UW HELP Gets the Gold!

Our office won the 2017 UW System Board of Regents Academic Staff Program Award, which is their highest recognition bestowed on a UW System program.

We were humbled to receive this award a few days ago, and we thank counselors for all of the great ideas you give us about how to serve you and your students! You make us a better office.

Our Division’s Dean, David Schejbal, along with UW HELP’s Director, Mary Vilmo

Following is a blurb that was published to summarize some of our office’s contributions.

Created in 1971 as the “front door” to the UW System, UW HELP currently serves more than 300,000 individuals each year. Under the leadership of Director Mary Vilmo, the unit provides personalized assistance and admission information to prospective students, parents/guardians, and high school counselors through one-on-one contact, social media outreach, workshop presentations, and webinars.

UW HELP developed the electronic admission application for the UW System, used by more than one million students to date; maintains a database of pre-college programs; and created MajorMania, a database of academic programs to help students find best-fit programs. This past year, UW HELP’s text messaging effort engaged 20,000 high school students in conversations about financial aid and preparing for college. This spring, staff built the UW Journey mobile application (launching very soon!), which high school students will be able to use to learn about and compare UW System institutions.

UW HELP led the Wisconsin E-Transcript Initiative to initiate electronic delivery of high school transcripts, making the transcript process more efficient and secure. Last year, UW HELP co-sponsored College Goal Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Association of Financial Aid Administrators, a free event to help students and families with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

UW HELP staff regularly give high school presentations, including annual workshops for nearly 1,000 school counselors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. Creator of the award-winning Introduction to the UW System view book, UW HELP has received national awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.