It’s time to visit the University of Vermont

I chuckle when I see the gif of flamingos walking in a group, representing what high school students look like when taking a campus tour. It’s made its rounds on social media during times when lots of students are visiting campuses.


In reality, I find students visiting our campus to be very engaged – while looking around and taking in all the activity, they are asking lots of questions to our student guides.

What does make a good campus visit? Here are a few bits of advice to make the most of a visit:

  • Make a reservation if the school accepts them. Most schools have online reservation options. We can plan the best visit for you (and make sure that there is a seat) when we know who is coming.
  • Try not to wait until the last minute to reserve a spot. This advice is particularly true during the busy visit seasons like October.
  • Spend some time on the visit website to learn about different visit options to see what fits best for you. Not every school offers interviews; not every interview is used in the admission review process.
  • If you are ready for a more in-depth visit, look for option that include some sort of academic experience.
  • Develop a system for organizing information – date/times of visits, notes about each visit.
  • Take pictures during the visit to help you remember various aspects of the school. Jot down impressions and notes during travel time between schools.
  • Think about questions you really want to know. Try to ask questions that you can’t find the answers to on the website or in the view book.
  • Talk with students besides the tour guide. We love our guides and think they are awesome. But you want a few students’ experiences.
  • Eat on campus.
  • Visit the bookstore.

The College Board also offers a comprehensive list of tips for campus visits found here. When you search the internet for “tips for a great campus tour”, you’ll see hundreds of entries that can assist you. There is no shortage of information and opinions!

What are some visit options this fall at UVM? We just mailed a visit brochure highlighting many of these options. They can also be found here on our visit website. For a great 1st introduction, try a group information session and tour. This option includes an admissions presentation, a student panel and a student-led tour.  Students attending the Vermont in Person Day will benefit of all that is offered during a group information session and tour, plus sit in on a mock class and visit one of our colleges/schools. For a larger experience with options to talk with faculty representatives and staff or students from various student services, you should consider attending one of our two fall open houses. We also offer an overnight program for students of color, first-generation or students who identify as LGBTQ that takes place in October and November, called Discovering UVM. This program has an application as part of the process, so students interested in this program should complete the application soon. Note that the October open house fills quickly, as do hotels during the fall foliage season.

The University of Vermont has been recognized as one of the most beautiful college campuses, located in one of the best college towns in the U.S. I hope you’ll come see for yourself. Make your reservation today!






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!

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.

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!

You Are Invited!

On Sunday, UVM hosted its first open house of this season for students and families – it was an exciting day! We welcomed more than 800 students and their families who spent a beautiful day in Burlington. Ira Allen Chapel was filled; the Davis Center was humming with conversation.

Ira Allen Chapel provides a beautiful and historic backdrop for the open house admissions presentation.

Our admissions staff members are great resources for students and parents. We love to answer questions!

The view of Mt. Mansfield from the Davis Center during the open house academic fair.

As I mentioned previously, the campus visit continues to be one of the most important elements of the college search. How can you make the most of that visit? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Make a reservation when that is an option. When we expect you, we can serve you better.
  2. Be sure you take part in the official visit – tour, information session, interview – whatever the school offers. It is important to hear the official message and learn information about the admissions process.
  3. Whenever possible, connect with current students from your area. It is a great way to get a perspective about a university from those who know where you are coming from.
  4. Take notes, take pictures, use your smart phone to record portions of the visit – as distinctive as we are, it is easy to mix up campuses after a few visits.
  5. Get the business card of someone from the admissions office of the schools you visit – being able to make that direct contact with questions is invaluable.
  6. Take part in student life – eat in the dining hall, visit the places where students hang out, attend a concert or sporting event – things that can be best done when classes are in session.

We’d love to see you on campus. Come and visit us! Make your reservation today.

The GPS is your friend!

I remember campus visits with my children a few years ago. Between driving throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota with my daughter for a whirlwind trip of the upper Midwest, to riding Chicago’s L train in January with my son (who decided socks were optional), visiting campuses can be a memorable experience for both parents and students. While the process of college admissions has changed in the past decade with electronic applications, email, chat, Facebook, and yes, blogs, the campus visit has remained the one unchanged feature of this process. It remains, for most universities, the best way to connect with prospective students and families.

At UVM, we have talked about the value of authenticity during the campus visit. We feel  it is important for students to share their stories and tell students what makes them excited about their UVM experience. It may not all be rosy, and it may not fit what every student seeks. But if our students and admissions staff genuinely reflect,  what makes UVM a special place, then we’ve done a good job. My tidbit of advice is to look for that authenticity that goes beyond reciting facts when visiting college campuses.

I invite you to visit campus this fall. We offer visit options that range from the typical information session by an admissions counselor, followed by a panel of current students and a campus tour. We also offer a visit day called Vermont in Person day where students can experience the same visit as I just described, but also visit a class. It is a small program with typically fewer than 50 students attending. We also offer larger open houses that take place on two weekends in the fall.

To date, we’ve had more than 6,500 high school seniors visit UVM’s campus. If you aren’t one of them, we hope to see you this fall!