4.5 out of 5 Stars
When I applied in 2003, Whitman accepted the Common Application. I also conducted an off-campus interview. I applied for Regular Decision, but I know that Whitman also does Early Decision. I applied for and received a large amount of Financial Aid, which made Whitman a very desirable option.Graduation Year
challenging but not frusturating
accessible faculity who believe in your successQuality of Life
sustainable, fresh food
involved student body
inclusive social sceneAdmissions
Early decision 1 and 2, regular decision
3 essays: i is a graded essay from high schoolLevel
The only required class is Encounters (an introductory course for first years that develops college writing skills), but there are distribution requirements that are pretty easy to fulfill. Average class size is 15, and the student-professor ratio is 10:1. All students get pre-major advisers, and once you declare you pick an adviser in your major field. Professors have office hours and you can always email them or set up appointments outside of their normal hours. They're super accessible and helpful - especially if you're having trouble with a paper, etc. Workload depends on course load, but is definitely manageable if you take the standard load (15 credits). Academic competitiveness doesn't really exist; no one steals textbooks or compares grades or anything. Professors trust us, and often leave the room during tests and exams. 48% of students study abroad (usually in junior year and usually for a semester, but there are year long programs and you can stack two different semester programs). There are also domestic programs (Chicago, Philly, DC) and summer abroad programs. About 20% of students do research with faculty. One of my friends is going to Sweden this summer with a professor to research pollen (and it will count towards her Bio degree), and another got paid to go to Argentina with a professor and research culture and language. She even got published with her professor - as an undergraduate student.Quality of Life
Dorms are great - really big rooms, section lounges with kitchens, bathrooms, and study rooms. Each hall also has a basement with a tv lounge, rec room, summer storage, and bike storage. We complain about the dining halls, but they're way better than most other places we visited during college trips. Location is mostly residential, so it is super safe. There is a supermarket about a 5 minutes walk away, and Main Street (with a record store, toy shop, candy shop, and tons of great (and cheap!) eateries) is similarly close. Community relations are really good as Whitman does a lot of community service programs within the community. The only bone of contention comes from college aged townies who get mad when they aren't allowed into frat parties.Admissions
Common Application plus an additional supplement including unique application questions and essays. Early action and regular decision options available, as well as need-based and merit financial aid.Level
Academics are challenging but the school does everything in its power to help students succeed. Most professors know just how much to push students to make them learn but still love it.Quality of Life
I'm happy and so is just about everyone else I talk to on campus.Admissions
Whitman is selective but they look at the whole picture. Everything matters, not just test scores. It is possible to have a slightly lower SAT or ACT and still get in, but you must make up for it in other areas. Extracurriculars are a must. There are a lot of essays, but it is worth it if you get in.Level
Every student has an academic advisor on the faculty and all first-year resident dormitory sections have a Student Academic Advisor in addition to the Resident Assistant living alongside the first-year residents in the dorms, offering words of wisdom and academic guidance to first-years during the transition to college. The class sizes are small with significant interaction between the students and the professor. Professors are easily accessible and are eager to teach, both inside and outside of the class. This is the true essence of a liberal arts college. The academic work is rigorous and the expectations on students are high, but it's ultimately about learning, not about outshining your peers. The environment is collaborative. Students also routinely collaborate with faculty on research and scholarly endeavors. I believe that nearly half of the study body chooses to study abroad, usually during the third year.Quality of Life
The quality of life and overall happiness at Whitman College is excellent. The community is engaging and extraordinarily friendly. Whitman is located in a beautiful college town, where the cost of living is inexpensive and it's easy to get around. The The Penrose Library is incredible, with ample study places catering to a variety of study style preferences, from silent reading rooms to separate group study rooms. Penrose Library is one of only a few college libraries that are available to students 24/7. For a study break, there is always some event happening at the student center.Graduation Year
There is a year-long "core" course required of all freshman. This class is taught by general faculty and provides an overview of important works of fiction and non-fiction throughout history. Class sizes are limited to 15 students in the core course and it is very writing intensive and aimed to stimulate critical thinking. Beyond Core, there are a variety of general requirements - a certain amount of math/science, etc. - but I don't remember them being that hard to fulfill or taking up too much time. It's relatively easy to get into the courses you need for your major and professors are very accessible and accommodating about making sure you can complete requirements. Honestly, the most difficult classes to get into are the electives for non-majors in particularly interesting subjects (e.g. astronomy) - sometimes you have to wait until junior or senior year if you're dead set on being in one of those courses.
Class sizes are very small and there are very few large lecture courses (and honestly, even the size of these "large" courses is smaller than you'd find at a lot of schools, more like 70-80 students than 300). Classes are very discussion-based on grade as much (or more) on writing and critical thinking than tests (although this would depend in part on the subject).
Students are very collaborative, as are faculty, and there is a great sense of community and support both for academics and other interests. Study abroad opportunities are often advertised and easy to apply for and get. Grading is tough but fair in most classes.Quality of Life
Everything was great. The campus is beautiful and dorms are good-sized. Food is quite good, especially for mass-produced dining hall fare and there are tons of cute places to go out to eat in Walla Walla (almost all within walking distance), especially the Taco Trucks! The library is open 24/7 as are all of the academic buildings, so there's always a place you can go to study, work on a computer, or print documents. The campus and surrounding area is very safe, and most upperclassmen easily find houses or apartments to rent within a few blocks of campus. Honestly, it's a GREAT place to live for 4 years, and the small town atmosphere just makes the campus feel like more of a community (and encourages a ton of fun activities and house parties to take place on campus).Admissions
It was a while ago now, but I applied early decision and was very happy when I got admitted and didn't have to worry about applying to other schools. I think they put a bit more weight on essays and writing abilities and amount of honors courses taken than pure GPA or SAT scores. I'm not positive, however.Graduation Year
I found the academics at Whitman College to be extremely rigorous. The amount of reading and writing required for a non-science major was somewhat daunting. But it refined my thinking.Quality of Life
Whitman College is located in Walla Walla, WA, which has a booming wine industry. The town has a unique charm. The housing and academic facilities are phenomenal. The school honestly runs like butter.Admissions
Whitman College asked that I interview as part of my admissions process. I felt that they were interested in determining what type of intellectual I was.Graduation Year
Rigorous, flexible class options, required GMAT-style achievement test in major field of study before graduating, required thesis for most majors, variety of study abroad opportunitiesQuality of Life
Rated happiest students in the country by Princeton ReviewAdmissions
Common Application plus unique questions and an essay submission, interviewsGraduation Year
The course load at Whitman is both demanding and fulfilling, with a series of distribution requirements outside of the major, as well as required classes within each students major. The professors are always accessible, and are always more than happy to provide help outside of classes. To this end, the college creates an environment which demands excellence from its students, but not without giving them the tools to succeed as well. Grading is fair, but hard, and is an accurate reflection of the amount of work a student puts into a class. Whitman also has a phenomenal study abroad program, which allows students to spend a semester or more in various locations, all while still earning Whitman credits for classes. The English program at Whitman, which is my area of study, is particularly excellent, and is a large part of the reason for my coming to Whitman. (On that note, I find it very troubling that this survey doesn't have English as a valid option. I was forced to put "other".)Quality of Life
The housing at Whitman is great (I have never seen better dorm rooms anywhere I have visited), as is the campus itself. As such, both academic and non-academic buildings are well maintained, and a joy to work and live in. The library in particular is phenomenal, and is open 24 hours a day, something which most colleges don't offer (at least in my college touring experiences, which were fairly extensive). Meals are provided by Bon Appetit, and are exceptionally well done: the food at Whitman is actually enjoyable to eat, and there are a plethora of dining options, so the food never gets old. The campus feels homey, and is, in my perception, very safe: I have never heard of anything bad happening to a student on campus. Overall quality of life: great. This is a wonderful place to live, and I can safely say that the student body is an extremely happy one.Admissions
Whitman uses the Common Application, and has both early decision 1 and 2. (I applied early decision 1).Level
Academics are excellent at Whitman. It isn't just a slogan or selling point they use to lasso students in, it is an exceptional institution with exceptional academics and professors. Whitman is a liberal arts institution which means that there are distribution requirements for all the discipline if offers. In general, students have to complete at least six credits in all the set disciplines. This may seem daunting for some, however, at Whitman achieving these six credits for each discipline isn't that difficult. Most actually discover that they have completed the majority of them on accident simply by taking classes that they found interesting then realizing after the fact that the class was worth credits in a discipline they had yet to fill.
First year students are required to take part in a core curriculum class that lasts two semesters. This course is very engaging, and helpful. As a student that just finished his first year at Whitman, I am very happy with my core class and found it very helpful. The course is essentially meant to bring all students up to the same level so that every student at Whitman knows what the standard is for essay writing, engaging in class discussions, and reading is at Whitman. Furthermore, the course is centered around interesting texts that the faculty all vote each year on which to include. The interesting thing about Whitman's core program is that each class can be taught by a professor from any field of study. Some courses will be taught by a politics professor, while others would be taught by biology professors, or even mine which was taught by a religion professor. While all the students are reading the same texts, they are learning about it from different perspectives based on what their professor's field of study is in. And this is perfectly in line with what a Liberal Arts education is meant to be--i.e. the discovery and engagement with different perspectives and disciplines and learning to find the connections between them all in order to apply what you learn to the real world.
Class sizes have grown from about 6-7 students on average to about 8-9 students on average. As with most institutions anywhere, lower level classes tend to have more students, while upper level classes have less students in them. However, no matter how big or small your classes are, by the end of the second week of classes your professor will know you by name and will say hi to you as you pass them in the hall or as you walk by their treadmill at the gym. Professors at Whitman go out of their way to meet with you if you need help. When I was in Chemistry first semester, My professor invited me to dinner at her apartment when I was struggling with some concepts. in another case, when I emailed my professor one evening around 8 with a question on a paper, she emailed me back and told me that it would be easier to discuss my question in person and to meet her at her office in 10minutes that same night. It helps that Whitman, and Walla Walla in general, is a rather close community, where students and professors both live very close to campus (for many students, even on campus), and that is a major part as to why Professors feel that it is easy for them to meet with us. Furthermore, Professors at Whitman seem to select Whitman as their choice to teach because they know that students are academically driven and curious and will go out of their way to learn what they are being taught, and that seems to inspire our professors to teach even better and be even more enthusiastic about their field of study.
Research opportunities appear to be abundant at Whitman. Many upperclassmen tend to spend their summer with professors at Whitman, either doing research in Walla Walla (like politics majors, biology majors, religion majors...etc) or going out into the field to do their study with professors (almost all the majors). I know a few friends who are biology majors and will be doing research this summer with their professor off the coast of Chile.
Students are NOT competitive at Whitman. And I want to emphasize that. Students at Whitman aren't secretly hoping that the person that sits next to them in class is failing, in fact, they worry if that is the case more than anything. Whitman is such a supportive community, if you are struggling with a class or a concept and the free tutoring whitman offers, or your professors aren't helping you as much as you'd hope your classmates and friends are ALWAYS willing to help you. I remember during Chemistry when I was struggling, I would simply walk down my hall and ask my section mate who was in the same class if he could help me. And he would drop what he was doing and walk over and spend hours with me until he was sure that I understood the concept. And that wasn't just a special case with me, that sort of thing happens at Whitman all the time. Everybody is looking out for each other, and everybody wants everybody else to succeed.
Grading at Whitman is different from professor to professor. Some professors will grade essays easier than they grade presentations or participation in class, while other professors would grade differently. Some professors within a department grade harder across the board as compared to other professors within the same department. So it varies.
the workload at Whitman is definitely tough. But it is nothing a student that was admitted to the school can't handle. If you were admitted to Whitman you WILL be able to handle the workload, the admissions office does an outstanding job of selecting students to attend based on their talents and abilities. With that said, Whitman is a plays where students not only work hard, but they play hard too. So, while the workload is rather tough, the students at Whitman are able to balance their academic life with their social life. A big thing that Whitman students emphasize is that College is an experience, and while your Academics are the number one priority at Whitman for every single student (and this is an obvious fact if you speak with any of our students), it is only part of your overall college experience.Quality of Life
Quality of life at Whitman is topnotch. I couldn't have picked a better place that would have made me any happier. Housing is great. All the residence halls are clean, have common areas to have fun and hang out, have study areas, have kitchens and ample storage space. The residence halls at Whitman seem to be built specifically to foster a community feeling among its residents and thus promote strong friendships and bonds among those who live there.
The residence halls all are either VERY CLOSE to or have THEIR OWN dining halls. The dining halls are spacious, have ample space and serve outstanding food. I'm not even exaggerating on that, Bon Apetit (our food service at Whitman) has never ever ever tasted like 'cafeteria food', it always tastes as close to homemade as you can get, and always has several options at every meal.
The library is great. Though we only have one library, it is open 24hrs a day 7days a week no matter what. There is a ridiculous amount of printers. And Whitman Technology Service (WCTS) is housed in the library, so if your computer ever breaks down, has some form of issue or you just need it hooked up to a wireless printer they are there to fix your problem for free whenever you want. I know once I had a paper due literally in 5 minutes and for some reason my computer wasn't locating a wireless printer and I ran to WCTS and they fixed it right away and had it all printed off for me just in time. The library has a spacious two story silent reading room with a fire place, tables, comfy couches and comfy chairs. It also has a cafe in the basement that is open every weeknight (sunday nights included) from 8pm to 1 am for those of us working late that need some snacks and coffee to get us through the night. The library also has huge windows overlooking Ankeny field, and along those windows are group study tables . And all along the rest of the library there are individual study tables as well. In addition, there are study rooms all throughout the library available by reservation and media viewing rooms as well.
The town of Walla Walla is a very nice and charming place. Main street has lots of fun shops and great food. Things close early for the most part. The neighborhoods around Whitman are relatively safe. Whitman has great relationships with the community, often community members will be walking their dogs around our campus and they seem friendly to us, as we are to them. Law enforcement in Walla Walla is also very friendly with Whitman students. Whitman has security stations throughout the campus (called Blue Lights) and they light up at night, so if for any reason a student feels unsafe at any time they can find a blue pole (usually within 500 yards of each other) and push the button and security will be there within a minute. The poles are very underutilized however, due to how safe students feel at Whitman.
Overall, Whitman is a great place. Everybody is happy and everybody has fun.Admissions
Whitman utilized the Common Application. 80% of its students receive some form of finical aid. Merit scholarships are generous and available, but are only offered to those with a 3.8GPA or above in high school. The admissions process in general was very straight forward. I could call anytime with questions about the application, where the admissions office was in terms of reviewing my application, how to access specific parts of my account once I was accepted--and I would always be able to speak to a live, kind, and helpful person without a wait of any longer than 1 minute.Level