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Transitioning to College through UVM’s Jump Start Program

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Getting a preview of college life made all the difference for Amanda McDonald.

Before starting her freshman year last fall, McDonald enrolled in UVM Jump Start, a dynamic summer program that provides UVM incoming first-year students the opportunity to meet faculty and students, experience UVM’s curriculum, and explore campus life.

Jump Start is designed to give students a head start on their college career by giving them a chance to take a 3-credit class and experience field trips and social activities on campus before the start of fall semester. Also, by completing 3 credits early, students may complete their education and graduate ahead of schedule.

“Jump Start definitely helps to alleviate all of the fears that freshman share – the anxiety over having a stranger for a roommate, the stress of making friends, and the increased levels of difficulty in course-work,” says McDonald, who is majoring in environmental studies and economics. “I thought it was a great opportunity for myself and a productive way to spend my summer.”

UVM’s Jump Start program, designed for enrolled first-year students, is a partnership with UVM Admissions and UVM Orientation. UVM first-year students attend a UVM Orientation Session and then participate in the Jump Start program.

“I had a sneak peek of what college life is really like. I met completely different people, interacted with professors, and balanced school work with social activities,” said McDonald, of Avon, Conn. “I wanted to get a head-start on my pre-requisites and also to familiarize myself with Burlington and all of the opportunities here. After the program ended, I felt as though I was prepared to accomplish these things on a much larger scale.”

Students participating in Jump Start can commute or live on campus in UVM residential housing, take a credit-bearing course, and participate in workshops and activities designed to help them adjust to college life.

In the Jump Start program, students will:

  • Earn 3-4 UVM credits toward their degree
  • Strengthen study skills and engage in social activities
  • Meet with faculty and academic advisors
  • Commute or live on campus in UVM residential housing
  • Get to know Burlington and the surrounding area

McDonald says she would recommend Jump Start to any enrolled student looking to make a smooth transition into college.

“I feel confident that Jump Start set me on the right track toward achieving my academic goals and really helped me acclimate to UVM’s culture,” she said.

For more information about UVM Jump Start, visit

Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald