Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Visiting student: another option for undergraduates

American students at four year colleges mostly apply to colleges and get admitted as freshmen. A much smaller number of students transfer from one college to another, and graduate from the college that they entered as sophomores or juniors. And of course many students spend a junior year abroad, often visiting a college overseas. But a small number of students spend some time at another American college as visitors. The Crimson describes this at Harvard: Visiting Harvard.

"...Rush and her fellow VUS (pronounced “vuzz” by those in the know) come to Harvard from universities around the world to study for a semester or a year. Though the VUS become involved in most aspects of Harvard life, the existence of this program remains unknown to many at the University and nearly unadvertised outside of Harvard.

"The Visiting Undergraduate Student Program allows undergraduates from any university in the world to apply to attend Harvard for one or two semesters.

"Many of those who participate in this program are international students. Others come from small liberal arts schools in the U.S., and a few come from Harvard’s peer institutions—last year, one visiting student hailed from Princeton and another from Brown.

"The students list a variety of reasons for coming to Harvard, but most center on academics. According to Sarah R. Cole, a lecturer on History and Literature who serves as the advising coordinator for the VUS Program, most of the international students major in economics in their home countries and hope to gain an American perspective on the field. The domestic students, she said, tend to be math or science concentrators who feel they have exhausted the course offerings in their subjects at their colleges.
"The application process for visiting students is similar to the regular admissions process, but it differs in several significant ways. First, VUS can enter Harvard in either the fall or spring semesters, so applications are evaluated twice each year.

"The number of VUS applications and the admissions rate for the program contrast starkly with the Harvard admissions norm. Whereas 614 students applied for transfer admission and over 30,000 sought regular admission in fall 2010, just 47 applied for the VUS Program. Of those applicants, 32 were admitted, and 30 decided to attend—21 are here for just the fall semester, and 9 will stay for the full year.

"Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said that the program receives a low number of applicants because the admissions office does not promote it heavily. Though there is a page on the admissions website about the program and the admissions office prints an informational card about it, Fitzsimmons said that his office does not “recruit” VUS applicants as it does for degree candidates.
"Another concern for some VUS is the cost of the program. Visiting students are not offered financial aid and thus must pay the full rate of $17,488 per semester to take four courses, in addition to the cost of off-campus housing."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the deadline was two weeks ago. So the unadvertised program received its spotlight after one could apply to it. Bummer.