Burlington VT colleges

I visited St Michael's College, University of Vermont and Champlain College in June 2008.

I stayed at SMC for 4 days for a conference. Lots of Cheverus students love St Mike's. I had dinner in the student cafeteria with Seth Brown, Cheverus '05 and SMC '09. He really likes it at St Mike's, and is spending the summer there doing research in his major (Psychology) on rats in 'his lab'. He works with a professor to publish papers and present at national conferences. Very impressive! He's put himself in a terrific position for grad school or whatever he'd like to do after graduation. That's a wonderful benefit of small colleges: you can take advantage of opportunities like those Seth's involved in. (Update: Seth completed grad school at UPenn) Other benefits: no teaching assistants, and an extended orientation to make sure freshmen are fitting in. SMC is one of only 3 colleges in Vermont with the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

SMC has 2,000 students from 33 states. Their high retention rate (91%) indicates happy students. Top majors are business, biology, education and psychology.

I stayed in one of 3 identical dorms, Canterbury, a 3-story brick building where each suite has 2 bathrooms, 8 single bedrooms, & a common room. On the first floor there was a living room with couches and we watched the Celtics on the wide-screen. You need a key to get into the building, another key to get into your suite, and another key to get into your room. There are traditional doubles for freshmen in other buildings, and townhomes for upperclassmen.

We walked 2 minutes to a Cumberland Farms next door to get snacks after the cafe closed. Cafe choices were great: salad bar, grill station, pizza, fried food, ice cream.

Located just 3 miles outside Burlington in Winooski, students get a season's pass for $30 to ski Smugglers Notch, 45 minutes from campus. Classrooms are typical traditional ones seating up to 30 students.

Admissions: Cheverus students who are admitted have a 3.3 or higher and around 1600-1900 on SATs, 24-26 on ACTs. A campus visit is very important. Apply early action by November 1 and get a decision by Christmas.

Champlain is a small college of 2,000 right next to UVM, along the tree-lined streets of Burlington. It has distinctive architecture: brown log cabin-type buildings with dark green trim. Champlain is focused on professional programs, meaning you can go straight to work after 4 years. You start taking classes in your major right away. (pre-professional programs are pre-law, pre-med, pre-vet, and are common at liberal arts schools like St Mike's) It also has very unique majors that could draw you in: filmmaking, video game programming, animation, entrepreneurship.

The largest class is 40 students, and they boast an 86% retention rate. Not bad!

The student panel consisted of a junior from Boston who came for the Burlington location, a NJ senior in elementary education who wanted a small school in a big city, a senior graphic design major from NJ who wants to go into the Peace Corps, and a senior computer forensic major from CT who likes living in the renovated mansions.

Half of the students live off campus after freshman year. Homes for rent are across the street, so you don't need a car to get to classes. They have campuses in Dublin and Montreal. There are no intercollegiate sports, but many intramurals. They attend UVM's games, especially basketball.

Cheverus students who are admitted have above a 2.9 GPA and 550 on SATs.

UVM. I have to say that I found the sprawling, large campus intimidating at first. I'm sure you'll get used to it once you've been through orientation. It is a large research university. UVM does not hide the fact that introductory classes are huge, upwards of 160 students in Psych 100 for example. The only plus side is that they break up into groups of 14 with a T.A. to discuss the readings and study for exams. They claim the average class size is 24 but I don't see how they calculate that!

9,000 undergrads and 1,350 grad students. 84% retention rate is not bad for a large university. 36% are from VT. Most students are from New England. It is an unusual place in that you can take courses from any of their colleges/schools even though you are admitted to one of their seven colleges.

Admissions: Cheverus applicants had 3.3 GPA or higher and 600 on each portion of the SAT. UVM stated that lower than 550 in math SAT will get you denied from their business college. They state a 64% admit rate, but it's lower for out-of-state students. They quote the following SAT scores: 616/610/610 and 27 on ACT.

Their Honors College is getting very good reviews. Some of our top students consider it, and it has a higher yield and retention rate, and honors-only housing.  A new science center is under construction. I spoke with an aquatic ecology professor and learned about their research on Lake Champlain which is visible from campus.

The student panel was made up of Admission tour guides:
  1. a junior animal science major in the Honors College who is also an RA (residence assistant). She is in the salsa club. She said that the longest walk is 15 minutes from one side of campus to another. She said that UVM is not for the passive, uninterested or unmotivated student due to its large size where you have to get involved.
  2. a senior sociology major from NJ who volunteers at the rape crisis center and has traveled abroad to China and England. Her dad went to UVM and her family spent winters skiing in VT.
  3. a senior from Minneapolis majoring in ethnic studies who is a T.A. She loved the "week of welcome" each year at UVM, with convocation, a BBQ, an activities fair to get oriented.
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