Alumnus here to answer questions

<p>As I have now been out in the "real world" longer than I was at Whitman, and didn't have a forum like this when I was college hunting, I thought I'd put myself out there to answer people's questions. Fair warning, I may not be as up on Whitman as others here, but I'll always be honest.</p>

<p>Hello there! I am a prospective high school student. I am currently looking at Whitman as a first choice. As you may have figured, I have a TON of questions to ask you. I’ll begin with one:</p>

<p>I live in a big city in the Bay Area, I was wondering if going to a school like Whitman (small, not a lot of people) would be a good thing to do? I am used to having people and a lot of noise around, but I’d like to get a new vibe. I remember when I went to Yosemite for camping I was a little scared of the silence and lack of “civilization” there the first few nights. </p>

<p>Is the crowd there culturally diverse? I am interested in going to a school where I won’t be the only person of my race. Please tell me what the ethnic population is like there. It might not inflence me so much in my choosing, but it would be a relaly good way for me to get a mental picture of the campus. Speaking of diversity, what’s the political scene like there? I am personally more interested in a liberal0mided set of folk. The research I’ve done seems to suggest that Whitman is quite the open-minded campus, but what do you think? </p>

<p>I have kind of weird grades. I kind of screwed up my sophomore and Junior years by getting C’s, but they were for personal and environmental reasons. </p>

<p>I keep reading that Whitman doesn’t prepare for the “real world”. What does that mean? Does it mean I would not have a very good chances at getting a job if I went there for college? Does it mean that I would not be able to keep a job?</p>

<p>As mentioned before, I live in a big city. I also attend a “large” public school (it’s the size of Whitman, but that is considered large in my city). I know that I learn best in small, nurturing environments where the teachers have patience enough to answer every question. It helps me figure out things when I know that I can talk one-to-one with a teacher who genuinely cares about their students and their field in general. Would you agree that the academic setting at Whitman is like this, or not? Why?</p>

<p>Lastly: test scores. The general average they seem to admit to this school are students with “up there” ACT/'SAT scores. I got a 1590 on my SAT (but am in the process of retaking it) and a 22 on my ACT. Would you say that I’d thrive academically at Whitman? Would I even make it in?</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>Hi there, that is a lot of questions! I’ll do my best to answer them.</p>

<ul>
<li><p>my freshman year roommate grew up in downtown Chicago, and she also chose Whitman as a change of pace. I would say that the isolation, the “Whitman bubble” is actually one of the better parts of attending, most people make friends for life. You really become engaged with the school when you’re the only interesting thing for hundreds of miles. It’s hard to explain, but I wouldn’t worry about missing civilization.</p></li>
<li><p>Unfortunately the lack of diversity is one of the biggest problems at Whitman, and from what I’ve heard it’s only gotten worse in the years since I graduated. The campus is entirely liberal and open minded, but the administration makes absolutely no effort to recruit racially or economically diverse students. It’s always been a problem and it just keeps getting worse, apparently.</p></li>
<li><p>The grades thing is a toughie, as I’m not sure about their current admittance policies, but I certainly wasn’t a 4.0 student. I’d say apply early and make sure to have an in person interview with admissions. Whitman loves passionate, unique individuals, and I knew lots of people who got in on those strengths instead of grades.</p></li>
<li><p>What people mean by not preparing you for the real world is that Whitman does absolutely nothing to help alumni get internships, jobs, or real experience. You’ll come out the most well-rounded, thoughtful person you can be, but no one will give you a job based on the Whitman name. Depending on what you want to do, it can be a major disadvantage. If you don’t have a specific career in mind it’s not so bad, but people who want to immediately start climbing the ladder are usually frustrated.</p></li>
<li><p>The relationship with professors is one area where I can recommend Whitman wholeheartedly, the small class sizes and caring teachers are truly extraordinary. From what you describe it’s probably the perfect academic environment for you, no one who is willing to make the effort falls behind.</p></li>
<li><p>Like the grades thing, I’m not sure how up to date my info is on test scores. Most everyone I knew did good to middling, and like I said the in person interview was much more important. I can tell you my math SAT was abysmal, despite retaking it, and it seemed to have no affect on my admittance.</p></li>
</ul>

<p>It sounds to me like you’d be a great Whitman candidate, especially if you’re aware of and willing to fight for diversity issues. Whitman desperately needs to be a more diverse school, and having students attend who are willing to fight for that makes a big difference. It’s a wonderful place, but it’s not perfect. I’ve lived in New York for six years now, and my Whitman education has served me well even if no one’s ever heard of it. I made my best friends (who are still my best friends) there, and I learned to think and communicate in a way I couldn’t have on my own. I just don’t like how hard the school works to white wash its problems and its students. There are good and bad things, same as any other college, it is not some magically happy munchkin land.</p>

<p>I would also highly recommend that anyone looking at Whitman familiarize themselves with this controversy and the way alumni are reacting to it:
<a href=“A Petition Signing for the Whitman Officers and Trustees”>A Petition Signing for the Whitman Officers and Trustees</a></p>

<p>Thank you so much for all that helpful information while you really helped paint a picture for these campus for me. that might be something I’ll look into what applying yes I will apply that I can bring diversity to the campus Thank you for that suggests. I would have never thought of it. </p>

<p>As for the link, I don’t think that it works. I tried clicking it but google says it’s not working. Any help on this ? </p>

<p>“What people mean by not preparing you for the real world is that Whitman does absolutely nothing to help alumni get internships, jobs, or real experience.”</p>

<p>I think in recent years Whitman has taken a more proactive stance on real world experience. They now have the Student Engagement Center, whose sole purpose is to facilitate and help fund internships, and to foster alumni network and connections in the real world. <a href=“http://www.whitman.edu/student-life/student-engagement-center”>http://www.whitman.edu/student-life/student-engagement-center</a>.</p>

<p>My son graduated in May and he’s already received 3 invitations to alumni networking events taking place in our area and other places around the country. </p>

<p>“What people mean by not preparing you for the real world is that Whitman does absolutely nothing to help alumni get internships, jobs, or real experience.”</p>

<p>I think in recent years Whitman has taken a more proactive stance on real world experience. They now have the Student Engagement Center, whose sole purpose is to facilitate and help fund internships, and to foster alumni networks and connections in the real world. <a href=“http://www.whitman.edu/student-life/student-engagement-center”>http://www.whitman.edu/student-life/student-engagement-center</a>.</p>

<p>My son graduated in May and he’s already received 3 invitations to alumni networking events taking place in our area and the invitations list other events in other places around the country. Once he’s ready, he can contact the center to get names of alumni who work in specific professions. </p>

<p>The Liberal Arts model of education is by nature more broad and less focused on pre-professional training then at other types of institutions, although there are majors that tend to lead to certain professions, for instance, science majors tend to gravitate to science fields. But I’ve often heard it said that liberal arts schools teach you how to think, how to write and how to communicate effectively. Those are skills that will serve a person well in many fields.</p>

<p>Diversity remains a problem, but I give the current administration high points for addressing it in constructive ways. I think lack of diversity is a problem at most liberal arts colleges, except perhaps at the most elite schools that have huge endowments. This model of education is expensive to maintain, tenured professors are more expensive than TAs. and all the support offered on campus (library, health center, recreation centers, etc) are costly. Bringing economically diverse students to campus is very important, but requires deep pockets. The “Now Is The Time” fund raising campaign at Whitman is close to reaching it’s goal of raising $150 millions dollars. Using the money they’ve already raised they list the three major areas where they’ve spent it:</p>

<p>20+ upgraded and new faculty positions
60+ new scholarship endowments
3x the number of internship grants for students</p>

<p>Whitman isn’t perfect, but I do think they are aware of and trying to address some of the problem areas grouchygal has mentioned. </p>

<p>They’ve always had the student engagement center, but it is more of a branch of alumni social events than anything else. I’m hoping you’re right and they’ve improved in this area, but in my time we felt seriously let down after graduation when we saw the efforts other colleges put in to make sure their graduates had a fighting chance in a competitive job market. </p>

<p>The link is to a Facebook movement by alumni to protest Whitman’s move away from need-blind admission. Apparently I can’t post links to Facebook here, but if you search for “a petition signing for Whitman officers and trustees” you should find it.</p>

<p>Sorry for my double post above. I was adding stuff and it must have timed me out.</p>

<p>We don’t know yet whether it’s an improved situation for graduates, it hasn’t been tested yet, I certainly hope so. What did you do after graduation, how did you cope? </p>

<p>grouchygirl, I just found and read the fb petition, I hadn’t been aware of the issue before, I appreciate your pointing it out. I’ll educate myself.</p>

<p>MooCowPoop, to respond to a couple of your questions:
My son started at Whitman a few months ago. He grew up in a mid-sized, exciting city and chose Whitman over some more urban schools. So far, he doesn’t seem to regret it or feel any lack of stimulation. His classes are challenging, he got involved in clubs immediately, and he’s surrounded by fun, interesting people.
Regarding diversity, if you remain interested in Whitman, I’d encourage you to write to Admissions and ask them about the new position they’ve created–there is a new vice-president coming on board in January to foster diversity (though he is already involved and was at Convocation, etc. So here I think grouchygal’s information is not quite up to date–they are at least making a strong commitment to diversity. But liberal arts colleges in most parts of the country remain predominantly white, so it’s unlikely that Whitman will look like Manhattan anytime soon.
Their career preparation efforts are very strong relative to other schools my son researched; they have one extraordinary strength in particular, which is a grants program for summer internships. If you get an unpaid internship that would be professionally meaningful to you, you can apply for a $2500 grant that would allow you to take that opportunity rather than, say, going home and delivering pizza. I expect when people say Whitman doesn’t help set you up for careers, they mean that in a way that is generally true of liberal arts schools. Certainly, it’s not worse except that it is not in city where you are likely to turn a major internship into job after graduation.
All that said, your grades and test scores are on the low end for admission, but of course there’s more to any applicant than those numbers!
Best of luck with your search.</p>

Hi I am a prospective international student from Bangladesh. I am curious to know about the financial aid packages that international students receive on average! I got a 2090 in my SATs and all As and A*s in my IGCSE and A’levels. I have been debating for around years.So, what is the average scholarship+financial aid that I am likely to receive?
What is the typical international student profile( test scores, scholarship, grades, ECAs etc) in Whitman?

What is the deal with the Economics majors and the University of Chicago?