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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Class of 2020!

In the past week, we’ve had many conversations with and visits from students and parents as they have made their decision to join the Class of 2020. Consistently, our newest members have reflected that they have opted for UVM because of academic excellence, the accessible and talented faculty, access to research, internships, and study abroad, advising and support for students to explore jobs and graduate school options, and the welcoming and friendly community they found. And the bonus is Burlington – one of the best college towns in the country and a gem for students searching for internships, part-time jobs, culture and entertainment. Few schools in the country have all this! Our students demonstrate success – in job placement, graduate school placement, retention and graduation.

Our newest members of the Class of 2020 (and proud parents) have taken to social media to announce their commitment to UVM:

Over the next two days, more students will decide to join the Class of 2020. In the coming weeks, information will be sent to students, describing the next steps to enrollment. In the meantime, be sure to check out the new student checklist. New students should be sure to activate their UVM NetID and sign up for orientation.

In May, we’ll share information about the next steps. In the meantime, congratulations to our Class of 2020! You are truly spectacular!

 

Investing in our Class of 2020

About ten days ago, our Student Financial Services office posted the financial aid awards for our admitted students who sent us a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Hurray! Providing funding to make it possible for many students with different stories and circumstances to attend UVM is a real benefit for our students.

Here is some important information about these awards and advice as students make their decisions:

  1. In case you haven’t checked for a financial aid award, it can be found at the application status website here. Click on the “Financial Aid Award” button. Awards are available for students that sent us a FAFSA.
  2. Financial aid awards are final unless the award is considered tentative (meaning that additional information is still needed to finalize the award). The sentence at the top of the financial aid award will indicate tentative if additional information is needed.
  3. There are typical categories of the financial aid award (provided you quality):
    1. Scholarship from UVM – any merit scholarship that was awarded is listed here
    2. Need based grants such as Pell Grant or SEOG – students with the greatest need, as defined by the FAFSA, may qualify for these grants
    3. Work study – students who quality for this award will have up to $1,600 allowed in earnings. This aid must be earned (paid in wages from a job on campus).
    4. Student loan – UVM is required to offer this loan to all students who qualify. It is up to the student if they choose to take any or all of the loan (or any amount). As a reminder, a subsidized loan has its interest paid by the U.S. Department of Education while a student is in school; for an unsubsidized loan, the student is responsible for all the interest on the loan.
    5. UVM Award – this is need-based grant from UVM (if awarded, it is in addition to any scholarship awarded). It can be renewed each year, provided the student’s financial circumstances are unchanged, and the student files a FAFSA (and is in good academic standing)
  4. We also take the approach that we provide the best financial aid award available – unless circumstances have changed or there are special situations that were not included, then we do offer students the best award. This is important fact to state since schools have different approaches.
  5. One of the most challenging things for families is comparing costs and financial aid. My recommendation is to start with the billed costs (tuition, fees, room and board – be sure you are looking at the tuition costs for 2016-2017) and subtract the financial aid (don’t include work study). I often have conversations with families who see a larger financial aid award, but aren’t taking into account the differential in cost (or they compare full cost of attendance against billed costs).

The good news is that this investment is for four years – students have a gpa requirement to meet for renewal of any scholarship; the need-based financial aid is renewed, provided a student files a FAFSA annually and financial circumstances remain the same.

What if you have questions about the award? Our staff in student financial services are happy to talk with you about questions. The SFS website also has answers to a lot of common questions that can be searched. The staff can be reached at 802-656-5700. Their office hours are listed here.

Our admitted students are choosing UVM! Comments, like the one below, represent what we are hearing from a number of our admitted students:

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We hope that YOU will say yes to UVM!

You’ve learned your decision – what does it mean?

March 11 was an exciting day for us – we completed the review of all the applications in our applicant pool. More than 22,000 students applied for admission this fall, and we are very excited about the students we selected to be part of the Class of 2020. We also know that we could not say yes to all students who wanted to enroll at UVM in the fall…I hope the information about each of the decisions below will help guide students through the rest of the process.

Admit – Yay! We selected a fabulous group of students to join the Class of 2020. The first-year class is targeted to be roughly 2,300 students. From nearly every state and with interests spread across 100 majors, the students admitted will join the UVM community in the fall. What’s next for you? Notifications about scholarships and scholarships were sent last week and are available online at our application status portal. We still have six admitted student visit days remaining, as well as other visit options. Students have until May 1 to make a decision (confirmed by paying the $495 acceptance fee). We selected this group of students who presented the most competitive applications and create the community we are looking for at UVM….and we want you to SAY YES!

Wait List – Wait list is probably the most challenging decision we need to make in the admissions process. As an applicant, you want an answer. But wait list is a maybe answer.

Why do we need a wait list? Because the university’s priority is to ensure we have a full class and full residence halls – but we can’t have too many! Imagine what it would be like if we oversubscribed and we didn’t have enough residence hall rooms for students. Airlines can place you on the next flight – the next flight at a university leaves four months later (meaning the next semester). So we use wait lists to fill any short falls in particular academic programs or residence halls. Our models and predictions are very good, but they are never perfect.

We encourage students who continue to be interested in UVM to accept the wait list (you can go online at the application status portal to accept a place on the wait list). In late April, we will begin to review our confirmations from admitted students, and make a decision about if we need to offer admission to our wait list students. Those decisions come any time from late-April to mid-May. How many students do we choose from the wait list? It has varied in recent years – in some years, we have selected several hundred…last year, we did not use the wait list because we full but we offered spring semester admission to selected students from the wait list.

Deny – It is always a difficult decision to say no to an applicant. When we do, we do so with the caveat that there are several paths to earning a UVM degree in the future. We ask students who want to attend UVM in the future to strengthen their academic record and apply as a transfer student. Transfer students who have completed a year of academic work (typically 25-30 credit hours) and have earned at least a 2.8 gpa or higher should reapply as a transfer student for fall 2017.

Our staff is available to answer questions about what’s next, about admissions decisions. Please be in touch with our office as you take your next step.

#UVMsaidYES today! What does it mean if I didn’t hear a decision?

UVM Admissions sent positive news to the first round of our Early Action students. Starting about 4:30 pm today, social media lit up with excitement and relief….the relief that all the hard work pays off with the first college acceptance! We emailed out the news this afternoon; the admission letters went in the mail today (the picture below is the excitement we had loading the admission packets in the mail truck.)

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A number of students shared their excitement on Twitter as they heard the news. Some notable shares:

There are many more students that applied early action (and whose applications are complete) who are wondering what it means that they didn’t hear a decision today. The prioritization of those who learned a decision today was simply whose application finished the review process first (in other words, no prioritization on our part). As we receive credentials this time of year, they are processed in the order that we receive them until the Nov. 1 deadline, when credentials are received all at the same time. There is variability on when an application becomes complete because of the receipt of test scores. Some credentials need additional review because they have more complex educational history. Other applications remain under review because they are applying for competitive majors. Some applicants have told us that they are sending in 1st quarter grades and we want to wait for them. Many were complete and ready for review, but we simply didn’t finish the review process by today. In other words, those who have a decision today were simply the ones that were read first and they completed the review process by yesterday. The majority of our Early Action decisions, including all Vermont students, will be released on Dec. 16. The number of students who received a decision today, while exciting, represents only about 20% of our early action decisions.

I have been assuring students and parents to not read anything into not receiving a decision. We made the decision to release this group of decisions that were done, rather than holding them until Dec. 16. The majority of our decision making is focused on December 16 at which time all complete early action applicants will have a decision.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have – feel free to contact our staff.

We’ll be reading the remaining Early Action applications over the coming weeks. It is so exciting to see who has put UVM on their list of schools. What great potential the Class of 2020 is showing already!

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!

 

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.