Breaking down ‘class of 2016’

After three waves of admission letters since last fall, the wait is finally over for high school seniors who applied to UVM. This year’s first-year applicant pool was just under 22,000, one of the largest pools in UVM’s history, director of admissions Beth Wiser said. A total of 19,522 were out-of-state, a four percent decrease from last year, and a record number of 2,258 applicants came from Vermont, a ten percent increase from last year, she said. More than 16,500 students were offered admission, almost 400 more than last year, Wiser said. “We want to have a freshman class of 2,485,” Wiser said. The reason behind accepting such a high number of applicants when expecting a class size much smaller is because students apply to more schools and won’t always choose UVM, she said. Medina Korajkic,a Burlington High School senior, applied to three schools, but still chose to come to UVM. “It’s close enough to home that I can be familiar with the campus and everything around it, but far enough away from home so I can still have a college experience,” Korajkicsaid.  ? Students from the admissions pool represent 49 states plus D.C., with the exception of North Dakota. The pool also represents potential students from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The top ten states with the highest number of applicants are all in the Northeast, but the next five are California, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. “What makes UVM special is the amount of geographic diversity,” Wiser said. “We have admitted students from the Northeast but the next five [top contributing states] come from different regions.”  Unlike last year, this was the first class in which SAT writing scores were used in the admission’s process and scholarships, with an average SAT score of 1840, she said. Even though the class of 2016 is not finalized until the first week of May, Wiser said a great class of students has been admitted. ? “[We] look forward to welcoming a new group of first year students in the fall,” she said. ? ? The Admissions Process: Even with over 21,000 applications, each essay and letter of recommendation is reviewed carefully, Wiser said. Students are not only judged by their Grade Point Average and SAT scores, but also by the rigor of their school’s current curriculum, their grade trend, extracurricular activities, leadership qualities and the stories that they tell in their essay, Wiser said. “We don’t have a particular formula,” she said. “Instead, [we analyze] the student’s merit; students that are not clearly admissible are given a thorough review.” Students who are placed on the wait-list or denied admission are reviewed by two people at different times and given two independent read-throughs. “When we don’t say ‘yes’ to someone, we want to make sure they had a very careful review,” she said.  “Now the work is for students to say ‘yes’,” she said. With nearly 40 other people who help coordinate the admissions process, it is a University-wide effort, Wiser said. “UVM could not be successful if we did not have the good partnership across campus,” she said. These people include alumni who are willing to talk to students and parents, students working as tour guides, and interns and staff members answering the phone, responding to emails or attending college fairs.  Now that the undergraduate admissions are almost complete, the work is not done yet, Wiser said. “We just started looking at transfer students,” she said. One key difference between first-year applicants and transfer students is that transfer students usually apply to fewer schools, she said. And with approximately 475 transfer students expected next fall, Wiser said that a smooth transition is especially important. She said transfer students are more direct with what they want and have certain career interest in minds, like Javier Valdes, a potential transfer student from Miami, Fla.  “UVM offers a major in biochemistry which I am otherwise devoid of at [my college] FIU,” Valdes said.