F.A.Q.s


About Midcoast Senior College | Senior College Courses | Membership | Costs & Registration | Volunteers | Other Programs | Miscellaneous Notes

About Midcoast Senior College

Q: What is Midcoast Senior College (hereafter as MSC)?
A: We are a nonprofit program for older adults headquartered, as of June 25, 2014, at the Brunswick Center of Southern New Hampshire University, 10 Tibbetts Drive, Suite 210, in Brunswick (near Cooks Corner and Wal-Mart).  Parking and our entrance are at the rear of the building.  We are one of eighteen autonomous, self-governing senior colleges in the State.  We serve the area from Damariscotta to Freeport and inland towards Augusta.

Q: What is the purpose of MSC?
A: Our mission statement: to provide non-credit academic courses and other educational events for people 50 years and older to continue lifelong learning.

Q: How do I contact MSC?
A: Our office is located in Suite 210, on the second floor of the Brunswick Center of Southern New Hampshire University, 10 Tibbetts Drive, Brunswick, Maine. Tel: (207) 725-4900.  Parking and our entrance are at the rear of the building.  Note: Our office is not staffed at all times. When you phone Senior College you may be asked to leave a message that will be answered within 24 hours, or you can e-mail us at info@midcoastseniorcollege.org.

Q: How do I get on your mailing list?
A: Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) with your name and address.  Or, fill out the handy mailing list form on our home page.  You can also call us (725-4900) with your information.  Once on the mailing list, you will receive advance information about course offerings, lecture series, public programs, and special events.

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Senior College Courses

Q: What kind of courses do you offer?
A: Course offerings are from across the arts and sciences spectrum, with special emphasis on the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Here is a sampling of courses we have offered since our founding in 2000.

Q: Do I have to join Senior College in order to take courses?
A: Yes, you must be a member to take courses.  One becomes a member of MSC by paying the semester membership fee of $15.  Course fees are additional.

Q: Is there a cost if I want to take a Senior College course?
A: Yes, in addition to the semester $15 membership fee, each course has its own fee, based on the length of the course.  See below, under Costs and Registration. Check our Course Information page each semester for a list of current courses and fees.

Q: Are there requirements for taking courses at MSC?
A: The only requirement for membership is having reached age 50 or older. The spouse or partner of a member may also join and register regardless of age.  Our courses welcome all persons 50 years and older, regardless of educational background, race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin.

Q. Are there any prerequisites for taking courses at MSC?
A: There are no individual course prerequisites.

Q.  Do I have to take any exams?
A.  No, there are no required exams in our courses.  However, there may be homework assignments in some courses.

Q: How can I learn what courses will be offered each semester?
A: Fall semester course titles and descriptions are enclosed in the June newsletter and published on our website.  Spring semester course information appears in the December newsletter and on our website. Course information is also available at the main campus in Brunswick, The Highlands in Topsham, and Thornton Oaks in Brunswick.

Q: Can I get credit for a Senior College course?
A: No; all our courses are not-for-credit offerings, without exams or term papers.

Q: When are Senior College courses held and what is their duration?
A: We offer four, five, six, seven, and eight-week classes in the fall semester (early September to early November) and in the spring semester (early March to early May). Beginning in 2011, we offer occasional online courses — particularly helpful for students unable to attend classes at our various locations.

Q: How often do classes meet in each course?
A: All courses meet for two consecutive hours each week.  Some courses may include one or more field trips, as indicated in the course description.  Online courses have no set meeting times.

Q: Where are Senior College courses held?
A: Most classes are held at the Brunswick Center of Southern New Hampshire University, 10 Tibbetts Drive, Suite 210, in Brunswick (near Cooks Corner).  Parking and our entrance are at the rear of the building. Among other locations are Thornton Oaks in Brunswick, The Highlands in Topsham, Curtis Memorial Library In Brunswick, Patten Free Library in Bath, and Sunnybrook Village in Brunswick. (See Directions for more information)

Q: Who teaches your courses?
A: Our Instructors are drawn from area residents.  While many have had teaching careers on college campuses or at private or public schools, others may be from business, medical professionals, lawyers, artists, and more.  As of Spring 2017, 148 different instructors have offered courses at MSC; 51 of them are still active.

Q: How does one apply to teach a MSC course?
A: Click here for more information.                                          

Q: How many students take MSC courses?
A: In our first full year of classes (2001), we enrolled 286 students. In our most recent semester, we offered 21 courses in which 495 students enrolled for a total of 594 enrollments.

Q: Whom do I contact if I have questions about a particular course?
A: Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org), and we’ll forward it to the appropriate person.

Q: What’s it like to take a Senior College course?
A: Instructors give no tests, no grades, and no earned credits.  Participation in discussion is voluntary.  Because the lower age level is 50, our classes often contain two generations.  Thus, students’ points of view show wide variation, itself an avenue to new knowledge and perspectives

Q: How much reading is required in each course?
A: Assignments vary, depending on the nature and content of the course.  However, In most courses, students are provided with one or more books, and/or copied handout materials (cost is covered by tuition).  Reading materials are made available the first day of classes.  These are for background information and used as the basis for discussion.  Art courses may require additional purchase of supplies.  If the instructor wishes students to prepare an initial reading before the first class meeting, materials will either be mailed to students or made available on our website at least one week before class begins.

Q: Can I choose to do extra work in a course?
A: Often as early as the second or third week, instructors may provide a list of additional but optional resources which may be available in a local library, bookstore, or on our or another website.

Q: What is an online course?
A: Students who are unable to attend classes at our various locations can use computers and the Internet to converse with each other and with the instructor without leaving their homes.  Senior College  piloted an online course in Fall 2011 and is planning future online courses from time-to-time.

Q: What computer skills do I need to take an online course?
A: No special computer skills are necessary.  If you use e-mail and are familiar with web surfing, you’ll have all the skills you need. Instructions will be provided before the first class. Each student logs into the course, which is  password protected, to find the week’s assignment and material to read.  The instructor posts questions in a forum to start the discussion going, and everyone joins in as time allows.  Thus the course does not meet at a set time — rather students can come and go, and post ideas and reactions to the ideas of others, whenever they wish.

Q: How do I register for an online course?
A: Registration for an online course is no different from registration for any other course.  You must be a Member and pay the individual course fee. See Costs and Registration (below) for more details.

Q: Can I evaluate a course that I’ve taken?
A: On the final day of classes, students are asked to give written anonymous comments that provide feedback about the course and make suggestions for new topics they believe would enhance the curriculum.

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Membership

Q: How do I become a member of MSC?
A: There is no admission procedure at MSC other than registering for a course. The semester $15 membership fee is paid when you register for courses in the spring or fall semester.  If you wish, you can be a semester member without taking a course.

Q: Do I have to be a member to attend the Winter Wisdom or Summer Wisdom lectures, the DaPonte Quartet presentations, and the Current Events Forum?
A: No; those public programs are open to everyone and are free of charge.

Q: What are the advantages of membership?
A: MSC members receive these benefits:
• attendance in classes of your choice (note, however, that some courses have limited enrollment)
• mailed copies of our newsletter, The Midcoast Inquirer, that is published three or four times each year.
• social interaction with other students
• participation at the annual Spring Luncheon and Business Meeting
• advance notice of special events
• opportunities for volunteering: e.g., serving on a committee and/or on the Board of Directors, assisting with program administration, and more
• automatic membership in all of the senior colleges in our statewide Network. For example, if you wanted to take a class at another Senior College, you would pay only tuition for the course.

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Costs and Registration

Q: What does it cost to take a course?
A: 

Semester Membership Fee$15.00
Each 8-week course (includes books and/or materials)$56.00
Each 7-week course (includes books and/or materials)$49.00
Each 6-week course (includes books and/or materials)$42.00
Each 5-week course (includes books and/or materials)$35.00
Each 4-week course (includes books and/or materials)$28.00

Q: How do I find out what courses are offered?
A: Information about fall semester courses is enclosed in the June newsletter and published on our website; information about spring semester courses appears in the December newsletter and on our website. Course information is also available at the main campus in Brunswick, The Highlands in Topsham, and Thornton Oaks in Brunswick.

Q: Is it easy to register for courses?
A: Yes, to register online for any course, simply click the “Register” button on the course list page.  You can also register by phone, or by walk in to our office.  See the Costs & Registration page for details.

Q: How many courses may I register for?
A: You may register for as many courses as you wish.

Q: What happens if too many people sign up for a course?
A: Assignments to classes are made each business day on a first come, first-served basis.  If on any single day, a course is oversubscribed, an impartial lottery system based on computer-generated, randomly-assigned numbers determines who is placed in that course, who is placed on the wait list, and in what order.  If  a student withdraws from a course, his/her seat is filled by the next person on the waiting list.

Q: What if I don’t get into one of my first-choice courses?
A: Registrants who are not enrolled in one if their first choice courses will be will be notified by phone or email.

Q: How do I know if I got into one of my first-choice course(s)?
A: We’ll notify you when you are confirmed in a class.

Q: What happens if I register for two or more courses in a single semester and don’t get into any?
A. You will be assigned to a seat in your first choice of courses in the immediate next semester.

Q: What is the refund policy if I can’t get into a course, or I can’t attend a course I registered for, or if I don’t like a course?

  • If you register for a course but are not assigned to it, you may either apply that tuition to another course or receive a refund for the tuition fee and, if not registered for another course, the membership fee.
  • If you drop a course prior to the beginning of classes, you will receive a full refund of the course fee if you return the course books unused and unmarked.  The membership fee is nonrefundable.
  • If you drop a course after its first class, you will not receive a refund, and the membership fee is nonrefundable.

Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Limited tuition waivers are available for 2 classes per year (one per semester) per person.  To apply, send a letter to Midcoast Senior College, Attn: Chair, Admin Committee, 10 Tibbett’s Drive, Suite 210, Brunswick ME 04011.  If you prefer, you may e-mail it to us: info@midcoastseniorcollege.org.

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Volunteers

Q: Can I volunteer at MSC?
A: Yes, we have a variety of volunteer opportunities available, including serving on our Board or its various committees, assisting in course registration and other administrative tasks, acting as liaison in classrooms, helping out with lectures, luncheons, and other events.  Use skills you already have or develop new ones.

Q: Is there a minimum number of hours for a volunteer?
A: No; you can help for a few hours occasionally or devote more time as you become interested and involved in what we do.

Q: How do I become a MSC volunteer?
A: Call and leave a message (725-4900); e-mail us (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org); mail us your name and information (10 Tibbetts Dr., Suite 210, Brunswick 04011) or give it to the course volunteer in your class.

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Public Programs

Q: What else does MSC offer besides courses?
A: We offer five other programs open to the public and Special Events for members only:

1. Winter Wisdom is our lecture series commencing in early January.  It consists of six programs combining lecture (often illustrated) with discussion.  The programs are on consecutive Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. These programs are free and open to the public.  Watch for announcements in the December newsletter, on our website, in local newspapers, and elsewhere.
Winter Wisdom Storm Cancellation Policy — if the Brunswick schools are closed because of inclement weather, our scheduled Winter Wisdom lecture is postponed to a later date.

2. Summer Wisdom is similar to our winter program and consists of four or five lectures held at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings in the month of June, also at Curtis Library and open to the public.  Announcement of this series appears in the April newsletter, on our website, and elsewhere.

3. Current Events Forum, in conjunction with Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, is offered each Thursday throughout the year.  It is free and open to the public.

4. DaPonte String Quartet.  An annual performance concert is offered each fall at the Curtis Library.

5. Excursions and Special Events are supported by our Special Events Committee.  They have included day-long summer excursions to museums, art galleries, theatres, and historical sites.  Occasionally during semesters we conduct weekend workshops.  In June, MSC hosts a festive luncheon and annual meeting for students and faculty from the previous fall and/or spring courses.

Q: If I sign up for a summer excursion, can I take a friend who is younger than 50?
A: Yes; a spouse or a guest may be younger.

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Miscellaneous Notes About MSC

Q: What if I can’t drive?
A: Unfortunately we are unable to make car pooling arrangements. However, our students frequently make arrangements on their own.  Those living in community residences may be able to arrange for a van.  Check with you local events coordinator.
Students unable to attend classes at our various locations should inquire if an online course is available that semester.

Q: Does the Tibbetts Drive campus offer handicapped access?
A:  Yes.  The entrance at the rear of the building easily accommodates wheelchairs, as does the elevator to the 2nd floor classrooms and office.

Q: How many courses does MSC offer each semester?
A:  Currently, we offer approximately 20 to 28 courses each semester with over 490 students.

Q: Who runs MSC?
A: MSC, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is administered by an Board of Directors of 15 MSC members that meets monthly for planning and policy decisions.  The Board has standing committees for administration, curriculum, development, finance, membership, nominating, policy, public relations, special events, technology and volunteers.  Our day-to-day operations are run by volunteers.  Indeed, all of our instructors, board and committee members, and most administrative staff are unpaid volunteers.  The good spirit of our endeavor becomes apparent.

Q: How do I apply to teach a course at MSC?
A: Read our New Faculty Information page first.  Further questions?  Contact us by e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) or  regular mail (10 Tibbetts Drive, Suite 210, Brunswick ME 04011) with your background information and course proposal.  Our Curriculum Committee makes final decisions about curriculum matters.

Q: How often is your newsletter published?
A: The Midcoast Inquirer is published three or four times each year and is mailed to more than 1,200 seniors.

Q: What is your storm cancellation policy?
A: We are closed when the Brunswick schools are delayed or closed.  Students who have a scheduled class during a storm or pending storm should check their local radio or TV station re Brunswick school closing. In addition,  instructors may wish to establish a system of e-mail notification and/or a phone tree.

Q: Does MSC have a cafeteria for its students?
A: No we do not operate cafeteria services.  There is a restaurant within walking distance of the SNHU campus.

Q: What parking is provided?
A: That depends on the location of your classes.  For classes at our Tibbetts Drive campus, the parking lot is located just behind the right side of the main building; entrance to our facilities is at the back of the building.  There is no parking on  Tibbetts Drive.  Avoid a ticket.
For parking at our off-site locations, see our Directions page.

Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: Smoking is not permitted within 50 feet from the entrance doors to the Tibbetts Drive campus.  Smoking at the other venues that we use is governed by their policies.

Q: Who can attend the spring luncheon?
A: All faculty are invited to the luncheon, along with students enrolled in courses in the Spring and the previous Fall semesters.  Sign up by telephone at 725-4900 or by e-mail.

Q: Can I make a financial contribution to the work of MSC?
A: Yes, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, we welcome your financial support of our endeavors. Visit the Support MSC page for full information.

Q. What is the Wheeler/Thompson Award?
A: The Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award was established by the Board in 2009 in honor of the two co-founders of Midcoast Senior College, Nancy Wheeler and Jack Thompson.  Past and present Members/Students of MSC, faculty, staff and others who have supported the Senior College in significant ways are eligible for the award.  Sitting members of the Board of Directors are not eligible.

Q: Can I nominate someone for the Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award?
A: Yes; follow this link to the Founders’ Award page for details on how to nominate someone.

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