One of the real pleasures of our work in Penrose House is knowing that we touch the lives of many students. I think I can speak for everyone I work with when I say that we enjoy the opportunity to do community outreach; Marilyn Ponti, our Director of Financial Aid, along with the rest of our fabulous financial aid office, recently conducted a FAFSA and CSS Profile event that I was lucky enough to be involved in. This past Sunday, members of our staff reunited for a similar cause on College Goal Sunday, and helped other members of the community fill out these financial aid forms.
Which brings me to my next point: as we process the final pieces of the applications we have received, Friday, February 1 will bring with it a whole new deadline for us. This is the deadline for application for need-based aid. Those of you who we met on the road or have met us on campus have probably heard that Whitman gives out two types of financial aid: merit-based and need-based. For more information about either, I strongly recommend taking a look at our financial aid website: http://www.whitman.edu/offices-and-services/financial-aid. With the exception of the scholarships that we offer in the areas of art, debate, theater, and music, our merit-based aid requires no additional application. However, February 1 is of the utmost importance for students who have applied to Whitman Regular Decision. If a student is applying for need-based aid, we must have his or her FAFSA and CSS profile by this date. Unfortunately, if we receive these forms after Friday, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to offer a family financial aid.
We understand that these forms can be confusing and that there are all sorts of intricacies that go along with each student’s situation. Please feel free to reach out to our Office of Financial Aid this week as you arrange to send in these forms, if you haven’t already; our financial aid officers can be reached at (509) 527-5178. And, as always, any admission officer can help you get your questions answered. Here’s to getting one more deadline out of the way!
First things first: a very happy 2013 to all of our prospective students and other followers of this blog! The hustle and bustle returned to our office on January 2nd, a day after our Early Decision II deadline.
Though there’s really never a dull time of year as an Admission Officer, this is one of my favorite parts of the cycle; it’s a time when we finally get to put the entire picture together. Students who have visited campus, who we met on our travels, or who we may not have had any contact with at all become much more complete individuals. We learn about your interests, your passions, and in many cases, your quirks. As the applications flood in, here’s a little taste of the tracks that are playing in offices throughout Penrose House.
Esther: “On to the Next One” by Jay-Z
Jee Won: Silence! “I get distracted by the music and start singing along,” she says.
Bruce: “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel
Tillie: Louis Armstrong Pandora station
Katherine: College a Capella
What would you recommend that we put on our reading playlist?
Many of you prospective students out there are likely editing, re-reading and putting the finishing touches on your application to Whitman this week. Thursday, November 15 is our first admission deadline of the season, and it is one of two opportunities that students have to apply to Whitman prior to our Regular Decision deadline (Jan. 15). (Coincidentally, November 15 is also my birthday; I like to brag that I receive more “presents” on my birthday than anyone else I know!) Choosing one of these two Early Decision opportunities, the second of which is January 1, is a great option for the student that knows Whitman is their first choice; it’s important not to confuse these deadlines with Early Action (a non-binding decision).
Given that the Early Decision I deadline is a mere week away, I thought I would take a moment to discuss some important reminders.
1) Financial Aid: Remember that if you are applying to Whitman ED I and applying for need-based aid, you will also need to submit the CSS Profile by November 15. (The FAFSA, the second form that we require, will not be accessible until January 1.) All students who receive financial aid will be notified of their aid packages along with their acceptance letters in the mail, so students need not be concerned that applying early means that they won’t be able to receive merit or need-based aid from Whitman. In fact, the package that a student receives for an Early Decision deadline will be the same package that he or she would have received for Regular Decision. However, Regular Decision can often be the better fit for families that want to rely on the opportunity to compare financial aid packages from different schools.
2) You can expect to receive a response from us by December 21. Given that our Early Decision options are binding, one benefit to choosing this route is that you’ll know where you stand only about a month after submitting your application.
3) The application, of course! Make sure you proofread your application. Ask someone–a parent, a counselor, a teacher, or another individual you’re close to–to read over your essay and supplement; sometimes they may catch something you didn’t see yourself! If you have any questions about the Common App or Whitman Supplement, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Best of luck, students! We look forward to reading your applications (and thanks in advance for making my birthday a special one).
We have a special tool that we use in the Office of Admission when the drives get long and the layovers are frequent. It comes in the form of a CD, and it includes selections from all 10 admission officers. Who among us rocks out to Gangnam Style in a hotel room and who prefers to listen to Eric Clapton as they drive through the fall foliage? See if you can guess! Check out what we’ve been listening to over the last few months:
1) Make the Road by Walking–Menahan Street Band
2) Free–Ben Kweller
3) Brick House–The Commodores
4) Bright Side of the Road–Van Morrison
5) Chelsea Dagger–The Fratellis
6) Who Loves You–Four Seasons
7) Goodbye Porkpie Hat–Charlie Mingus
8) Into the Mystic–Van Morrison
9) Some Nights–Fun.
10) Autumn Leaves–Eric Clapton
11) Ain’t No Sunshine–Betty Wright
12) Mad Season–Matchbox 20
14) The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down–The Band
15) Gangnam Style–PSY
16) I Want You Back–Jackson 5
17) Wagon Wheel–Old Crow Medicine Show
18) What a Wonderful World–Louis Armstrong
19) Coming Home–The 88
It seems like just yesterday that classes were starting, but there’s no denying that fall is here now. Ankeny Field is sprinkled with leaves of every fall color, Whitties have recently returned from their four-day fall vacation, and midterms loom in the not-so-far distance. Here in the Office of Admission, we’re preparing for one of our largest fall events: Fall Visitors’ Day! On Monday, November 12, hundreds of students and their families will come visit campus; they’ll take tours and admire the beautiful fall foliage, listen to faculty and student panels, have the opportunity to visit some classes, and hear from a range of programs, such as the Intercultural Center, the Outdoor Program, and the Off-Campus Studies Office.
And no, it’s not too late to RSVP! Check out the following link to sign up: http://www.whitman.edu/content/admission/rsvp/?loc=185. With our Early Decision I deadline (November 15) less than a month away, Fall Visitors’ Day is a great opportunity to return to campus or see it for the first time. As you prospective students out there continue to work on your application, feel free to reach out to any one of us on the Admission staff with your questions.
I wrote a few weeks ago that travel season had begun, and now it is surely upon us! We at the Office of Admission have now reached a time of year where we’re lucky if half of the officers are in the office. Though it’s a time of much transition for us, it’s also extremely exciting. Katherine Buckley, Tony Cabasco and I recently returned from an exhilarating week in Seattle where we visited 18 high schools and met hundreds of students. I felt like I was on a roll; we moved from parking lot to college office, speaking about Whitman to both individual students but also to groups as large as sixty. The excitement coming from the prospective students we speak with is the contagious part–after all, we love travel season because it means we get to meet many of you!
So, what to do with these interspersed weeks (or in many cases, days) at home? They become much more than time to catch up on emails and phone calls in the office; the purpose they serve goes further than to simply “reboot.” Fall at Whitman is full of campus vigor, both a confirmation of all that we have shared on the road as well as the source of a whole new group of activities and stories that we will put in our pockets for when we head out on the road again. Though I missed the Instant Play Festival, I can’t wait to attend a talk by Isabel Wilkerson, the author of this year’s summer read The Warmth of Other Suns. I smile when I read about President George Bridges’ birthday wishes to first-year Maya Volk (check out the full story by clicking on this link: http://www.whitman.edu/content/news/mayavolk ). While I’ve been gone, flag football games have started in full force and provide some excellent entertainment. These are just a few of the stories that will find their way into the next high schools I visit.
Just as Whitties begin to settle into their classes and activities for the semester, we Admission Officers get ready to hit the road!
Joshua Smith, our International Admission Coordinator, was the first to set off on fall travel; a good thing, too, because he has the longest way to go! Joshua will visit schools in Hong Kong at the end of this week and will be in Singapore by early next week. Meanwhile, two of our regional officers, Bruce Jones and John Loranger, will conduct interviews and visit schools in New England and Seattle, respectively. Esther Weathers will be the next to go when she heads down to California next week.
As two of the new additions to the office, Katherine Buckley and I will travel with Tony Cabasco to Seattle, where we’ll join John in speaking with students about Whitman. We’re extremely excited to get on the road and to talk to students in person. We’ll have the chance to meet students who already have their eyes set on Whitman, as well as to “describe the Whitman experience and the town of Walla Walla to people who may not have traveled here,” as Katherine noted.
To all the prospective students out there: look out for all of us across the country (and across the globe!) as we visit cities and towns near you this fall!
–Sadie Nott, Admission Officer