Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Admissions for 2013 spike despite economy

Decisions for the incoming freshman class were mailed out this week, with a record 3,404 applications received, which is a two percent increase from last year.  

“It’s quite amazing to have growth in applications this year given two large factors:   1) the global economic recession and the uncertainty it brings 2) the beginning of the decline in student demographics,” said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid.  

In the next five to six years, the number of high school graduates will shrink, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. However, an informal survey found that most liberal arts colleges faced decreases in applications, with only a few increases –– Whitman included.  

‘I would like to believe that Whitman is finally getting to the cusp of those national liberal arts colleges that will attract talented students from around the country consistently based on its academic reputation,” said Cabasco.

“Specific to Whitman, we have been ‘on a roll’ in recent years with application growth, expansion in geographic representation, application growth among students of color, and generally good press ––Princeton Review, etc.,” said Cabasco.  

However, application growth is not the only important measure –– “yield,” or the percent of admitted students that enroll, tends to be the more important measure. Many colleges expect their yield to decrease this year.  

Financial aid is also a big consideration for deciding students, especially during these economic times. The news about the recession hit in the fall, presumably after some families made college lists, so students and parents may have a “wait-and-see” attitude regarding their final college decisions.  

“I would also highlight three other factors:   1) a loyal, rabid, supportive alumni base 2) current students who are generally happy with their Whitman experience   and 3) a very good admission/recruitment program that gets the message out about Whitman to the right students and does a good job of follow up and recruitment,” said Cabasco.  

Investments in projects like the new Fouts Center for Visual Arts and the Sherwood renovation also helps the college’s reputation.  

“In enrolling a class of new students this year, getting applications may only be half the battle due to the recession,” said Cabasco to ‘The Fountain,’ Whitman’s community newsletter. “However, application numbers holding steady, let alone seeing an increase, is a real victory in these tough times.”

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