Washington and Lee University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Ryan

in a lot of cases... yes. most people are very wealthy; it wouldn't be rare to park in between a mercedes and a BMW on a daily basis. you rarely see boys without polo, lacoste, or brooks brothers shirts on while out at night, and if you do, it's probably because they're sporting a fratty lax jersey. even though people have money, however, it's more diverse than you might expect. i've personally met a lot of wonderful, unique people here at W&L, and while there certainly are the rich white snobs, there are countless down-to-earth people, as well. as far as drugs and alcohol goes, that's all true too. you can go out and drink pretty much any night of the week, and a surprising percentage of the student body has either tried cocaine or does it regularly. it's also very rare to find someone who hasn't at least tried marijuana once in his or her lifetime. because people have a lot of money, there is little hesitation to spend a lot on drugs. the greek scene is also incredibly dominant. almost everyone is greek, and if you're not, your options for fun seem limited. there are also lots of other societies (some secret, some not) for both men and women that further stroke students' elitist egos. W&L students have invented every way to give themselves a title (while likely incorporating some form of "hazing" -- or, i mean, "new member education"). anything to further distinguish themselves as being better than other students continues to be done and flaunted regularly.

Blake

The student body majority is most likely wealthy and white. However, by no means are the majority of the students from the South or are they conservative. Many students participate in Greek system, but certainly not all.

Parker

For the most part, yes, but that doesn't mean that to be happy at W&L you have to fit these norms. Diversification is shifting the dynamic of the school, and every year test scores of the incoming freshmen increase. W&L is, and is getting even more competitive.

Royce

not all

Katie

OUtstanding academic rep= accurate. I have incredible bonds with my professors and it is only my first year here. I feel highly stimulated by the classroom discussions. As for the southerness, it has come a long way from what it used to be. I know ALOT of northerners here yet southern culture is a powerful element of the greek life. I feel that a rigid social structure develops around social differences such as if one is from an old money southern family or if one is not southern or came from a wealthy family and private school. Before students entered various greek organizations--and nearly everyone did--the parties felt very inclusive. Every student was welcomed by upperclassmen and there was no apparent divide. Slowly as people assimilate to their frats and srats, parties become more exclusive and people associate only with certain groups. The "top frats" and various srats seem to fancy themselves as superior based on their southern backgrounds...

Robin

there are people who act like that, but there are also people who dont...while the atmosphere is rather preppy, there's a large group of differenly minded students and a place on campus for mostly everyone (even if they're not the majority). despite the fact that w&l is a mostly white campus, its not racist, and though there might be a few jerks in the crowd, the majority of campus is very accepting and open.

Clint

Yes

Michael

For a portion of the school, yes.

Rory

For the most part, yes.

Tyler

The first stereotype is somewhat true. Of course there is a small percentage of students that do think they are better than everyone else, but for te most part the student body is normal. The partying stereotype is actually quite acurate. We are nationally known party school and definitely do not dissappoint. Around here we go with the saying, "We work hard, but party harder." The main reason we are such a party school is because of our Greek scene. I think about 90% of the student body is involved in a Greek organization here. Unlike many schools, almost everyone is welcome at the any Fraternity party at Washington & Lee.

Karen

The stereotypes are somewhat accurate, but perhaps exaggerated. Except for the southern part -- That's not really accurate.

William

yes

Laura

We are rich and smart, mostly, but we are not really snobby. I've found that at private schools and colleges people are generally more secure with their wealth, so they don't flaunt it.

Laura

Like all steretypes, to a certain extent, but probably not the extent of our reputation.

Ryan

yes.

Kendall

to a certain extent

Alex

The work hard - play hard stereotype is true. With the greek system, there is always a party going on. However, everyone still gets their work done before class time. However, the lack of diversity stereotype is false. Many students are international, many are on financial aid, and there's something different about everyone.

rob

For the most part.

Alden

To some extent. But there really is a place for almost every one, unless you are very alternative. Students who come here with a punk/west coast lean find themselves migrating to a more conservative look. Students don't compromise work for play, or play for work, they just don't sleep. If you don't get carried away by the party scene, you will graduate with a coveted agree and wicked cocktail party and networking skills.

Casey

In many ways, yes. There are plenty of exceptions. While the school is overwhelmingly preppy and rich currently there are student who fall into neither category. And the new scholarship program allows the university to bring in more students from a large variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Alcohol is readily available for anyone who wants it, but the student who chooses not to drink is highly respected and never pressured. We work hard and play hard, partying three to four nights a week. There are a lot of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants to fit the WASPY stereotype, but anyone not fitting in these categories will not feel out of place.

Sarah

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.

Christine

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

Rachelle

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.

Gaby

not necessarily

Ben

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.

Victoria

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.

Nicole

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.

Charlie

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

Sarah

i would say im a middle class liberal who drinks too much

Daniel

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.

Shannon

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.

Nicole

All are true.

Emily

That's not true. There are a few students who are rich, white and northern ...

Andy

Like in most places, there are definitely cases where stereotypes hold true on personal levels, but looking at the student body as a whole I think that W&L provides a very welcoming and comforting environment.

Kelly

Absolutely. Binge drinking and drugs dominate the fiercely structured social scene, and your worth as a person is determined by the Greek letters you wear.

Sean

The first three are. Southern is sometimes.

Meredith

Definitely more "white and loaded" than the average school, but there's definitely still socioeconomic diversity

Torry

pretty much so. obviously there are people from the north and who aren't as wealthy, but the Greek scene does dominate the social scene and there is plenty of alcohol available at parties, but students also work hard in general. GPAs are high.

Lauren

Although many students fit this mold, some of these characteristics would make it seem that most students here are snobby or that there is no diversity, which I think is completely untrue. The vast majority of people I have met here are incredibly friendly, kind, and down-to-earth and are willing to work hard to achieve their goals. Before I got here, I was under the impression that I would meet hardly any international or minority students, but I have met and become friends with a large number of them. I think people make too big of a deal of the supposed homogenous nature of this school, because now that I'm here, I don't even think this is true. W&L doesn't emphasize diversity for diversity's sake, but I don't think they should be expected to do so just to meet some kind of quota.

Amanda

Only to a certain extent. The stereotypes give the school a definite character, but not everyone is like that-- far from it. You can find all sorts of people, but a lot of the clothing does tend to be similar.

Matthew

To some extent, yes. But I like W&L as it is.

Torry

Some of them are, but not necessarily to the extreme. Many people here are white, wealthy, athletic, and involved in greek life. Not everyone drinks, is preppy, or is greek affiliated.

James

There are a large number of students who fit that description. Fortunately there is a growing minority that breaks those stereotypes. Also, amazingly, even those who fit those stereotypes are quite studious.

Charlie

There are a few who fit the stereotype, but the majority are not that narrowly defined

Stephanie

For the most part, no. Although anyone can find students that drink too much, there are a lot of students at W&L that don't drink at all. Also, most students don't feel pressured to drink. As for diversity at W&L, it's growing. The students come from all over the United States as well as many other countries. All races are represented and there is a lot of opportunities to learn about other cultures. On my hall we have girls of all different races as well as girls coming from all the corners of the U.S.

Allison

to some extent.

Alex

you certainly find people who fit the whole range of cultural diversity, but for the most part the students are well-dressed, conservative, and not very diverse

Paige

to some extent, but the school is trying really hard to become more diverse

Julie

not completely, but most of the time, yes

Laura

I believe the stereotypes about W&L students apply to mostly everyone, although there are the people who don't follow the norm.

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