This past weekend, our students returned from winter break. Almost as exciting as their return in August, students come back refreshed and excited for what the winter season in Vermont brings. While we haven’t been blanketed with the snowfall that many of the other parts of the country have experienced, students look forward to their first trip to the ski slopes of the semester or the beauty of winter evident on Church Street downtown.
Yesterday, President Sullivan welcomed the community back through a campus wide communication. I’d like to share an excerpt of his letter to highlight a few pieces of news about UVM:
Recently, UVM received national recognition for our leadership in service and for the vibrant culture of our hometown. This fall The Atlantic praised our sense of community and volunteerism, and Travel and Leisure ranked Burlington the #1 college town in the United States, highlighting our abundant arts and food culture. In December, the Peace Corps 2013 rankings showed that Vermont had the most volunteers per 100,000 residents; earlier rankings of volunteer-producing colleges and universities indicated that UVM continues to hold 5th place among some very prestigious schools in our cohort of 5,000-15,000 undergraduates.
As you know, one of the foremost goals in our Strategic Action Plan for the University is to increase our four-year graduation rate and student retention from the first to the second year. Later this week at the invitation of the White House, I will be in Washington, joining other invited college and university presidents from around the country, in a dialogue with President Barack Obama and other senior administration leaders to address issues surrounding access to success for college students. More specifically, the goal of this summit hosted by the President is to find effective approaches to help more students graduate on time. I am honored to be able to participate in this White House meeting on behalf of UVM.
These are examples of how UVM continues to seek enhancements for students, to be acknowledged for the great place in which we are located, and to make the difference in the lives of others.
At UVM Admissions, we are gearing up for our application deadline tomorrow. The next few days will be the final flurry of application submissions for our students applying as first year students in the fall. Last night, we surpassed 22,000 first-year applications. For students still working on their applications, there is still plenty of time to finish them up this evening or tomorrow and still meet the Jan. 15 deadline. As always, at UVM, our application deadlines are application submission deadlines. Transcripts, test scores and recommendations can be received after the application deadline. We continue to be involved in reading these applications as well as working with students who already have been admitted.
This week, we welcomed more than 150 new degree students as well as our first group of Global Gateway Program students – 40 international students from around the world here to strengthen their English before they earn their UVM undergraduate degree. The new degree students come to us midyear primarily for two reasons – many are transfers who tried another institution and have found that UVM is the place that is the best fit for them. In addition, we saw a number of students who decided to take a gap year and are enrolling at college for the first time. We are excited to bring all the new students into our UVM community.
I often find that I get the pulse of how students are feeling by watching what is trending on Twitter. While there is, like most college students, lament about being back in the grind of studying, it brings a smile to my face to see the number of tweets that students share about how much they missed Burlington and their friends while they were away on break and how excited they were to be back at UVM. Here are a few samples: