Graduate and Professional School Fair on Oct. 3

Thinking about continuing your education and want to learn more about your options?  Come check out the Graduate and Professional School Fair sponsored by the VCU Office of Admissions.  The fair will take place on Thursday, October 3, from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons, located at 907 Floyd Avenue.

Representatives from over 80 schools for graduate programs from around the country, including health sciences, business, engineering, medicine and law, will be on hand to meet with you and answer all of your questions.  Workshops will also be offered throughout the day on a variety of topics including: Preparing for the GRE, Tips for Getting into Grad School and Preparing for the Grad School Interview.

If you’d like to register online in advance, you may do so at http://graduate.admissions.vcu.edu/experience/students/.  While we’d love to know if you’ll be joining us ahead of time, please feel free to come by and register with us when you arrive.

For more information about the Graduate and Professional School Fair, please contact Joy Rush, Graduate Recruitment Coordinator, by e-mail at jdrush@vcu.edu or by phone at (804) 828-7033.  You can also visit the online registration website for a list of the 2013 fair attendees.  We look forward to seeing you there!

College planning tips for high school seniors, part II

by Chelsea Rinehart and Erica Jackson, Graduate Student Assistants

With October swiftly approaching, we know that there are tons of things going on right now.  Football season is under way, homecoming dances are coming up, and before you know it winter break will creep up on you. While you are busy with senior year activities at your high school, it’s important that you remember to work hard and finish strong in your senior year.  Here are some thoughts on things that you can do throughout the upcoming month to help with the college preparation process.

Seniors, it’s time to put all of your studying and test prep to work. If you haven’t already taken your SAT or ACT, October is the month to do it! Register for your test on the College Board website (sat.collegeboard.org) or by mail, and do some practice runs in the weeks leading up to your test date. It might be useful to grab a test book or find an online practice test. Be sure to time yourself when taking these, so you’ll have a realistic idea of what the test will be like. It’s not too early for juniors to take the SAT or PSAT, either. Testing as a junior will give you time to review your results with your counselor and improve your scores the next time around.

Start narrowing down your list of colleges of interest to those that you want to submit an application for admission.  Keep a calendar of all application deadline dates, noting if they are early decision (usually a binding application), early action (usually a non-binding application), or regular admission.

October is also a good time to start getting together supplementary application materials like letters of recommendation and official transcripts. When a teacher or a counselor agrees to recommend you for a college, remember to let them know how much you appreciate their support by keeping organized and making the process easy for them. Provide your recommenders with any instructions the college gives you and leave them a stamped envelope for each letter. Remember, these envelopes should already be addressed to your college admissions offices.  If you are applying through the Common Application, remind your recommenders to check their e-mail for a recommendation request on your behalf.

Your high school counselor will be able to help you send official transcripts to your selected colleges. Make sure to include any transcript request forms that your high school and/or colleges require when requesting or submitting your transcripts. Once all of your supplemental materials have been requested and your applications have been submitted, you will be well on your through the admissions process….next it’s time to think about financing college!  Check back at the end of October for part III.

VCU is now part of the Common Application

by Christal Holmes, Assistant Director for Admissions Communications

Earlier in the summer, VCU became an exclusive member of the Common Application for new, first-time freshmen only.  The application is available online only.

Transfer students or returning VCU students should visit our website for more information regarding their application process.

In addition to submitting the Common Application, freshman applicants must send official high school transcripts and either SAT or ACT scores. VCU also requires at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or other authority in order to complete your application package. When applicants complete the Common Application, they will be asked to submit recommender information.  Recommenders will be sent an email on the applicants behalf requesting that they complete a recommendation.

Replacing the personal statement from our former application are essay prompts that all applicants must answer if they’re completing the Common Application.  Applicants must choose one of the following topics and prepare an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure responses:

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it.  If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act?  Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful to you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

In addition to answering one of the above essay topics, there are two additional VCU-specific writing prompts that all applicants are asked to complete:

  • Describe a challenging situation you’ve faced. Briefly state the situation, how you responded and why, would you have done anything differently, has it affected or shaped who you are today?
  • As you start your college career, what is your primary goal as a student and how have you prepared to meet this goal, how do you plan to succeed, how do you feel you will do at VCU?

Applicants to our School of the Arts programs should also refer to the SOTA admissions website for program-specific application requirements, such as portfolios or auditions: http://arts.vcu.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/undergraduate/.

Our application fee for this year is $50 and must be paid when submitting the Common Application online; we do not accept checks or money orders for the payment of application fees.

Our deadlines for applying will continue to be December 1 for scholarship consideration and January 15 for regular decision.  We will continue to review applications on a rolling basis (no early action or early decision); however, applications received after the January 15 deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis only.

Students who apply and submit all materials to complete their application packages by our January 15 deadline will receive a decision from our office in writing, via U.S. mail, by April 1.

As always, we encourage prospective students, parents, and counselors to contact our office and speak with our admissions staff regarding questions about our application process.  We can be reached by phone at 800-841-3638 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. We can also be reached by e-mail at ugrad@vcu.edu.

On the road again

by Christal Holmes, Assistant Director for Admissions Communications

As school starts and fall approaches, that can only mean one thing in admissions…it’s travel season!   Our admissions counselors are looking forward to meeting with prospective Rams in your hometowns.  Whether at college fairs or visiting high schools, our counselors love sharing more about all of the dynamic opportunities for students here at VCU and answering your questions.

Want to know if we’ll be in your area soon?  Check out our In your town calendar.  You can also check out our counselor profiles to get more information about the representative in your area.

Remember, we’re here to help guide you through the application process.  If you’re not able to attend an event in your area, but have questions about VCU, you can always e-mail us ugrad@vcu.edu or give us a call at (800) 841-3638.

We look forward to meeting you on the road!