Record low admittance rate

Hanna Ory

Record low admittance rate | Courtesy of Greg Lehman, Whitman Communications OfficeFrom class presidents to team captains and editors to Eagle Scouts, the Whitman class of 2012 has more to it than just the many extra bodies you see crowding the campus. This fall the community welcomed its second largest class in the college’s history.

“We enrolled another group of bright, intellectual, talented, highly involved, passionate and down to earth group of students, who will contribute to and benefit from the Whitman experience,” said Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Tony Cabasco.

With over 3,200 applications, the 45 percent admittance rate this year holds the record as the lowest in the college’s history. Subsequently, the entering class of 431 students is the second largest ever, falling only seven students short of the 1978 freshman class of 438 students.

To accommodate for the additional students, one section of first-years is being housed in North Hall, a traditionally upper-classmen dorm located several blocks off campus. Fanny Domijan of White Salmon, Wash., was one of the first-years placed in this dorm.

“It’s really cool,” Domijan said. “I have a single room and my own toilet and sink. I really like the people, so I don’t even mind that it is so far away.”

In addition to the large first-year class size, there has been a rumor floating around campus regarding the distorted gender breakdown of the incoming class.

“I heard the girl to guy ratio was 70:30,” said sophomore Tiffany Choe. The actual figures are 58 percent female and 42 percent male, which is in fact more balanced than the preceding 59 percent female sophomore class.

“For perspective, 57 percent of all undergraduates in the U.S. are female, and our entering classes have fluctuated between 41 percent to 50 percent male in the last 5 to 6 years,” Cabasco said.

The class of 2012 is not just notable for their quantity, however.

“My first impression of the class is that they are very diverse, friendly and intelligent” said Domijan.
Cabasco added, “I think that many current students have the notion that each subsequent entering class is ‘better’ than the previous classes. While the percentage of students admitted has been going down in recent years, the percentage change is not as dramatic as many people believe. The last five entering classes have had similar grades and test scores. The admission staff members and I have focused on admitting students who are the right fit for Whitman and who would enhance the campus community. We know that a student is more than just the sum of his or her test scores.”

Aside from 44 class valedictorians, 41 editors of their high school newspaper or year book and 17 ASB or class presidents, a few notable achievements of the class of 2012 include: writing an opinion piece subsequently featured in the New York Times, starring in an episode of “CSI Miami,” working as a US Senate Page, attending the Global Youth Leadership Conference and working on a dairy farm in the Swiss Alps.

“I know a student whose high school marching band went to Beijing for the Olympics, and another person who spent the summer in South Africa doing Peace Corps-type work,” Domijan said, “I was worried that people in my class would fit into a certain mold here, but they totally don’t. They are much more diverse and act totally different than I expected, in a really good way.”