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It’s Application Season!

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And if any of you readers are seniors, that’s probably really freaking you out right now. It did for me, at least. It’s much less stressful on the Admissions office end (at least for me, though there is a lot of mail to send and application materials to file). Looking back, there are a few things I wish I’d known this time last year. So here are some tips. Some may be useful, some not, I don’t know, maybe none of you are high-schoolers and I’m preaching to an invisible choir. Either way, have some tips:

  1. Make sure you have everything you need for your application before you leave for break. Today is December 4th. Most Regular Decision applications are due within the next month, give-or-take. So what does this mean for you? Well, you should have everything you need from your school by now. I’m talking transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. etc. If not, get those done. I’m assuming most schools let out for Winter Break pretty soon, and it’s hard to get those things sent in when your school is closed. Which leads me to my next point…
  2. Get everything in on time. Even early, if possible. No admissions officer is going to look at your application and go, “Wow, they submitted it early, what a loser!” No. Having everything in on time shows that you’re organized, serious about your application, and, best of all, can actually meet a deadline. Some people have a lot of trouble with this. If you can’t get everything in on time and have a legitimate reason for that…
  3. Get in contact with your admission officers if you have questions or problems. If you don’t, don’t feel the need to be on the phone with them every minute of every day. Here’s the deal. Admissions officers have a lot to do, especially this time of year, and additionally, they’re real people with lives. They don’t need every single applicant to call and tell them they submitted their transcript. They’ll be able to tell. In fact, Whitman sends you a handy-dandy letter to inform you when all your application materials have been turned in. Admission officers are a great resource if you have problems like “My registrar is on vacation and can’t send my transcript until January,” or “Every computer in a 100-mile radius of me has suddenly turned into a violent rampaging robot so I can’t complete my application.” I can’t speak for any of the admissions officers themselves (and don’t claim to), but if an applicant was on the phone with me for an hour everyday describing in minute detail the 24-hour fundraiser they put on for blind orphans, I might get a bit frustrated with them. We have 10 admission officers at Whitman, and last year a total of about 3,000 students applied. That’s an average of 300 applicants per admission officer, meaning that if every single student called them in one day, they could only talk to each student for 4.8 minutes if they dedicated all their time to that task. It’s a lot.

Speaking of a lot, this post got really long really fast. I’ll post some more tips later in the week, but I have finals to study for. Good luck to you, applicants! :)

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