The best thing is the education and the networking possibilities. DIII sports enables you to continue to play for the love of the game and still be able to focus on academics and your social life. I think that recruitment should happen the first week of school. The current recruitment system focuses too much on money, drinking, and sexual behavior. It eats up all the time of the active brothers and sisters and then pressures incoming freshmen to be super "awesome" and do poorly in their classes (the whole reason they are at school in the first place). Off campus parties encourage reckless drunk driving, enable sexual assault, and get us in trouble with the County and the City police. We would be safer if the school would let us party on campus and have the security/RAs could monitor us instead of trying to give us strikes and send us to the hospital. My school is far too small. It has none of the majors you would want- there is barely a dance program. The art program is not developed enough. There is no marketing/advertising major. There is a business major, science majors, a journalism school, and then all of the traditional liberal arts majors. The romance languages department is phenomenal. The History, Anthropology/Sociology, and Art History departments are fantastic and the faculty are outstanding. Dean Watkins needs to go. She is a terrible Dean. She cannot understand the student body and fails to work with the culture. She is too hidebound and uneducated. Dean Futrell and Dean Dobin do their jobs well and have a better understanding of the culture and how to respond to the social problems of the school. Dean Leonard, Dean of Freshmen, is about that business, but can be lenient and really helpful. Dean Dobin struggles. President Ruscio is much better than the last joker and is putting the school on the track to becoming Davidson. He is a great guy. However, W&L is changing. It is NOT the W&L that your daddy went to, so don't expect that reality anymore. The biggest recent controversy is "the list," which I wrote with some of my friends in private and which got circulated over the GroupWise network. Currently, me and my friends are being tried for sexual misconduct, because we engaged in private speech. W&L's administration cares very little for your freedom of speech. When I started blogging about everything going on, Dean Watkins insisted that I take down my blog or I would expelled. Again, you don't have freedom of speech. Everyone is too sensitive these days- see the Bracket (the last controversy over freedom of speech). I wish people at W&L would exercise their Constitutional rights to not read things that they would find offensive and if their feelings get hurt, then they should go home and live with their mommies. I will always remember the ridiculous mixers and theme parties. I will always remember random misadventures and controversial drama. I will always remember the people who treated me with respect and who were down even when everyone acted like a fool- you can find some of these people.
The best thing about Washington and Lee is the small campus and community feeling you get from being there. The school is the perfect size where not everyone knows you, but you still have the opportunity to know everyone if you really wanted to. Another great thing about Washington and Lee is the small class size which allows for much more individual attention between you and the faculty, which you really can't find at a lot of bigger schools that are not as prestigious as Washington and Lee. Even so, there are things about Washington and Lee that worry me and should worry any student who is looking at college and that is the work hard, play hard mentality at the school. A lot of the students can party quite regularly and do well, but there are students who are not able to do this, and many of them who try to wind up making huge and sometimes fatal mistakes. Thus, I question whether or not we glorify this party mentality too much and look over the fact that there are a lot of negative things that come with habitual heavy drinking, such as increased sexual assaults, more alcohol related emergencies, and even the spread of sexually transmited infections. These are some of the issues that currently plague the institution and are causes for alarm for some students. That said, Washington and Lee still has a great deal of wonderful qualities. The school is gorgeous nearly all year and the administration is made up of some of the best and brightest teachers, counselors, and minds that can be found in the United States as well as abroad. There are countless opportunities to go abroad to learn and see the world. And the greek system, despite some of it flaws opens students up to vast opportunities for networking and socializing that a lot of other schools are unable to match. Some of my most valued memories and greatest connections are directly because of my decision to go greek and at times, I did question whether it was the right decision for me, but I always come to the same conclusion that I am a much stronger and well-rounded person for going greek and it has positively impacted my life in more ways than I can say. Finally, there is a great deal of school pride which can be seen at Homecoming and at other times throughout the year. Once you are a general, you are a general for life.
At W&L, the classes are hard. There is no getting around that. However, I've learned just as much in the classroom as I have outside of it. The social scene is a big part of W&L. Greek life is the key to the social scene here. Greek life, though, is a little different here than at most schools I've visited. Since basically everyone is in a frat or sorority, each house has a very unique mindset and its pretty easy to find a good group of guys or girls that you fit in with. The school is pretty small but it really helps in the classroom. I can talk to my professors whenever I need to and they actually know my first and last name. Lexington is a great little town but most students don't venture outside of W&L because there's really no need to. The administration is amazing. They are always there to help out and actually take the time to understand your side of the story. And of course, the honor system. Its the key of all life at W&L and its amazing. I can schedule my final exams for when I want to take them, I get to take all my other tests unproctered and I can leave all my personal items like my computer, wallet, cell phone etc sitting out in the open and know that no one will take them. I've never locked my door in the dorms or in my fraternity house and I don't need to. I trust all the other students because I know they trust me.
Overall, W&L is a small school with endless opportunities. Professors, coaches, and peers encourage and foster your desire for academic achievement as well as athletic, social, or community goals. W&L prepares you for the real world. Although W&L may seem like a Greek life fantasy world stuck in a bubble that extends 2.5 square miles, no student graduates without the skills and knowledge to tackle whatever they want to do. W&L prides itself on its honor system, and the difference with W&L is that those ideals are upheld with the highest respect by the students, professors, and community. The W&L bubble is a safe one, and never without a friendly smile or hello. Lexington is a small historic town, but the people love the school and love the students. With the town being so small, the school provides many extra-curricular activities. Students are very involved: the Outdoors club is popular since there are so many options in the mountains. The school is very concerned with environmental needs, and you won't walk 100 feet without finding recycling bins. A lot of times, you can get lost in the bubble, being so far away from everything. But the school is always up-to-date on the most current world events, and professors are happy to take a break from the syllabus and discuss it.
The best thing about W&L is the relationship between professor and student. Every professor I've ever had on campus -- and sometimes those I haven't had, too -- all know me by name. They know where I'm from, they know where I'm going, they know my strengths and my weaknesses, my passions, my friends. I house-sit for them. I baby-sit for them. I meet them for coffee or meals to discuss life. I'll always remember -- my professor's daughter was facing chemotherapy last year. Some of the students wanted to do something nice for the family, and the word spread. We even had professors volunteering their help. We organized a huge potluck dinner at their house in her honor. The broadcast students volunteered hours interviewing her friends and family, finally piecing together a very slick film compilation of her friends' encouraging messages. I've never been prouder of my school than at that dinner -- looking around and seeing my peers initiate and collaborate so selflessly, working after-hours hand-in-hand with our professors. It's truly unlike any other school. I am exceptionally proud to be a part of this community.
Because 40% of the students are accepted early decision, there is a common pride in W&L that anyone who visits can feel. Because it's small, it creates the opprotunity for everyone to connect and truely feel a part of the community; infact the small size makes the school feel BIGGER because everyone does know eachother and can get along with a wide variety of people. Continuing with the idea of school pride, outside of W&L the connection is even stronger. For example, last summer I saw an alumni (who I didn't know) wearing a W&L visor and I went up to talk to him and we had an instant bond. If I'm wearing W&L gear outside of school I will--without fail--have someone stop me and have a conversation about W&L and compare our experiences. That also is a testement to our Speaking Tradition, which says that all students should say Hi to everyone in passing... In or out of school. Basically, being a student at W&L is like being in a secret club. There are little secrets and understandings. Everyone feels proud and honored to be a part of the club and once you're in, you're in for life.
If you fit the W&L stereotype, you'll have a great time. Statistically, about 60 women experience rape or attempted rape each year. The school does not publish these statistics and prospective students deserve to know. Lexington is a sucky place to live--you're about an hour away from anything to do. If you don't drink, don't come to W&L because you'll have a hard time having fun and finding things to do on campus. W&L creed: Conform or be a community outsider. There is no school pride and the Speaking Tradition is dead. I would even argue the Honor System is failing. Men dominate the social scene even though the women are smarter and more active on campus. If you don't plan on being Greek, you will have a hard time finding friends and having an active social life. Academically, it's hard to beat W&L. I have been given opportunities here that would not be possible anywhere else. Most professors care about who you are as a person and
The best thing about W&L are the class sizes, the professors, the beautiful campus, and the quality of people on the campus. One thing I would change about W&L isn't really about W&L it's the city in which W&L is. There is nothing to do besides study, work out, and drink...heavily. I think W&L is a great size. If you want to know everyone and like seeing the same people, you will love W&L, if not, then W&L isn't for you. I spend most of my time either in my room, class, the gym, or the library; I also spend a lot of time in the dining hall. There is a ton of school pride, but not in a sports way; we are all so proud of what our school stands for (honor, intergrity, prestige), but we do not support sports as much as I wish we did. W&L is unusual because we are all very friendly and smile at everyone we pass, regardless if you know the person or not.
It's a very good school full of self-motivated people. The professors are incredible and are always available to help. Academically, it would be difficult to find a more challenging and stimulating school. However, to survive at Washington and Lee you have to have thick skin. Gossip is rampant and it is difficult to succeed socially if you are not ready for it. The small size and isolated location augment the feeling of being in a social bubble. In general, it is a wonderful place to be, but not for the weak of heart. The school pushes students both mentally and socially.
Located in picturesque Lexington, VA, Washington and Lee University is a place filled with a unique dynamic of rich history and contemporary fun. Watching the painstakingly well-dressed students roam the historic Colonnade on their way to class, one could easily mistake the school for a movie set. Classes at W&L are rigorous, and the students are as enthusiastic about learning as they are about socializing off campus at frat parties. Somehow the student body consistently excels at keeping the two in balance.