UVM Getting Bigger, More Competitive

The University of Vermont is experiencing dramatic growth in both size and national recognition. UVM is one of the top twenty-five hottest schools in the country, being called the “Hottest for Cool Weather,” and proclaimed one of the fittest schools in the nation. Furthermore, the Rubenstein College of Environment and Natural Resources is well renowned.

In the last four years the University has come into its own and the results are apparent the second you walk into the Office of Admissions.

Over the last two years the school has invested a great deal into their Office of Admissions, not only by renovating the Visitor’s Center into an inviting room with a fireplace and a rustic Vermont feel, but also by developing numerous recruitment programs for prospective students.

One of these programs is called the VIP application. This is sent to students with strong test scores to get them interested in UVM. This special application comes early in the application season and assures the student if they apply by the early deadline, they will have the fee waived and can send in an already completed essay.

The goal of the plan is to attract students who would not ordinarily visit the school. The Dean of Admissions, Don Honeman, finds that when students visit Burlington they are over three times as likely to apply and more importantly enroll: “The University speaks for itself. People love it here, says Honeman.”

Honeman emphasizes the importance of these new programs when he speaks of the overwhelming applicant pool this year. Only five years ago, Admissions only processed 7,500 applications. This year they’ve put over 17,000 applications into the system and are still counting. Even though the deadline was January 31, the office hasn’t had enough time to handle this volume of applications.

About 7,000 students applied early action, sixty percent of which are being admitted, and many of the rest were deferred.

Says Honeman, “We could take a closer look at their senior grades and how they would fit in with the UVM community.”

This onslaught of interest in UVM is credited to word of mouth, according to Honeman who states that “Students go back home and tell the kids in high school about the great experiences they are having here. It goes a long way.”

Honeman continues by saying that “[President] Fogel’s leadership will allow us to grow over the next ten years to an undergrad class of 10,000.”

Currently, UVM is home to 8,000 students and Honeman is positive it won’t grow much beyond that.

“The small sense of community with all the benefits of a major university is a key selling point here and we wouldn’t want to lose that.”

Honeman added, ” We need to be a little bigger to draw in students from across the country.” And drawing students from all over the country is just what they have been doing.

The average SAT scores and GPAs of this applicant pool compare similarly to those of the past few years, but because of the great number of applications, “the reality is the people we’re going to enroll are going to have significantly stronger academic profiles, says Honeman.”

Between the construction, the hiring of new faculty and record applications, the expansion of the University is visible to everyone and many find this exciting. Honeman in particular is very pleased.

“It’s giving us an opportunity to strengthen our academic reputation and create a more diverse community, he says.”