

High impact experiences are powerful and influential component of the Promise Scholarship Scholarship. Research has underscored the importance of intellectual experienes, internships, service learning, and student engagement and its relation to positive student outcomes including academic achievement, graduation, employment, and pursuit of advanced degrees. However, engagement in high-impact practices is often inequitable, especially among first-generation, limited-income, and students of color. The Promise Scholarship has partnered with many local companies and on-campus initiatives to ensure scholars take advantage of experiences that enrich their college experience. Scholars may apply for funding through the Promise Scholar Endowed Support Fund to take full advantage of these high-impact endeavors.

The Promise Scholarship Program has partnered with TRIO College Programs and Residential Life to offer scholars the exciting opportunity to be a part of the First Generation Student Experience Living Learning Community (LLC). Promise and TRIO Scholars will live on the same floor in this close-knit community in Woodward Hall on the Gorham campus. This LLC offers students, who are typically the first in their family to attend college, to live as part of a community to navigate campus with the support of their peers. Additionally, first-year Promise Scholars who select this LLC will enroll in a connected FYE 101 lab (1 credit) led by staff from the Promise Scholarship Program.

Incoming Promise Scholars are welcomed to campus one week prior to the start of the fall semester for a dynamic program full of team building activities, community service, and workshops. This week-long, residential program takes place in August annually and serves to facilitate Promise Scholars’ transition to USM. Residential Promise Scholars will move directly into their fall assigned room while commuter students will be temporarily housed on-campus for the week. The immersion week is focused on developing an on-campus support system based in service to others and commitment to community as well as preparing for success in the first semester.

Promise Peer Leaders play a pivotal role in acclimating a small group of incoming Promise Scholars to the USM community over the course of their foundational first year. Promise Peer Leaders meet with students one to one or in small groups and check in on goal progress, share resources and networks, help troubleshoot issues when they arise, and create a sense of belonging to the USM community. Promise Peer Leaders also assist in the planning and leading of events that support scholars’ academic, social, and community engagement. Meet our Promise Peer Leaders.

Promise Scholars enroll in a one-credit, first-year “FYE 101” seminar focused on how to navigate USM and make the most of the critical campus resources and connections. Scholars will become familiar with the campus, build skills in academic discourse, time management, and financial literacy, and explore how a strong personal network can promote undergraduate success.