Washington and Lee University Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Jesse

Admissions has tried to include a more diverse student body over the last couple of years. This has just created a really weird "counter culture" that is still dominated by the traditional preppy Washington and Lee students. It seems that the only thing to talk about here for students is what party they went to last night, who blacked out, etc. If you don't drink and aren't rich, you will likely feel left out. This is coming from someone who read reviews of W and L last year, didn't believe how the social scene could possibly be so exaggeratedly dominated by one group, and came here anyway.

Jarrett

Students here are generally good people, and most people are friendly and respectful. To clear the air, most students here are not racists. But a lot of students here don't know much about other races and other cultures, and this is not the place where that kind of learning is really gonna happen. This school is and always will be a predominantly white institution.

Rebecca

Students are competitive, but not too competitive. The Honor System is alive and strong, though of course it has its bumps along the way, but that we can adapt and change because of it is what makes it so honorable. Students generally dress up for class--you won't see anyone in pajamas. There still are a lot of rich students, but it's a general mix of many backgrounds. Currently, there isn't a lot of diversity, but it's growing. Greek life is still a very big deal (about 75% of students are Greek), but its influence isn't always a bad thing since it's more inclusive than exclusive. Students aren't generally very political on campus, but if they are, they're more likely to be conservative than liberal.

Kristin

Students here are highly intellectually engaged. They will discuss issues outside class and will investigate things that intrigue them. They are also highly politically active. The campus is conservative, but both the College Republicans and College Democrats are active on campus. Students come from all over the country and world. Some of my best friends are from Georgia, Washington, Maryland, New York, Nepal, and India. Students from all areas and ways of life come together at W&L and do not generally allow their differences to interfere with the possible friendship.

Erika

The student body is primarily white and from the middle to upper class, HOWEVER, this is noticeably changing. Since I've arrived, I have already noticed that influence of the Johnson Scholarship, which offers full tuition and board to students from all backgrounds.

Shelby

W&L students are fun-loving and welcoming. The campus has an extremely strong sense of community and individuals feel very at home walking around campus. Even if you don't know someone you pass, he or she will more than likely smile, nod, say hello, or in some other way acknowledge your presence. Although a strong majority of the students are white, there is a growing minority population. Many students tend to dress up for class, but not everyone does. There are always a few students in each class that will look very put together even for 8 AM Calculus, but that does not mean students feel required to look nice. Compared to other schools, W&L students are: smarter, friendlier, better-looking.

Ryan

W&L is full of smart students from all over the US and from abroad. Students work hard but like to have fun too. Because of the student-run Honor System (that was actually inspired by Robert E. Lee) students hold themselves to a higher standard--no lying, cheating, or stealing. A perk? Student-scheduled final exams and the ability to leave your books anywhere on campus.

Lauren

The student body is kind of homogenious but people have many different perspectives if you get to know them. Everyone is pretty friendly and agreeable which makes for a happy student body that is fun to be a part of.

Jordan

diverse in that most u.s. states are represented. most students are upper middle class with conservative parents.

Austin

Washington and Lee is a diverse school with students from all over the country and world. I'm one of very few from my state and yet I have not felt like I'm left out in anyway. Most of the students seem to come from well off families, but there are plenty who are not. The students do like to party a lot, but that comes after the hardwork in the classroom. Students are extremely friendly and talkative. I would feel out of place here if I were not social and I did not like to party a fair amount.

Stephanie

No racial, socioeconomic or much religious diversity. If you're not white and upper-class, 1)look elsewhere or 2)be prepared to deal with a lot of problems--not necessarily racial harrassment but trouble fitting in and havng an active social life. Students dress well--people don't wear sweats to class here--hardly ever. People say campus is "conservative" but mostly it's just apathetic. There is no activism of any kind on campus.

Alex

It's true that there is a definite student culture at W&L and some people may feel out of place on this campus. That's not to say that the student body isn't diverse, from all manner of backgrounds and with all sorts of interests. However, we all share a love for the school and similar mentality about what being part of this community means. Students here take school seriously, as well as the traditions that come with W&L, but also like to have a good time. They are caring and like to get involved in what they are passionate about.

Emily

W&L is thought of as a white, southern Republican school. While this is mainly true, they are working on increasing diversity. Students are very politically active, mainly on the Republican side of things. The student body is fairly conservative. You normally see people dressed up for class, girls wearing J Crew and pearls and guys in Polo. People often don't wear sweats to class like at large state schools, but if you do wear sweats you won't be scoffed at.

Alex

It's a pretty preppy group. Invest in a pink polo and a few dozen sundresses before you come here. We're smart, and work really hard, but people are largely friendly and devoted to the school.

Kara

The student body is very much a part of W&L life. Everyday when I go to class, I'll pass by faces I recognize and whose name I know. It is the student's pride and respect for being at W&L that is contagious and creates a unique environment. Every senior leaves not wanting to go. It is the student body that adds an unparalleled energy and life to the ninth oldest college in the country. The four years spent here are nearly removed from reality, where the focus is on learning and growing. Every student shares that connection, which is why the alumni network is so strong.

Sarah

I'm Hispanic and I do just fine.

Bobby

W&L's student body seems pretty homogeneous at first glance, but in reality, students come from all over and we have a sizable population of international students for a school of our size.

Elizabeth

Washington and Lee students are extremely outgoing. People often comment on how unbelievably social every student is. The campus is certainly becoming more liberal, and more socio-economically diverse (especially after the introduction of the merit-based Johnson Scholarship). Freshmen often worry more about how they dress than upperclassmen do, you are more likely to see sweats on the upperclassmen women than the freshmen girls. All parties at W&L are "open" and free which makes this campus very tight-knit. People aren't kicked out unless they cause trouble, and everyone is told about every party. In that sense, the student body is very inclusive.

Kelly

As a former all boys school that only went co-ed in 1985, W&L has been slow to change its student body. That being said, the school has worked hard to attract a diversified student body and it gets more varied every year. The stereotypes still linger, but they're not really true any more.

Alex

Students at W&L run the full gamut of personalities and backgrounds. There are all kinds of folks here; diversity is not lacking at W&L. The only constant though the student body here is the W&L education. Groups for every possible cause and culture are one campus; all are active on campus. W&L’s student body is also overwhelmingly outgoing, friendly, and smart. In addition to the fantastic academics at W&L, students get to learn with equally fantastic people.

Ryan

Inteligent students from a wealthy background, who desire to make lots and lots of money later in life.

Rosemary

Friendly

Summer

Work hard play hard.

Jen

The student body does not look very diverse, but this is mainly due to its small size. But, because of this size, students know almost all of their fellow classmates by name. We are diverse in different ways. Where else can you find a Cheerleading captain double-majoring in Physics and Engineering? Almost everyone you'll meet is extremely friendly and welcoming. Just visit campus and see for yourself. Students typically dress up more than the average college students usually would. Dresses and pearls are very common for girls and boys will often don khakis and polos. Most students are typically from upper middle class East Coast homes. Students are very politically active as W&L hosts a very accurate Mock Convention every 4 years. Students typically lean more towards the right.

Claire

The student body is one that emphasizes a "work hard, play hard" mentality. The majority of students join fraternities and sororities. The majority of the student body is Caucasian and there is little communication between different racial and socio-economic groups outside of class.

Allie

The typical student is from a wealthy family in the South or East region of the country. There are very few minorities, and those on campus are usually international students. Many students have family ties to the school and consider it a stepping stone towards getting a well-paying job. The average student is very driven and serious, and reflect that by dressing nicely to class. The exterior is highly polished just like the politicians many wish to become. If you are not from a well educated and wealthy background it is difficult to reach the higher tiers of the social ladder.

Harper

the school is predominantly white, but minority students still benefit from that same sense of community. the administration and student body often focus on making every student-type and orientation comfortable. while rich, polo-wearing conservatives are definately present here, the less-than-wealthy, original will be fine once they find their support group. even the classes provide opportunities for different students to interact. people who are hell-bent on living the same life that they did in high school may be dissapointed, because the campus is unlike most schools outside of Virginia. The campus is very different, but you have a whole new support group to help you grapple. you will undoubtedly be fine if you take advantage of the opportunites: groups, clubs, potential friends etc.

Karen

Washington and Lee was historically a white, upper-class, male, Southern school. Though the administration is trying to change that image, it is still largely intact.

Sarah

Hmm. Lots of white rich kids here. They all tend to dress alike too. It is a study in clones sometimes. But there are lots of other types too. That is what makes it interesting.

John

I have had the pleasure of knowing a variety of constituencies at Washington and Lee, and while most students are white and do come from well to do backgrounds, there is a niche for everybody. I've addressed LGBT and women's issues above. I think gay students would certainly feel somewhat out of place at W & L, but that can change from year to year depending on how many gay kids are admitted. Politically liberal students may feel some hostility towards their views, but they will not feel out of place, and some may even thrive on it. It is a politically engaged campus.

Tripp

very, very homogenous. the school has pushed for diversity, but seems to be failing. different types of students, and even students in different fraternities interact minimally, with only a few exceptions.

Mel

Ambitious. Driven. Youre bound to know people in high places coming from this school. Pretty homogeneous student body-- but hey, thats why we like it.

Hunter

AWESOME! If you find the right people (which you will), you'll have the most fun of your life, guaranteed.

Kendall

Issues of race and sexual orientation are still being dealt with at Washington and Lee. Washington and Lee has never boasted about being the most diverse school in the world, but it is certainly making strides and should be recognized for doing so. The school seems to be moving in a positive direction and with the Honor System currently in place, students are held to the highest esteem and are looked upon highly when they uphold the values of truth and honor. The school is also very politically active with our various political groups such as college republicans, Young Democrats, and College Libertarians. We also hold a Mock Convention for every presidential election and this convention has been followed by MTV and the Associated Press. Ultimately, the school gives students with diverse ways of thinking an opportunity to have their ideas heard on an open sound stage.

Mel

The student body seems uniform on the surface, but after attending one class at W&L you see that that is far from reality. The students are typically white and upper middle class; but the other ethnicities and socio-economic classes are not non-existent, nor are they hiding in the dark. The student body is very friendly and very open-minded. Everyone is accepted equally--even parties are open to anyone. With the Greek system being so predominant on campus, the only real separation is by fraternity or sorority; and even that is rarely a problem. Since the Greek system is so big, the social life is so big. But students work hard during the day, and do what they have to do. School-related matters stay on the hill, and discussion disagreements stay in the classroom. I have never heard of someone talking about their social class, how much money they have, or that they are better because of some shallow statistic. Students are modest when it comes to their own lives, and really, don't want to waste the time worrying or arguing over their differences.

Liz

The student body tends to be conservative and WASP-y, but the admissions office is doing a great job bringing more diversity to campus. It's true; you encounter students who indignantly pronounce that any change on campus, especially regarding diversity, indicates W&L's demise, but I think that the campus make-over is an excellent thing. If college is a place where you want to learn about yourself by learning from others who can constructively challenge your own beliefs, W&L might not be the best place for you; at the same time, I would challenge you to go there with that incentive to achieve some positive change on campus.

John

Mostly white, preppy, conservatives, but that is changing. There is interaction between different students. Most don't care about politics too much, but are aware of it.

Lexi

Students really dress up for class here. Students are very political, most are conservative but there is a very vocal liberal community as well.

Jordan

pretty white, rich, popped collars and so on, but there is a decent amount of diversity. We have a good number of international students more than racial diversity. Also, it depends on where you hang out. The top srats and frats are all white, but the middle/lower ones have more diversity. People are not that politically aware until the year or our Mock Convention. Then everyone gets involved. I would say we are split down the middle politically even thought most people think it's a very conservative school.

Emily

Non greeks are rare. Most (but not all) students look put together for class. You won;t see any pajamas in the classrooms. I'd say the majority of students are from the south. I don't hear a lot about financial aid, most people here probably don't need it.

Emily

Fun, intelligent and interesting people!!!!

Nico

Ugh… I don’t really want to go there unless you give me some incentive to do so. All I’ll say is that … well I need to think some more about this is that solely helping your website isn’t really that enticing. You want me to be honest, right? I’ll just leave this for others to fill out. It would depend on what kind of student you are… Males: Collared shirts, khaki pants or shorts, and flip-flops. Females: Sundresses and pearls. In the winter everyone wears Northface jackets. Sure, why not. At one table there are the athletes sitting in one group. There seems to have a sense of superiority to themselves as they all walk with some sort of subtle swagger. This is probably due to high testosterone levels mixed with a bit of the alpha-male syndrome, and the presence of the opposite sex who occasionally glance their way. At times, this group of people dress the same to promote their athletic group events while proudly sporting the W&L emblem. This group is predominately Caucasian and occasionally specked with a few African American athletes. They are usually segregated between males and females and never mix nor mingle during group feasting sessions. The next table is the international table and/or “independents” table (the term “independents” is the W&L slang for students who have not joined a fraternity or sorority regardless of nationality, race, or ethnicity). They hangout amongst themselves and have a few closely knit friends. They are a mixed bag or have a very specific common bond. It would be hard to describe a specific characteristic of this group as the characteristic vary widely and respectively with each different group. Simply put, it is a collage of people who are without any traditionally/institutionally-established, assertive groups. You can always find them in the dining hall during meal times. The third table is the fraternity table. This is a group of happy-go-lucky individuals, presumably always happy if not then superficially. This group is also predominately full of Caucasian and is also occasionally specked with minorities. This group is distinctive because all the guys dress alike and all the girls dress alike. Because there are several fraternities and different generalized characteristic of each fraternity, it is hard to say anything more than each side of the gender dress alike. The last table is the Resident Assistants and Peer Mentor table. They are always there. This group is always friendly, and always a mixed group of individuals. Some are in fraternities, some are independents, some are Teaching Assistants. However a common bond among all of them is that they are always junior, seniors, or older. Although they might be friendly and welcoming, there is always some kind of inexplicit barrier between them the few people who go to them in search for genuine friendship. Among these four different “tables” there is an occasional spotting of law students that quickly eat and leave. Despite the depiction of the “four tables” at a W&L dining hall, I have to admit I have always seen someone smiling or grinning there. Maybe not at me, maybe not everyone, but someone always seems to be enjoying themselves there whether employee, or student. Down South On the absolute scale I would say upper middle class, but in the end it’s all relative. Are the students politically aware? Maybe. Are they politically active? Yes. Mainly Republican, but I’m not sure why their Republican. I’m not sure they know why their Republican. I remember hearing that most professors at W&L are democrats while the students are predominately republicans. Whether this is true or not, I’m not sure. But I found this very amusing. How much they’ll earn in one day is really dependent on what major they are, how compliant they are and a bunch of other factors… I could write a thesis paper on this…

Catherine

This is a very non-diverse community. Everyone pretty much stands together. The dining hall tables are not scattered with 2 or three people to a table, but each one fills up as people cram in to sit with whomever. Because of W&L's super friendly campus, non-socialites tend to stick out. People get pretty dressed up for class most of the time, especially in the fall. During winter, some people maintain their beautiful ego but a large group of sweatpant and sweatshirt wearers will appear. Most people are from the east coast or the deep south. Think W&L is the only place where a Yankee and a Rebel may truly coexist. This is a very unique atmosphere and I cannot stress enough that you MUST visit before making your decision because this place is not for everyone.

Brian

The Greek system is very strong here and defines most people's social status and circle of friends. It is possible to go independent but not recommended. Those hesitant about the Greek scene shouldn't worry though-There is a house here for everybody.

Dan

The student who would feel out of place at W&L is the student who is uncomfortable talking. Because we are such a close campus, we can share our views.... however leftward or rightward they may be. The social scene can be awkward sometimes too. You have to get used to mostly fraternity parties... there are no bars to speak of, and Lexington iss a very small town. Coming from a big city was hard for me, but I eventually got used to the scene and like the closeness of the small town.

Lauren

Most people at W&L are either from the southeast or the mid-Atlantic...we have a ton of Baltimore kids. There are also a lot of people from Texas. Not many from out west or the mid-west. Most people are aware of current events and politics and would probably call themselves right-wing (even if they don't agree with everything Republican). Socio-economics are never an issue; I have friends that are hugely wealthy and I have friends who depend of their scholarships. It doesn't matter. It just never comes up.

David

The student body here appears to be rather homogenous (white, preppy, smart but fun) on the surface, but if one cares enough to look they realize that there is a fair amount of diversity on campus. We have the same proportion of international students as many of the Ivy League schools (some of my friends in my year are from places such as Fiji, China, Germany, Kenya, Nepal, and Bulgaria), and there is diversity of ideas and opinions as well. The school gets a reputation as primarily conservative, but that is just because they are the loudest people on campus. The majority of people seem to be moderates, and there are just as many liberals as conservatives, but the conservative students feel obliged to be much more vocal than the rest. Religiously, people seem mostly to be different types of Protestants. The major thing about the student body, though, is that it really is a community. Because of the speaking tradition people will be friendly to everyone they see, and this really enhances the community feel around the University and Lexington.

Anne

W&L is a rather homogeneous campus. I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing. I think many people are drawn to W&L because of its homogeneousness. It is part of what makes W&L unique and to a certain extent successful. For this reason, I don't think anyone who dislikes the stereotype here or is uncomfortable by it should consider W&L. The identity is too strong here for someone that would want to change it.

Ryan

rich, white, southern, preppy, republican. give off the impression that they'd like to be wealthy and recognized as successful, rather than actually be happy, later in life. homogenous environment where different types of people don't really interact very much. terrible gender relations. girls and boys are segregated in every sense of the word after freshman year (living in fraternity and sorority houses), and are drunk for 90% of their interactions with the opposite sex.

Blake

Many of the students are similar in that they are white and wealthy. This stereotype is changing now as a result of the new Jefferson scholarship and increasing difficulty of admissions. Many students join fraternities and sororities and thus spend the majority of their time with those particular organizations. Many students are focused on graduating and moving to Wall Street while others aren't concerned much with financial success. Students are politically aware. Students dress casual to class. Most students are from the East Coast of U.S. and South. There are a lot more students from New Jersey, Conn, etc. than people realize.

Save time. Let us search for you.

Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.

Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!

START YOUR SEARCH