Friday, September 16, 2011

nín hǎo - 您好 from Beijing!

The following note was received from our VP Angel Pérez this past Monday, September 12th, 2011:

I just wanted to let you know that I made it safely to Beijing. All went smoothly(except for the trials of getting all those view books here...
but they made it).

I landed Sunday night around midnight (it's now Monday morning). The folks from the Pitzer study abroad center here are taking me to lunch (and some Pitzer students will join me), then it's off to the races! The program begins with a big fair and info session tonight and then we visit high schools each day and put on a big evening event at hotels. We also have a big event at the American
embassy that includes time for Chinese media to interview us.

It's going to be a busy week, but all very exciting and great for Pitzer.



Angel B. Pérez
Interim Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Many Viewbooks Can You Fit in a Suitcase...


Angel B. Pérez, Interim Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid, packs 1,000 Pitzer Viewbooks for his trip to CHINA!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Travel Season=Mileage Points

Ever wonder how admission counselors do all the traveling they do? Mileage points obviously! No but seriously, admission counselors spend days, weeks, sometimes months away from family and friends as we hop on one plan after another. There have been times when I had forgotten what time zone I was in because I had been traveling for so long. It's great in the beginning (especially for new counselors), but if we don't take care of ourselves on the road... it can be a lonnnng fall travel season.

That's why I make the most of my travel. This is a time for me to step away from the office and take advantage of the opportunity for self-reflection and a much needed break. Now I am not saying that travel in the admissions world is all fun and games (but you can include some of it when appropriate), but fall travel allows many of us to step out of our comfort zones, take the road less traveled, get lost because of wrong directions from the GPS (believe me it has happened to us all), experience exciting new places and most importantly, spread the message about our respective institutions.

This will be my second year on the road and I am more than excited! The first time around new admission counselors make mistakes (I mean come on we are all human) and we learn what worked well... and maybe what did not work so well. This fall (or this weekend actually) I will be visiting some familiar places (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Washington, etc.) and some new places as well (West Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, along with Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties).

So wish me luck as I finish packing for my first trip of the season (HOTlanta... I mean Atlanta!). I can assure you that the core values of Pitzer will always be my "guiding light" this travel season. From all of us here at the Pitzer College Office of Admission: HAPPY TRAVEL SEASON... TIS THE SEASON (well a different season at least).

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome to the Class of 2015

Move-In Day
Incoming students moved into their rooms the morning of August 20, 2011.

Walking up the stairs of Pitzer Hall.

It has to all fit into that room...

Welcome Day/Meet Your Mentor/Faculty Meet & Greet

Welcome Week Opening Day was a full day of activities including mentor meetings, welcome programs for incoming students and parents, a barbecue on The Mounds, and the Faculty Welcome, a Pitzer tradition.

Santiago Ybarra, Associate Director of Admission and Danny Irving, Assistant Director of Admission give new students their information packets.

Angel B. Pérez, Interim Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid welcomes the Class of 2015.

Resident Assistant Tim Williamson with a big thumbs up!

After moving into their residence halls, new students met with their mentors and RAs and met with their Orientation Adventure trip leaders.

President Laura Skandera Trombley greets a new student while Professor of Political Studies and Chicano/a Studies Adrian Pantoja and Professor of Philosophy Brian Keeley look on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Liberal Arts College Party Time!

It's Liberal Arts College Party Time!
By Laura Skandera Trombley
Posted: 7/21/11 11:35 am

Every college president's heartbeat quickens whenever a reporter from a major media outlet calls to have a chat. Of course you always hope they're calling because they've just realized how utterly fabulous your institution is and they want to sing your praises to the wider world and stress the importance of a liberal arts college education and the kind of transformational experience your students have. However, that is rarely the case. In fact, after having been president of Pitzer College for nine years, I can tell you that has rarely been the case.

Recently, an article appeared in Bloomberg News with the subtle headline, "Bowdoin says no need for SAT while buying College Board Scores." Oh my! While I've never spent much time worrying about decisions made at Bowdoin (although I do applaud them in making the SAT optional as Pitzer College did in 2003), clearly something must be amiss. What are they up to in Maine?

When I was contacted by the reporter, I took her call, as I always do, and after two quite long and extensive conversations (presidents love to sing the praises of their institutions), imagine my dismay when I found that our entire conversation had been boiled down into an inarticulate 19 words in the article. The crux of the reporter's story is that colleges who have made the SAT optional are wicked because they purchase names and addresses of students who've done well on the SAT from the College Board, owner of the SAT. When that thesis was proposed to me, my immediate response was that I saw no contradiction because we also buy lists of students based demographic and academic interests which are in line with our programs. Other colleges buy lists based on their own specifications of student demographic they believe will be a good fit for their institutions.

When Pitzer College decided to go SAT optional, we did so because we felt we had been excluding a whole group of students who perhaps did not perform particularly well on standardized tests but excelled in their academic pursuits and we wanted to reach out to as many potential students as possible. Current students wanted to be assured that if they scored highly on the SAT, this wouldn't work against them. And so, in a moment of opening our arms to all so that we could recruit the finest, most "Pitzeresque" class possible, the faculty, staff, students and Trustees ultimately voted to make the SAT optional so that everyone could be considered as a potential future Pitzer alumni.

Now this issue of purchasing mailing lists is in my view really a straw dog. I don't know about you, but when I throw a party I like to send invitations to the guests. This is what our admission office does in purchasing lists. We run tours 364 days out of the year, present at college fairs, visit high schools and yes, we try to get the names of as many college-bound students as we possibly can. I guess we could place giant advertisements in publications like Bloomberg, but I doubt that would result in an appreciable return. And while the College Board is the only provider mentioned in the story, there are many others that schools routinely use in order to enlarge their mailing lists such as Cappex, Peterson's and Zinch. And why do we go through all this effort? Because I happen to think we are the best liberal arts college in the country and every student in high school should learn more about us because what we do is very, very special indeed.

While I understand that it's always a good thing to make news, sometimes there just isn't news to make out of the pieces that you're trying to put together.

In response to being asked whether I thought our increase in selectivity as well as our rise in U.S. News & World Report coincided with making the SAT optional, my response was that if it were that easy I would quit my job as a college president and go hit the road as a consultant and make millions offering that rather simplistic and reductionist advice. Trust me. Success never comes without substantive effort.

When I arrived as president in 2002, Pitzer was ranked 70th by U.S. News. We saw a dramatic jump the following year, not due to the fact that we had made the SAT optional, but because we had actually started filling out the forms and sending them back. Go figure. The reason that probably holds the most water in terms of our dramatic increase of 31 percent in the total number of applications over the last nine years, which has translated into making us one of the most selective colleges in the U.S., has to do with several factors. Perhaps making the SAT optional did encourage additional applications, however, at the same time, there was an increase in the demographic of high school aged students entering college and the common application went online, which allows students with a click of the button to apply to not just one or two but 10 to 15 institutions.

Simultaneously, Pitzer College engaged in a sustainable building program, which will ultimately make all our residence halls gold and platinum LEED certified, that has garnered an enormous amount of attention from the media and for the past six years we have been ranked number one for Fulbright Fellowships per thousand students. We have exciting academic programs such as our socially responsible documentary filmmaking program and our environmental analysis program. All of these aspects work together to create an institution that students become excited about and want to attend.

So, was I disappointed in the story? Not really. It was evident to me from the start what the angle was. Never fear, if you are interested in hearing a really great story drop by Pitzer College for a visit because anyone who loves the liberal arts is always welcome to my party.

To read this article, please visit:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inside College Admissions: Pitzer College

Inside College Admissions: Pitzer College
by Rebecca Green

Jul 13, 2011

We interviewed Admissions Director Angel Pérez to get the inside scoop on applying to Pitzer College, a Claremont College known for community service and study abroad.

Noodle Education: What’s one great insider tip for students hoping to get into Pitzer College?
Angel Pérez: Pitzer is an interesting place—did you know that testing here is optional? We don’t have the traditional method of looking at applications. We focus on making sure kids understand the mission and core values of the college. We have four core values and we look for students who are not only academically successful, but who bring those core values to life. In fact, less than half our applicant pool submits test scores.

NE: One thing that would surprise our readers about students at Pitzer is…
AP: Students are involved in every single part of the governance structure of the school from the hiring committees to the board to the finance committee (In fact 8 students were on the committee when I was being hired!) They make a real impact from faculty hiring and curriculum to finance decisions.

NE: What should I be sure to see or do on a campus visit to Pitzer?
AP: The Grove House is the center of campus life. It’s an old 1800s structure that was brought to the campus from Pomona. It’s got an organic café, open-mike night, a place for outdoor classes – it’s a little slice of heaven. They make cookies that are so good, my friends who are guidance counselors ask me to send them cookies from the Grove House. I’d also recommend a visit to the on-campus garden that’s maintained by our students—there are chickens running around and it’s a big part of our sustainability values.

NE: What is one thing students should NOT do when applying to your school?
AP: Well, watch out for the cut & paste—I recently got a letter from a student telling me why she wanted to get off the waitlist for Skidmore. But more importantly, when you’re writing your essay, if you’re writing about someone else, make sure to bring it back to you. It’s a big mistake that students make to tell us why their grandmother had an impact on them, then write all about their grandmothers, but never get back to how she impacted them.

NE: I’ve just been waitlisted at Pitzer. Any advice?
AP: Number 1: Send that card back! If we don’t receive that postcard, we assume you’re not interested. I get calls all the time in May asking about the status and I tell them I assumed you weren’t interested.

Also, tell us if there’s anything new. You filled out an application in December, so let us know if there’s anything that can update your file, or an extra recommendation. (Though don’t inundate the staff.) Also, look at the website and find out who’s in charge of admissions in your territory, and communicate directly with him or her.

To read the article, please visit:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pitzer College Commencement

Today we celebrate the 47th Annual Commencement Ceremony at Pitzer College. The first graduating class at Pitzer Collegeconsisted of only 3 graduates back in 1965... but today we graduate 229 seniors from a diversity of backgrounds, interests, majors, and dreams.

Chelsea Kumabe '11, D.O. Student and Office of Admission Tour Guide

Chris Moore '11, Admission Fellow

Maricela Ledezma '11, Admission Fellow and Diversity Intern

With Pitzer-Pomona Sagehen, Alexis Garcia '11


Friday, May 13, 2011

Let's Play Some Softball... Pitzer Style!

Every year, faculty and staff give the seniors their last educational lesson at Pitzer College by beating them at the traditional softball game.

This year was no different. The Class of 2011 played a great game! Many of the players on the field included some of our very own Admission Fellows and student workers from the class of 2011.

About a year ago I was playing as a senior against the faculty and staff, but oh my how the tables have turned! This year I had the opportunity to roll up my sleeves, take off the tie, and take a swing at the ball... I almost made it past first base until Admission Fellow, Chris Moore '11, tagged me out! Next time Chris, next time!

Emma Fisher '11

Admission Fellows Alex Smith '11 and Ben Harris '11 put up a good fight, but that didn't last too long. Assistant Director of Admission, Danny Irving, went up to bat on behalf of the staff/faculty and how to show the seniors how it's done!

Cecil the Sagehen would have been proud to see us all playing a good game of softball!.

Monday, April 25, 2011

PZ Admitted Student Day(s) RECAP!

Wow! What a crazy adventure these past two weeks have been! Our first Admitted Student Day was Friday, April 15. If that was not enough, the office of admission hosted about 25 students for our Spring Diversity Program from April 14 through the April 16. It was such an awesome series of events; from the airport pick-ups, to Santa Monica Beach, to a late night IN-N-OUT run.

Fast forward a week later... we were back at it again! The second and final Admitted Student Day, along with a second Spring Diversity Program (this one was much smaller and only occurred April 21-22). For the second Admitted Student Day, we had well over 300 guests!!! Now that has to be a record of some sort!

The entire admission and financial aide offices hope that YOU enjoyed your day at Pitzer while we rolled out "the orange carpet" for YOU and your families. REMEMBER... if you are planning on committing to Pitzer College, your commit cards AND deposits are to be post marked by MAY 2 (the 1 of May is on a Sunday).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Have you received YOUR admit packet??? Snap a photo, take a video and share it with us by sending your reactions to

NOTE: Alyshia is one of our Diversity Interns. For more info on the Diversity Program, please visit:

FINALLY!!! Reading season is over and ADMIT packets are on the way!!!

After months of traveling and weeks of reading applications... the time has come! Committee is done and I can proudly say that I have successfully helped shape the future class of 2015!!!

Do you ever wonder what happens to that BIG BRIGHT ORANGE CONGRATULATIONS envelope the moment it leaves our office??? Well allow me to provide you with a quick explanation:

1. The admit packet is labeled (Alyshia is one of our Diversity Interns)

2. Fernando (our Graduate Admission Fellow) seals the envelope with lots of PZ LOVE!

3. Files are ready to leave the office.

4. Fernando poses once more with the admit packet!

5. Santiago (Associate Director) helps load the car with all the packets to be taken to the post office.

6. We (the counselors) drive to the Claremont Post Office to hand deliver the admit packets.

7. Arnaldo Rodriguez (VP of Admission & Financial Aid) helps load the mail cart.

8. And there you have it... the admit packets awaiting delivery.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR... and now back to applications!

"Hello friends of the Pitzer College Office of Admission. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed a spectacular New Years! After all of my fall travel and recruiting, I needed a break and decided to "fly the coop". Where did I go??? I headed to the only place where sagehens can relax and grab some of the best Cuban food... MIAMI!" -Cecil T. Sagehen

After a nice and peaceful winter break, we (the counseling staff) are all back in the office and ready to process those applications. Tons of mail, lots of paper cuts, and so much alphabetizing... but of course it is all worth it in the end. Being an admission counselor has helped me understand how more than ever, we need more students like YOU!

So please bare with me in the next few weeks. If you submitted an application, it is being processed at the moment thanks to our entire counseling and support staff. No need to call... that recommendation letter is NOT late, those SAT scores will arrive soon, and your transcript should be arriving any day now. What more do you have to worry about? You have done your part of the application... so just sit back, relax, continue being the rock star student you are and wait to hear back from us in the coming months.

Until then... open mail (paper cuts), alphabetize, file, etc... it's like I'm an admission robot!!! ha ha.