Showcasing VCU’s first-generation students

Twenty-six first-generation students at VCU are subjects of a new exhibit at the James Branch Cabell Library that celebrates those who will be the first in their immediate family to graduate from college. Created by faculty and staff in the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management, the exhibit is spread over two walls on the library’s first floor and features portraits of the students, such as Amber Brown (pictured above), with an inspirational quote from each. The display will be hanging in the library until the end of the fall 2018 semester.

Thirty-three percent of first-year VCU students are the first in their family to attend college. The exhibit is part of a larger effort, You First at VCU, to help those students navigate their university experience. Students in the exhibit represent Summer Scholars  peer mentors, Altria Scholars program scholarship recipients, TRIO Student Support Services and the You First at VCU student organization.

You can read more about the exhibit on the VCU News website.

VCU Family Weekend

We hope that you will join us for Family Weekend 2018—an exciting opportunity to experience your student’s campus life, meet their friends, connect with other families and enjoy the VCU and Richmond communities.

Family Weekend will take place November 2-4, 2018.

To prepare in advance for the weekend, here are a few things you should know:

  • Book your hotel early if you are coming from out of town. You can find local hotel information at www.visitrichmondva.com/hotels.
  • Family Weekend events begin at approximately noon on Friday, November 2 and end at approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 4.
  • There are a few major events throughout the weekend designed to appeal to everyone as well as smaller events designed for unique audiences. Some of the major events include the Division of Student Affairs BBQ on Friday afternoon, the Fall Block Step Show on Friday night, the Family Weekend 5K Fun Run on Saturday morning and the Family Brunch on Sunday morning. Some of the smaller events include walking ghost tours, art exhibits, adventure activities like whitewater rafting and bike tours, bus tours of the city, upperclassmen residence hall tours and more! There are over 75 events taking place in addition to all of the opportunities afforded by being in the city. There is something for everyone!

Get to Know the Family Weekend Schedule

For quick reference to Family Weekend events, download the VCU Family Weekend guide on the VCU RAM Guide app. Once you have the app downloaded, open RAM Guide and search for the VCU Family Weekend 2018 to view the most updated information including schedules, maps and more.

An email invitation will be sent out to all families when registration opens. If you have never received an electronic newsletter from us, please email ramfamilies@vcu.edu to be added.

If you have any questions regarding Family Weekend, please email ramfamilies@vcu.edu or call the Parent and Family Helpline at (804) 828-7322.

7 Things I Wish I Knew When Applying to VCU

Getting into college can be stressful and nerve racking. You have to submit your transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, submit applications, etc.

Here are some things I wish I knew when I was submitting my college applications:

  1. You don’t have to be a perfect test taker. They tell you early in your high school career “start studying for your SATs/ACTs!” However, not everybody is the best test taker and many students don’t get perfect scores on their test. If you’re a student who doesn’t have the best scores, that’s okay. Other components of your application can be what helps build your case to get admitted. However, it doesn’t hurt to take the test more than once.
  2. Take some upper level classes. You don’t have to be a full AP or IB student, but it doesn’t hurt to take some advanced classes. It shows you’re willing to challenge yourself.
  3. Take any chance to boost your GPA! Your GPA is a big factor when being considered for college. Take some electives you will enjoy, but don’t slack off in them. Electives can be a great GPA boost for your transcripts.
  4. Do some extra curricular activities! These look great on college applications and they are the easiest to add on your application. Volunteer or join a club. If you have a job, list that too! Any of these help you stand out to admissions.
  5. Choose references for your letter of recommendation who have watched you grow and have really helped you prosper! A great example is a teacher you have gotten close to or had more than once.. They are the best to relay to admissions what you can bring to the table.
  6. Really reflect how the school can help better your education in your essay. You want to portray how you can add to the greatness of the university. Admission essays shouldn’t be a narrative of your life, you want to write about how the school can help you, how you can help the school, and why you deserve to be there.
  7. Don’t wait until the last minute do to your application! A rushed essay and application can be seen from a mile away. Take your time filling our your application and writing your essay, admissions can tell if you rushed through it.

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Twitter: @VCUAdmissions
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How to Keep A Good Academic Standing In High School

During high school, it can be easy to slack off or get lazy. However, slacking off can quickly affect your GPA, which is important to college admissions. Here’s how to keep your GPA looking good:

  1. Freshman year in high school is your year to get adjusted. High school isn’t the easiest time of your life, so if freshman year means you don’t get the best grades, it’s not the end of the world. You can use your sophomore year and junior year to fix your GPA for college applications.
  2. It is true, sophomore and junior year are the most important years when it comes to college applications. Make sure you’re really working hard these years and keeping your grades up.
  3. If you forget about an assignment, turn in what you can! Never take a 0 in the grade book. Any points will help!
  4. If your teacher offers extra credit, take it! There is nothing worse than being just a few points away from an A! An A will really give you a GPA boost!
  5. Extra curricular activities are important, but don’t let them take all your time. Make sure you schedule a couple of hours each night to do your homework. You don’t want to be busy all day and cram homework into being a late night activity.
  6. Sleep is everything! You can’t keep up the best grades by sleeping in class. Make sure you get a proper night of sleep so you’re aware the next day.
  7. Make sure you know how to study! A lot of students don’t know the proper way to study. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher how to study for a test or quiz. Trust me, they don’t want to fail you.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your teachers want you to succeed, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to stay after school or ask your teacher to explain the lesson during lunch.

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Twitter: @VCUAdmissions
Instagram: @vcuadmissions

Making the Most of Your Freshman Year

The transition from high school to college is one that is different from any transition you have had before. Your new life as a college freshman may make you feel confused or pressured by the success of your peers – it feels like you’ll never catch up! In order to help you navigate the stress of your first semester, here are some helpful tips and things to remember.

     1. Start out strong.

Your first semester at college will probably be your easiest one academically. Because of this, it can be easy to try and cruise to the end, thinking that you have nothing to worry about. However, this is exactly the time to lay the academic foundation that the rest of your college years will fall on by aiming for the highest GPA possible. It is better to start with a high GPA while it’s “easy” that takes a few dings over the years than to try to build a GPA from the bottom up as you get closer to graduation.

     2. Figure out your limits.

For most college students, balancing classes, work, and social time is a challenge. Use your first semester to test your limits and see what you can handle. Maybe you realize that in order to get good grades, you don’t have time for a job. Or maybe you try working for a few weeks and realize that you can handle the hustle for extra money. Everyone has different limits – the main thing to remember is not to make yourself go crazy trying to do ten things at once! If you can’t handle as much as you thought you could, go a little easier on yourself. If you find that you have some extra time on your hands, see what more you can do.

      3. Step into the unknown.

High school was a place where everyone knew everyone. As a freshman in college, you’re a new student and so is everyone else. Take advantage of the fact that there are no expectations to fulfill from your peers and try things you wouldn’t have before. Joining new clubs, attending sporting events, and putting energy into something you might not have done in high school are all good ways to leave your comfort zone. You could find something you love and build your resume at the same time.

     4. Make connections.

Take your first semester, and the next four years, to talk to anyone you cross paths with. You never know who someone else knows, or who might be helpful to have a connection with in the future. Establishing a network of people who also have their own networks of people opens up opportunities for friendships, relationships and even business connections that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Keep an open mind and engage with everyone you talk to in class and in your residence hall in order to cultivate not only friendships but also your future career.

      5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself.

This one is hard but it is one of the most important. Everyone at college is on their own timeline, going through life at their own pace. There will always be someone who has achieved more than you, and this will never change! Instead of focusing on what others are doing and how you can emulate their success, focus on who you were in the past compared to where you are now. Decide who you want to be in the future and how you can get yourself from point A to point B, not how others got to their point B.

Experiencing fear while entering your freshman year of college is normal! Remember that you get out from it what you put in, and that there are more things to be excited about than afraid of. Following these tips will relieve a lot of stress for you later on, and will help you make the most of your freshman year, because you only get one freshman year.

Follow VCU Office of Admissions on…
Facebook: Virginia Commonwealth University Office of Admissions
Twitter: @VCUAdmissions
Instagram: @vcuadmissions