Monthly Archives: April 2012

All about the image?

A fearless (and fiercely independent) tour guide

Since my freshman year, I’ve been a tour guide for the Office of Admission. Each week, and usually multiple times, I lead guests across the Pitzer campus for an hour while highlighting what I find to be what makes our institution strong and unique among small liberal arts colleges. Although it is a paid position, and I’m expected to follow a certain route and know the facts, the Office does not dictate what I say. In fact, I would venture that in many ways my tour is quite different from any other tour guide at Pitzer, just as their tour will have its own unique spin. I like that we have some “editorial freedom” for our tours. There is, however, one question that inevitably arises, and its the one I least like to answer:

How would you compare Pitzer to the rest of the Claremont Colleges?

And even though I know it’s a perfectly logical and normal question to ask, I always feel bad answering because, well, I don’t see them as completely separate institutions; while they may each have their own professors, student bodies, cultures, and the like, I see myself as a Claremont Colleges student. While I am proudest to be from Pitzer, I take a little ownership in all of the Claremont Colleges. I would guess that others feel a similar sentiment.

Another aspect always comes up during my tours:

Surprise. Visitors simply can’t believe how close the colleges are to each other.

While part of that may come from the uniqueness of the Claremont consortium model, I think that it comes from the distinct efforts of each college to individualize itself from the Consortium. So while we each benefit from the entire consortium, the schools, for the most part, downplay that relationship in the admissions process.

To see how close the image fit with the reality, I worked with Richard Ahne CMC ’15 to go inside the tours and find out what students were saying. In the end, we learned a lot more about the Consortium in regards to the admission process — and came up with some good advice for the Colleges.

I’m proud to say that the story, entitled “The United Colleges of Claremont,” is the cover story for the May 2012 edition of the Claremont Port Side.

You can read it on p. 12-13 of the PDF version of the magazine here or, for the  HTML version, here.


The role of the SAT for small liberal arts colleges

The CMC Admission Office in the Kravis Center

I think the SAT is a pretty horrible metric. With the rise of the test prep industry and income inequality, more and more the SAT has become a laughable way to decide if students are intelligent or prepared enough to attend various institutions.

Recently, Claremont McKenna College’s lawyers released their independent investigation of the admission, or SAT, scandal. As a Pitzer College student, I have taken a number of courses at CMC and work with a number of their students, so one of my editors at the Claremont Port Side asked me to give my take, a Pitzer perspective, on the issue.

Something I touch on in the piece is that especially for small liberal arts colleges the SAT is a terrible criteria to use for admission. In small community driven institutions, a holistic admission process is key to ensure a diversity of students –not simply in the racial sense, but also making sure there are enough athletes, artists, activists, and researchers on campus. Assuming that institutions use the Common Application and a supplement, the amount of information that admission officers have access to should be more than enough to decide whether or not to admit an applicant. SATs should be irrelvent.

At this point, SATs are just one more bragging right for prestigious colleges, not a measure of the quality of the student body.

You can read my entire piece, “The Scandal from Across the Street,” on the Claremont Port Side website.

I also rather like the research done by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, if you’re interested in more about SAT/ACT use.

About that election thing…

A few weeks ago, I put up a post indicating that I was running for Student Senate Chair at my College. I could go on for ages about why I love the possibilities of this position, but in short it goes something like this:

Pitzer is one of the few (if the only) institutions in the world where there are voting student members that sit on every standing committee of the College. This has far-reaching implications: students can viably voice their opinions and vote on issues that range from tenure for professors to graduation requirements. However, just because it is codified that students have this option does not grant power: for this endeavor to be successful, students must actively make themselves heard.

For my campaign, I wanted to get people excited about student government again and make them feel optimistic about working collectively as a student body for positive change…and it worked.

I’m excited to be the Student Senate Chair/President of Pitzer’s Student Senate for 2012-2013.

Together with my new Executive Board, I am going to make Pitzer a college that amplifies the power of one of the most active, passionate, and involved student body’s in the country.

So, if you voted or even if you thought about my campaign as a reader: THANK YOU! 

Welcome to the 20th Most Selective College in the USA!

Back at the start of April I wrote that Pitzer College’s selectivity had gone dropped to 15.7% from 24% the year previously.  Now, Yahoo! has put out a list saying that Pitzer is the 20th most selective college in the United States. That’s crazy.

So, you may ask, how do we at Pitzer welcome our selective admits to the campus?

The answer, you will find, is this:

That’s right: A flash mob.

With only a week’s notice, student workers in the Office of Admission choreographed and put together a flash mob of approximately 40 students to “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. Dancing with the students were yours truly, Dean of Students Moya Carter, Vice President for Admission/Financial Aid Angel Perez, and, in an amazing performance, President Laura Skandera Trombley. To everyone’s credit with the high energy in the soon-to-be-viral video, this all happened at 9:25 am on a Friday morning.

How cool is that?

Vote JON RICE for Student Senate Chair ASAP!


For my dear Pitzer peers out there, please do consider voting me as your Student Senate Chair! You have until Friday at 4:59 PM to cast your vote, so do it now:

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