It’s a great time to visit the University of Vermont

Vacationers flock to Burlington this time of year! We are very fortunate to be located in such a desirable area, regularly listed on many of the “best of” lists, including one of the best college towns. It was great to run into a student and her family visiting from Arkansas yesterday and telling them all about Burlington, Church Street, the lake and the many opportunities students have for internships in Burlington. We encourage visits in the summer to get an initial impression of the campus and to learn more about the academic programs and the admissions process.

The  best way to visit UVM is to sign up for a group information session and tour. Tomorrow concludes our July series of academic information sessions. These programs are offered during the month of July and allows students to get a 45 minute overview of the college/school and the more than 100 majors offered. This Friday, July 31, we will host students and families at Summer Preview – an open house-like program that includes an admissions overview, faculty and student panel, and a campus tour. In August, we will offer more than 50 information sessions and tours for families. These programs tend to fill quickly; my advice is to make a reservation soon (and be sure to cancel if your plans change to open up seats for other students). Finally, August 4 is our last summer Transfer Information Session, a presentation and tour targeted at students interested in transferring to UVM. Students who attend this program can also receive a tentative credit evaluation.

How do you make the most of your summer campus visit? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Plan to spend at least half a day on campus and in the surrounding area. Spend the night in Burlington. Have a meal on Church Street.
  • Make a reservation. August is a busy time on most campuses for visits. If reservations are offered, please make one. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday tend to have less demand, so if your schedule permits, choose one of those days.
  • Reservations can be made online. If you are already receiving information from UVM, then we should have created a username for our visit reservation system (even if you didn’t previously register for a visit). The best way to start is to go to our reservation site and reset your password, using the email address that you would have given to UVM previously. If the email address is on our file, then the password reset will allow you to create a new password, and then you can log in and register for the visit. It is important to use the student password (not the parent password) on these visit reservations.
  • Participate in both the information session and tour. They are designed to cover different information (and repeat things that are important to repeat). The tour gives great time with a student; the information session includes a student panel.
  • UVM does not conduct interviews. However, we have admissions counselors available each day to chat with students and answer questions as needed.

Many awesome students have visited during June and July. Here are a few of their comments that they shared on social media, using #uvmvisit:

We look forward to seeing you at the University of Vermont during your #UVMvisit!

May 1 is just 10 days away

Like the first day of spring, or the day that we “spring ahead” in time, the annual college selection deadline comes every year. It is a momentous occasion as students and parents make their final college decisions. The next ten days for me, while stressful in some ways, is my favorite time of year when we see the culmination of nearly two years of work in building this class. We share the excitement that  students feel when making their decision to come to UVM. And the good news…it is only the beginning of the lifelong relationship we have with students who decide to attend UVM.

We have had a number of students make the decision at our admitted student visit days. Nothing is better than to celebrate, in person, with students as they pay their fee. Second best is to see when students take to social media to announce their decision. Here are a couple of examples:

The Class of 2019 is coming together nicely. We know that many students will make their decisions in the next ten days. We’re here to help! Have questions that we can answer? Please be in touch with our admissions staff. I’ve been answering a lot of questions about advance placement credit, orientation, changing majors once at UVM, the new Wellness Environment community and scholarships and financial aid. We want to be sure that all questions are answered as students make their final decision.

Is UVM your choice? Be sure to pay the acceptance fee either online (preferred) or by sending the acceptance fee in the mail. Next Friday, May 1, is the deadline. Have you selected another school? Please be sure to withdraw your application (again online, email admissions@uvm.edu or return the card in the mail that was included with the letter of admission).

Good luck with your decision! We can’t wait for you to join the other members of the Class of 2019 who have already said yes to UVM!

 

Understanding financial aid at UVM

Just a week ago, our Student Financial Services office posted the financial aid awards for students and parents admitted to UVM. It is a both and exciting time and a stressful time as families make their college decisions this month.

Here are a few reminders and information nuggets that I hope will help clarify any questions.

1.  How do I compare costs? One of the most challenging things to understand right now is  having accurate information about the annual cost of a university. When a student logs on to our student portal and views their financial aid award, they will see an estimated cost of attendance. It is important to understand that this price includes estimates for things that will not be paid to UVM, such as books, transportation and personal expenses. Other schools may present the actual billed costs for comparisons. Therefore, when comparing cost after financial aid, be sure that you are comparing the same figures. The direct billed costs for UVM can be found at the bottom of the page with the financial aid award or on the student financial services website here. I also encourage students and parents to subtract the aid from the costs. I have communicated with a number of students and parents because they received a larger scholarship at another institution, but the costs are higher, and the cost of UVM after aid is actually comparable.

2. UVM awards students the best financial aid available and we are not in a position to change awards based on what other schools provide. We welcome questions and are happy to review special circumstances that students and families may have that do not appear on the FAFSA – the financial aid staff can review special circumstances. Our approach, however, to our financial aid awarding is that we will not negotiate a financial aid award.

3. We have issued some tentative financial aid awards (vs final awards) because we are missing required documentation that has been requested. If your award is labeled tentative, then I encourage you to send in the information that has been requested by student financial services.

We are very pleased that we have been able to offer the kind of financial aid to our potential new students. For some families, they may make decisions to attend other schools because the financial support or the overall cost of another school fits within their family resources. But for many students, the financial support makes it possible for students to attend UVM.

Our Student Financial Services website contains an extensive group of frequently asked questions. These questions and answers will prove to be very helpful to students and parents. The website also describes our monthly payment plan, Tuition Management Services, as a way to help manage the payment of tuition.

Our Student Financial Services staff is available to assist students and parents. The wait time on the phone is longer at this time of year, but the staff is happy to assist in answering questions. Their office customer service hours are listed here.

Please be in touch if you have any remaining questions.

On the Wait List? Here’s what’s next.

Two weeks ago, we sent out thousands of additional admissions decisions. We share a lot of information about decisions when we say yes. To help the more than 3,500 students who were offered the wait list, I want to share more information about the process and what happens next.

Why do we use a wait list? For UVM, it is a necessary part of the admissions process in order to ensure that we are able to enroll the maximum number of students without over- enrolling and exceeding our capacity in residence halls and classrooms. It also provides a way to add additional students if the response to offers of admission don’t materialize in any given majors.

Who is offered the wait list? We find that students on the wait list are qualified, but whose records are not as strong and competitive as those who are offered admission. We saw promising qualities in the applications of students that were placed on the wait list and we know that these students are often offered admission at other colleges and universities. When we make our offers of admission,  they are made to students who, within our pool of more than 25,000 applications (or 2,200 in Vermont), present the most competitive application. In addition to grade point average and academic record, those students who are competitive often have strong upward grade trends, a challenging curriculum, and an impressive set of extracurricular talents. The most challenging wait list decisions are for those students who are applying to our most competitive majors, such as nursing, athletic training, exercise and movement science, business and engineering this year. Many applicants who were interested in these programs who had solid academic records found themselves being offered the wait list because of space constraints in these programs.

Students are encouraged to accept the wait list in order to keep options open. If students remain interested, in addition to accepting the list, students are highly encouraged to send an email indicating that they remain interested and send any 3rd quarter grades. These additional items should be received by April 15.

In mid-April, we will assess where we are with our class enrollment and will begin formulating a plan for using the wait list. Offers of admission from the wait list have come as early as April 23 in prior years. More common are offers that come closer to May 1 and in some cases during the two weeks after May 1. Offers are doing via telephone and email. When a student is going to be offered an opportunity for admission, we begin with students who have accepted the wait list. We make decisions about who will receive an offer of admission through a combination of those who have expressed interest, the academic program that may still need space, as well as geography (for example, are we running short on Vermonters?)

When an offer is extended, students are asked to make a decision within a short amount of time. If the offer is made prior to May 1, then students still have until May 1 to make a decision. Otherwise, students will typically have 48-72 hours to make a decision if they are interested enough to decision to say yes to UVM. Financial aid is available for students being offered admission from the wait list and our Student Financial Services office will create a financial aid award within 24 hours for students who have a FAFSA on file. Students offered the wait list are required to pay an acceptance fee by May 1 or within two days if the offer comes after May 1.

In any given year, the number of offers from the wait list varies greatly. In recent years, that number has been as small as 50 to as many as 200.

The FAQ that was sent with the wait list letter is valuable information in explaining the next steps. I’ve posted it below:

How do I remain on the Wait List?

The University of Vermont offers wait list status to a number of students we may be able to consider admitting for the fall, if space becomes available after the May 1 acceptance fee deadline. We hope you will choose to join the wait list, although we also encourage you to make alternate plans for the fall. You may join our wait list online at http://www.uvm.edu/admissions/appstatus by selecting ‘Join the Waitlist’ on the application summary page. We request that you accept the offer online no later than April 15. Only students who have accepted the wait list offer will be considered for admission from the wait list.

What number am I on the Wait List?

UVM does not rank wait listed students. Through May 1, we are unable to predict the enrollment rate of admitted students or determine how many students offered wait list status choose to remain active. In addition, UVM must consider the distribution of enrolled students in each academic program. If we are able to offer admission to active wait listed students, each application is reviewed again, using both original credentials and new materials.

 How can I help my chances of admission?

If we are able to admit students from the wait list, candidates will be evaluated based on their overall qualifications and degree of interest in UVM. It is our policy not to schedule personal interviews with students on our wait list. We believe it is more helpful for you to send additional information for your file. Here are the items you may wish to send us before April 15 to enhance your candidacy:

 Recent Grades – Your most recent grades illustrate your academic strength through your senior year; ask your college counseling office to forward them as soon as possible.

Statement of Interest – An email or letter from you indicating your level of interest and your match for UVM helps us further evaluate your interest in attending the university if given the opportunity.

When will I be notified if I’m accepted…or not?

The decision regarding whether we use the wait list is typically made in early to mid-May. Offers of admission to selected wait listed applicants are usually made by June 1, and are made only to those who have accepted a place on the wait list. If you are offered admission to the University of Vermont from our wait list, we will ask for your response within the quick time frame spelled out in this future correspondence. We allow extensions on your decision at that point only if you are waiting for financial aid information. If we are not able to offer you admission from the wait list, we will notify you by email in June.

Can I still visit campus?

You may be visiting colleges in April that have offered you admission in order to evaluate your plans for the fall.

If you feel that it is important to visit UVM at this time, we offer tours of campus most weekdays through April, as well as information sessions and tours on most Saturdays. Note that our spring semester visit programs end on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Will financial aid be available if I’m accepted from the Wait List?

You will be eligible for any federal or state financial aid for which you qualify, as well as UVM grant aid.

What if the Wait List is not used this year?

If you are not offered admission to UVM for this fall, we invite you to consider transfer admission. UVM welcomes well-prepared transfer students. You are encouraged to successfully complete the equivalent of two full-time semesters at another college or university and apply as a transfer student for fall 2016. You may also want to explore our Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) offered through our Office of Continuing and Distance Education. We’d be happy to discuss these options with you.

Who can I contact with more questions?

If you still have questions, please call (802) 656-3370 and ask to speak with an admissions counselor or e-mail admissions@uvm.edu.

#UVMsaidYES to the next group of Catamounts

The release of admissions decisions is always an exciting time. It is exciting for the admissions staff members who have been choosing students who are the best prepared to be at UVM. It is an exciting time for students who have been invited to join the Class of 2019 at UVM. We can’t wait to see who will say yes to that invitation.

We anticipate welcoming a class of more than 2,300 new students. Who are these students who have been offered admission to UVM? First, we have an outstanding group of Vermont students who reign from across the state. These Vermonters come from 113 different secondary schools, including 75 in Vermont. In addition, we have admitted students from across the U.S., 49 states (missing South Dakota this year), Washington D.C. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, as well as students from sixty-three different nationalities. A fun fact…231 of these admitted students have a perfect SAT Reading score and 164 have a perfect SAT Math score.

Students took to social media to share their excitement. Here are some examples:

What’s next? Students admitted to UVM are encouraged to attend an admitted student visit day if that hasn’t already happened, or plan a campus visit for another day. Financial aid awards will be available at the end of this month. Let us know what questions you might have… is ready to help!

To date, we have nearly 450 of our admitted students who have decided to choose UVM. We hope that you will be next!

Financial aid – what’s next?

This week, we received FAFSA records for more than 12,200 applicants for fall. Congratulations to those who successfully submitted these forms! It is an important first step to learning more about any additional financial support available from UVM.

What happens next? Students who submitted a FAFSA should receive a confirmation letter from our Student Financial Services office. Students can also check on the receipt of the FAFSA at our application status website using the same credentials sent earlier (ID that begins with “95”. On this site is a button like the one below entitled Financial Aid Application Status.

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If a student clicks the button, then the confirmation of the receipt of the FAFSA can be seen in the section at the bottom entitled “Satisfied Requirements”. If any additional information is required, then it will be listed in the “Unsatisfied Requirements”. Please send the requested information to the SFS office as soon as possible. If this sentence says,  “You have no unsatisfied requirements at this time”, then no additional information should be sent as nothing else is needed.

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By the end of March, the final financial aid award will be available on this same website (click the button entitled Financial Aid Award after March 30). The financial aid award will be listed here.

Some families have shared that they have extenuating circumstances that have significantly impacted their financial situation. This information can be sent to the Student Financial Services office to be included with the information on the FAFSA. This kind of information includes loss of job, or change in income that is not reflected on the FAFSA. This information should include the student’s name and their UVM 95 number. Here are three ways that they can be sent:

  • Submit by fax to 802-656-4076
  • Upload and submit online using our document submission form
  • Mail documents to: UVM Student Financial Services, 223 Waterman Bldg., 85 South Prospect Street, Burlington, VT 05405

This is the same process if you have been asked to submit additional information that is displayed on the financial aid status website.

We understand that this part of the process can be stressful – waiting for the financial aid award and planning how to weigh cost against value. We feel good about the commitment that UVM has made to scholarship and financial aid support. While not always the least expensive option, UVM is clearly a great value for the kind of educational experience we provide our students.

Our staff is here to help answer questions. In addition, students and parents attending the Feb. 20 and the March 20 Admitted Student Visit Days will have the opportunity to meet with staff from Student Financial Services. We look forward to working with you.

Lots to look forward to in 2015!

Last week, we passed the first-year application deadline for students interested in applying for fall 2015. There were many high school seniors working on applications and sending them to UVM. This weekend, we surpassed the highest number of applications ever submitted to UVM. As of today, we are just shy of 25,000! (contrast that to 10 years ago when the total number of applications received for first-year admission was 13,015 and this was a record then.)

One of the common questions we continue to receive is if it is too late to apply for fall admission. Since we’ve heard from some students that they are working on their applications, we will continue to accept applications this week (week of Jan. 19) and consider them as on time. Beginning the week of January 26, we will consider accepting applications on a case-by-case basis. There is still plenty of time for transfer students to apply for fall admission- the transfer applicant deadline is April 15.

Our staff continues to read applications and make admissions decisions. Our final notification date is Friday, March 13. There also will be a group of admit decisions that ail be released in mid-February. Students who applied under the VIP admissions plan will receive their admissions decision on a rolling basis. Students whose application was deferred will learn the admissions decision in the March 13 decision release.

Last Monday, our spring semester classes began and it was great to welcome students back to campus. Winter in Vermont is an exciting time – in addition to engaging classes (UVM hosted Salman Rushdie last week) and great campus activities (Winterfest is a student favorite), students are cheering on our nationally-ranked men’s hockey team and a men’s basketball team that is currently undefeated in America East play. Our students are also finding time to take a break from studying to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and all the other favorite winter activities.

What are our students looking forward to in 2015? Here’s a video highlighting a sampling of a few of our students sharing what’s happening for them in 2015. We look forward to many of our admitted students saying YES and joining us as UVM students in the fall of 2015. There’s lots to look forward to at UVM in 2015!