Tag Archives: John

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

How to Choose a College

There is barely a week to go until the May 1 deposit deadline and the office staff has really enjoyed working with the hundreds of you who have visited campus or met us at receptions across the country this month. We know many of you are still undecided, so I’ve compiled some words of advice from our staff:

Katie: “Ask yourself these questions.  At which school was I the most at ease?  At which school did I find conversations with students the easiest?  And lastly, if one college were to call you today and offer to fly you to campus for free next week, which would you be the most excited to return to?  You’ve done a very thorough job in this college search process.  Trust your gut.”

Robert: “Trust your heart! Reflect back on your campus visits and chose the place where you connected with the student body, faculty, and staff and where you felt most ‘at home’. Chose a place that is going to push you inside and outside the classroom and will provide you the opportunity to grow into the person you aspire to be. “

Esther: “Look at the course catalog of the institutions you are considering. Which ones make you the most excited?”

Bruce: “Ask yourself these questions: Where could I see spending the next four years? What was it about college x that makes me feel it’s the best fit?
What do I want from my college experience/education? Does x college provide that? Can I/my family handle the financial obligations? Was the student atmosphere engaging?”

Josh: “If a place fit and you loved the classes, people or vibe, let that weigh strongly. Don’t pander to media antics. And no school is worth $30,000+ in student loans for undergrad.”

John: “Enjoy the view from my office:”

What Mailing Day Looks Like

Working hard on the third floor

Tillie at the verification station

Kevin's favorite stack of letters all year!


Admit packets on their way to Boyer House for mailing

Songs to Celebrate By

Congratulations Class of 2016!

The entire Whitman community is looking forward to welcoming you to campus next fall! They’ll be plenty of time to work out the details. Now it’s time to get up, jump around, and celebrate all your hard work and success!

Tighten Up - The Black Keys
Signed, Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
Home - Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros
I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
Dancing in the Moonlight - Toploader
All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem
Sweet & Dandy – Toots & The Maytals
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves
Rock with You – Michael Jackson
Dancing in the Street – The Mamas & The Papas
All Right Now - Free
Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective

Don’t forget to join the Class of 2016 Facebook Page and like Whitman Admission! Again, congratulations; we here at the Office of Admission are thrilled to be the first to welcome you to the Whitman family.

Songs to Read By

I  generally like to keep my music upbeat when reading applications; it helps me set and sustain a good pace and keeps my energy level high, even when I’m pushing through into the third or fourth consecutive hour.  In no particular order, some of my favorites lately have been:

1) Ophelia - The Band
2) And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles
3) Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
4) Morning Sun – Al Barry and The Cimarons
5) Animal - Miike Snow (Punks Jump Up Remix)

So now you can probably guess my picks on the Songs to Wait By list last week. My favorite place to read is by far my house. Lucy, my puppy dog, can hang out and is more than happy to distract me for a minute or two in between each file. That way I can start each one with a fresh eye. Snacks are also in close proximity, a clutch component of being well-prepared for an afternoon of reading.

Songs to Wait By

While time certainly seems to be flying, especially for seniors nearing graduation, college acceptance letters are still a good month or more away from arriving. To help get you through this next month we’ve compiled the second annual “Songs to Wait By” list, with links to listen / watch online. As you can hear, inter-office group car rides can get crazy

You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
Pressure Drop
– Toots & The Maytals
The Weight - The Band
Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
Temple of Time – Koji Kondo
Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes
Mr. Postman
– Cragga Dub Remix (Apologies to the purists)
Hang Me Up To Dry – Cold War Kids
Hold On – Wilson Phillips
Tell Me Something Good - Chaka Kan & Rufus
Say- John Mayer
In the Waiting Line – Zero 7
Rumour Has It – Adele
A Change Is Gonna Come – Seal
Time Bomb – Old 97’s (Live in Seattle)
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
Hello Goodbye - The Beatles
Ooh La La – The Faces

We’ll call those seventeen good for now, but look forward to a series of  “Songs We’re Reading By” posts starting next week.

Promoting Failure

The inevitable, glorious deluge of applications is upon us! Reading between 6 to 8 hours a day of applications three to four days a week is a brand new experience for me, and intense in a rewarding sort of way even for the most seasoned admission officers. You can correctly assume that it’s hard to find the motivation to read much else–I certainly don’t have any plans to finally start War and Peace anytime soon–but we officers are mustering up enough energy to read, of course, college admission related news articles.

One of my favorites that was sent around the office this week was this article entitled “Want to get in to College? Learn to Fail,” by Angel B. Pérez , the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Pitzer, on the importance of failure as it relates to teenagers’ growth in all areas of life and the college application process. Our entire staff loved it, probably because of its relevance to our own lives right now as we comb through hundreds of Common Application resumes and essays trying to decipher who belongs at Whitman next year. The gist is the importance of failure to development and that admission officers actually often rejoice when they find acknowledged and discussed imperfections in applications. It’s a great, quick read; go check it out, especially all of you who will be writing admission essays and interviewing with your dream colleges in the near future.

Welcome to Reading Season!

Well, it’s been a crazy three weeks or so as the January 15 regular decision deadline has come and gone, leaving support staff inundated with sorting essays, importing test scores and common applications, and printing golden “complete” letters, informing anxious students we do indeed have all the components of their application. Soon after the kind ladies upstairs work their magic, the various pieces arrive in our reading tool in a .pdf file ordered common application, transcript, Whitman supplement, teacher recommendations, and finally, interview notes. The switch to electronic reading is relatively recent; I just graduated from Whitman last May and when I started as a student worker five years ago compiling and sorting the paper files was a major part of my job. Now students digitize any and all paper we receive.

Anyway, back to the present; while it would be a neat trick if the completed files automatically migrated from upstairs to officers’ various computers, it’s just not that simple. Due to major discrepancies in the number of applicants from various geographic locations, not all officers are able to “first read” all the students from their territories. While PJ, the California officer, is an absolute file master, there is simply no way he can keep up with the massive number of Cali applications, and so officers with less populated applicant territories, like myself, pick up the slack, especially if we’ve had past interaction with the student. These decisions are made by the all-powerful kings of distribution,  Josh and PJ. For the most part, however, the majority of any territories files, even Seattle and California, are first read by the area officer. After the initial vote, the file is distributed again to a “second reader,” and from there a decision is made, either admit, deny, committee, or waitlist.

If the two readers disagree on their votes or an application hits a committee trigger (recent C, test scores or GPA below a certain threshold, to give a few examples), but at least one officer wants to admit the student anyway, the applicant will be discussed in a committee of 6-10 admission officers in early to mid-March. Knowing all this, students can rest assured their application is receiving a thorough vetting.

Right now distribution is really beginning to heat up as more and more files are processed.  Batches of files go out twice  a week in groups between 15-60 at a time, and are due back one week later.  One thing I’m really loving about reading season so far, besides all the amazing applicants, is the fact officers are given one whole day and two half-days out of the office each week to focus on reading (it’s hard to focus on anything for too long here).  Kicking back with a good essay on The Great Gatsby and a cup of coffee on your own couch hardly feels like work. Of course, I might change my mind hundreds of files and a few months later…

Apply to Whitman & Lauren’s Favorite Class

Don’t forget the regular decision postmark deadline is January 15, and if you are applying for need-based aid, the FAFSA and CSS profile should be on their way by February 1. Don’t hesitate to contact your area admission officer or use the Ask a Parent or Ask an Alum pages for questions.

This week a Lauren McCullough, a senior admission intern and star politics major from Canby, OR, shares her favorite class:

Every time I think about classes that have been really important to me, I always come back to a class I took last year, Politics 363: the Genealogies of Political Economy.

Prior to the class, I had taken courses from a wide array of departments (this happens when you change your major too much). I hadn’t taken a lot of Politics courses, and when I had, they were always environmentally related. So before taking Genealogies of Political Economy, my approach was something like this: “Politics? Ick. Theory? Gross. Political theory? No thanks.” But the professor who taught this course is my absolute favorite instructor. He has this knack for pushing you and bringing out the best dimensions of everyone in class, so I really wanted to give it a try.

The course was seminar style with an insane amount of reading (200 pages of dense, theoretical material for each class), high expectations for the quality of in-class contributions, and weekly essays. The course studied the development of capitalism, starting in the 1600s with Adam Smith, and ending with texts on current issues, like the 2008 financial crash.

I get that this class could sound boring (Capitalism? really?). However, this class perfectly merged theory and practice into praxis, and it was fascinating. We examined how discourse works; how the ideas of one theorist influenced thinkers to follow; how this discourse in turn gets shaped into policies and infused into daily life. The course taught me how to critique, how to discuss a text with confidence, how to read well.

I loved this class so much, I re-declared as a Politics major, and I’ve been talking with other professors in the department about going to graduate school in Politics.