Congratulations! Welcome to the UT Class of 2021! If you completed the confirmation process via your VIP admissions portal, then you’ve taken the first step towards your UT degree. Once your admission has been processed, a UT NetID will be generated for you. Once you see your NetID in the VIP portal, you can then activate your Volmail account. Follow the instructions on the OIT website to set up your Volmail account. Your UT email address will be [Your NetID]@vols.utk.edu. You can view the next steps you need to complete here. If you have any questions in the meantime, just call 865-974-3523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to meet you!
Are Volunteer Bridge students eligible for Tennessee Promise?
Yes. Students who qualify and signed up for Tennessee Promise can participate in both Promise and Volunteer Bridge. Note that Tennessee Promise only applies to Tennessee community colleges, so the Promise scholarship will apply only to Volunteer Bridge students’ PSCC bills (tuition and fees). Tennessee Promise is also a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that other grants and scholarships (such as Pell grants and the HOPE Scholarship) will be applied to students’ PSCC bill before Tennessee Promise. Because Volunteer Bridge is a one-year program, students who successfully complete the Volunteer Bridge Program and wish to transfer to UT classes in their second year will need to leave the Promise program after the first year. For more information about Tennessee Promise, visit http://tennesseepromise.gov/
What is the Volunteer Bridge Program?
The Volunteer Bridge Program is an invitation-only program designed to support a select group of promising prospective UT students who would benefit from the combined academic support and opportunities of the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Community College. Volunteer Bridge students live in UT campus housing as part of a living and learning community (or commute to campus if eligible) and take certain courses together. Volunteer Bridge students can begin their college experience by taking UT courses during the second summer session at UT, or they can begin in fall. In fall and spring—and the following summer if needed— Volunteer Bridge students enroll full-time at PSCC while continuing to live in UT campus housing or commuting. After a successful first year at PSCC, students who fulfill all Volunteer Bridge Program requirements are guaranteed degree-seeking admission to UT for their second year and beyond.
How do I become a Volunteer Bridge student?
The Volunteer Bridge Program is an invitation-only program. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions reviews first-year UT applicants and issues invitations to students eligible for Volunteer Bridge admission. Invited students must complete a simple confirmation process to participate in the program.
Where do Volunteer Bridge students live?
All Volunteer Bridge students are strongly encouraged to live on campus, where you will live in the same residence hall and share common academic experiences with others in the program as part of a Living and Learning Community. Complete your forms as soon as possible, as on-campus housing is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
All commuter Volunteer Bridge students can participate fully in all activities, but are responsible for transportation to and from both campuses.
What is a Living and Learning Community?
UT offers a variety of Living and Learning Communities (LLC’s) that provide distinctive opportunities for first-year students to connect with classmates, develop valuable skills, become involved in campus life, and ultimately develop skills necessary to be both a successful UT student and a successful leader. The Volunteer Bridge Program offers one such living and learning community. Volunteer Bridge students in this LLC live together in UT campus housing and share common academic experiences.
Commuter Volunteer Bridge students are not considered part of the Bridge LLC, but are welcome to participate in LLC activities when possible.
In the program, will I be considered a PSCC or a UT student?
Both. Volunteer Bridge students have both UT and PSCC student IDs and can access student support services and activities at both institutions. Volunteer Bridge students take courses at PSCC in the summer, fall, and spring, as well as the subsequent summer if needed to complete program requirements. Volunteer Bridge students may not register to take classes at UT during the program. Volunteer Bridge students are enrolled at UT as non-degree-seeking students until they successfully complete the program, at which point they are granted degree-seeking status.
Where will I attend classes as a Volunteer Bridge student?
During fall and spring semesters, as well as the subsequent summer semester if needed, Volunteer Bridge students enroll full time (12+ hours per semester in fall and spring) at PSCC. Volunteer Bridge students are encouraged to register for courses at the Division Street or Hardin Valley campus of PSCC but may take classes at any of PSCC’s five campuses.
How much does the Volunteer Bridge Program cost?
For the optional initial summer session, Volunteer Bridge students pay UT tuition, fees, and, if not commuting, housing costs. For the fall and spring semesters (and subsequent summer if needed), Volunteer Bridge students pay PSCC tuition and fees as well as UT housing costs (if non-commuter) and certain student services fees. Volunteer Bridge students are also assessed a $225/semester program fee by UT (subject to change) and, if living on campus, a one-time $50 programming fee in fall by UT Housing (for participation in a LLC).
Students who wish to keep a car on UT’s campus will pay the regular UT parking rates; parking at PSCC is free.
Scholarships and financial aid are available to assist with these costs for those who qualify. Students interested in receiving financial aid must complete a 2016-2017 FAFSA (if attending in summer 2017) and a 2017-2018 FAFSA for fall and spring semesters. Students should be sure to list PSCC as their #1 institution on both FAFSAs. The PSCC school code is 012693.
See the “Costs” section (under the Admissions tab) for more information.
What requirements must I fulfill as a Volunteer Bridge student to earn full admission to UT for my second year and beyond?
Volunteer Bridge students have a maximum of four semesters to complete program requirements—second summer session, fall, spring, and the following summer (full, first, and/or second session). Students who begin the program in fall have only three semesters (fall/spring/summer) to complete requirements. By the end of summer 2018, a Volunteer Bridge student must have at least a 2.5 overall GPA and 30 transferrable hours to guarantee degree-seeking admission to UT for the sophomore year and beyond. Students who do not meet those requirements will be holistically evaluated for possible transfer admission by the UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions but are not guaranteed admission.
Students who do not meet Volunteer Bridge requirements and are not otherwise admitted to UT by the end of summer 2018 will be removed from the program. In addition, students who fail to make sufficient academic progress during the program and students who face judicial penalties may also be removed from the program. Such students must leave UT housing but can continue their studies at PSCC or another institution and pursue admission to UT via an alternative transfer pathway.
What is meant by “transferrable hours”?
For the purposes of the Volunteer Bridge Program, “transferrable hours” refers to credit hours earned at PSCC with a D or better in a class that transfers to UT. Transitional courses (such as 800-level math and English courses at PSCC) are not included in Volunteer Bridge students’ “transferrable hours,” nor are credits earned prior to joining the Volunteer Bridge Program. To determine whether a course is considered transferrable, students should consult with their UT and/or PSCC adviser. Summer courses taken at UT (and passed with a D or higher) are also included in these “transferrable hours.”
Note that some courses in which a D is earned will transfer in to UT but will not count towards a student’s general education or degree requirements at UT. For instance, UT students must earn a C or higher in English Composition I and II to receive credit for those courses, so if a student transfers in a D in one of those courses, the student must still take that course at UT to satisfy the requirement. Bridge students should strive to earn C’s or better in all classes and should discuss any D’s with their advisers to determine the best course of action. For Bridge Program purposes, however, all D’s earned during the program will count towards students’ total transferrable hours.
Students who need College Algebra (MATH 1130 at PSCC) for their prospective major but have a math ACT subscore (or equivalent) of 19-20 are required to take a three-hour nontransferrable pre- or co-requisite math course (MATH 1030) at PSCC. This is the only college-level, non-transferrable class that a Bridge student might be required to take while in the program.
How will I get to my classes at PSCC?
Volunteer Bridge students are responsible for their own transportation to and from PSCC campuses.* Students can drive or carpool with classmates. Although it will not match class schedules exactly, the Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) system is a good option for students attending the Magnolia Avenue and Division Street campuses. A student KAT pass—unlimited rides for 135 days—can also be purchased at UT or PSCC. Public transportation does not extend to PSCC’s Hardin Valley, Blount County, or Strawberry Plains locations. Most non-commuter Volunteer Bridge students currently attend the Division Street campus, which is approximately two miles from UT.
Students should carefully consider their transportation options when determining at which PSCC campus(es) to enroll.
Can I declare any major I want once I earn degree-seeking admission to UT for my 2nd year?
Students will not formally declare a major while enrolled in the Volunteer Bridge Program, but they can work with their advisers to prepare for admission to available UT degree programs. Note that successful completion of the Volunteer Bridge Program grants admission to UT but not to a particular major. Students must apply for admission to the college they wish to join upon transferring to UT.
Volunteer Bridge students are not likely to be eligible for direct admission programs in architecture and nursing. Volunteer Bridge students who wish to declare these majors or another major with rigorous or specialized admissions standards (such as business and engineering) should work closely with advisers to maximize their chances of acceptance into the major. Such students should also develop a parallel plan with their advisers in the event that they are not accepted to their first-choice major.
Students planning to major in music or music education must try out for the major before seeking admission to the School of Music at UT. Information about the audition process can be found on the school’s website.
Will I need a meal plan?
Volunteer Bridge students are not required to sign up for a meal plan at UT. However, if you do want a meal plan, you can choose from any of the meal plans UT has to offer. Most Volunteer Bridge students do choose to purchase a meal plan; be sure you do your research regarding which plan is best for you before you sign the contract! Meal plans can be changed but not canceled once purchased.
PSCC does not offer meal plans, but the Hardin Valley campus has a full cafeteria, and food is available for purchase at most campuses, including Division Street.
Are there any UT or PSCC student activities and services that are off limits to me while in the program?
Volunteer Bridge Program students have both a UT student ID and a PSCC student ID. By paying student services fees at both institutions, Volunteer Bridge students have full access to library privileges, student computer facilities, tutoring and other student support services, and recreational facilities at both campuses. Volunteer Bridge students are able to purchase UT student tickets to football games and other athletic and entertainment events. Volunteer Bridge students are also able to participate in ROTC on the UT campus.
While Volunteer Bridge students have unrestricted access to most UT student facilities and opportunities, some organizations and opportunities are not available to Volunteer Bridge students. These include:
- Pride of the Southland Marching Band and other UT instrumental or vocal ensemble groups: Volunteer Bridge students cannot participate in these organizations until they officially transfer to UT. However, Volunteer Bridge students are eligible to participate in instrumental and vocal ensemble groups at the PSCC main (Hardin Valley) campus.
- UT social fraternities and sororities: Volunteer Bridge students cannot pledge a social fraternity or sorority at UT until officially transferring to UT (in their second year). This applies to social sororities/fraternities only; Volunteer Bridge students are free to join a service sorority/fraternity at UT while in the program.
- Some club sports and other recreational organizations: Volunteer Bridge students’ eligibility for club sports is determined on an individual basis. Volunteer Bridge students who are interested in playing for a RecSports sport club should contact the club organizers to determine their eligibility. PSCC also offers a wide variety of clubs and organizations that Volunteer Bridge students can join while enrolled in the program.
- Official NCAA UT athletic teams, including cheering and dance squads: Volunteer Bridge students can purchase tickets to or otherwise attend athletic events like any other UT student; they cannot be on an official NCAA UT athletic team until they are enrolled at UT.
- Volunteer Bridge students cannot complete the application/training process to be a Resident Assistant or Ignite Team Leader until their sophomore year at UT.
Please note that these restrictions are based on the policies of other governing bodies, not of the Volunteer Bridge Program or UT itself. Upon successful completion of the Volunteer Bridge Program, students are eligible for these restricted activities.
Should I start the Volunteer Bridge program in summer?
The initial summer component of the Volunteer Bridge Program is not required, but it is highly recommended for the following reasons:
- You can get a head start on the 30 transferrable hours you’ll need to earn during the program to complete program requirements.
- You can bond with fellow Volunteer Bridge and other summer students before all the other students arrive on campus, and transition to college life before all the distractions of fall.
- You can have four semesters (summer, fall, spring, summer) to complete program requirements. Students who begin in the fall only have three (fall, spring, summer).
- You can get additional financial aid for summer 2017, beyond what you will receive in fall 2017-summer 2018.
If you have transitional (or learning support) test scores in English, reading, or math (based on your ACT/SAT scores), it is strongly recommended that you begin the program in summer to ensure that you will have ample time to earn 30 transferrable credits (some courses you are required to take may not transfer to UT). Earning credit in the summer in subjects that are not dependent on transitional test scores will allow you to make positive progress toward your total 30 credits.
Note that the summer session 2017 falls under the 2016-2017 FAFSA, while fall 2017 and spring and summer 2018 fall under the 2017-2018 FAFSA. Students who begin the program in fall 2017 will likely exhaust all of their available 2017-2018 financial aid (at PSCC) by the end of spring 2018 and thus will not have financial aid monies available to them for summer 2018 if needed. Students who require financial aid for summer are advised to begin the program in the summer session 2017, as financial aid will not be available in summer 2018. Students seeking financial aid for summer 2017 must complete the 2016-2017 FAFSA, in addition to the 2017-2018 FAFSA, before April 22.
In short, attending summer session offers a smoother transition, more flexibility, more financial options, and the best opportunity to successfully complete program requirements and earn that guaranteed spot as a member of the University of Tennessee Class of 2021.