Information for First-Year Students
Welcome to Whitman College! The Registrar's Office is available to assist incoming first-year and transfer students with any questions you may have about beginning your academic life at Whitman.
Monday Emails from Whitman: It is important to activate your Whitman College email account as soon as possible to obtain access to useful web resources. Each Monday beginning June 10, an email will be sent to your Whitman email account from either Juli Dunn, Associate Dean of Students, or Barbara Maxwell, Associate Dean of Students/Director of Orientation. These emails will communicate relevant information to new students in a timely manner, so you should plan to check your account weekly throughout the summer.
Follow the link and instructions below to activate your new Whitman College email and network account. You will need your Whitman ID number, which was included in the orientation packet that has been sent to you.
New Student Orientation Information
- New Student Orientation booklet
- International Orientation website
- International Student Orientation booklet
- Immersions Pre-Orientation programs
- High School Transcript Request Form (pdf)
The academic program at Whitman College provides students with a breadth of knowledge through completion of Distribution Requirements and a depth of knowledge through concentrated study in a major. Whitman believes this focus on a liberal arts education meets two important objectives: preparation for intelligent living and preparation for a successful career.
It is important that you plan your academic coursework carefully. To help you plan your first semester's schedule, the college provides you with the online Whitman College Catalog, this website, and the Registration Preparation Booklet. The booklet is designed to be a basic introductory guide to selecting your first semester classes. Along with these items, many academic departments and programs have additional information on their individual websites. The catalog is the primary source of information about courses, requirements for graduation, majors and special programs, and general college policies. You should read through the catalog carefully and familiarize yourself with its contents. Another important resource is "Search for Classes" which is only available online via the portal, my.whitman.edu. It is here that you will find course times and other information on current course offerings.
- Pre-major Advising
- Student Academic Advisors (SAs)
- General Studies 145, 146
- Advanced Placement (AP) Credit
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit
- Transfer Credit
- Running Start or Similar Programs, and Financial Aid
- Registration Process
- Common Questions
- If You Need Assistance
As an incoming student at Whitman College, you will be assigned a pre-major advisor who will help you plan your academic coursework. This assignment will be made over the summer and you will be notified about your advising match upon arrival to campus in August. This faculty member or administrator might or might not be in your main field of interest, but he or she will be familiar with the overall curriculum and will be able to help you fulfill the college’s requirements. If you want more specialized information about a particular department, you are always welcome to consult members of that department.
You will have a pre-major adviser until you declare a major (no later than the end of the spring semester of your sophomore year) at which time you will select an adviser in your major department. Please note that the major requirements you will follow will be those of the Whitman College Catalog of your sophomore year (2019-20).
The college also provides a group of student academic advisors (SAs), who live in residence halls with first-year students. SAs are specially trained returning students who are available to help you select courses, navigate through the catalog, and answer questions you may have about classes. They will be able to help you with paper writing, and can assist in arranging some tutoring assistance if you are having trouble with your coursework or if you need to improve your time management or study skills.
All first-year and transfer students with fewer than 58 approved credits are required to take the two semester series Encounters, General Studies 145, 146 (GENS-145, 146). Students are automatically registered for these classes. Organized around a variable theme, these courses take as their broad topic the examination of encounters between peoples and cultures as well as the formation and transformation of dominant and competing world views. The study of primary sources, discussion, writing, and the construction of knowledge across academic fields of study will be emphasized. The theme for the 2018-19 academic year will be “Transformations.”
The yearlong Encounters course series explores questions and concepts that have long fascinated and challenged human beings. Rather than following a chronological development of ideas in a certain tradition, Encounters approaches highly influential texts from varied intellectual, cultural, and historical contexts by grouping them around common themes. The two-course series is divided into six thematic units, each of which includes a variety of genres including philosophical treatises, poetry, political theory, sacred writings, theater, the novel, film, and graphic memoir. The thematic units address distinctive topics related to the courses’ overall focus on the idea of “transformation,” such as “origins and beginnings,” “transforming the self,” “revolutions,” and “trauma and transformation.” For example, our unit on “transforming the self” juxtaposes Plato’s “Symposium” with the Bhagavad Gita and two other texts, thus prompting critical reflection on what it means to have, or to be, a “self,” and what forms of effort and experience change this “self” into something new. The unit on “revolutions,” in turn, invites students to consider Marx’s theory of political-economic transformation in relation to Nietzsche’s conceptual “revolution” in philosophy, the anti-colonial uprising treated in Pontecorvo’s film The Battle of Algiers, and Gandhi’s programme of “home rule” (“Hind Swaraj”).
Credit and course equivalency may be awarded for certain scores achieved on specified College Board Advanced Placement exams. Please refer to the "Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit" information in the "Academics" section of the online catalog to find scores required for individual exams to receive Whitman credit. There is a limit of 30 total credits that may be awarded for combined AP and IB exam scores. Please also note that you cannot receive credit for a Whitman class for which you have previously received AP course equivalency and credit. For example: If you score a 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam, you will receive six math credits, equivalent to MATH-125 and MATH-126. Therefore, you cannot take either MATH-125 or 126 for credit. If you wish to take a course at Whitman for which you received AP credit, you must contact the Registrar's Office to relinquish that credit.
If you believe you are eligible for AP credit, you must request an official report of your scores be sent directly from the College Board to Whitman as soon as possible. If you do not do this prior to starting classes at Whitman, you must do so soon afterward.
Credit and course equivalency may be awarded for certain scores achieved on specified Higher Level International Baccalaureate exams. Please refer to the "Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit" information in the "Academics" section of the online catalog to find scores required for select individual exams. There is a limit of 30 total credits that may be awarded for combined AP and IB scores. Please note that you cannot receive credit for a Whitman class for which you have previously received IB course equivalency and credit. For example: If you score a minimum of 5 for HL History of the Americas, you will receive eight history credits, equivalent to Whitman's HIST-105 and HIST-106. Therefore, you cannot take either HIST-105 or 106 for credit. If you wish to take a course at Whitman for which you received IB credit, you must contact the Registrar's Office to relinquish that credit.
If you believe you are eligible for IB credit, you must request an official report of your examinations be sent directly from the International Baccalaureate Program to Whitman as soon as possible. If you do not do this prior to starting classes at Whitman, you must do so soon afterward.
All transfer credit is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Transfer credit includes courses taken through Running Start, concurrent high school-college enrollment, and any accredited college or university programs. For specific regulations and more information concerning transfer credit, please refer to the "Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit" information in the "Academics" section of the online catalog, and review the information available via the Transfer Credit Information link on the Whitman Registrar's Office home page.
If you have completed or are planning to complete any college coursework prior to starting classes at Whitman, you must request that the Registrar of the institution attended send an official transcript of all your previous college or university coursework directly to the Whitman Registrar's Office as soon as possible. You will also need to complete and electronically submit a Transfer Credit Eligibility Form.
Once we have evaluated your official transcript(s), we will provide you with a Transfer Equivalency Report or Academic Evaluation before you register for the first time at Whitman. These will be sent via your Whitman College email account. You will also receive a copy in the Advising and Registration Packet when you arrive on campus if the needed transcripts have arrived well before orientation. Otherwise, a transfer report will be sent to you after you begin classes at Whitman.
The Transfer Equivalency Report and Academic Evaluation will provide the following information, which will help to plan your schedule:
- The total number of college credits accepted from previously-attended institution(s).
- An analysis of how those credits apply toward the Whitman distribution requirements.
- Your class standing-first-year: (0-26 credits), sophomore (27-57 credits), or junior (58-89 credits). Your class standing determines your status with respect to the General Studies requirement at Whitman College, housing, financial aid eligibility, and more.
The following is a brief overview of the policy regarding the impact on financial aid for transferring Running Start credits to Whitman College. We define such coursework as college credits earned prior to earning a High School diploma. The following does not apply to any credits earned post-high school. (Please refer to the online catalog for more detailed information.)
Students who earned Running Start credits will choose one of the following two options:
Option 1. Transfer ALL Running Start coursework accepted by Whitman. This means you will qualify for available financial aid consistent with the class-level determined by the total number of credits transferred to Whitman. See "Classification of Students" in the Academics section of the online catalog.
Option 2. Transfer no more than 14 Running Start semester-equivalent credits accepted by Whitman. You will be considered a first-year student for purposes of financial aid if General Studies 145 and 146 (i.e. "Encounters" GENS-145 and GENS-146) are completed during the initial year of enrollment at Whitman.
All students who transfer fewer than 58 credits must complete General Studies 145 and 146 Encounters within their initial year at Whitman College.
Students with Running Start credit will be provided a Running Start Options Selection Form and must declare Option 1 or 2 during initial registration. Students will be given the opportunity to reconsider their decisions at the end of the second semester of coursework by submitting such changes in writing to the Registrar's Office. Should Option 2 be chosen at this point, General Studies 145 and 146 must be completed within the next two semesters of enrollment at Whitman.
The following link takes you to the web page with all the detailed information concerning the Registration Process for incoming students at Whitman College.
This link takes you to a web page that has answers to some common questions asked by students who will be attending Whitman College for the first time.
The staff in the Registrar's Office will be available during the summer months to provide answers to your questions about registration (phone 509-527-5983 or email email@example.com). In addition, the Academic Resource Center staff will be available to answer questions about course selection and advising (phone 509-527-5213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).