Lexington, VA
Washington and Lee University


22 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Sarah
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Washington and Lee is a small campus with such a unique system that it offers opportunities that are unique to this school. ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Washington and Lee is a small campus with such a unique system that it offers opportunities that are unique to this school. Commonly when I am with friends who go to other Universities I find myself saying, "you cannot understand W&L until you come here." The Greek system and academic calender are two of the aspects of W&L that make it so appealing. With our spring term, we are offered a way to take just one or two courses for six weeks. Therefore professors can offer classes that normally would never be taught. It also allows for students to study abroad without missing an entire semester.

Describe the students at your school.

W&L is a somewhat homogeneous place, but that is not to say that we don't have any diversity at all. Over the past few years W&L has slowly become more and more diverse. Some people say that it takes a certian type of person to like W&L, "you either love it, or you hate it."

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

There is obviously an element of truth to this. The majority of us are part of the Greek system. Therefore it is understandable that the party scene is a major part of this school. We are also predominately a white student body. What needs to be understood is that most of us do have a balance between our academics and social life. The party scene is a way of escaping out tremendous workload for a little while.

What are the academics like at your school?

The academics of W&L are very good. Professors know thier students by name. Most of the classes are very small, with the exception of some basics science classes. But even these classes are small when compared to other schools.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Obviously our Greek Life domintates the social scene. Our weekends are filled with frat parties in basements with lots of cheap beer. Thats not to say that it is a bad thing and that there are not other options. If you are the outdoors type, there is wonderful hiking and fishing in the area.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Some of the common stereotypes of Washington and Lee students are that we are a bunch of white, southern frat boys and sorority girls who party all the time.

Christine
What is your overall opinion of this school?

size: perfect, intro chemistry class 99 students...300 level Spanish class 4 students reaction: non-Virginia Residents and y...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

size: perfect, intro chemistry class 99 students...300 level Spanish class 4 students reaction: non-Virginia Residents and young people say "where is that?," old Virginians are impressed/surprised especially because I'm a black female they say "YOU go there? on campus recreation: movie theater COLLEGE TOWN Recent controversy: bracket of the drunkest, slutty-est, and gayest people on campus posted in one on-campus newspaper...students, faculty, administration condemned it School pride: Alumni weekend doubles the number of people on campus each year...alumns from class of '53 still come to drink with their buddies Unusual: forced social interaction, cliques that are worse than most middle schools

Describe the students at your school.

Students seem to be passively closed to differences in race, country, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background. Most students wear flip flops, khakis, sun dresses, north face, work out spandex, and polos to class. Most people dress up (sun dresses) for football games. Predominately conservative. Students from almost every state and several different countries... there seem to be a fair bit of Texans here

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Visit before you commit to coming here.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

describes about 80% of the school I would guess...so the stereotype has some basis in truth

What are the academics like at your school?

Students study all the time Class participation: usually forced Competition: becomes strong junior year in pre-med and journalism esp. Spanish major: 2 native speakers who are teachers, the rest of the teachers speak Spanish as a second language, the major doesn't provide much practical information and focusses on LITERATURE, which most people refuse to study Conversation: Most students here are pleasantly surprised to have intelligent conversations...when they occur. Help: Professors are very easy to access and are usually willing to go to great lengths to help.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Any activity that's not on campus you can create...there are countless amounts of resources at the students' disposal.

Rachelle
What is your overall opinion of this school?

WnL is a small, liberal arts school in Lexington, Va. The town of Lexington can sometimes feel restrictive, but the school do...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

WnL is a small, liberal arts school in Lexington, Va. The town of Lexington can sometimes feel restrictive, but the school does a lot to compensate for the rural setting. Most students spend their weekdays on campus studying. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday the majority of students can be found at fraternity houses relieving the stress of the week. If the party scene isn't for you, the Outing Club provides lots of opportunities to do outdoor activities like hiking and white water rafting. The Commons has nightly movies for those who want to destress with a bag of popcorn.

Describe the students at your school.

The student that would strive at WnL would be competitive in the classroom, accepting of a large social scene, and have a decent amount of money to spend on extracurricular activities. It is true that the school has few minorities. If a minority student chooses to come here, he or she will have to understand that they probably will find a place to fit in, but there are students and parents who are ignorant about other people.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

WnL is a great place to be if you don't mind being away from a big city.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

No. The school has been doing a great job recruiting students from all backgrounds. In my time here I have met people from all different walks of life. There are blacks, whites, Indians, Southern, Northern, and other. We are becoming more diverse and learning to accept different groups.

What are the academics like at your school?

Professors here are amazing. I know all of my Psychology professors personally and I feel comfortable asking them for help with anything I need. The best thing about attending a small school is the individualized attention you get. I know every brochure says this, but WnL forces you to be active in the classroom. The professor expect everyone to contribute to the discussion. Most people do participate because the discussions are interesting. Last term I had an English class titled Literary Approaches to Poverty and normally I dislike English classes, but this one kept my interest. In one discussion we compared the treatment of the poor, insane, and prisoners in Victorian England. It was an eye-opener to see the similiarity of treatment.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The most popular organizations on campus are greek organizations. About 88% of the student body is greek. There are traditional organizations and several historically black organizations. With such a large greek population there are lots of parties to attend. Everyone loves to talk about alcohol and parties, but some other things students like to do is participate or watch performances. Every few months the theater department puts on a show. My favorite event is the One-Acts, which are student directed one act plays. They are usually in March or April. The students who direct them try to choose plays that get students thinking and of course there is lots of humour to liven the night. The school does bring in various speakers, but from what I've seen, unless you are required to go for class, few students take advantage of the opportunities.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

That we are rich, white Southerners.

Ben
What is your overall opinion of this school?

To me, the best thing about Washington & Lee is the small school atmosphere. After two years at the University, I know most o...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

To me, the best thing about Washington & Lee is the small school atmosphere. After two years at the University, I know most of the students in some capacity, and the student body is to me a second family. While the size of the school suits me well, the small town can be boring at times. Lexington is not the most exciting city around. However, on the other hand there is no shortage of fun at Washington & Lee, as there are frequently parties, almost all of which are completely open for any member of the community to attend. The fraternity system helps in this regard, but it can also be somewhat divisive. At W&L, your social life is very limited if you do not belong to a Greek organization, mostly because almost everyone in the school is a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Describe the students at your school.

I have to admit, Washington & Lee does not have a tremendously diverse group of students. There is a large portion of wealthy southerners, and very few students from minority groups. The student body can also be somewhat divided by the Greek system, although I would say that the system as a whole is beneficial to the social experience at W&L.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

There is a significant portion of the student body that fits that description, but every year the school is becoming more and more diverse, with students now from all sorts of different backgrounds.

What are the academics like at your school?

The academic life is something special. The classes are all very small (my largest so far has had about 25 students), and the professors are very personable. I have managed to develop relationships with several professors, even having dinner with a few of them. I have taken several German classes so far, and it is by no means uncommon for one of my German professors to arrange for a get-together outside of the class, such as a class dinner of the showing of a film. My favorite class so far has been Professor Connor's Shakespeare class. We did not simply read plays, but in fact we went to two Shakespearean performances and actually performed a few scenes from Hamlet at the end of the semester.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The most popular extracurricular activity on campus is by far fraternities and sororities. They dominate the social scene, but while it seems at times that there are strong divisions amongst the student body, virtually all of the parties held by W&L students are open to all members of the community, regardless of affiliation. The honor code also deserves mention, because it makes life at W&L so easy. Students rarely lock their doors, and there is just an overall sense of trust throughout the student body. Because it is a small school, there is not a great deal of fanfare for activities such as sports or theater, simply because there are not that many people. There are some special activities at W&L, however. My personal favorite is Fancy Dress, which is a huge dance held every year for the past century in the gym. Everyone gets dressed up and has a wonderful time. Another activity is the Mock Convention, although it only happens every election year. The students get together to pick the nominee for either the Republican or Democratic Party, whichever does not at the time hold the presidency. This is truly a one of a kind event, and it draws a great deal of national attention, including well known political speakers.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Washington & Lee students are typically thought to be wealthy, southern, and conservative.

Victoria
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Best thing: small classes and getting to know professors - undergrads have opportunities to become friends with their profess...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Best thing: small classes and getting to know professors - undergrads have opportunities to become friends with their professors, do research that grad students would monopolize at a big university, and get killer recommendation letters Size: just right! The small number of students allows you to meet people from all different backgrounds and majors. My friends at big state schools just hang out with people from their own concentration or dorm hall. I have friends from every department on campus. How do people react when I tell them I go to "Dubyuhnell"?: If they've heard of the school, they're really impressed. It has a great reputation in the South and is the most selective school in VA. College town: definitely - there are tons of cute boutiques and great restaurants in town. Not as many bars as you'd expect, though, and no clubs. One thing I'd change (also a frequent student complaint): Gender relations. Greek students are required to eat lunch and Monday (chapter) dinners at their chapter house. Since participation in Greek life is so high, this means that the two genders don't mix much outside of class, frat parties, and mixers. As a result, almost nobody "dates." A few religious students are already engaged, and the rest of the student body just does casual hookups on the weekends. If you are interested in dating, it is very hard to meet a like-minded person. As a girl, I also find that it's hard to get guys to view me as anything other than a potential hookup. I've even heard girls complaining, "My boyfriend won't hang out with me when he's sober." Since I don't approve of casual sex, I haven't had a single boyfriend during my four years here, and it's really frustrating.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

95% of men and 75% of women are members of Greek organizations, so I'd say that stereotype is pretty true. The rich/privileged/elitist/alcoholic/cokehead stereotype is true for about 25% of the students. Over 50% of students are white and from an upper-middle-class background. However, there is also a lot of diversity that you don't hear about. The minority of students who don't fit the white/rich mold come from all over the world and all sorts of backgrounds. The real problem is that this group doesn't mix much with the rich-frat-boy group.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics here are excellent. Profs definitely know my name - even if I haven't taken their classes! The classes are interesting and well-taught. Class participation is pretty common. Student attendance at lectures outside of class is pretty high, even for lectures that aren't required or in the student's field. I chat with profs for fun occasionally, and some of my friends spend hours hanging out in their profs' offices. However, the workload is pretty intense. I don't know about other departments, but W&L's science dept is much more demanding than at state schools. As a result, the average student who gets into medical school nationwide has a 3.8 GPA, but the average W&L student has a 3.6. So, it's good that grad schools recognize our abilities, but it's tough to spend so much time studying. Students are competitive, but they also help each other. It helps that we don't have grade curves. There are a lot of resources through which students help each other, such as the Writing Center and peer tutors. I'd say the focus is on learning for its own sake (hence the whole "liberal arts" thing) but also geared toward getting a job. All the profs keep their eyes out for job or summer opportunities, and Career Services is also really helpful. One of my favorite classes was Cardiovascular Diseases - it blended biology and physics and was really in-depth. I also loved Shakespeare and Marlowe, and Introduction to Poverty. I've had two fabulous summer opportunities while here. The summer after sophomore year, I had a Shepherd Poverty Program internship at a health education center in rural Arkansas. The idea was to learn about rural poverty while gaining experience in my future career field. I never would have chosen AR, but I had an incredible time. I met so many wonderful people and learned a lot about poverty and communities. The following summer, I did research in a biology lab. I got to do everything - not just washing glassware or euthanizing rats like an undergrad at a big school.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

All members of Greek life, heavy drinkers, snobs, rich and privileged, white

Nicole
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Though most people haven't heard of W&L, it's actually a hidden gem. The surrounding town, Lexington, Va., is absolutely gorg...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Though most people haven't heard of W&L, it's actually a hidden gem. The surrounding town, Lexington, Va., is absolutely gorgeous, but it gets a little stifling when there's no way to get out of it. The campus is a good size, and there are always plenty of places to hang out. The honor system rules.

Describe the students at your school.

Coming from Southern California, I experienced culture shock at W&L. There is definitely a white, Southern feel to the campus, and it tends to get very, very cliquish. Students tend to be conservative, though that seems to be changing... or perhaps it's just the journalism department. People dress up for class -- you won't find pajamas or sweats, unless there's some sort of designer label involved.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

The Greek system can be overbearing at times. Also, BRING A CAR. Be ready for a campus that's in a city in the middle of nowhere -- the closest regional airport is an hour away, and the closest major airport is Dulles, which is a three-hour drive north. There's no public transportation; everyone walks or catches rides to Wal-Mart. If you're into Journalism, it's an excellent school, especially when it comes to publications. We've got two weekly papers, a conservative magazine, a pop-culture magazine, a political review, a literary magazine, a weekly television broadcast, and a journal of science, among others -- and those are just the student-run publications! The journalism department hosts the Rockbridge Report, a weekly broadcast and online newsmagazine that provides news for the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista and Rockbridge County.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

To a point, yes; however, you'll always find exceptions to the rule. Quite a few people abstain from drinking altogether, and there are quite a few who are independent of the Greek system. The pearls part, unfortunately, is very true.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics are rigorous, and definitely geared toward learning for its own sake. I happen to love the journalism department -- I find the curriculum entertaining and occasionally exciting. All my professors know my name, and I've stopped by the majority of their offices at some point or another just to chat. Academics aren't all about finding a job -- that's what Career Services are for. With the honor system, we often have take-home tests and quizzes, and our final examines are self-scheduled and unproctored.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The Greek system rules here, though there are plenty of other opportunities for non-Greeks and those who don't feel like partying: the drive-in theater, the movies in the Commons, plenty of excellent restaurants in town, productions in Lenfest and guest speakers almost every week. If you do like to party, the Traveller bus system shuttles students to major party pickup and dropoff points to discourage DUIs. One of the perks of the Honor System is that we can leave our stuff all over the place without fear of it being stolen.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

There's definitely a country-club stereotype. The Greek community (sororities and fraternities) dominates, and all the girls wear preppy clothes (complete with popped polo collars) and pearls. Students are intelligent, though they tend to drink too much... remember the saying, "W&L produces three things: Doctors, lawyers and alcoholics."

Charlie
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The student body needs serious adjusting. Too many of them are, for lack of a better term, bad apples. Their fathers typica...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The student body needs serious adjusting. Too many of them are, for lack of a better term, bad apples. Their fathers typically went to school here and they think that they're very entitled as a result. There are a lot of good people going here, but they are almost always eclipsed by the small percent of every class that are over-entitled, arrogant pricks. The admissions office would do W&L the greatest favor possible if they refused to accept legacy students for a decade.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Absolutely. Not all students fit the stereotype, but enough do to where it's impossible to avoid that type of person.

What are the academics like at your school?

The professors seem frustrated a lot of the time. They're excellent teachers, but most of their students don't want a really rigorous academic life. They want to go to class, coast through with B's and A's, then go get drunk. The upside of this is that if you're even remotely academically driven, you'll stand out in a good way. The downside is that all the talk about really good classrooms and lively academic debates on the lawn and that kind of thing are complete lies. Don't go to this school expecting to sit around reading great philosophers and debating them with you friends.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

I'm thinking very hard, and I can't name many elements of social life that don't in some way revolve around drinking and parties. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of partying every night, or if you don't want to know a lot of hard core alcoholics, don't come here.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

The stereotypical W&L student is rich, white, conservative, southern, and a little out of touch when it comes to anything like diversity, alternative lifestyles, or the "real world."

Daniel
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The faculty is incredibly competent, the administration oftentimes less so. "Competence" really doesn't even begin to descri...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The faculty is incredibly competent, the administration oftentimes less so. "Competence" really doesn't even begin to describe the quality of the faculty, however. They are exceptionally intelligent in their fields, lucid in their lectures, and helpful/accommodating almost to a fault when students have questions or problems. I have been to professors homes for dinner or other events multiple times, and often spend half an hour or more time chatting with a professor in their office when I only intended to ask a quick question. The small size of the school is a huge plus. The student/faculty ratio approaching 10:1. The attention and availability of professors is an incredible asset unmatched at other institutions.

Describe the students at your school.

The students in general are also quite competent. There are very few slackers here, or even non-exceptional students. I am many times amazed to discover the depth of my friends' specialties and research projects. Besides

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

The faculty and academics here are exceptional. Professors are always helpful and available, and classes are challenging and rewarding. The social system is at times highly dysfunctional, and gender relations are many times lackluster. Despite it's flaws, W&L is an excellent school, filled with friendly, hard-working students and amazing professors. Any shortcomings are purely social, and the overall college experience is unequalled.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Though most upperclass males (~85-90%) are Greek-affiliated, there is a strong independent community as well. There are some students, especially freshmen, who decide to party almost every night, but they generally pay the academic consequences. Students are almost universally friendly and helpful, and though racial bias is certainly a reality among some students / Greek organizations, most students are open and accepting of others. The political leanings of the students and faculty are generally conservative, but there is still a wide variety. Many, perhaps most, students are pre-occupied with the dramas of the Greek system, with social standing, and with appropriately preppy/fratty dress. This does not usually interfere with the general friendliness and accepting attitude that pervades our campus, however. A large proportion of the student body hails from the Southern states, and many are very concerned with appearing "Southern," even to the point of affecting accents (ex: KKG). We are mostly white, and though efforts are being made to bring in more students of other races/nationalities, the proportion of such students is still quite low.

What are the academics like at your school?

The classes here are uniformly challenging. My experience has been mostly in the Music and Computer Science departments (my majors), but every professor I've taken has had high expectations. Especially in the shorter Spring Term, you can expect at least as much time in homework as class time. Class participation/discussion is generally good. Students are polite, and make reasoned arguments. There are often academic discussions outside of class, and a general feeling of being around a bunch of persons who enjoy learning.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The social scene here is likely the biggest +/- for most prospectives. The Greek system dominates students' social lives, though the university does provide alternative activities at times. Especially for men, more than 80% of whom are in a fraternity, the pressure of the rush/pledgeship process is intense. Generally the fraternity/sorority system creates a tiered social hierarchy, and contact with members of the same sex outside one's Greek organization becomes limited after joining without special effort to maintain outside relationships. It has been my experience that the system also degrades gender relations, which seem to consist mostly of mixers/formals. Still, if you're looking for lots of partying, there will be opportunities every night your freshman fall term. There are many high quality band/theme/etc events, and a high sense of brotherhood/sisterhood for those in Greek organizations.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Drunken, wild partiers, mostly white, conservative, not always friendly to other nationalities, entirely Greek (Frat/Srat) dominated, shallow, preppy (in fashion style), obsessed with being/appearing "Southern."

Shannon
What is your overall opinion of this school?

There are good and bad things about the size of Washington and Lee and the fact that everyone seems to know everyone. On the...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

There are good and bad things about the size of Washington and Lee and the fact that everyone seems to know everyone. On the positive side, you are rarely anywhere on campus without friend or a familiar face and you get a lot of one on one attention from the professors, but on the down side there does tend to be a lot of gossip after almost every weekend. People who have heard of Washington and Lee tend to be lawyers and doctors or people from the south, and they are almost always really impressed, sometimes though they just say, "Oh you must be having a lot of fun." I spend most of my time on Campus in the sorority house studying and spending time with friends. The town of Lexington is tiny but it can also be fun that way. There is a little community run rive in theater not far away and a few good restaurants, but most of us spend the weekends at campus parties or functions. I have been a bit disappointed with the administration of Washington and Lee, they sometimes seem more concerned with the reputation of the school than the students. I think that for such a small school there is a lot of school pride, especially at the first football game of the year when we all get dressed up in our Sunday dresses and khakis and support the team. The alumni are also really really passionate about the school and constantly talk about wishing they could come back.

Describe the students at your school.

I would not suggest this school to my gay or lesbian friends, although it would be really nice to have more diversity, because the people I know here who are openly gay are sometimes treated quite poorly. Students are very politically active and are really quite evenly dispursed between right and left and extreme, in my opinion.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

The part of the stereotype about the students being rich an greek and southern is true to a large degree, although there are of course a handful of people who don't have a lot of money and actually a lot of people from the north. The part about them being snobs is probably only true for about a third or less of the school though. There are definitely some people who look down on people less fortunate, but I have also seen a greater number who look out to the community and even the world and try to make a difference. There is actually a large number of students who devote a majority of their free time after school to volunteer work or raising funds for wonderful causes.

What are the academics like at your school?

The professors are by far the best thing about Washington and Lee! They almost always know all the students names by the end of the first week or two, even in the few science classes with more than 90 students. Some students study all the time but most seem to get by with a few hours a day and have plenty of time for other things. Class participation is usually really encourage, if not required, but that all depends on what class it is. The student don't tend to be competitive, in my experience everyone tends to keep most of their grades to themselves unless they are asked an everyone is usually really supportive about helping each other with difficult concepts. I am close to a lot of my professors in a professional manor and will actually be taking care of the children of one of them this summer. They are all very open and willing to be both your mentor and your professor while still being respectful of the relationship.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The greek life is almost rediculous at Washington and Lee, but most students relly like it. You can't do much on Saturday nights that doesn't involve drinking, and that takes some getting used to.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

The stereotypes about Washington and Lee students are that they are rich, greek, southern snobs that drink and party too much, but are still really intelligent.

Details

  • Enrollment
  • 1,830
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $48,267
  • Acceptance rate
  • 24%

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