February admission is a program developed by former Dean of Admissions Fred Neuberger in a creative effort to fill dorm space that was empty during spring semester because so many Middlebury students study abroad. Rather than admit a large class of transfer students, the College decided to admit another class of first-year students, or "Febs."
Do students apply for February admission in a separate applicant pool?
No. February students are chosen from the same applicant pool as September students and all students are notified of their admission at the same time in late March or early April. Students may indicate on the Common Application their preference for a starting date (September only, February only, or either), but this is ultimately an Admissions Office decision. Some students who indicate an interest in September may be offered a place in our February class. Many applicants now tell us they'd prefer to be "Febs," and some even outline their plans for the fall in their applications.
How many Febs arrive each February?
Usually 80 to 90 students.
Does indicating a preference for Feb increase the likelihood of admission?
No. The admissions committee strives for consistency in its assessment standards and a student's preference is simply another piece of information for use by the admissions staff.
Is being admitted as a Feb like being on the waiting list?
No. Being admitted as a Feb is a full admission to the College community. We choose our Febs because we see in them students who will use wisely the time between high school graduation and their studies at Middlebury. "Febs" tend to be highly energetic leaders in their school communities, or students who have already sought unconventional and creative opportunities in their high school careers. Febs typically come to Middlebury ready to "hit the ground running."
What if I apply under one of the Early Decision plans? Do I have to come in February if I'm admitted as a "Feb"?
During the Early Decision (ED) process, only students who indicate a willingness or preference for February are admitted as Febs. However, for ED applicants who are deferred to the Regular Decision applicant pool, it is possible that they will be offered February admission even if they have not indicated that preference or willingness.
Does the College plan activities for Febs to pursue? How do students know where to go?
Before arriving on campus, Febs have several months that are entirely their own. The College does not seek to direct or recommend certain pursuits, though there are resources available to our Febs as they make their plans. When a student is admitted as a Feb, their letter of admission is accompanied by a Guide to February Admission that explains the Feb program and outlines the activities of recent Febs. Students can also consult our online list of Feb-mester resources highlighting a variety of programs available. Ultimately, the choice of how to spend that time rests with each individual student.
What do Febs do during their "Febmester"?
A wide range of things. Some Febs work to save money and then travel. Other Febs pursue service opportunities or internships. The following is a short sampling of some activities pursued by recent Febs:
- Interned at Outward Bound in the Development office
- Worked on two community theater productions
- Interned on Capitol Hill
- Worked at a lobbying firm
- Worked as a teacher's assistant at a girls' boarding school in Kent, England
- Saved money and volunteered at the King Street Youth Center in Burlington, Vermont
- Traveled in Germany for three weeks
- Worked as a landscaper and studied at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
- Worked at a small professional theater as the assistant to the artistic director
- Lived with extended family in Seattle for two months to explore, camp and hike
- Stayed at home in Tibet and volunteered as an interpreter at the village school
- Worked as a clerk at a stock brokerage firm and a sales associate at Banana Republic
- Pursued a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course in Patagonia
When do Febs graduate?
As February first-years, students enter in February and leave four years later in February -- in their caps and gowns but also on skis, snowshoes, or sleds at Middlebury's own ski area, the Snow Bowl! The February celebration has become a hallmark of a Middlebury winter. February seniors and their families enjoy a full weekend of festivities on campus and at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. February admission does not imply that students will graduate in three and a half years. Any student (September or Feb) may choose to use AP credits, or other transferable credit, to accelerate his course of study, but that's not the intention of the Feb admission program.
Can Febs be involved in clubs and organizations their first semester? How do they get into classes?
Febs have a week of orientation before spring semester begins, while the rest of the College is on break after winter term. Febs participate in events that acquaint them with the College and that include placement exams, class registration, and an activities fair. The College reserves space in spring semester classes so that Febs are sure to have access to a broad range of course offerings. The College has a great deal of movement on and off campus at midyear as a Feb class graduates and a large number of juniors leave to study abroad for the spring semester. That means many spaces open up in clubs and organizations. Typically, Febs really make an impact when they arrive at Middlebury and quickly involve themselves in a wide array of extra curricular activities.
Where do Febs live? Do they live with other first-year students or in the senior housing vacated by Feb graduates?
February (Feb) First Year student are placed whenever possible within the First-year and Sophomore Commons communities or in small groups within general student housing across campus. Transfer and Exchange students are housed based on the location of available beds as well as a student's individual considerations. New Feb arrivals may be placed with another new arrival or with a student who has been on, or is returning to, campus.
Can Febs participate in four years of athletics?
Febs have four full seasons of athletic eligibility. If they are fall or winter athletes, Febs complete their careers in the final fall semester or winter term. For students who play a winter sport such as basketball, they would play during the final winter and would be allowed to stay on with the team (after the end of winter term and the Feb graduation celebration) to finish the entire season.
How does being a Feb influence a student's prospects for employment or further study after graduation?
According to Middlebury's Career Services Office (CSO), there are advantages (from the job seeker's perspective) to graduating in February. First, many employers don't operate on an academic calendar, and want students earlier than after commencement in May. Febs have the advantage of saying, "Sure, I can start in February!" Second, some organizations hire groups of college graduates and are able to offer several start dates throughout the year, which presents another advantage to Febs. Third, a full schedule of on-campus recruiting now takes place in the fall semester. Finally, there are off-campus recruiting events during January in New York City and Boston.
Please contact the Admissions Office if you have questions about February admissions that we haven't answered here.