“This is the best university ever. Better than every ivy league school combined. Even better than the University of Greenland.
“I'm not normally one to write a reviewMar 13 2014Anthropology
I was dead-convinced that UVM was the perfect school for me. It was advertised incredibly well as a small, research-focused liberal arts college, that was entirely unique in the (increasingly) mediocre liberal-arts college system. It builds itself up as something special, a "public ivy", that (for out of state students) is extremely expensive, but the school presents itself as more than worth the incredible expense through the colleges "up and coming" presentation, it's scenic locale, and it's progressive attitude. I had spend two years at a community college before attending UVM. I wanted to save my money, to bring my grades up and wait until I found a college that seemed like it was worth the price, a place that could really provide great opportunities.
What a load of absolute fucking bullshit. I spent 7 months at UVM before I literally could not take it anymore and dropped out before spring break. I will list those reasons below, please heed my warning:
1. The student population, in the seven months I went out of my way trying to meet people, might just be the most shallow, vapid group of people i've met in my life. Don't get me wrong, there are 10,000 students, and I interacted with a fraction of them, but I think I saw enough to make a fair judgement. UVM used to have a reputation of being a school of people concerned for social justice and environmental awareness. This is present, but most students wear these tags as badges of superiority rather than things they actually care about. These people want to look and sound like they're aware of human rights issues, without actually putting in the effort to give a real shit about them. UVM is truly all about looks. Students want to look artsy, look different, look progressive, look thoughtful, but upon actually trying to talk with them, you get the overwhelming impression you're speaking to a robot. The group who markets UVM are absolutely brilliant, because they know EXACTLY how to pander to these upper-middle class white kids that want to wear all the images indicative of a globally minded intellect, who want to "make a difference".
These are kids from wealthy families, one gets the impression that they couldn't get into an actual ivy-league, so they make their parents pay for them to go here to feed their self-importance. If you don't come from that sort of family, you're going to have quite a hard time fitting in. There are some great, down to earth, and humble kids who go here, they're just very, very hard to find. Expect a nearly endless supply of kids who want to look and sound smart, but have no real distinguishable characteristics that make them human. This would be find, but many students you interact with carry this arrogant air of self importance; you feel like you're going insane. And look, it's not like i'm the king of the fucking human race here, i'm a modestly smart guy who loves to learn and loves to converse with people about a variety of things. Unless you fake a medical reason why you need to live off-campus, there is a great chance that you will never find that among these students. If you are someone with a serious love for human rights, with a serious passion for learning, for creating real relationships with people, you will not find it here. These are future yuppies in training, and I feel much of this is due to:
2. The price. Vermont law mandates that out of state tuition is always double the price of in-state tuition. At 50 grand a year, this boils down to a student population that (seems) universally white, upper-middle class north-easterners. Expect plenty of "hippies" driving their parents audis and BMW's. But we've talked about the students already, what does the price get you? Your out-of-state tuition gets you what is a glorified state school, using it's "public ivy" status to ratchet up the price an extra 1,000 dollars every year.
There is nothing here academically that can justify how incredibly expensive it is. I don't want to sound too harsh though. UVM will provide you with a solid education with some knowledgable professors. If you are an in-state student, you're getting exactly what your paying for and it's quite a good value. For out of state, you are paying ivy-league prices for a state school, there is no getting around that simple fact. I felt much more challenged, and as a result I learned much more at my 4,000 dollar a year community college than I did here. Nothing really distinguishes UVM from any generic state school, aside from a beautiful campus with a few of nice/old buildings, and an equal number of shitty buildings that are hidden from most photographs of the campus. This is like any standard state school, but UVM gets away with charging 20-30 thousand dollars more for it. By their 2nd year, most out of state students seem to understand the education they're getting isn't close to worth it, and leave, 53% of out of state students transfer out before they finish.
If you were interested in UVM for similar reasons I was, if you were looking for a place to grow your brain while growing your perspective on the world, while growing meaningful relationships with people and professors, please steer as far away as you can. Obviously i'm only one person, my experience could have been a freak or bizarre happening that isn't normal. However I feel that i'm being honest in my evaluation. I can't describe to you how happy I felt getting on the plane after I left UVM for good, seeing it fade away forever. Unto the next adventure, I hope i've helped yours in any way.
“I did it. I powered through four yearsOct 19 2013Anthropology
Honestly, I should have dropped out after my second year. Next to no one is interested in academics, which is fine, but as a collaborative learner, this was difficult. However, most of my professors were great. Not only helpful, but honest.
Also, the amount of people at UVM who think they're not racist, or not sexist, or not homophobic, or transphobic, etc, but actually are all of those things, is incredible. It's all fuckin' rich, white kids and I don't think I fully understood what that meant when I first got there.
I stayed because I believed a lot of what we say about the mythical powers of a degree, and by the time I realized it was bullshit, I was too far in and coasted my way out.
Burlington is a great little city. I eventually felt more like a Burlingtonite than a student once I had a full-time job downtown. There are a bunch of articles about how great Burlington is as a college town and how welcoming it is to the fact that there is such a huge student population. This is not true. Most people love the summer because all of the students are gone. There is a giant sigh of relief and the crowd on Church St is completely different.
If you're interested in learning, just move to Burlington and get a library card. Once you need some help, just contact some professors, and I'm sure they'll be willing to help.Fuck paying for college. I learned a lot, and at the time I needed some direction, but now I'm a Barista (and I love it) and have $55,000 of debt. If you've read this, and are having any doubts, I really suggest deferring, but moving to Burlington and seeing if you really, REALLY want to go there.