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Whitman is one of my favorite places on earth. While many people are worried that the town, and campus, are much too small, I...
Whitman is one of my favorite places on earth. While many people are worried that the town, and campus, are much too small, I've never felt like that while at Whitman. The size of the college is perfect--I know a lot of the student body, but I still meet new people all the time. It feels so friendly and comfortable. While Walla Walla itself can feel a little small, there's always something to do on campus, so it's not really a problem. Downtown is adorable, and there are plenty of nice restaurants and cute coffee shops to explore. I would say students are very proud to say that they go to Whitman...even though we don't have a lot of sports teams, there are always fans out cheering their peers on. Whitman becomes like a second home to most, even a more important home to others; most of my friends would rather stay at Whitman with all their amazing peers than go home all the breaks.
I love Whitman. I wouldn't go anywhere else if I had the choice! I've met some of my very best friends here, and I know reunions will be a blast!
Whitman's student body is very open and very diverse. There's a group or club on campus from every type of person, and all of these groups are widely supported by other types of people on campus. Whitman never feels cliquey. For example, if I were to describe four tables of students in the dining hall, there would be a wide range of people at each table. One may have someone who is really into sports eating with others who spend most of their time with theatre-related activities while someone else may be the next world-renowned biochemist. I could walk up to and sit down at practically any table in the dining hall and feel welcome. This being said, there are of course groups of people that spend more time together, just because their interests are similar or the groups they belong to are the same. I often eat in the dining hall with my sorority sisters, but that doesn't mean people who aren't in the sorority won't eat at our table--there are usually at least a few people who aren't, and they don't feel out of place.
No--while there are some people at Whitman who are really outdoorsy and never put on a pair of shoes, there is a wide range of people who attend the college. There are plenty of people who attend who have never been camping a night in their life!
I love Whitman's academic life. All of my professors know me by name, and this has been true so far in all the classes I've taken at Whitman. It's super easy to go to a professor for extra help, and fun when you can wave to your professors from across Ankeny Field. I would say that Whitman students are driven and motivated academically, but not too competitive. Everyone supports each other in their academic pursuits. I absolutely LOVE the psychology major--I am so excited to take more upper level classes in the field! While it is one of the departments that seems to currently be lacking in professors and courses, I can still find amazing classes to take with really top-notch professors. The way Whitman is structured, you're going to learn a lot no matter what, and you can use this learning in whichever way you prefer--to get you straight into the job market, or simply to learn for the sake or learning.
There is ALWAYS something to do on campus, be it a sporting event or the next big party. There is such a wide range of things to do, that I haven't even had the chance to try them all out yet! Most people at Whitman, I would say, are very friendly and sociable. Whitman seems to be, overall, a group of people that love people. Doors in residence halls are often left open, and you can always find someone to talk to, even in the middle of the night. I would say Whitman is a work hard play hard environment for most people, but that doesn't mean everyone parties hard after a big test. While there are lots of students who enjoy a big night out, there are also a lot of people who don't party or drink at all. You'll find your niche at Whitman, and realize that however much you want to go out is completely fine. Greek life is pretty prominent on campus, but it's much different than at a big university. The fraternities and sororities don't cut themselves off from other people...it's just like an extra group that someone chooses to be a part of, but not their whole identity. While there are some students who still buy in to the stereotypical sorority and fraternity attitudes and think they are a problem at Whitman, overall there is a pretty good relationship between greek life and the rest of campus.
The biggest Whitman stereotypes are that everyone is super hippie and outdoorsy--and that everyone walks around barefoot.
The highlight at Whitman for me has been the sense of community. Staff and faculty all work together to create an incredible...
The highlight at Whitman for me has been the sense of community. Staff and faculty all work together to create an incredible sense of belonging and community that provides a phenomenal springboard for students who have the passion and intitiative (as so many Whitman students do) to take on their own individual projects. The resources (such as the Associated Students of Whitman College and the Res Life staff, to name only two of many) are there to make anything happen-- if someone else hasn't already initiated it, of course :). Most activities and programs at Whitman are included in tuition, and there are a ton of different clubs and organizations to get involved with. The toughest part is usually picking which of your favorite 15 clubs you're going to prioritize so that you can really give your all to something. There's never *not* something to do. I'll always remember my freshman year when I first met with some upperclassmen who wanted to start a quarterly literary magazine. We met downstairs in the campus center and brainstormed and a month later, we had published our first issue. Now, we've become an official Whitman publication and have enjoyed three years of increasing success thanks to the support here at Whitman and to the engagement of the student body. It's the community and the support that make Whitman students Whitties for life. Though it's certainly stronger in some than in others, I'd say that yes, there's a lot of Whitman pride. Watching alumni gatherings and meeting Whitman alumns on trips to Portland is always enlightening-- they always have fond memories of their alma mater and donate quite a lot of things, from buildings to sculptures to time helping new graduates find a job or a social network when they leave Whitman.
I've worked a lot with the feminist club on campus (FACE), and I've laregly found the campus very receptive. There are so many different people here, and while EVERY different (racial, sexual orientation, ethnic, religious, etc) minority group may not be represented in spades, there are people from just about every subgroup I can think of. This feels like an odd question because at Whitman the studwents are really the clincher of the college experience. We all learn from each others' different and exciting experiences, and limiting my thoughts to different representative "groups" on campus seems to betray my experience, which has just been full of a lot of different and really great people. While here at Whitman we talk a lot about needing to become more diverse, we are, I think, more diverse than many of the other campuses I've ever seen and I think that we also have a far more comprehensive view of diversity that enriches everyone here. Could we be more diverse? Yes, but then, I think every institution could benefit from increased diversity.
You'll learn the most about Whitman by asking students here questions; we all love to talk about Whitman, so contact someone! We really do love talking about Whitman, and it's very different reading broad opinions and hearing specific answers to your specific questions. Visit if you can, particularly during the year-- as I said, it's the students that make the Whitman experience, and you can only get a small sense of the community by reading about it online.
The campus is left-leaning, but the Campus Conservatives club is also active. While it's not the most nurturing environment for a budding conservative, it's certainly not the entire campus that's voting liberally each voting season. As for environmentalism, I'd say that everyone is environmentally conscious in some ways. Some students choose not to recycle once they move off campus, but during the 2 years required on-campus living, students tend to pick up on the environmental ethos behind, say, weekly recycling pick up in the dorms and the special faucets that we have that regulate water output. Students are at the very least informed on environmental issues, so it's no surprise that a majority (though certainly not all) choose to do little things like recylcing their cans, getting a re-useable water bottle, and printing double-sided.
Professors are incredibly accessible. Just this past semester, three of my professors invited students to their homes for a culminating class period with snacks and talks. I hang out with my professors in their offices as well as out on the town in coffee shops and restraunts, and they have been so receptive to giving one on one attention and advice. Another hugely positive aspect of our academic life here at Whitman is that students really collaborate with each other. I've heard horror stories about other schools where, say, law students will rip pages out of library books so that only they can access certain materials. Here, it's the opposite-- my friends and I swap library books and printed resources all the time, and people collaborate to make sure that each person's work is the best work possible. I think we learn a lot more that way, and it makes for better, more well-rounded, and kinder human beings, to boot.
As I mentioned earlier there is a lot of environmental activism on campus. There are also a lot of media organizations (including multiple literary magazines, a newspaper, and a radio station). There are tons of events at Whitman, and they're almost all included in tuition so all you need's an ID card. Sometimes it's hard to pick between events because there is usually a lot going on that's worth checking out. Two particular events from last semester that come to mind are the Coffeehouse open mic, which allowed a wide array of students to showcase their music, and Marjane Satrapi's incredible speech.
There's a stereotype that Whitman students are all VERY environmentally conscious and that everyone's liberal.
The 10:1 student to faculty ratio is fantastic. Getting a hold of professors has never been a problem, and I know many profes...
The 10:1 student to faculty ratio is fantastic. Getting a hold of professors has never been a problem, and I know many professors outside of the classroom through class dinners at their house or babysitting their kids. The workload is large, but entirely manageable. Almost every student is overly committed to their activities here: whether they’re in Tae Kwon Do club or doing student government. Buying into campus life and getting invested in activities is key—there’s always more than enough to do on the weekends, but it’s not the nightlife of the big city. It’s more intimate and close knit.
In the past few years, Whitman has made an effort to bring more racial and socio-economic diversity to the student body, and diversity continues to grow on campus. There are a lot of white Pacific Northwest kids here, but to lump all of them into one category isn’t totally fair either. I would say that diversity of interest is what is really cool on campus. There’s a rap-activism group on campus, and a cello choir. There are trips to nearby skiing and craft club meetings. Every year, students find a way to organize their passions into activities, and the “typical” Whitman student is involved, but in what, it’s hard to say. For the most part, students tend to be fairly liberal-leaning politically, and agnostic. Conservatives and the religiously minded (especially Christians) are small, fairly soft-spoken minorities.
It takes buying into the small town and the community, but if you put a lot into Whitman, Whitman has a lot to give back to you.
We tend to be nerdy and liberally leaning, but the outdoors stereotype can be misleading. There are tons of things to do outdoors, but you don't need to be a seasoned camper to fit in.
Every professor I’ve had at Whitman has known my name (and my major, hometown, and extracurricular interests, most probably). Many of them will meet with students for a meal instead of just going to office hours, or have a class over for dinner around midterms or finals. I babysit and dog-sit for a number of my professors, and they come to the shows at the theater, choir concerts, sporting events, and concerts on campus. You get used to seeing professors as whole people, not just professors, and they see students as whole people with lives outside the classroom. Going to class is key, and class participation is usually of paramount importance and counts towards final grades in many classes. Students tend to be far more collaborative than competitive, and share ideas with one another, offer help in areas where they are strong, and ask one another for help in areas where they are weak. Learning for learning's sake is encouraged, as is both depth (in your major department) and breadth (drawing from other areas) of knowledge.
One of the best ways to meet people and make friends is simply by living on-campus during the first two (or more) years here. I met a lot of my best friends freshman year while they were living down the hall. Many students (especially in first year halls) keep the doors to their rooms open whenever they’re not at class or in bed. ASWC (Associated Students of Whitman College, our student government) brings a lot of really cool speakers (Salman Rushdie, Marjane Satrapi, Helen Thomas) and bands (Guster, Ben Lee, Flogging Molly, Blue Scholars) every year, as well as coordinating a lot of activities, like the “drive-in” movie, where students watch a movie on a big inflatable screen on the lawn, or Casino night. A lot of off-campus houses will host parties, a lot of times with dress-up themes or student bands, and they are generally pretty fun. There are always a number of fun things to do on the weekend, whether you drink or not.
Nerdy, liberal, outdoorsy
Whitman has a super close community, and that isn't limited to the students. Professors here are downright fabulous, they act...
Whitman has a super close community, and that isn't limited to the students. Professors here are downright fabulous, they actually want and do get to know their students (which is just one of the perks to a small school). They will have barbecues and study sessions at their houses, and a lot of senior students will go out together to the local bar with their professors. Since the school is small, you get to know the other students (in your year and others) or recognize them around campus at the very least. And the upperclassmen are often super helpful with giving advice to younger students.
Whitman tends to be super laid back. Students definitely don't dress up for classes, most will be in sweats or something comfy. It is true that most of the student body is made up of white, middle to upper class students, but Whitman seems to be making a big effort to change that. As far as different social groups on campus go, students tend to band together in classes more often than they splinter off with just people they normally hang out with. And because everyone seems to be involved in at least three to four different activities on campus, there's a bunch of overlap anyways.
It really is worth it to come to Whitman to see the baby ducklings in the spring, if nothing else! It really is a beautiful campus! The town is super cool too, it just takes some creative exploring to find the awesome parks, wineries (if you're over 21 of course), the farmers market, lots of little restaurants that are awesome. The campus is also super small, everything is within walking distance (nothing over 10 minutes, even from the farthest corners). Cars are unnecessary, bikes are nice, but walking can get you almost anywhere you want to go (except the movie theater in town - borrow a car for that one).
Class size at Whitman is always small, ranging from as few as six students to as many as forty (in an intro level science class for example), but most are around fifteen. This means your professors really get to know all of the students, and they notice if you're missing from class. This could be bad if you intend to skip a lot, sometimes attendance can affect grades, but it also means that they can give each student a ton of attention. Some professors bribe students (with extra credit, candy, etc.) to come to their office hours to discuss papers before you even write them, others schedule special one on one editing sessions to go over your paper before you even turn it in. The classes themselves are hard, but manageable and definitely worth the hard work. A lot of classes are also discussion based, which means you get the chance to speak up a lot, ask all sorts of questions and participate a bunch (which is handy for staying awake in early morning classes). Also, because of the liberal arts aspect of the curriculum, which requires you to take classes in multiple areas instead of specific classes, you get to really explore and find out what you like. I knew I wanted to be an English major from the start, but because of distribution requirements, I found out that I love our Astronomy department and have decided to minor in it!
Residence Halls are super laid back, not a lot of students lock their doors, some don't even shut them during the day. There is also something to do almost every night of the week, its harder to choose which event you want to attend rather than find something to do. This includes (but is definitely not limited to) various speakers, films put on by the school (outdoor and indoor), concerts by students in the music department, plays by the theater department (8-9 large scale productions a year and a number of smaller ones at lunch or on random evenings), bands/poets/comedians/illusionists/etc. The nice thing about being in a small town is that activities on campus are all free to students, so you won't be spending a ton of extra money on entertainment like you would in a big city!
The very first thing you will notice at Whitman is that the students and staff are all incredibly friendy. It is also small e...
The very first thing you will notice at Whitman is that the students and staff are all incredibly friendy. It is also small enough that you will always meet someone you know on your way to class, that you will engage in conversations about Core with another first-year you haven't met, that you will meet one of your professors at a local coffee shop. This is Whitman's main draw for me.
Whitman's student body is very environmentally conscious. It is true that our student body is mostly white, middle/upper-class, but Whitman is making a genuine effort at fostering diversity. With recent years we have seen more and more diversity in incoming classes. Whitman draws students who are "outdoorsy," and quite a lot of students are involved in IM sports.
Whitman is very academically strong, but it is not for those who are interested in academics alone. Whitman pushes you to get involved in and off campus, and in things you have never found interest in before. Whitman students usually try a little bit of everything.
If you just look at the surface you may think so, but Whitman students are very dynamic and very involved. It is incredible how involved the average Whittie is in the community and on campus. Sure, most of us are tree-huggers, but we are also much more than that. And Whitman is making a genuine effort at drawing in students with diverse backgrounds.
My largest class this last semester had 17 students, and my smallest class had 6 (and I was a first-year, who typically are in the "largest" classes). Most professors encourage students to participate, and all of my professors knew my name. Last semester one professor invited the whole class to dinner at her house, and we had class outside several times with another. Classes are usually challenging, but don't foster competitivity within students. One disadvantage is that, because of our size, it is sometimes difficult to find classes that offer exactly what you are looking for.
Whitman students are very involved in intramurals, in theater, in the environment. I will be taking a theater class next semester, and I have never acted in my life (something about Whitman pushed me to take that chance). You will find that the library is a very popular place on campus, but that does not mean that Whitman students do not have fun. We have the usual parties that any other school has, but there are also so many other events going on all the time. Honestly, I can't remember a time when I didn't know what to do or out of options. If you're at Whitman, you are involved in one thing or another, so you will never be bored.
Whitman students are, in three words, reduced to "white, upper-class hippies."
I'd say Whitman is best known for a work-hard, play-hard ethic. The students here study extensively but also find the time to...
I'd say Whitman is best known for a work-hard, play-hard ethic. The students here study extensively but also find the time to enjoy the outdoors and relax.
My advice would be to look for a school that will have students like you. If you like to study and plan on working really hard, then don't attend the number one party school in the country. Being able to live and work alongside students with the same goals and ambitions as you is the most important. It will keep you motivated and happy. Granted, you can find certain kinds of students at any big university, but the overall atmosphere of the campus will have a huge impact on your experiences.
The availability of professors and the great campus resources.
My school is an elite, mostly caucasian school that is open to all people of every walk of life except they are hostile to pe...
My school is an elite, mostly caucasian school that is open to all people of every walk of life except they are hostile to people who do not protect the environment or are republicans.
My classmates are engaged and enthusiastic to learn about theories, applicable sciences, and are willing to help whenever it is needed.
Students should look at their college of choice or if they cant, then they should contact an alumni and see what they got out of the college. Also, it would be wise to contact the professors in your field of interest or your prospective major. If you dont know, you could talk to them anyway because then you might have a better chance of getting into the college. Also, if the school has a program where you can stay over night, that is an amazing opportunity to see what the college is like. Good luck on finding your undergraduate experience!
There are so many different colleges out there, and so many of them seem to fit the same description - it can be a daunting t...
There are so many different colleges out there, and so many of them seem to fit the same description - it can be a daunting task to filter through all of them to find the 'right one.' Yet, it is important not to become overwhelmed by your many choices. Instead, you should follow your own instincts and ideas of what sort of college atmosphere will work best for you in order to narrow down the huge list to a chosen few. It is also important to remember, however, that a written description cannot possibly encapsulate each and every facet of a school. Each college has a certain something that differenciates it from all others, and visiting the colleges you are looking at will help you to determine which ones truly 'fit'. As far as the college experience goes, it too can be a bit overwhelming. However, even when you feel overwhelmed by everything going on in your life, the easiest way to deal with stress is to face things one step at a time. If you stay focused on accomplishing the task at hand and leave time for the many new experiences college has to offer, you will do fine.
I wish I had known more about the different areas of study offered. I also wish I had had a better idea of what I wanted to pursue as a career so I could have begun sooner on my major requirements.
Although Whitman encourages students to explore many interests both in class and outside of class, I feel that the manner in which you must determine a major is rather limiting. I wish there were more major choices that combined different areas of interest, allowing students to pursue multiple interests without having to fulfill two or three separate major requirements.
Combines frinedly atmosphere with academic seriousness--competitive but still nice and welcoming.
Combines frinedly atmosphere with academic seriousness--competitive but still nice and welcoming.
Name doesn't matter. Dig beneath the surface.
Located in tiny town, so not tons of things to do compared to Los Angeles.
The stereotypical Whitman student is etiher a Patagonia-wearing, tree-hugging, rarely-showering hippie or a very wealthy, spo...
The stereotypical Whitman student is etiher a Patagonia-wearing, tree-hugging, rarely-showering hippie or a very wealthy, spoiled, pretentious brat.
The campus and the surrounding area are very scenic.
The undergraduate college experience is one you will (most likely) only experience once. When looking for the school that is right for you, do not overlook the value of extracurricular activities and the feel of the campus community. Extracurricular activities, in particular at a smaller school, will provide many opportunities for enrichment of an otherwise solely academic four years. A strongly knit campus community is invaluable to forming close friendships and networking during and after school. In my opinion, these factors are priceless. With rising tuition costs these days, few people are likely to find a steal for the price of their education. If you find a school that offers exactly what you want and need, price shouldn't be a factor. I am more than willing to take on the financial burden I have, considering the great value of my undergraduate experience.
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