April 17, 2003 – Top-of-the-line academic programs, research opportunities and the fact that one campus has its own beach, are some of the reasons that students choose to further their education at the University of the Virgin Islands. Students from the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, the U.S. mainland and other parts of the world make up UVI's diverse student population.
Prospective UVI students have until April 30 to apply for admission for the Fall 2003 semester. Undergraduate and graduate applications are being accepted. UVI offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in business, mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, social sciences, education, nursing and the humanities.
UVI's student recruitment officer Karen Blyden said that many students in the Virgin Islands do not realize the vast opportunities that UVI offers. Local students are usually eager to leave the territory to attend institutions elsewhere after completing high school, Blyden noted. "More and more we are seeing these students transferring to and completing their degrees at UVI," she said.
Blyden recommends that students make UVI their first choice for higher education.
At Andrea Rivera's high school in New Jersey, the counselor referred her to the online college selection program that helps students narrow their college options to the ones that best fit their needs. UVI kept coming up number one.
"Once I selected all the things I wanted from a college, UVI was the only university the program recommended," said Rivera, a UVI freshman marine biology major.
Rivera noted that because of UVI's Brewer's Bay beach, she has experienced hands-on learning not available at other institutions. "What you learn in the classroom you also get to see as you go into the field," Rivera said.
UVI's location also attracted Derrys Richardson. The University is close enough to his native island of Anguilla, yet diverse enough to prepare him for a career anywhere.
"Be prepared to diversify your cultural horizon," Richardson, a computer information systems major, tells other students from the Eastern Caribbean. Richardson, a resident assistant and vice president of the Anguilla UVI Association, served as a UVI student ambassador in Anguilla.
Thalia Smith also serves as an ambassador – of UVI's early admissions program, which has been an integral part of UVI for more than 15 years. The program allows exceptional students to replace their senior year at high school with a freshman year at UVI.
"The one major benefit was the opportunity to have a head start on my college education and simultaneously complete high school," Smith said of her decision to participate in the program. Smith said that advance courses at Charlotte Amalie High School prepared her to succeed academically at UVI.
Because UVI was Alba Harrigan's family's alma mater, she chose to continue the tradition. Harrigan, a psychology major, won the title of Miss UVI this year. During her reign, Harrigan plans to talk to Virgin Islands youth about the importance of self-esteem.
Crystal Lezama noted that the challenges that UVI students face are similar to challenges facing students anywhere.
"The challenges are time management, organization and balancing your social, personal and academic lives," Lezama said. "Another challenge is that of self-improvement. If you need to change, that process of improvement can be challenging," she said, noting that students have to be independent.
Lezama, like other UVI students, plans to take advantage of UVI's National Student Exchange program, where she can "experience college life from a different point of view or in a new environment, with all of the financial benefits of attending UVI." Students have the opportunity of attending one of the 118 colleges and universities that UVI partners with through the NSE.
"There is no limit to the type of exposure students can get at UVI," said Blyden, who is also a UVI alumna. "I know that we have an excellent product." Blyden's daughter, a high school senior, will be attending UVI in the fall.
For more information about educational opportunities at the University of the Virgin Islands call student recruitment officer Karen Blyden at 693-1163 or visit UVI's Web site.
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