Tag Archives: Kevin

Winter is Coming

A curious thing happened yesterday, and it happened again today. On Tuesday, November 19, Walla Walla had a high temperature of 57. It was balmy and rainy, and was almost too warm for the heavier jackets many of us had finally pulled out of the closet after their long rests, donning them in anticipation of the colder months and gradual decline in temperature. I know that I at least was forced to take my jacket off on my morning walk to work, and again as I walked home in the evening.

Then the curious thing happened. The day ended, night set up over a warm Walla Walla, and we all sequestered ourselves in our homes, our apartments, our residence halls and houses. We forgot about the outside, at least for the few hours we were indoors, enjoying the wonders of climate controlled housing. We went to sleep, not thinking too hard about winter or fall or the weather at all. Then, Wednesday, November 20th, Winter, which had been a long time in coming, finally decided to show up. In the space of a day, we went from a high of 57 to a high of 37. Today, Thursday the 21st, we have a high of 34 and a low of 25. Tomorrow, Friday the 22nd, we have a low of 19.

Winter is officially here.

The onset of winter means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For our students from Southern California, where winter temperatures often range in the sixties, this can be a confusing and rather chilly time of year. For students from the east coast and several other midwest states, it’s just a drop in temperature not really worth noticing (side story: I once told a student I was interviewing that it got cold in the winter. When she asked how cold and I told her it would set up around the 30’s and stay there, she laughed at me. She was from northern Minnesota). For all of our students, it means both Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break are just around the corner, respites from the long, hard battle of the Fall Semester.

In the world of admission, winter is exciting on both sides of the desk. For high school students, it means applications are just around the corner (I will admit this might be more nerve-wracking than exciting, but bear with me), with their college admission decisions not far behind. Through the end of November and all of December, the scattered flurries of applications pick up in intensity, escalating into a full on blizzard of submissions to colleges. Essays are edited, letters of recommendation are written, and applications are double, triple, maybe even quadruple checked, all before finally hitting that submit button, or before sealing the envelope, slapping on the postage, and throwing it all in the mailbox before second thoughts can form, lest the envelope be opened and the application worked on even more. It’s a hectic time, a very busy time, and depending on where you are, probably a very cold time.

For us here in the Whitman College Office of Admission, winter means similar things, but it also carries other connotations. To start, it means that the long travel season has come to a close (I apologize for the lack of updates caused by my month on the road). All of us, minus our regional representatives, have found our way back to the office, to home base, where we are now busy both catching up on work and sleep put aside during the month of October, and settling back into our daily routines. It also means, for us, that reading season is just over the horizon. The first of our two Early Decision deadlines just passed, and we’re now sorting through all of the shiny new applications, getting ready to tackle them. In another couple of months, once January hits, we’ll be hunkering down in our offices, bundled up against the cold outside with more applications than you can shake a stick at for company. It’s a hard process, but in many ways it’s also one of the most exciting parts of the job, the next step in the admission cycle as we work towards building the next incoming class, in this instance the class of 2018.

So pull out your winter jackets if you haven’t already, wrap up warm with your favorite scarfs and blankets, and get ready for the winter months. They’ll be cold, of that there’s little doubt, but I can absolutely guarantee they’ll be exciting.

Until next time.

Music to Travel By (Part 2)


Hello All! While it’s been some time since anything has been posted here, I assure you it’s been for good reason. Namely, travel season! One of the busiest months in the Office of Admission is upon us, and for many of us, is in full swing. Admission Officers are busy traveling all across the country, visiting high schools, holding interviews on the road, and meeting with prospective college students on their own turf. All told, it’s incredibly busy, incredibly hectic, and most importantly, incredibly exciting!

(To find out which Admission Officer will be in your area and when, be sure to check out the Whitman On The Road page on our website.)

With that in mind, this entry is a followup to a post from last year, and is a part of an ongoing series on this blog. Music to “x” by (the “x” of course being whatever we’re working on in the office at the time). Today’s topic? Music to Travel By! Below is a list of Admission Officers, and a song and artist of their choice, their favorite music to play while traveling, or just generally music which elicits the sensation of traveling.

So, without further ado…

Sadie Nott – Adele, I’ll Be Waiting
Shalini Uppu – Journey, Faithfully
Bruce Jones – Simon & Garfunkel, Homeward Bound
Esther Weathers – Cory Morrow, 21 Days
Joshua Ian Smith – Koji Kondo, Hyrule Field Theme
Kevin Dyer – The Glitch Mob, We Can Make the World Stop
Adam Miller – Social Distortion, Ball and Chain
John Loranger – Cake, Long Line of Cars

We hope you enjoy our travel music! If you meet us on the road, feel free to share your own travel music with us, or comment back here.

That’s all for today, but check back later this week to get a bit of an inside look at how we train our tour guides to walk backwards so excellently, something that they quite often receive compliments on. Until then, may all of your traveling be as musical as ours.

5 Things to Look Forward to in the Coming Months (From the Whitman College Office of Admission)


Hello all, and welcome once again to the Whitman Admission Blog! It’s been a crazy hectic couple of weeks here in the office, and not just because of the gradual increase in students visiting campus. Fall, as I’ve talked about before, is in full swing at this point, and that means some exciting things happening (apart from just the crazy weather we’ve been having). With that in mind, I wanted to take some time share some of the things I’m most excited about, and that you might find fun and interesting as well. Below is a list of 5 things you can look forward to coming from the Whitman College Office of Admission, and Whitman College in general, in the coming days, weeks, and months!

5) Overnight Visits!

If you’re a prospective college student, chances are you’ve already been exposed to the idea of overnight visits, and might already know what they entail. For those of you who don’t, however, an overnight visit is something we offer to seniors who want to get a bit more of a taste of campus life, and really dig into the culture of the college by staying with a student host for night. It’s an incredibly cool process, is often the deciding factor for students making their college decisions, and, now that the school year is in full swing, we are able to offer them after the long summer break! Want to sign up for an overnight? Simply go to the Schedule a Visit section of our website and follow the steps outlined there!

4) Lunch Hosting!

Much like with Overnight Visits, which are put on hold over the summer while our students are away, Lunch With Current Students gives you the opportunity to meet and talk with current Whitman students in order to get a feel for Whitman’s campus community. Going to be on campus for a tour or an interview? Sign up to talk with current Whitties (and get a taste of our excellent dining hall food) while you’re at it!

3) Fall Visitors’ Day!


Okay, so this one is still a ways off (November 12th to be precise), but it’s still really exciting to think about. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit campus yet, or if you’ve already been but want to come join in on the festivities, Fall Visitor’s Day is an excellent opportunity to tour the campus, meet with staff and faculty, and even sit in on panels about academics, sports, and other programs Whitman has to offer. Want to know more? Come check out our Fall Visitor’s Day webpage, and check out the full list of activities!

2) Intern Blogs!

If you actively follow this blog, or if you just happen to pop in and check for updates from time to time, you may have noticed something: updates often come sporadically (although I have been trying to create a more regular schedule), what with how busy we Admission Officers often are throughout the year. In order to help alleviate the problem of sometimes sparse content, we have enlisted the help of our Senior Admission Interns, who will be posting on a weekly basis from here on out. This week marks the first week our new interns will be posting, and I myself am super excited to announce that their blogs will soon be up and running! Image

(Above is a photo I snagged of two of our interns hard at work on their first posts). Be on the lookout for those blogs as they come out! They’ll be posting a lot of good content, which is nice, since Whitman’s Admission Officers (myself included) will soon be…1) On the Road!

This is in many ways the biggest part of the Fall for us as Admission Officers. I talked a bit about this a while back, but at that point in time it was largely conceptual – we were still in the planning phases, the early steps, the thought of travel only just beginning to surface from the long summer months of sleep. Now, however, travel season is upon us. If they haven’t hit your town, high school, or area already, Whitman College Admission Officers will soon be making visits, holding interviews, and attending college fairs, all right in your back yard! To find out who will be in your area, and where we will be visiting, check out our Whitman on the Road page for more information!

That’s all for today. Look out for both our Senior Admission Intern blogs, as well as another post later this week as a followup to a personal favorite series of posts from last year! Until then, may Fall be ever in your favor.

The Changing of the Seasons

Seasons come, seasons go. They shift, they fade. Sometimes they transition slowly, cold winter melting into warm spring with the pace of thawing ice. Spring slowly warms to the kiss of the sun, blooming into the heat of summer. Generally speaking, we get used to these patterns and the transitions they bring, the gradual shifts from one phase of life to the next. We fall into our routines and expectations with an ease so light we never even notice.

Of course, these transitions and fades aren’t always the rule, and every now and then something happens to remind us of this, an event, a happening, which shakes us out of our dreary routines with sudden strength.

This past week in Walla Walla has been one such happening, with the Summer being suddenly and unexpectedly buffeted by an onslaught of sudden Fall. In a way it’s almost poetic – just as the summer months for the students come to a close, drawing a sharp line in the sand between leisure and school work, so too did the weather decide to shift without warning into full on Fall Mode.

The following two images, both of which I have taken from Cliff Mass’s weather blog (seriously go check him out – even if you’re not a huge weather fan, he’s super entertaining), and both of which were originally taken by Kevin Pogue of Whitman’s Geology Department, say it all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you autumn storms in Walla Walla.


Fall has definitely struck, in more ways than one. Cool air, tempestuous skies, and leaves just beginning to turn in the trees overhead. In the Admission Office the doors have been standing open all day to let in the wonderful cool breeze, while we had our own touch of the incredible weather just outside.


The weather, however, isn’t the only way that Fall has begun to set in. On the academic side of things, this week marked the first week of classes for students! For the first time since the end of Spring, lectures were had, discussions were begun, reading was delved into, and students began to think about the long haul of the oncoming school year. It will be many months of wondrous motion, action, study, and fun before things begin to settle down once more. Change is in the air, and whether that change is moving slowly or swiftly, the year is really beginning to move.

Check in next week to get another taste of the Fall (even if the weather warms back up), and get a glance of how the transitions from Summer to Fall begin to affect us all. Until then, may your week be filled with the best sorts of change!

Oh, and as a treat: the first leaves I’ve noticed changing around campus!


They Came, They Saw, They Moved In (Move In Day, Part 2)

August 29th came and went. In many parts of the world, it was an ordinary Thursday. People woke up, they sipped their coffee, slowly pulling themselves from the embrace of sleep, prepping themselves for the day of work ahead. They went about their lives, thinking, in all probability “I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday.” It was a standard day, a boring day even, for most of the world.
But for Whitman College, August 29th was anything but a standard day. For us, here on the Whitman campus, it was a day filled with motion and emotion, excitement, energy, and activity. For us, it was Move In Day!
Yesterday, August 29th, 2013, the incoming Class of 2017 dropped the “incoming” from their identity as they began to put down new roots in the fertile grounds of the Whitman campus, moving into their residence halls, meeting new roommates, starting to get a feel for the life of a college student, and generally, schlepping lots and lots of stuff from their cars to their new rooms.

All told, it was a pretty exciting day, both for students and for staff and faculty. It was the start of the new academic year in so many ways, and for a pretty good portion of the Whitman staff and faculty (myself included) it brought back memories of our own college Move In Days.

Below, you’ll find some pictures of the proceedings, some of which were taken by a professional and can be found on Whitman’s Flickr account, and some of which were taken by staff in the Office of Admission as the day progressed. See if you can tell which ones are which! (Hint: the photos I took look substantially less professional).



I hope you enjoyed viewing the photos and living vicariously through our new student’s experiences! And of course, if you are a new student reading this, or a parent or family member of a new student: Welcome to Whitman College! It’s going to be an incredible year.

Next week, campus life starts picking back up with the start of classes! Join us then as we start taking a closer look at both what the Admission Office is doing while the new students are settling in!

Seven Days… (Move in Day, Part 1)

Seven Days…

It’s funny how many different associations you get out of such a simple string of words as “seven days,” or maybe even “one week.” If you’re a horror movie fan, maybe you immediately think of the eponymous and chilling phrase from “The Ring.” If you’re up on your late nineties television, you’ll probably jump to the TV series of the same name. If you’re a Barenaked Ladies fan, you’re most definitely familiar with their hit song, “One Week” (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that song?).

At this point in time in the Whitman College world, however, seven days refers to something so much cooler than all of that, so much more exciting. Seven days, as of today, August 22nd, marks the final one week countdown to August 29th, and if you’re a new student, if you’re the family of a new student, or if you’re just super excited about the start of the Fall Semester like we are, you’ll know that August 29th is Move in Day.

That’s right: MOVE IN DAY!

In seven days, the Class of 2017 will be hitting Whitman College, all of their worldly belongings in tow. They’ll be moving in to their new rooms, checking in to their residence halls, meeting their RA’s, their new roommates, their section-mates, and starting to really discover the campus at large. They’ll be starting a process that all of us in the Whitman College Office of Admission have been working towards and holding our breath for, that of joining the Whitman College student body.

This past week has been an exciting reminder of what is to come, with a growing flurry of activity all around campus, hints and stirrings of the gathering storm of activity. RA’s have been meeting and preparing to greet their new residents. More and more students are being sighted around campus, some of them prepping for their Scrambles, some of them returning students eager to be back. Here in the Admission Office, we’ve been getting excited to see many of the students we helped find this wonderful place – while it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, for us, Move in Day is a reminder of why we do what we do, a physical testament to the importance of admissions.

So, if you’re an incoming student reading this, if you’re a high school student still searching for that perfect college, if you’re a parent, a family member, an alumni of the college… Be excited! The Class of 2017 is about to embark on an incredible voyage, fraught with the perils of late night study sessions, of a touch of homesickness, and of challenging coursework, filled to bursting the whole while with the excitement of a new place and a new chapter in their lives just beginning to unfurl. Move in Day is a first step, the beginnings of a rising tide of activity and education which will soon be sweeping us all along, new students, old students, professors, families, and college staff included.

All in all, I would definitely say that it’s pretty exciting.

Join us next week as we take a closer look at the move in process, and exactly how much excitement and hard work it all entails!


Coming Soon, to a High School/College Fair Near You

While the last couple entries on this blog have focused a bit more on the downtime in the Admission cycle, those few quiet months of repose, rest, and preparation for the new year, this post is going to focus on something different. This post is going to focus, quite specifically, on gearing up for the start of the new school year.

While it’s true that the office is still fairly quiet – there are of course plenty of visitors coming through on a daily basis, experiencing the campus, taking tours, sitting in on information sessions, and engaging in interviews with our admission staff – the real weight of the admission season is starting to poke its head up over the horizon. The excitement and activity of the new year is starting to dawn, and with it comes a stirring of new activity, both on the student end of things and on our side of the desk as well. While students start realizing their summer is slowly coming to a close (if you’re a student and reading this, keep making the most of it while it lasts!), Admission Officers are beginning to look forward to one of the busiest, and ostensibly most exciting parts of our year.

Travel Season!

From the middle of September to about the middle of November, Admission Officers both in our office and all over the country are in constant motion, planning trips to conferences, to college fairs, to high schools, getting in contact with high school counselors, with eager and excited students, flying all across the country, and in some instances across the globe.  The life of an Admission Officer is an exciting one, and not just because we get to work with bright and interesting students. We get to see all parts of the country, have the opportunity to experience a range of cultures, and ultimately, get to meet people from all sorts of walks of life, all while representing our respective colleges, and more importantly, the value of higher education.

So what does this mean on the student end of things? Put simply, it means that fairly shortly, there’s a pretty good chance an Admission Officer will be traveling to an area near you, giving you the opportunity to make contact with a college representative. This could be in the form of a high school visit, it could be in the form of touching base with an Officer at a college fair, or it could be at one of the many off campus interviews we offer to students in our respective areas. Most importantly of all, this means that you get to have your questions and your concerns answered, and that you have the opportunity to get a taste for a college without ever stepping foot on the campus. For many students this is their first contact with a college. For others, it’s a continuing conversation, another step on the road to going to college.

For us, the Admission Officers of the world, it’s an opportunity to get in touch with hundreds of new students, and hopefully to influence their lives for the better.

So, as September starts shaking the sleep off from its annual eleven month nap, and as you begin brushing the cobwebs off of your school supplies, pulling them out from that dark and dusty corner they’ve been relegated to since the start of the summer, be on the lookout for a college representative near you! Remember to check out the admission section of our website at whitman.edu for updates on who will be in your area visiting high schools and conducting college interviews. And in the meantime, just know that we’re looking forward to seeing you all soon.


There’s More Than One Way to Peel an Onion

Despite how many seasons as there are, and despite the numerous excellent things that happen throughout the year – Move In Day, the first day of classes, interviewing students, graduation – it is very easy for me to say this part of the year is one of my absolute favorites. This might seem like a strange thing to say, at least at first. There isn’t an incredible amount going on in the Office of Admission right now, apart from gearing up for an excellent and exciting travel season in the fall, and apart from the usual hustle and bustle of visiting students and their families flying in and out of the office for interviews and info sessions. This time of year is so simple, so quiet, a period of repose before the year goes flying by with busy, busy wings. So why is this part of the year one of the absolute best?

Simply put, ONIONS.

As many of you may know, Whitman College has the wonderful tradition of sending a box of Walla Walla sweet onions to the newest incoming class of students (if you didn’t know that, now you do). I myself remember the day my very own box of onions appeared on my parent’s doorstep, a surprise I certainly wasn’t expecting, although one with which I was delighted. Just recently, the onions were sent out to the incoming Class of 2017. Regardless of whether or not the new students knew the boxes were coming, arrive they did. Packages were opened. Onions were sighted. Laughter was assuredly had. But over all of this, there was most likely a pervading question to be answered: “What am I supposed to do with a box of onions?”

Thankfully, in answer to this, many students have posted pictures or sent emails, and the answers are out there for all to see. Take a gander at what some of our newest students have decided to do with their very own Walla Walla sweets.

Image Simple but delicious: French onion soup.

ImageA creative, and very delicious looking loaf of onion bread.

ImageDeliciously sweet toppings for a cheeseburger.

ImageA delectable plate of sweet onion rings.

ImageA warm bowl of onion risotto.

ImageSome amazing looking grilled cheese (and onion) sandwiches.

ImageAnd last but definitely not least, a positively mouthwatering onion tart.


So, regardless of whether you’re an incoming student looking for something to do with your box, if you’re an old student whose forgotten what you did with yours, or if you just like the succulent sweetness of a Walla Walla onion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. The way my mouth is watering right now after looking at all these delicious dishes assures me that I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Applying Early Decision & Financial Aid

Now that the calendar has turned to November, many seniors are working furiously on their college applications in preparation for applying “early” to one or more institutions. While Whitman does not have an Early Action (non-binding) program, we do offer two Early Decision (binding) application programs for students who consider Whitman to be their top choice. I frequently hear a student or parent tell me that Whitman is their top choice, but they’re nervous about applying Early Decision because of concern about financial aid. While this is certainly a real and valid concern for many families, let me help clarify a few points of confusion about ED and financial aid.

1) Each year, we admit and enroll a number of students who demonstrate financial need through our Early Decision program.
2) An admitted student to Whitman through Early Decision will receive the same need-based financial aid award as he/she would in Regular Decision months later.
3) While applying Early Decision is a binding agreement between the student, parents, counselor and Whitman College, if the student and his/her parents do not feel their financial aid award will afford them the opportunity to attend Whitman, we will release them from the binding agreement.

Essentially, here’s how I explain the pros/cons of Early Decision to a family concerned about financial aid: families who are considering Early Decision (or ED), but know that finances will be a critical factor in their decision of where to attend can still apply ED. Your family simply needs to assess very frankly what their situation and priorities are before deciding whether to apply Regular or Early Decision. If Whitman is your first-choice school and your family is willing and able to determine if it can afford Whitman without comparing ours to other financial aid packages, then Early Decision is a very viable option. If, however, your family knows that they will want to compare need-based and merit-based financial aid awards from multiple institutions, and decide thereafter how much they can afford based on your preferences as a student – then the path for your family might be Regular Decision.

The key is that your financial aid award ought to be the same, whether you apply Regular or Early Decision. The question for your family is how important it will be to compare costs from one institution to another. If you as a family are comfortable saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ solely on the basis of whether or not you can afford Whitman with the financial aid award in front of you, Early Decision allows certainty much earlier in the year at the school you are most excited about. If you have further questions or concerns about Early Decision, I encourage you to contact me or any of my colleagues in the admission office. I hope to see many of your applications in the coming weeks.


Congratulations!  I am excited to welcome you to the Whitman College Class of 2015!  I am in awe of how many capable, qualified, and interesting applicants we have this year.  You have climbed mountains, founded charities, competed at national sporting events, acted in lead roles, and lead your bands – all while taking rigorous classes and achieving academic excellence.  Quite impressive.  You hail from all corners of the country and the globe, and you each bring a diverse perspective, one that we are excited to have on campus.

You applied and we see the fit.  Now it is up to you to decide among your many stellar options.  To help make that decision easier, we encourage you to be in touch with us next month.  Here are a few ways to do so:

I hope you’ll take time to visit Walla Walla in the next few weeks to see firsthand how Whitman is uniquely known for combining academic rigor with an unpretentious Northwest culture and engaging community.

Congrats again,

Kevin Dyerly
Director of Admission