Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring is in the air...

Danny Irving (class of '08, Admission Counselor) and Jackie Legazcue (class of 2010) couldn't be more excited about the beauty that spring brings to campus. I guess it's just a purple kind of day!

The "testing option" debate

Our Director of Admission, Angel Perez, was quoted today in the Chronicle of Higher Education as part of a discussion on colleges that no longer require standardized test scores from their applicants. We're proud of our testing option and grateful to be included in this nation-wide discussion.

Applicants to Pitzer College have many choices to consider in lieu of standardized test scores. Students with a cumulative 3.5 unweighted and academic GPA (without Health and P.E., for example) as well as students in the top ten percent of their high school class (for schools that rank their own students) are completely exempt from submitting testing. Students who do not meet those requirements and still would like to forgo standardized tests may submit AP or IB test scores in English and Math, or simply submit a graded math test from Algebra II or a more advanced course, as well as a graded essay from their most current English course.

Our testing option is designed to give students as much freedom as possible to represent themselves academically. Some people love the tests, some people don't. We get it! We have found that a demonstrated commitment to hard work is a much more consistent indicator of academic success at Pitzer than high test scores.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pitzer in the news!

I wanted to share some of the attention that Pitzer College has been receiving in the news recently.

The Los Angeles Times ran an article this weekend exploring some of the sustainability initiatives around campus. At Pitzer we really strive to live our values. The most gratifying aspect of our culture of sustainability is that it grows right out of our students. Many of the projects discussed in this article and many more that may be seen around campus are direct results of student effort. In an era when everything "green" is hotter than a mid-1990s Macarena, it's nice to be able to say that our attitude toward our environment is truly organic and home-grown!

Last week, Pitzer was featured in an article discussing another hot topic in higher education: gender-neutral housing. This article addresses some of the questions that have been raised as more colleges embrace this progressive attitude toward students' abilities to choose who they live with.

Last but certainly not least, Laura Skandera Trombley, President of Pitzer College, published her most recent scholarly study of Mark Twain this month. Mark Twain's Other Woman: The Hidden Story of his Final Years is now available on Amazon and in bookstores. As an internationally renowned Mark Twain scholar President Trombley balances her roles as both adminstrative leader and scholar with grace and candor. I was lucky enough in my first year at Pitzer to take a course on Victorian America which President Trombley "team-taught" with Stuart McConnell from the History and American Studies field groups. For those of you interested in President Trombley's work I encourage you to explore her personal website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

...and then it was March!

Woosh! Was that the month of February I just saw go by my window? I hardly noticed! I must have spent the whole month hunched over my desk reading applications!

If you're a returning reader, welcome back! If this is your first glance at the blog, thanks for your interest in Pitzer! We're approaching the light at the end of a very long and rewarding tunnel. We're only a week or so away from finishing all of your applications! At this time, everyone's application has been read at least once by the Admission Counselor responsible for your territory and is now circulating to a "second reader." We use this system to ensure that the first person who sees your application has the best chance of being familiar with your high school (and may have even met you while we were traveling). Second readers give each application a fresh perspective and help us get a more holistic picture of our applicant pool. It's been an absolute honor and joy to see your essays, recommendation letters, interview notes, MyCollegeI videos, art supplements etc.

So what's next? Next week our whole team will come back together for an intense week-long summit that most schools simply call "committee." We basically lock ourselves in the conference room and discuss what we've read so that we can build a well-rounded class. Committee is fun, emotional, exhausting, and rewarding. It is also the most poignant reminder that we innevitably receive far more excellent applications than we have the possibility of offering admission to. More on committee in the weeks ahead.

I'll leave you with this fun piece of news. Our very own Angel Perez, Director of Admission, has been asked by the Washington Post to write about the college search and admission processes. His first article is a great checklist for any high school student who is pondering the college question.

That's it for now. See you soon!