I absolutely love Whitman! I couldn't have made a better college decision. It is the perfect size! It's the size of my high school ~1500, but ITS NOTHING LIKE HIGH SCHOOL. Everybody is so nice, there aren't any clicks. Class sizes are great, the intro classes are a little bigger...but that is to be expected at any school. The professors at Whitman go out of their way to help you out with anything you might need! I've had professors have morning classes at their house, just because. I've had other professors invite me over to their house for dinner when I asked if they could help me with a concept. Professors have set aside an hour a week to meet with just me to make sure I felt confident with what we were learning. THEY ARE SO NICE and care so much about their students. The classes are interesting, and filled with students that are genuinely there to learn. Every student is ready to learn, engaged, and happy to be there. Classes are filled with engaging discussion and usually entertaining as well. The social life is great. People (including myself when I was considering whitman) are always worried about Walla Walla being in the middle of nowhere and it being boring. Boy, that was the biggest concern for me. But if I had just listened to my tour guide or any of the students I met while I was there--my decision would have been a lot easier. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO AT WHITMAN FOR FUN. They bring in amazing speakers, comedians, events, bands, BOUNCY HOUSES that are free of charge to all students to attend. For those who are interested in the party scene, there is one at Whitman too. We have our own radio station for people who are interested in DJ'ing, or having their own talk show! There is sooo much to do at Whitman for fun that you actually won't have a free night if you chose to take advantage of everything there is to do at Whitman. (P.S. On Nov. 30th, our Events Board is bringing Frank Warren, the creator of Post Secret to Campus to give a talk and for a Q&A...how cool is that?!?!?!) But one key thing about every Whitman student is that every single one of us is here for our education first. So before you tell yourself "but I want a school that is by the beach, or a school that is in the big city"...think to yourself this "I want a school where every student is there to learn, because I'm going to college to learn first and have fun second". Our education is our number one priority. That's not to say whitman is a depressing funless school (for reassurance see the paragraph above this), but it does say something about the character of our students. We work hard, we play hard. I would go so far as to say that I am getting the FULL college experience at Whitman. A world class education, with a traditional college experience. I. LOVE. THIS. PLACE.
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.
The best thing about Whitman is far and away the people: the professors, students and staff are all genuinely kind, concerned and intelligent. The students are excited to be there, and are legitimately interested in learning for the sake of knowledge, rather than grades. The size may feel small at times (when you see someone you hooked up with at party four or five times on campus the next day), but in reality, it's perfect. It's small enough that you know most people and never feel "lost," but there's always fresh faces to meet. Most people spend their on-campus time on Ankeny (playing frisbee, guitar, etc.), in the dorms or at the library (which is surprisingly social!). Walla Walla can feel a little small and isolated, especially if you don't have a car. Also, it caters predominantly to the wine tourists, so most restaurants and stores are too expensive for students. I think the most frequent complaint is the lack on diversity on campus, but most of the time I feel like that's because most students don't seek it out -- there is actually quite a bit of class diversity on campus, at least. I'll always remember the first few weeks before school and being terrified about fitting in, but once I got there I was shocked by how welcoming and genuinely friendly literally everyone on campus was.
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.
Yes, the town is small. Yes, you can work around it, and it's worth it. Get a bike, stargaze in the wheat fields, visit the taco trucks, get involved in the campus community(Newspapers, lit mags, sports, activism, you name it, we've got it). Also, go to the speakers, bands, comedians, poets and authors that come to campus. Pretty much everyone at Whitman is the involved overachiever they were in high school, still rosy-cheeked with optimism and energy, which is great because that means they're up for anything. But you should know that oftentimes kids here are also rosy-cheeked because they're super wasted. Yes, alcohol is a thing here, but let's be realistic- mass intoxication is a common affliction at most colleges. We also have some pot, of course, but not really a lot of other drugs.
They also have a large number of extracurricular activities and intramural sports and they have strong academics. The administration is very efficient, but are focused on the school's image, sometimes at the extent of the students. (The students usually don't let them get away with it for long however.) I like the small size of the college and the town. The downtown area is very nice. If you like superficial relationships, you can make a lot of friends. This is a school for extroverts. This college is a well known college in the Pacific Northwest and people recognize it as academically challenging, but outside of this region if you tell people you go to Whitman they will say "where?" We aren't very well known, which will hurt you when applying to grad. schools.
Whitman is a unique place. The students are extremely involved, whether it be academics, athletics, student government, student groups, etc. Although most students are actively involved in some way or another, few yap about their accomplishments or GPA. The strength of the academic curriculum, the welcoming environment, and friendly classmates all are attributes i will always remember about Whitman. If i could change a few things, i would enlarge the campus and have more students. Walla Walla offers a wealth of opportunities to achieve. Although i certainly didn't get this impression initially, Walla Walla is not a simple agricultural community in eastern Washington, it is definetly a complex and interesting community.
If you want to be part of a tight knit, rigorous, and collaborative learning environment where people enjoy listening to your ideas, then Whitman is the place for you. Your classmates and professors will support and challenge every chance they get, inside AND outside of the classroom. Professors will know your name and have you call them at home when you need help on a paper. You will have multifaceted friends, who, it will turn out, have talents and interests that you have never even heard of. You will experience a wave of unexpected opportunities and learn to challenge yourself mentally, socially, and physically. Whitman will help you learn to be an active and engaged participant in world after college.
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.
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.