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).
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.
As high schools and colleges across the country release students for winter break, it truly becomes crunch time for finishing college applications (remember, the postmark deadline is January 1 for Early Decision II and January 15 for Regular). Next week, in an effort to help seniors complete the strongest application possible while minimizing stress, The Choice, the New York Times blog on admission and financial aid in higher education, is hosting a live Facebook chat with three expert college counselors from across the country. A different counselor will take questions and offer advice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Find out the details here.
Early Decision letters will be mailed next Monday morning, and students may view their status online at midnight Monday night. Thanks again for being such fantastic applicants! We are excited to welcome the first members of what promises to be another absolutely spectacular class of Whitties!
Congratulations to all those who completed Early Decision applications this week! Take a step back and be proud of all your hard work. And don’t worry if your web adviser says you’re missing a certain credential you’ve already sent in. Due to the usual flood of application pieces it will take us the rest of the week to enter everything into the system and for web adviser to update.
Now, as Whitties hit the the library prior to their week-long Thanksgiving break, the officer staff will begin to read applications. This is an exciting time for all staff as the payoff of the admissions team’s collective effort during the long fall travel season begins to show.
Decisions will be mailed the week of December 19 at the latest. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’ll be kicking back with some pumpkin pie and what are sure to be wonderful college essays.
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.
1. What is Early Decision exactly?
Early Decision is an early application option available to students who have discovered their first choice College or University. Typically the application deadlines for Early Decision are in early November and December. Applying to a school Early Decision is also a binding application. An additional form called the Early Decision Agreement must also be submitted by the applicant in order to apply. This agreement states that “students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll.” (2010-2011 Early Decision Agreement) students will be notified of their admission decision in December or January. This could mean that, if admitted to their first choice school, students could be finished with the college admission process by mid-February.
2. How do I know if I should apply Early Decision?
If a student is certain that a school is their first choice and they want to attend that institution more than any other they should apply Early Decision. This is typically the result of extensive research and in most cases a visit to the campus. It is very difficult to determine if a school is your first choice and you want to apply Early Decision without visiting the campus and experiencing it for yourself. If a school is your number one choice but you cannot commit to it above all other schools then you should consider not applying Early Decision.
3. Can I apply to other schools?
Students applying Early Decision can only have one Early Decision application pending at one time. Students are encouraged to prepare applications and submit them to additional schools for Regular Decision or Early Action as a precaution in case they are not offered admission to the school at which they applied Early Decision. You can think about it this way, if you were to apply to two schools Early Decision and were accepted to both, how could you be in two places at once come next fall?
4. What is the benefit of applying Early Decision?
The true benefit of applying Early Decision is you have the potential of being finished with the college application process by mid-February and you will be accepted by your first-choice school. While some acceptance rates are higher in Early Decision then Regular Decision, that is not the primary reason to apply Early Decision.
5. Will my financial aid be better if I apply Early Decision?
At Whitman College, a student’s need based financial aid package is in no way influenced by the application deadline they use for admission. All admitted students can expect to see an identical financial aid package when applying for Early Decision or Regular Decision. No preference is given to Early Decision applicants in regards to financial aid.