Letter to the Editor: ‘Graduate School Grief’

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,
I’d like to clarify some of the information written in the Pio article titled, “Graduate School Grief” on the front page of the Thursday, Dec. 3, issue.

When I spoke with the author of the article at the Student Engagement Center on Wednesday, Dec. 2, I was told that this article was being written with the premise that Whitman College did not have adequate support for students to pursue graduate school options. During our conversation, he said he was surprised at the quantity of information available at the Student Engagement Center. I assumed that the article would reflect that comment. Instead, I felt that the article negatively reflected what Whitman College has to offer.

Please allow me to fill in the blanks of what Whitman College offers to students or alumni seeking advice for graduate school exploration. The Student Engagement Center is one excellent resource to find information on the application process. Our Web site has many, many links to sites for testing information, identifying and choosing schools, writing personal statements and specific links to programs of interest to many Whitman students. We also have an assortment of books in our library. We work collaboratively with Patrick Frierson, the pre-law adviser, and James Russo, the pre-health adviser, to provide graduate school information throughout a student’s time at Whitman. Faculty at Whitman are excellent resources for students who are looking for programs of study that reflect their own unique interests (often based on a class they took, or paper or thesis they wrote). Graduate test scores can be sent to Whitman College and will be kept indefinitely and will be forwarded on to graduate programs  upon request for free.

Individual appointments at the Student Engagement Center provide in-depth information for a student who is trying to juggle senior year responsibilities with applying to graduate school. We can help with signing up for the necessary test, time lines for application, advice for obtaining appropriate references and assistance with a personal statement and interview. All our services are available to alumni, many of whom utilize our expertise. The Student Engagement Center hosts an annual Graduate School Fair each October along with a Law School Panel so students can speak with representatives from graduate programs.

The application process for graduate school is different than applying to an undergraduate program and demands more in-depth research in order to find programs that best meet the long term goals of the student. There is no magic list or book to do this. Instead, with advice from faculty and the Student Engagement Center, students and alumni can explore graduate programs that fit their unique qualifications, experiences, needs and goals. Appointments are available at 509-527-5183.

Susan Buchanan
Student Engagement Center Director