Whitman College broke several school records today when sending out 2017-18 admittance letters. It topped previous benchmarks for quantity of applicants, diversity of students and eligibility for Pell Grants.
"We're excited about the caliber of students," said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, "and thrilled at enhancing diversity and accessibility, as they're strategic priorities of the college."
As of this afternoon, 4,196 people applied: 4,075 first-years and 121 transfer candidates. Of the would-be first-years, 179 applied through the early decision process. The previous best: 3,931 total applications for 2016-17.
The class pool of 2021 is Whitman's most diverse: 28 percent students of color and 7 percent international students.
"We attribute the spikes to our new test-optional policy for the SAT and ACT, to more interest from international students and to the hard work of our staff," said Director of Admission Adam Miller.
These latest upticks continue upward trends, Cabasco explained. Since 2013, applications have soared by 55 percent cumulatively.
International applicants have skyrocketed, too, since 2013, by more than 50 percent. Whitman realized a 34 percent gain in this demographic from 2016 to 2017. International students now constitute 18 percent of all applicants. Students from 90-plus nations applied for 2017-18. Whitman admitted aspirants from 45 countries.
Admitted students eligible for a Pell Grant—a subsidy the U.S. federal government provides for undergraduates based on financial need—tallied 205. That's another milestone for Whitman, Cabasco said.
Admitted students came from 46 U.S. states; the most represented, in order, are California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Minnesota, followed by Texas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Idaho and Illinois. First-generation college students comprised 222 of those admitted, or 11 percent, with the former also a new gain for the school. Fifteen percent of admitted students, or 308 potential Whitties, chose the new test-optional plan. And 19 admitted students who are U.S. citizens attended high school abroad, across 13 countries.
Admitted first-years boast a median GPA of 3.83 and median test scores of 700 SAT reading and writing and 690 math and 31 ACT composite.
"Applicants appreciate in growing numbers and an array of backgrounds the well-rounded liberal arts education that Whitman provides on a collaborative campus in a beautiful part of the country," said Cabasco. "The admission staff focused on academic achievement, the potential to contribute to and engage with the Whitman community and students who seemed the best match for the unique Whitman vibe. We can't wait to see who from this talented list joins us."
Whitman hopes to enroll 415 first-years as the class of 2021 and 20 transfers.
The college will host its annual Admitted Students' Day on Saturday, April 22.