Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Class of 2011 selected from record number of applications

“Each incoming class is smarter than its predecessor,” joked sophomore Ariana Rampy, citing a common concern among students that Whitman is becoming more and more elite and the standard of admitted students is much higher.

Dean of Admission and Finacial Aid Tony Cabasco said this is “a myth that everyone likes to tell.” What has really happened is that, for the past couple of years, the admissions office has been receiving “a thousand more applicants each year than the year before, yet we haven’t changed the student body size.”

Because of pure statistical numbers, it is more difficult to get into Whitman this year than five years ago; it means that a prospective student now has to be even more academically and socially impressive to be noticed by the admissions team.

Photo by Brett AxelrodBut this does not mean that each class is necessarily smarter than the one before it.
“How do you measure smart, anyway?” said Cabasco. “Seldom do you hear from the admissions office that ‘this is the best class.’ Is it harder to get into Whitman now? Probably. But our decision isn’t driven by GPA or SAT scores. It is whether or not we think the student it going to add something to campus.”

This year was a record year for applications for the class of 2011: 3,042 students applied, an increase of 8 percent since last year. Admitted this year were 1,423, an acceptance rate of 46.9 percent. Currently, the admissions office has only received roughly a third of the responses from accepted students. They are still waiting for the rest, who must decide by this weekend for the May 1 deadline. They are aiming for a target class of 425 students: 400 first-years and 25 transfers.

The class of 2011 is more geographically diversified than ever before. Applications came in from New England, Virginia, New York and Minnesota, among other east coast states and international applications. This is a geographical growth for Whitman, where the majority of students come from Washington, Oregon and California.

“Obviously [they] remain our biggest three states. Those three states make up about 67 percent of admitted students,” said Cabasco.

“The goal is to attract [more] students from around the country, and around the world to come to Whitman: [students] who are looking for a place like Whitman,” said Cabasco.
But Washingtonian prospective students shouldn’t get nervous at their new competition from the east coast.

“We are not going to sacrifice academic quality for someone who lives farther away. If we have two highly qualified students, geography may be a factor that comes in to play, [but only] among other things. It’s not like we will take every George in Tennessee simply because they live there,” said Cabasco.

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