Fewer transfer students admitted for Spring 2011, Jan Start group relatively small

Shelly Le

This semester, 13 new first-year students along with three transfer students accepted admission to Whitman College. According to Director of Admission Kevin Dyerly, Whitman typically has a spring class of somewhere between 20 and 25 students, 10 to 15 of whom are transfers. However, an unusually large fall first-year class forced admissions officers to limit admissions for transfer students.

“We really limited the admissions for transfers, and in fact, we had to turn away some applicants,” Dyerly said.

Transfer students, Dyerly said, are typically deferred to the fall admissions process and can usually cope better with the deferral than traditional first-year students.

“It is a little easier for a transfer student to stay at their current college and start in the fall than it is for a first year student who’s eager to start his or her college experience,” he said.

First-year January Start Libby Fones is comfortable with the small group of students that were admitted this spring, but hopes that the college will keep the number of entering students at around the usual 30.

“I think the college did what it needed to do this year, but I think just keeping [the number of incoming January Starts] at around 30 is more beneficial to the school,” Fones said.

First-year Jan Start Katie Gorman felt the decision made sense because of the size of the fall class.

“I don’t think it’s unfair because a lot of students were admitted this year,” she said. “If it’s a matter of more students admitted for fall than for spring than I think that’s okay.”

Although the low number of transfer applicants accepted means that the total number of incoming Jan Starts has been cut to 15 students, many of them are enjoying the small group that they have come to know. Gorman said that having a smaller group to become friends with has greatly helped her transition to college.

“I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I think the small amount of us has helped with us being close and has made the transition smooth,” she said.

Dyerly notes that having a smaller incoming spring class does not affect Jan Starts either socially or academically. Incoming students for spring semester experienced a similar orientation as most other incoming fall first-years and are equally welcomed by Whitman staff.

“Having a small cohort of students helps,” Dyerly said. “The Whitman community is so warm and friendly. Jan Starts this year, from what I’ve heard, have adjusted well.”

Whitman’s reputation for friendliness has held true for Jan Starts, helping this year’s smaller group become comfortable and integrated into college life.

“Everyone’s really excited and friendly for us to join; it’s really nice,” first-year Jan Start Stefani Paladino said. “It seems like it’s a Whitman thing.”

For Paladino, her college decision was a matter of settling for a college she wasn’t necessarily as excited to go to, or waiting and going to her top choice–Whitman.

“I’m so glad I chose Whitman,” she said. “I feel more mature and ready for college now.”