Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Early Decision applications decline from last year, still above average

Credit: Johnson
Credit: Johnson

A total of 110 prospective students applied for Early Decision I to Whitman College by last month’s Nov. 15 deadline, which is above average but does not exceed last year’s all time high of 140.

Nevertheless, there has been a five percent growth in prospective student interest compared to last year. Whitman is in contact with 31,000 students through e-mails and letters and more than 4,200 prospective students have started an application.

“We’re up overall but I’ve done this long enough to know not to count our chickens before they hatch,” said Dean of Admission & Financial Aid Tony Cabasco.

Although 2008’s Early Decision I was record-setting, 2009’s tops both 2006 and 2007, in which 95 and 107 students applied Early Decision I.

For high school senior Faith Bernstein of California, the financial commitment kept her from applying Early Decision.

“If it were up to me, I absolutely would [apply Early Decision], seeing as Whitman is by far my first choice,” she said in an e-mail. “However, my parents wanted me to keep my financial options open just in case Whitman would be too much of a financial burden on our family.”

First-year Isabella Lowery, a host for prospective students, said Early Decision doesn’t make sense for students who haven’t yet finished visiting colleges.

“I think it’s hard to apply Early Decision if you’re unsure or haven’t had a chance to visit all your colleges. Also, it’s a big commitment,” said Lowery, who did not apply Early Decision herself.

Whitman’s 10 admissions officers are in the process of reading through the early applications and bracing themselves for the busy months ahead. Jan. 1 is the deadline for Early Decision II and Regular Decision applications will pour in until Jan. 15.

There is no set number of Early Decision applicants that will be admitted, denied or deferred until Regular Decision; however the Office of Admission will not fill more than 25 percent its total admittances through Early Decision.

A majority of total applicants, however, will not be receiving the large admittance packets. Whitman’s admittance rate, 80 percent 20 years ago, decreased to 44 percent for the Class of 2013.

Notification packets for Early Decision I will be mailed Dec. 18.

“We are an admissions office so we like to admit people,” said Cabasco.

Most applicants are qualified for admission because of their test scores and GPA, according to Cabasco, yet the Office of Admission takes time to look at things that are “unquantifiable.”

“One of the tests for me is, ‘would I want to live with this person in Lyman Hall,'” said Cabasco. As a ’90 alumnus, Cabasco looks for students that can not only compete academically at Whitman but for students who will also be an asset to the community.

The largest difference between current and past applicant pools is demographics.

Whitman has seen an increase in students applying from outside the Pacific Northwest. This year’s applicants are spread around the country and include several applying from overseas.

While it looks as though Whitman will continue its steady climb in applications this year, there is no way to be absolutely sure until they have all been turned in.

“Whitman is in the third inning,” Cabasco said. “A lot can still happen.”

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