Where are your test scores?

Yesterday, thousands of students took the SAT. It is an event that often impacts a student’s junior or senior year in high school. It is a relief when the day is over; a wonderful feeling only to be replaced with anticipation for the results of the testing and receipt of scores!

For the vast majority of schools, standardized test scores remain a part of the admissions application. The news recently has been sprinkled with stories of schools becoming test optional or defining a new evaluation process. One consistent theme in each of these institutional decisions is that they are backed with institutional data and research that makes the action appropriate for that institution. Each year, UVM does that same analysis and we continue to find that a student’s academic record in concert with a student’s standardized test score is the best predictor of academic success (as defined by college GPA) at UVM. Therefore, we continue to use test scores in our evaluation.

Because we employ a holistic review of applications, we can use test scores as one of many factors in making an admissions decision. We have admitted strong students whose scores fall outside our middle 50% range. We have admitted students who have perfect math or critical reading scores….in fact, more than 350 admitted students last year had either an 800 SAT score on the critical reading or math.

Interestingly, it is often missing test scores that makes an application incomplete. We remind students to send them directly from the testing agency (ACT or College Board). We will not take an emailed/faxed copy of scores nor will we take them from the high school transcript.

We are an institution that does superstore test results. This means that we will take the best score from each section of the SAT or ACT, regardless of which test date it was taken. Given this fact, we encourage students to send us all their test scores. We will then ensure that the highest scores are chosen.

Remember, you are more than a test! Test scores are just one part of the equation. My advice – do your best; take the tests twice (maybe a 3rd time but not more) and remember that test scores will not be the singular reason that a student is admitted or not at UVM.

We look forward to receiving your scores!

Time to visit the University of Vermont

This past week, I drove throughout the state to meet with school counselors at our annual counselor breakfasts/lunches. This ritual every fall reminds me of the amazing beauty of our state and just how many people come throughout the U. S. to see the spectacular fall foliage.

It also tends to be one of the busiest visit months for high school students looking at colleges. At UVM, we will see more than 1,000 students visit our campus. Between alumni and parents weekend, leaf peeping season and college visitors, Burlington and UVM’s campus will be bustling with people.

This is the perfect time to schedule a visit to UVM. Our website describes a number of visit options from our daily information session and tour (including a student panel) that includes a visit that takes about 2.5 hours to our large open house that allows students and parents to do everything as a daily visit, but also add a college fair with our schools/colleges as well as a financial aid session. Interested in a smaller, more personalized visit? Consider attending a Vermont in Person day that includes a class visit. Reservations for all visit programs are strongly encouraged.

Don’t forget the hotel reservation! Burlington can fill during this time of year. You can refer to lodging options on our website.

Check out #UVMFall on Twitter or view beautiful fall foliage on Instagram using #instauvm or #uvmpotd.

We can’t wait to welcome you to campus!

You are invited to apply

This is the time of year when we reach out to high school seniors and encourage applications to UVM. It is an exciting and sometimes stressful period in the life of a high school senior and we want to help facilitate this process for students who are considering UVM this year.

A quick search of the web will reveal many tips and pieces of advice for completing the application. Recently the Common Application interviewed some deans and directors of admission and created videos of these interviews. They offer great tips for filling out the application.  Another video provides 9 tips for completing the Common Application. College counselors are also great sources of information for guiding the way through the Common Application.

The application is straight forward and hopefully will not be too complicated to complete. I have a few recommendations for success when filling out the Common Application for UVM – it is our only application for admission.

  1. Be sure to add UVM to your My Colleges list. By doing this, it will ensure that applicants will not miss any parts of the application required.
  2. To take advantage of the application fee waiver for first-year applicants, applicants may choose the answer, “UVM application fee waiver” in the general questions, once UVM has been added to the list of My Colleges. (click on question and you will see the following):Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 10.34.10 PM
  3. Take time on the essay. Have another person review it and provide feedback. Ensure that it presents a logical answer to the essay prompt – I am often surprised when an essay does not actually answer the question!
  4. The Common Application will note which sections and which questions still need to be completed. It is a handy way to ensure that each section is complete.
  5. Remember to answer all the questions asked. This includes completing the activities section, the disciplinary section, and the complete educational section.
  6. Be sure to ensure that the application is actually submitted. That can be checked by returning to the My Colleges dashboard. When the green check mark is displayed next to the college name, then the application is submitted.

Once the application is submitted to UVM, an email is sent within 72 hours to the email address provided on the application. This email will contain a login and PIN that can be used to log into our application status website. At this site, a student can view their application status, admissions decision and eventually, if eligible, the scholarship and financial aid awards. It also is the location where a student can pay an acceptance fee as well as withdraw their application.

Believe it or not, more than 12,000 students have started their Common Application and added UVM to their My Colleges list. We’ve had more than 500 students complete their application and submit it to UVM. Application review will begin next month.

It is a great time to work on and complete the application! Students may still submit test scores, transcripts and other supporting information after submitting the application – there is no reason to wait to have all these items available before submitting the application.

Our staff is here to help! I look forward to receiving your application!

What’s new at UVM?

In less than a week, classes will begin at UVM for the 223rd time. Students have begun to return to campus, TREK programs have launched, and new student move-in happens on Friday. While students have been away from campus working, doing internships and studying abroad, we’ve had a great summer at UVM. In addition to greeting nearly 4,500 campus visitors, we’ve had an active Summer Academy for high school students with more than 100 students taking courses.

UVM also continues to do important work over the summer and has received some important accolades. Here are a few:

Summer would not be complete without a full schedule of campus improvements. From improvements to residence halls and classrooms, to updates to the library and parking lots and sidewalks, the campus is ready for students to return.

This list is a small sampling of what has been happening at UVM over the course of the past few month and is more evidence of what a great place this is for students. I can’t wait to begin to “meet” students who will be considering UVM in the application pool for fall 2015. UVM has so much to offer!

Don’t forget….check out the activity during move in on Friday. Follow the activity on Twitter (#moveuvm). Be sure also to see all that is happening during Week of Welcome. It will be a great start to the school year.

Finish strong!

The end of the school year….the anticipation of graduation and summer vacation is so great! It can be a time when motivation can wain. AP exams are finished! Exams are coming soon. My advice – while it may be tempting to let up and you feel like you have nothing more to give after a busy school year, make this your best semester yet!

Last month, our Vice President for Enrollment Management, Chris Lucier, shared his advice with graduating high school students admitted to UVM. He shared his thoughts about finishing the school year strong. He encouraged students to finish the school year strong. He gave the analogy of an athlete, taking three or six months off of training. Can you imagine, he said, if this were the case? Would an athlete be at their best for a big race or a big game if they stopped practicing for three months? He likened this to finishing strong at the end of the school year. If you let up, he reflected, then you will not be at the top of your game at the start of the first semester of college or at the start of senior year.

For students who are finishing senior year and graduating, final high school transcripts are required to be sent to our office during the summer. The receipt of these transcripts has two purposes – first it is verification of high school graduation. The second is evidence of successful completion of work in progress. We do review every transcript to check for final grades. We have, on occasion, had to revoke admission because a student did not complete their current courses successfully. These are difficult actions and something that we don’t like to do. However, a significant drop in grades indicates to us that a student may not be ready to be successful at UVM. As a reminder, these final high school transcripts are required prior to enrollment. Missing transcripts may result in financial aid being held and a registration hold for prior courses until the transcript is received and graduation can be verified.

For students who are completing junior year, the end of this year’s grades are the last record that we see for students applying early action. When we review applications, we want to see a student’s best work at the end of junior year.

The school year is wrapping up or will wrap up in the next month. We are confident that our entering first-year students will finish strong! Good luck on final exams and finishing up the school year – make it your best yet!

Who is choosing UVM?

The Class of 2018 is taking shape as May 1 nears in less than a week. This time of year is exciting for all universities, including UVM, as we discover who will be the newest members of our community. I’ve watched the posts on Twitter of students “making it official” when they choose UVM. The Facebook page is filled with students who are making orientation meet ups and roommate selections. It’s truly remarkable when this group of students who come from across the U.S. and the world come together to forever make a mark on UVM.

Since yesterday morning, more than 100 students have paid their acceptance fee and have said yes to UVM. Who are some of these newest members of the Class of 2018? Here’s a sampling…..

  • a student who plans to study nursing and who has lived in the U.S., France and Switzerland, and who has moved ten times in her life.
  • a student who plans to study animal science and is a counselor at a horse camp and who is an education assist at the Buffalo Zoo.
  • an actress who has played Peter Pan and Sarah Brown in school and community productions.
  • the founder and president of Cookies for a Cause, a service organization that raises money for local and international charities.
  • a student-athlete who has been named to the Indiana All-State first-team in basketball.
  • a writer selected to attend the New England Young Writer’s Conference at Breadloaf.
  • a student who played the lead in a play performed in Spanish during a school year abroad program in Spain.
  • an engineering student who participated in New York’s New Visions Engineering program.

This is just a sample of those who have recently joined UVM’s Class of 2018. We are excited to meet the rest as they say yes to UVM in the coming week. We look forward to answering any last questions. Can’t wait to see who will say yes next.


Making your college decision: Are you intuitive or a fact-finder?

At yesterday’s admitted student visit day, Vice Provost Annie Stevens asked the students in the audience if they took a fact-finding or an intuitive approach to their final college choice. Her question made me reflect on the decisions that many high school seniors will be facing in the next two weeks. The role of information in that final decision is an interesting thing to ponder and something that we think about a lot. What do students need to make the final decision (and most students wait until these last two weeks to make their decision?)

About the facts….over the course of the last eighteen months, we have been sharing lots of facts. Student faculty ratio, enrollment, graduation rates, average class size, percent of our students that study abroad, job placements, etc. All these facts paint a picture of a place that prepares students in an exceptional way in their academic area of interest because of our great faculty and staff and because of the unique commitment to undergraduate education in the context of a great, small research university. Dr. Stevens shared lots of facts yesterday as she described all the features and the accolades that describe a UVM education.

About the intuition…..often I find that the intuition plays a greater role this time of year in the final decision. Intuition is that feeling that you can’t put words to…you just know. You walk around campus, and around Burlington, and say, “I can see myself here for the next four years. I love this place!” Our admitted students get that feeling by watching UVM students interact, by confidently navigating the campus, by enjoying a meal on Church Street and seeing people smiling and enjoying themselves. I accompanied a student to pay her acceptance fee yesterday who already had the check made out and they came back for a final visit just to confirm her intuition that UVM was the right place. I spoke with another family who described the energy around campus and around Burlington….”you can just feel it.” In my opinion, UVM is the perfect place – a place that is both filled with natural beauty combined with an excitement and energy that comes from interesting and passionate students, faculty engaged with students and their own research, and welcoming and comfortable community. This vibe comes through when students walk around campus. The intuition becomes the strong voice that says yes, I love it here.

Over the next two weeks, many more students will say yes to UVM. Our staff is here to answer those last factual questions. We will welcome several thousand more students and parents in our last admitted student visit days. We can’t wait to see people on campus!

During yesterday’s visit day, nearly 25 students made the decision to say yes to UVM! For many of them, they simply said, “this is the right place.” Was it because of the facts or just taking in the atmosphere? My guess is a little bit of both.