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.

Get a Jump Start at UVM

Have you chosen to attend UVM in the fall? The Class of 2018 is coming together nicely this year and the campus is engaged in preparation for our new class joining us in August. Long before students move into their residence halls in late-August, we have two ways that students can come to UVM before August 22!

UVM Jump Start is a unique program that provides UVM incoming first-year students with the opportunity to experience UVM’s curriculum, work closely with members of our faculty, and engage with other members of UVM’s Class of 2018. Participating students can commute or live on campus in UVM residential housing, take a credit-bearing course, and participate in workshops and activities designed to help them transition into the university. This program is a great opportunity for our new students to be on campus this summer and complete a course before the start of classes. The courses offered are ones that apply to many general education requirements or prerequisites for most colleges/schools at UVM.

How does Jump Start work? Basically, students participate in pre-class learning online June 16-20, participate in the on-campus portion of the course June 25-July 3, and then complete the course online July 7-11. The timing coordinates well with two of our June orientation sessions so Jump Start students can come to orientation and then stay on campus for Jump Start.  Answers to common questions and information about costs can be found on the Jump Start website. Students can sign up for Jump Start once they choose UVM and pay their acceptance fee.

In addition to UVM Jump Start, members of the Class of 2018 should consider participating in TREK, a pre-arrival program designed to bring new first-year students (and transfer students) together to participate in a week-long program. Three options exist – wilderness TREK, service TREK or transfer TREK. Approximately 10% of our class will choose to take part in one of these programs. These popular programs fill quickly in the months of May and June. Like Jump Start, once a student chooses UVM and pays their acceptance fee, then registration for TREK can take place online.

We can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2018 and hope that many of our new students will take advantage of these wonderful programs!

Financing a UVM education

Commentary and advice about college affordability is common place – rarely does a week pass when there isn’t some information about this topic. It is important becausean undergraduate education is an investment for a student and family. But unlike many consumer purchases, earning a college degree changes a person’s earning potential significantly over a lifetime.

My post today is less about how that investment pays dividends and more about how we work with students and families in making UVM affordable. We recognize that affordable is a relative term and means different things for families. It is true that we make a significant (and growing) investment in our financial aid toward students. In fact, more than $100 million of the university’s budget is devoted to grants and scholarships for our undergraduate students. In addition, the university has slowed the growth of tuition, room and board for students, with the increase projected for this year to be 3.4%, one of the lowest percentage increase in many years at UVM.

What happens next in the process at UVM? As of last week, merit scholarship awards should all be distributed. Notification of these awards comes by letter, with the last group was mailed March 21. (Many students have already heard about a merit award.) If you are unsure about that award, feel free to contact the Office of Admissions. Students who filed a FAFSA will begin receiving notifcaiton of their financial aid award as tomorrow, March 28. Students will receive an email indicating that their award is available and students can view it at the same place students view their application status.

Students may view their FA awards by clicking the 'Financial Aid Award' button.

Students may view their FA awards by clicking the ‘Financial Aid Award’ button.

 

Some students may be asked to submit additional information. Any outstanding requirements can also be viewed at the page listed above (click on Financial Aid Application Status button.) Finally students who submitted estimated financial information should go back and entered actual 2013 tax information in order to finalize the award.

We believe that this investment in financial aid makes UVM a great value. While students and families may choose other options, for many students, the scholarship and need-based support make it possible to choose UVM. We offer our best financial aid award in our financial aid offer which helps students and families have a  clear understanding of the cost.

We look forward to answering any questions as students receive financial aid and make decisions. We can’t wait for many of our Future Catamounts to accept our offer and say yes!

You are invited to visit UVM

UVM campus on a winter day

UVM campus on a winter day

Travel + Leisure magazine recently published a list of America’s best college towns and it  is not a surprise that Burlington was ranked #1. This ranking is only one reason that we extend the invitation to come visit UVM! Whether an admitted student or a junior just beginning the college search, we’ve got an option for most kinds of campus visits.

All of our admitted students are strongly encouraged to consider coming to one of our Admitted Student Visit Days (ASV). These day-long programs allow students and parents to get a close-up view of UVM. Students begin the day hearing an overview of UVM. Next students and parents spend about two hours learning more about the college/school to which the student is admitted. The balance of the day can be spent meeting with financial aid, touring a residence hall, visiting an academic department or eating lunch in the dining hall. It also is an opportunity for admitted students to meet one another. These visit days are offered eight times over the next three months. Be sure to make a reservation for the program as well as a hotel reservation – these programs do fill up!

Can’t make an ASV? We do offer a 2-hour visit (presentation and tour) with information specifically for admitted students, called an Admitted Student Information Session (ASIS). While these presentations don’t offer an academic component to the visit, the presenters (an admissions counselor and a student) share information helpful to students and parents about the next steps to enrolling at UVM. The presentation is followed by a student panel and a campus tour.

Just starting your college search? A Group Information Session (GIS) is the best visit for you! Students and parents will hear a great introduction to UVM, will hear from a panel of current students and then head out for a campus tour. We also offer a larger open house for sophomores and juniors, called UVM Preview. This visit day has all the elements of a GIS but also offers a faculty/student panel as well as information tables from various university offices. Reservations are encouraged for GIS programs as well as for the UVM Preview. Reservations can be made online. I recommend making a reservation early for a visit during a vacation week or on Saturdays.

We often get questions about two visit options – interviews and overnight visits, neither of which we offer. We don’t offer interviews because we don’t use them as part of our evaluation process. We do, however, offer the opportunity to meet with our admissions counselor on duty during a visit. We also have information conversations with our student AdvoCats. Reservations for these informal chats can be scheduled by calling the admissions office at 802-656-3370.

We are very excited to welcome you to our campus. We can’t wait to see you in Burlington!