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!


Ten days left….lots of reading going on!

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!


It is exciting to see the Twitter feed light up with the excitement of a number of our students who are beginning to hear their admissions decisions. Some of my favorites:




And finally:

What is the timetable for our staff making our decisions? We began our review process in mid-October and the first student was offer admission on October 16, (congratulations to this student from Central Bucks East in PA!) As applications become complete, the review process commences. There is no specific order in which applications are reviewed; as they become complete, then they become available for review. The students who have been invited to apply as a VIP candidate are hearing a decision on a rolling basis. In fact, we’ve already sent out nearly 3,700 offers of admission. Most students will hear a decision on the December 16 notification date.

What does the early applicant pool look like? It’s the largest we’ve seen in the history of UVM! More than 14,000 students had applied by our November 1 application deadline. We also are seeing that the applicant quality is strong; while the admission criteria are similar between the seven UVM colleges/schools, admission to engineering, business and most of the health sciences majors (nursing, athletic training, exercise and movement science) appears that it will be more competitive this year.

When we review an application, what are we looking for? First and foremost, we are looking for a competitive academic record. For us, this means strong performance in the five academic solids (English, math, science, social science and foreign language) each year of high school. The most competitive applicants have demonstrated their readiness for the university curriculum by challenging themselves with a minimum of four (and often more) honors/AP/IB courses. Competitive applicants also earn grades that put them among the top third to the top quarter of their graduating class. We also consider a student’s scores on standardized tests (SAT or ACT). Is the score within our middle 50%? As a reminder, we do super score the SAT and ACT – it is in a student’s best interest to send all occurrences of the test scores directly from the testing agency. Finally, we are interested in how students will contribute in positive ways to the UVM community – we are looking for answers to this through extracurricular activities, the essay and through letters of recommendation.

Students are reminded to check their application status at our application status website. The login credentials to this handy link were emailed to the student at the email address on their application for admission soon after the application arrived in our office. The ID number is one that begins with “95” – a number that will be helpful to a student throughout the admissions and enrollment process at UVM. The PIN is a student’s date of birth. This website is also the place that we will announce the awarding of merit scholarships, need-based financial aid, and any transfer credit a student might earn (blog posts at a later time about these topics).

Is there a deadline for us to receive the supporting credentials? There is no specific deadline; however, the sooner a student sends the credentials, the sooner we will be able to review the competed application and make a decision. When we receive updated information such as test scores, we will include that with a student’s application and the information will be incorporated even if the review process has begun.

How will a student know that s/he is admitted? First we do send a congratulatory email. Secondly, as soon as the decision is live, then it can be viewed on the application status website. Finally, we do send a letter of admission in the mail. I get questions about if a scholarship notification will accompany this letter of admission. It does not; scholarship notifications will be sent by mail at a later time and will also be available on the application status website.

It has been a real pleasure to begin to uncover the talents of those students who have put UVM on their college list and who are hoping to call UVM home for the next four years.


You’ve applied! What happens next?

November 1 is a popular early deadline for colleges and universities across the country. The Common Application recently reported the following, according to a communication from Paul Mott: In the 24 hours from Friday morning to Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., for instance, 102,785 applications and 425,422 recommendations were submitted. In the week leading up to the first major deadline of the admission year, nearly 500,000 applications and more than 1.75 million recommendations have been successfully submitted. UVM saw significant activity as well, with the largest single-day submission of applications to UVM since we joined the Common Application. We also received a record number of early applications – more than 14,500 as of yesterday. It is a great indication that students and parents recognize the value of a UVM degree and that students want to put UVM on their list of schools they are considering.

Now that the application is in, what happens next? Since our deadline is an application deadline, we will receive the supporting credentials (transcripts, recommendations, and test scores) over the next several weeks. Students should ensure that the request for transcripts and recommendations have been shared with those responsible for sending them. Test scores must come from the testing agency (either College Board or ACT).

When credentials are received in our office, if they come to us electronically (through Naviance or the Common Application, for example), then they are automatically connected with a student’s application, based on the ID that the Common Application assigns the application. Test scores that are received are matched based on the identifying information in the test score file and the application. Students can check what has been received/not received at any time on our application status website. Each part of the application is tracked – application fee, high school transcript, SAT/ACT scores. When it has been received and checked, it will appear as begin received.

When a transcript is received, it goes through a checking process by our processing staff to ensure that the transcript is legible and contains the information we need to begin review. Once that transcript is “checked”, then it will appear as being received on the check list described above. Right now, it is taking us about seven business days to check the transcript and add it to the checklist as being received. This means that a transcript that was received on November 3 should appear as being received by the following Tuesday or Wednesday. Once we get through this large influx, that timeframe will be reduced. Transcripts that have been mailed to us will be opened, scanned, and then must be manually connected to the student’s application. As a result, it will take longer for the transcript received in the mail to show as being received.

Students will see that letters of recommendation are not tracked on this website and often ask why. Because UVM requires only one recommendation in our admissions process, that recommendation can come in many forms…it could be a school or college counselor rec, or it could be a teacher recommendation. Since the letter from the school counselor is often embedded with the transcript, we decided not to put another check point in the process that had to be recorded on the application status checklist and that could slow down beginning the review process. Rarely are letters of recommendation missing so if there is any reason that it is, our staff will do that follow up, therefore, no need to contact us about the receipt of those recommendations (but we always are happy to answer questions about their receipt!)

Once all the pieces are received, then the review process begins and the application status will show as complete. On our website, we have some commonly-asked questions about what happens after the application is received that should also be helpful.

Advice in this process…..

– Because of the large influx of transcripts and recommendations that come all at once after the deadline, it does take us a bit longer to show a transcript as being received. Don’t panic if the transcript doesn’t show as being received right now! Check back in a week – even if a transcript is received several weeks after the deadline, we will be able to process it and review the application in time for the mid-December release.

– We will send an email reminder toward the end of November to students whose applications remain incomplete.

– If the school indicated that they sent the information, they have.  Rarely do we “loose” a transcript. And we will bend over backwards to ensure that students are not penalized if credentials have to be resent.

– Test scores have to be requested by the student. Send all occurrences so that we can be sure to have the highest. When score reports are received and loaded (which we do several times a week this time of year), they will show as received immediately. I also encourage students to send scores regular delivery – no need to spend the additional money to rush scores.

Our staff is here to help! We are happy to answer your questions by phone, by email or by social media – @uvmadmissions on Twitter or on our Facebook page University of Vermont Admissions. Thank you for sending your application to UVM! We look forward to reading season!

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!