Hundreds of admitted students, both prospective and already committed, will be welcomed to Whitman this Saturday for Admitted Students Day 2015. The day will include opportunities for students to sample classes, tour the campus and attend various informations sessions.
The month of April is crucial for college admissions officers as they aim to fill next year’s class. Director of Admissions Adam Miller emphasized the importance of a campus visit, in addition to financial aid, as a deciding factor for students and their families.
“Saturday is a really big day,” said Miller. “We’re going to have nearly 400 people on campus who are coming because they like Whitman enough to have invested a few hundred dollars and a day or two of their time to come out and see us. We really work hard to honor that commitment that families bring to us.”
This year has been the most selective year in the history of Whitman admissions. After approximately a 40 percent increase in applications last year, this year’s application increase of three percent means that still more applicants must be rejected.
In determining the number of students to admit, Miller explained several factors that must be taken into account. Included in these is what Miller referred to as the “Summer Melt” –– the number of enrolled students that later decide to take a gap year or are selected from the waitlist at another school.
“We want to have a number of enrolling students that’s higher than where we end up,” he said.
So far 169 students have committed to come to Whitman next fall. This number includes 14 who were admitted last year but deferred to take a gap year, 120 who applied early decision and a remaining 35 regular-decision applicants. The Office of Admission is hoping to get the number of students up to about 420. The office is waiting to receive responses from 80 percent of admitted students by May 1.
Miller emphasized that a student’s decision to attend Whitman is just as important as the decisions that admissions officers make.
“I can be excited about who we offered admission to, but will they choose us?” he said.
Among the students already committed to Whitman is Ben Limpich from Ventura, Calif. Limpich is president of his high school’s debate team and began rock climbing about a year ago.
“It’s really the only sport I find that isn’t incredibly monotonous because its a puzzle combined with physical exertion,” he said.
Limpich cited the welcoming and laid back atmosphere of Whitman as a driving factor in his decision to attend. He also mentioned the appeal of different outdoor and recreational activities he could get involved in next year.
“Liberal arts colleges tend to blend together for me, but Whitman stood out in that it had intramural sports and this access to nature that was really emphasized,” he said.
Andrea Hood from Bellevue, Wash. is among the admitted students who applied for the first early-decision deadline. She was the second person to officially commit to the class of 2019. Though Hood initially hesitated to attend the same school as her brother, a current student, she is enthusiastic about this upcoming fall.
A prospective BBMB major, Hood was attracted to Whitman for its science programs, and she also hopes to minor in French. She is excited about getting involved with animal rights activism and spoken word poetry.
Having visited Whitman several times in the past, Hood was particularly attracted to the student culture and looks forward to the fruitful discussions she will have next year.
“People are more open to each others’ opinions,” she said. “There’s not much judgement happening here.”
Karissa Hampson from Vancouver, Wash. is looking forward to joining the cycling team and getting involved with GlobeMed next year. While small class sizes and academic opportunity were much of what attracted Hampson to Whitman, what first caught her attention while visiting was the beauty of the campus.
“One thing that really struck me about Whitman is just walking around and there was art everywhere,” She said.
Hampson was also struck by the positive atmosphere she felt at Whitman. She said she does not normally look too closely at college rankings, but Whitman’s quality of life ranking given by students stood out to her. She said her visit to Whitman reflected what she had read.
“Some campuses you walk around and everybody looks stressed; some campuses you walk around and everybody looks engaged or friendly.” she said. “Whitman was definitely the latter.”
Miller emphasized the importance of interactions with prospective students in the month of April.
“Every chance you get to have a positive interaction with a prospective student or parent and to show them the best of Whitman I think is an opportunity to help make Whitman a better place,” he said.