4.5 out of 5 Stars
Distribution requirements are loose, and extremely easy to fulfill without straying from individual academic interests. Major requirements are all rigorous, but vary in number of credits between majors. All incoming students must take a designated introductory discussion course, but that is the only required class. Professors are extremely accessible, friendly, caring, and dedicated to student growth - intellectual and academic.
Whitman encourages students to excel as much as they can while still maintaining sound mental health. Whether that means doing 8+ hours of focused academic work per night or just 3, each student has a healthy balance of academic rigor, social life, and extracurriculars. Students at Whitman are ALWAYS busy doing things they are passionate about, and the real hurdle to overcome is finding the best balance between all aspects of college life.Quality of Life
Common application with supplemental essays, graded paper submission, and interview.Level
We have distribution requirements and every student takes the two semester encounters class. Most students have a senior thesis and all seniors have senior seminars, and a combination orals, writtens, and other exams. 20% of students do research for professors in all different departments and this is all for undergraduate students. Professors have office hours, but they also hand out email and phone numbers to contact at any time. Facutly have high expectations for students and most professors make their students work for their grades. Work load depends on department/class, but generally high.Quality of Life
You must live on campus for two years, but 75% of students live on campus for all four years. The facilities on campus are amazing, and most of the buildings on campus have been recently built or recently renovated. There are lots of housing options some actual houses that still provide tight student communities. There are lots of opportunities to participate in community life whether it be from the local market, the whitman mentoring, college coaches, and other activities that encourage community/college interactions. Because whitman is a small school it has a very close and tight-knit community that is not only present within its student body, but also within its faculty.Admissions
You must have a hand graded essay from an english teacher, a special essay on diversity, personal interviews are recommended although phone interviews are also made.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
There is one required class-Encounters. In it your read, discuss and analyze a variety of texts from the novel Beloved to the Communist Manifesto to the Bible. There are also distribution requirements that students are required to complete before graduation, All this into is online at whitman.eduQuality of Life
The library is open 24/7. The residence halls form great communities, and the food is great. Students who go to Whitman generally love the atmosphere and people.Admissions
Whitman has an early decision application and a regular application, unless they change it there will be a diversity essay prompt and a "Why Whitman?" prompt.Level
Housing very affordable and easy to find something close to school (within walking distance). Facilities are wonderful and I love love love our library. I still miss it! (sad, I realize) Crime was never really an issue and I always felt safe when walking on campus late at night even when I was alone. There's an escort service you can call if you feel unsafe at any time, but in my four years I never felt so threatened that I needed to use it. The neighborhood is great - lots of cute places to eat and coffee shops to study at.Admissions
Application, Essays, Optional Interview. Great scholarship opportunities, both financially based and merit based.Graduation Year
There are only two required classes: first and second semester of a student's first year. After that, each student is required to take two fine arts classes, two science classes--one of which must involve a lab--two social science classes, two humanities classes, two "alternative voices" classes (these are courses with a non-western or alternative view, such as classes on eastern religions, some gender studies classes, and some history courses), finally, each student must take one "quantitative analysis" course, which is generally fulfilled through math or some science courses.
Each major varies in its requirements. Generally, a major requires at least 28 credits in major. Every major requires both a written and oral examination. After choosing a major, every student must select an adviser within his or her chosen major. Prior to choosing a major, every student is assigned another faculty member to serve as a pre-major adviser.
Faculty members are always remarkably accessible. Office hours, coffee meetings, lunches and class dinners are all prevalent. Class sizes are varied. By and large, upper-level classes during junior and senior years are very small, rarely exceeding 15 people. Introductory classes can be larger, sometimes around 30 students.
Research opportunities are always prevalent, though competitive. Most research opportunities are offered by the science departments and social sciences. However, there are other research opportunities available with faculty members in other departments as well.
Grading is always fair, though sometimes slightly lenient in the more objective departments, most notably in the humanities. Workload is always demanding but never terribly overwhelming. Studying abroad is always encouraged and almost never conflicts with academic requirements.Quality of Life
Housing is excellent. Rooms are large, storage is never an issue and everything stays pretty clean. All the facilities, especially the fitness facilities, are truly phenomenal. The dining halls are clean and the food is always varied and tasty. Crime is low, due mostly to the school's location. The neighborhood is quiet and generally well-kept. Due to the location, cost of living is very low. Overall, we are a very happy bunch.Admissions
We do have the early decision option. However, I chose not to use this in order to keep my options open. Many people who I know did enroll via early decision and they have nothing but good things to say about it. The application process overall is very standard for a liberal arts college. Admission officers do an excellent job getting to know the applicants and form lasting and personal relationships with the students that they recruit to campus. Need based financial aid is very available. Merit scholarships are available but very competitive.Level
Housing off campus is inexpensive, the campus is beautiful and I had a great time.Admissions
Whitman accepts roughly half. It was pretty straightforward.Graduation Year
Generally Whitties are extremely dedicated to academics. Professors are engaging, thought-provoking, and always available to help. Each department certainly has its strengths and weaknesses, however overall academics are demanding and extremely interesting.Quality of Life
Living at Whitman is wonderful! It is a very small and close-knit community, but there are always a million lectures, concerts, film screenings, and workshops going on. It's never ever boring. Campus facilities both residential and academic are very nice. The library is particularly wonderful.Admissions
Interviews are optional but highly recommend. The application includes several essays and a high school writing sample. Also extremely important are high school classes and GPA, along with extra-curricular involvement. Test scores are also considered, but are not critically important.Level
The requirements of the school are somewhat minimal, but still require you to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Every freshman is required to take "Encounters", a kind of college writing boot-camp that takes you through a history of Western and Eastern thought. Additionally, there are distribution requirements but they can be easily fulfilled.
The professors are incredibly helpful in assisting with classwork, as well as setting you up for internships, jobs and other projects on campus such as their own research.
To me, the best thing about the college is that it is very uncompetitive, while still remaining very academically rigorous. No one tries to cut down others to build themselves up, and in fact are very willing to collaborate to get ahead. People take their academics seriously, but strike a good balance between academics and the rest of their life, and don't let it get in the way of their happiness.Admissions
Whitman puts a really high value on essays, interviews and activities in your application. GPA and test scores, while important, are not as highly considered. Whitman requires you to submit a copy of a graded paper (English, usually) from your high school. The essay prompts have been: "Why Whitman" and also a prompt about how you would contribute to the diversity of Whitman.Level
All first year students take a year-long course called "Encounters," which focuses on refining students' essay writing and discussion skills to bring them to the college level. All first years read the same texts at the same time, so discussion is not limited to the classroom but extends to lunch time, your resident section, etc. We read a variety of religious and philosophical texts along with texts from a variety of cultures. All students must take 6 credits in each of the distribution areas (social sciences, humanities, arts, etc.) and just 3 credits in quantitative analysis. Students are assigned a pre-major adviser based on their academic interests upon being accepted to Whitman. Once we declare a major, we ask a professor to work as our major academic adviser. Class sizes are excellent -- an average of 10:1 student to faculty ratio. My first semester at Whitman, I was in a 300-level French class of 10 students and really experienced first-hand the benefit of small class sizes. Professors are very accessible. When I couldn't come in during a professor's office hours, he or she was always willing to schedule an extra appointment at another time. Classes are challenging but without a competitive atmosphere amongst the students. We put in the time and effort for our own sake, not for the challenge of "beating" others. I also feel that Whitman students have a heavy workload, but one that we balance with work and fun extracurriculars. We are passionate about many things, and the academic workload typically fits into our schedules with outdoor program trips, sports teams, the play, and other clubs.Quality of Life
Rooms are spacious and comfortable. On-campus living (with the cost of a meal plan) is pretty expensive. It's much cheaper to live off-campus and cook for yourself. The campus is gorgeous and really compact. It only takes five minutes maximum to walk anywhere on campus. The computer lab facilities and the library are fantastic. They are comfortable, well-kept, and up-to-date. Food in the dining halls is delicious, diverse, and they do a great job of having sustainable and local food as much as possible. Walla Walla is a very safe place. I never feel uncomfortable about walking around late at night, although Whitman provides "Yellow Jackets" -- student workers, typically male, to walk students home -- if they feel it is necessary.Admissions
Prospective students submit an example of a graded essay and an essay on the subject of diversity, along with the standard letters of recommendation and transcripts. Applicants are not required to interview, however it is encouraged. The interview is very informal -- much more like a conversation for the admission officer to get to know the student beyond their statistics on paper. The Whitman Office of Admission now uses the Common Application, so almost everything is online. Financial Aid requires the CSS Profile along with FAFSA submission. Whitman has two dates for early decision applicants, but there is no early action. A greater percentage of early decision applicants are accepted, but I wouldn't say that it is a significant advantage. There are many need-based and merit scholarships available, and for those merit scholarships in art, theater, etc., applicants come to interview on campus and submit extra samples of their work.Level