The best thing about Whittier is tied between the professors and the size, which I guess are strongly related to each other. The teachers are high caliber and brilliant, and for the most part, very engaging in and outside of the classroom. I've had classes where we have discussions outside on a nice day, very small seminar courses where it's just 10 students at a long table- so there is a lot of variety in teaching styles and classroom settings. The small classes were perfect for me; they helped me become more confident and outspoken. They also pushed me to keep up academically (it's hard to come to a small class without reading).
People from Southern California have heard of Whittier as a private liberal arts college, but sometimes, people who aren't local think it's a community college. I think that the college is overshadowed by all the other bigger name colleges nearby, i.e. USC, Occidental, not to mention UCLA. But the name is getting more recognizable.
The surrounding area of Whittier isn't a college town at all. There are a lot of great restaurants that are decently priced (Golden Triangle! Phlight!), but clubs are practically nonexistent. Whittier is a quirky version of a small New England town, with little shops. LA is "nearby," as in 45 min away. But I've known people who live in east LA/echo park/DT LA, and commuted to Whittier, so it's not too bad, especially after rush hour. And it definitely helps to have a car or a friend with a car!
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