We can count on one thing happening over weekends in December….there is a lot of application reading going on. While we continue to have a number of applications left to review, we have made decisions on more than 8,500 early applications. In ten days, that number will grow to more than 13,000.
What happens when we review an application? The process begins in our operations area where the parts of the application are virtually compiled – the application form, test scores, the transcript (including the counselor recommendation and school profile), letters of recommendation and any additional information such as resumes or other supporting material. Every student has a record in our student information system and images of the documents can be viewed from that application record. In addition to assembling the information, our operations team confirms the grade point average and class rank if provided.
Once this information is confirmed, then the review process begins. The application review consists of reading all parts of the application. I typically begin with the application itself – I review the background of the student, review the activities, and then read the essay and any additional information shared by the student. Next, I move to the transcript. On the transcript, I read to understand the nature of the school through the school profile, if it is one with which I am not familiar, I read the school counselor recommendation if provided, and then I review the transcript. On the transcript, I am interested in learning if the student has met or exceeded our minimum entrance requirements for the major to which the student is applying, I look at grade trends – what is the pattern of performance in the courses the student is taking. I consider the student’s cumulative grade point average and what that gpa means within their school. The calibre of the courses a student is taking is also a factor, including the strength of the senior year schedule. Has the student challenged him/herself in the context of the courses offered? Has the student completed honors/AP/IB courses if appropriate? To complete the review, I read the letters of recommendation provided which with either confirm what I’ve seen in the application, or they provide a new insight into the student.
In our review process, the most competitive applicants are read by an admissions counselor. Those who are the strongest applicants are then offered admission. Those who are more borderline as well as those who have more difficult circumstances are reviewed several times, and often by our admissions committee before a decision is made. Students who are deferred or denied admission always have multiple reviews.
When making decisions, we work hard to keep the admission criteria between our seven colleges and schools to be similar – and they are. The difference in the decisions are often because of two reasons – first because there are additional course requirements to be completed successfully in high school for some colleges and schools. Also, areas can be more competitive because of demand for the program and/or the size of the incoming class. For example, athletic training is one of our most competitive programs because we admit a very small number to this program since their entering class is 20 (and it is popular with students). Programs in Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Business and Engineering and Mathematical Sciences are the most competitive because of demand.
Our staff continues to read applications this weekend – this afternoon, I will spend time with our Vermont admissions staff beginning the final review of our Vermont applicants. This week, we will be focused on completing decisions for our VIP applicants. The remaining decisions for all of our early applicants will be completed by December 16, the day that all decisions for early action are released. Students and parents are encouraged to check in with our admissions counselors if any questions exist about the admissions process at UVM.
Today will be filled with getting to know more about the students we will be admitting to UVM’s Class of 2019 – I can’t wait to meet them!