Are you starting to feel the pressure of the college search? Take a deep breath...there's a school out there for you, including many great options in Vermont, public and private. Here are seven tips from UVM admissions counselors to help you successfully negotiate the admissions process and find the right match.
Focus on your transcript. Your GPA and overall academic record are the most important factors in the admissions decision – at UVM and many other schools. So focus on your grades – and be sure they're on an upward trend, especially over the last two years.
Accept the Challenge. It's not just your grades that count, it's the courses you take. Don't stop language, math or science courses at the minimum level – continue through all four years. And push yourself by taking honors or AP courses. At UVM we favor a rigorous course selection that far exceeds our minimum requirements.
Keep standardized tests in just the right perspective. Scores on the SAT or the ACT aren't the be-all, end-all, but they do matter. Be familiar with the different sections of the tests, take practice versions of them, and take the real thing a second time to improve your score.
Get involved, but don't overextend yourself. All things being equal, applicants with extracurricular activities and service to the community will often get the nod. But don't try everything. Focus on a few things and do them well
Learn everything you can about your target school. Visit campuses and spend time on their websites. Come to college fairs, make contact with admissions officers, and email them the next day. It's easier for admissions counselors to decide about a candidate that they know. And learning about a school will help you determine if it's right.
Spend time on your application. Fill out your application carefully, then proofread it – typos matter. Make your essay as strong as it can be. Even though we receive a large number of applications at UVM, for instance, and give the most weight to your transcript, we read every essay. A good one can tip the scales.
Have options. Be sure to apply to a range of colleges, including reach and safety schools. If you want an in-state public education, consider the Vermont State Colleges as well as UVM. They offer a wide range of strong programs in a variety of locations.