Tag Archives: Admission Officers

The Turning of the Tides

The last few weeks have been busy ones for us in the office. As you saw in my last post, our decision letters have already gone out–so we’re currently experiencing a very different kind of energy. High school students from across the country have enjoyed their “spring break” over the last two weeks, making it an excellent time to go look at schools. Now, however, it’s not only the seniors who are looking, visiting many of the wonderful institutions they’ve been admitted to, but also the juniors who are out in full force (and occasionally a sophomore or two!).

I’ve been reflecting recently on why these last few weeks have been so enjoyable. As much as I enjoy a smaller, more intimate information session held in the conference room here in Penrose, there’s also something invigorating about speaking to a group of 30 or 40 visitors. (Perhaps this is just my more theatrical side talking.) But there’s something else that’s special about this time of year, I think, and it has to do with applying all that our work with the newly admitted class has taught us–or perhaps reminded us of–to this next cycle. We are sure to be reminded of things as specific as the importance of sending in your financial aid forms in on time, to more abstract philosophies about why we do the work we do. I’ve asked a few of my fellow admission officers to chime in on how our work with this class of high school seniors has prepared us for this next year.

Bruce Jones, New England Regional Officer: Spring is transitional, in the normal snow-melting/crocuses-sprouting sort of way, but also as I shift from this year’s class to next year’s. It’s 7 a.m. and I’m catching up in my Hampton Inn in White River Junction, VT after a night college fair before heading to Connecticut for more fairs. I’m writing notes to (and answering emails from) admitted students while wondering if I will be writing congrats a year from now to newbies I’m meeting on the road. Spring is slow in coming to this neck of the woods but by May 1, the national reply date for admitted students, spirits will be lifted.

Katherine Buckley, Greater Oregon, WY, and ID representative: While out on the road, I met wonderful prospective Whitman students from religious schools in Seattle, tiny schools in Boston, farming schools in northern California, and outdoor-focused schools in Idaho. It is amazing to see how Whitman is accessible, welcoming, and the right fit for students from so many walks of life.

Tillie Gottlieb, Canada, CO, and the Mid-Atlantic: I think this cycle has made me so much more aware of the resiliency of our young applicants. This year in particular their struggles seemed more numerous and difficult, but I was so impressed by the maturity and clarity of their perspectives regarding hardship. I thank them for inspiring me and reminding me that there is always hope and always the possibility of positive change.

Tony Cabasco, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid: It’s a privilege, truly it is!
In finishing my 20th admission cycle, I reflected on the thousands of applications that have come through the admission office (over 50,000) and the hundreds of thousands of essays that have been read collectively by admission staffs during that period. Each cycle and group of applicants amazes me with the variety of backgrounds, experiences, and stories that they share with the admission staff. These stories of childhood memories, hardships overcome, personal battles won or lost, hopes and dreams for the future, study abroad experiences, epiphanies of many varieties, etc., all delight and move the admission staff. It’s inspiring to see such wonderful energy, creativity, spunk, and sparkle. Whitman is blessed with a wonderful group of applicants every year. It’s truly been a privilege getting to know these young people who are on the verge of coming into their own.

I would be remiss if I did not end on a note to our newly admitted seniors, however. As you move through these next few weeks–likely the last few weeks in your college search process–we hope that you’ve had an opportunity to visit our campus, speak with current Whitties, and visit with professors (or perhaps you’ll be joining us for Admitted Students’ Day on April 20, which will provide an opportunity to do all this and more!). We’ve welcomed each one of you into this community because we know you will have a lasting impact. These next few weeks are certainly full of decision-making and discussions about financial aid packages, program offerings, and locations. Just as we, as admission officers, are poised to begin seeking out a new class of Whitties, you all–the members of Whitman College Class of 2017–are poised to begin to contribute vastly to this community and education. We sincerely hope you choose to do so.

Reading Playlist

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?

What We’re Thankful For

The campus is somewhat quieter this week; many students have headed to the homes of friends or family for the week-long break. As we prepare for our Penrose House Thanksgiving Potluck, it feels like the perfect moment to reflect on what it is about Whitman and the work that we do that we’re thankful for.

For those of you who have read our Admission Staff blog posts over the last four months, you’ve seen us move from a summer filled with visitors, to a fall filled with travel, to the beginning of application reading season (a big congratulations to all of our Early Decision I applicants who submitted their applications last week!). This half of the year doesn’t always allow for a lot of time to reflect, but today, several of the admission officers have taken a moment to share what they’re grateful for.

John Loranger, Seattle Regional Officer: I’m thankful for a job that has given me the opportunity to see corners of the country I may never have visited otherwise, and that we live in a place where having a Thanksgiving feast composed entirely of local food is ridiculously easy!

Tony Cabasco, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid: I’m thankful travel season is over!

Robert Street, Assistant Dean of Admission: I am thankful for being surrounded by such engaging and super cool students that motivate me to do the work that I do!

Sadie Nott, Admission Officer: I’m thankful that I’m a part of an institution that breeds young people who are ready and eager to make a difference in the smallest of communities or the most global of senses. It definitely rubs off on the rest of the Whitman community!

Tillie Gottlieb, Admission Officer: I’m grateful that after a grueling travel season and a somewhat eternal reading season, I get to see all of my students begin their life at Whitman- see them in plays, play sports, run for ASWC, or do radio shows etc. etc. I’m also grateful that I get to walk 2 blocks to work and then spend the day with coworkers I love!

So, a big thank you to all you students out there (our readers!) who make enjoying the work we do so easy! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Travel Tunes

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
13) Madness–Muse
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

Imagery From Our Travels, Part II

As more officers return from both domestic and international travel, I’ve accumulated more pictures to share with you all! Tillie recently returned from spending a week in British Columbia, visiting both Vancouver and Victoria. Check out some of the beautiful scenery she saw in between speaking with prospective students!

1) Tillie in downtown Vancouver, BC
2) The view from Brentwood College School in Victoria, BC
3) Victoria at night

Travel Season Meets Fall in Walla Walla

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.

Imagery From Our Travels, Part I

As we approach a time of year when many of us are out of the office, traveling from college fair to high school visit, we often have the opportunity to share stories from our adventures only after we return home to Walla Walla. But this travel season, through this blog, we’re able to share images and tales from our travels not only with each other but with all of you!

For this first installment of visuals from of our time on the road, Joshua Ian Smith, Associate Director of Admission, has sent us a few pictures from his time in Asia. Take a look at the wildly beautiful passion flower, a produce stall in Bangaluru, and the skyscrapers in Hong Kong.