Nearly 200 incoming students will descend upon the Whitman College campus this weekend for Admitted Students' Day. To get an offer of admission, the teenagers must be impressive on paper, but how they connect to Walla Walla, Whitman College, and fellow students, faculty and staff will be reinforced this weekend as they get an in-person glimpse of the college and the town that might be "home" for the next four years of their life.
All Whitman applicants apply online and—although the college offers daily tours and visit programs for interested future students—many have not yet had the chance to come to campus. This year, Whitman College received a record 3,918 applications for the Class of 2019. That's a 3 percent increase over last year's total. That 40 percent admit rate reflects one of Whitman College's most selective years on record. Applicants came from 48 states, the District of Columbia, 2 U.S. territories and from more than 80 countries. Whitman saw a 33 percent growth of applicants from students outside the United States.
"Whitman's selectivity made it difficult for our admission officers during the selection process as we could not admit all the talented applicants we got to know during the process," said Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid. "The admission staff focused on academic achievement, the potential to contribute to and engage with the Whitman community as well as finding students who were the best match for Whitman."
It's not surprising that the admitted students are academically talented. They boast a median GPA of 3.87 and median test scores of 690 SAT Reading, 670 SAT Math, 680 SAT Writing, and a 31 ACT composite.
A majority of admitted students are known as difference-makers in their high schools and communities. Whitman's admission officers say that they bring with them an impressive list of accomplishments and a clear passion for learning. Entering classes are typically comprised of teenagers that have already co-founded nonprofits, launched businesses and have received several state and regional awards. However, "there is also room at Whitman for well-rounded, down-to-earth young adults who have demonstrated in their applications the potential to be wonderful Whitman students," says Cabasco.
Students from the state of California rank highest in admission to Whitman College, followed by Washington and Oregon. Twenty-five percent of admitted first years are students of color, 156 students are "first-generation" students who will be the first in their family to go to college, and 188 are Pell Grant recipients, coming from low-income backgrounds. The new entering students will receive a projected $6.8 million in Whitman scholarships, most of it in the form of need-based scholarships.
"I am so proud of the work our admission team put in to recruit and evaluate such an accomplished and diverse group of students," said Director of Admission Adam Miller. "There were a lot of long days on the road this fall and late nights reading applications this spring, not to mention all the behind-the-scenes work that went into processing such a huge volume of applications. But all that pales in light of the impact these students will have on the Whitman community."
Admitted Students' Day is on Saturday, April 18, and the detailed event schedule can be seen here. May 1 is the reply date, a deadline set at colleges and universities nationwide when high school students must inform colleges of their plans. When all is said and done, Whitman College looks forward to welcoming a total of 400 first years plus 20 transfer students to campus this fall.