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Willamette vs Whitman vs Mt Holyoke

collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
edited April 2011 in College Search & Selection
Hi!
If it's easier to compare just Willamette and Whitman, and leave Mount Holyoke out for now, no problem. I was accepted to these schools and have already visited each of them (but Whitman was in the summer) and I'm really stuck on deciding where to go. As you can tell, I was looking for small liberal arts schools without regard to location. I'm thinking of majoring in international studies/relations, but I'm not sure about that yet. Does anyone have an opinion about what would be the best school? Let me know if you need more information!
Post edited by collegehopeful7 on
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Replies to: Willamette vs Whitman vs Mt Holyoke

  • kolijmakolijma Posts: 263Registered User Junior Member
    My d goes to Whitman and loves it. She is challenged academically, plays sports, has made wonderful friends, has had amazing professors who have taken the time to get to know her, and has all in all been lit on fire in her almost 2 years there. I can't tell you much about Willamette as we didn't visit, and I'm not sure if many students turn down Whitman for Willamette unless the financial aid is significantly better, although Willamette is certainly rising lately in selectivity.
  • tk21769tk21769 Posts: 7,370Registered User Senior Member
    Whitman and Mt. Holyoke are more selective schools than Willamette. If cost is not a big factor, I'd lean toward Mt. Holyoke for the 5-college consortium advantages.
  • collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Thanks! Has your daughter found Whitman's isolation to be a problem at all? I feel like there would be enough to do in the town of Walla Walla, but to visit an actual city would be a huge trip.
  • kolijmakolijma Posts: 263Registered User Junior Member
    We live in LA, so perhaps that's why she likes Walla Walla for a change. It is a great small town and she enjoys walking to the coffee shops and sitting in front the fire to read or riding her bike to the grocery store. School and life on campus keep her very busy, and when she has a day free she goes snowboarding at the local ski resort. She's commented that she spends very little money while at school vs. her friends who are in cities. Also, there is minimal, if any, attention to clothes, hair, makeup at Whitman unlike being in a city!
  • bopambobopambo Posts: 967Registered User Member
    collegehopeful7, congratulations on being accepted to 3 fine schools. I know nothing about Mt Holyoke, so I'll only try to answer your specific question about Whitman's isolation. Like kolijma's daughter, my son doesn't have enough hours in the day to do all the things he wants to do. I think you'd find that Whitman students do not sit around, they're involved in studies, outdoor activities, research, presentations by visiting authors and scholars, sports (varsity, club, and im), clubs, community service and much more. They tend to be gregarious and involved with the school and each other. Walla Walla is not huge, but it's not a backwater either. It's got all the necessities, plus charm and a welcoming atmosphere. It feels much less isolated to me than many small LACs we visited in the east and midwest.

    It is pretty far from a BIG city, but that hasn't been a hardship for my son. Whitman is currently on a two week spring break and he's in Vancouver, BC with 3 other Whitties getting his big city fix.

    I know whichever school you choose, you'll have a great experience. Good luck.
  • collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Thanks very much for both of your answers! I'm from a really tiny town in NH, but it's not too much of a problem to drive to Boston or something for the day- I guess I was just worried about being stuck on campus and in Walla Walla all the time.
    I was also wondering about transportation to and from campus for breaks- I don't think I'd be coming home often, as it's pretty far, but have you had trouble with getting flights to Portland or Walla Walla or wherever you fly in and then taking a bus or something to campus? Has that been annoying for your kids?
  • kolijmakolijma Posts: 263Registered User Junior Member
    From the first thanksgiving break freshman year and on D has had very little trouble finding students with cars who will pick her up from Walla Walla airport and even Pasco airport. This winter when her flight from Walla Walla was cancelled right before she was about to board she was able within 5 minutes to get a ride to Portland from a friend. She has used the shuttle bus to and from the Pasco airport a couple of times and has found it to be convenient. At college it seems hardly 2 months pass without a long break or at least a long weekend in there, so you'll have ample opportunities to go to Seattle, Portland or Vancouver by bus or by friend. At first D went away each opportunity she found, but lately she's stayed on campus more for long weekends. Believe it or not, there seems to be a tradition of students staying on campus several days at the end of school year after finals - just for fun!
  • bopambobopambo Posts: 967Registered User Member
    As Kolijma said, there is a variety of ways to get there and back. Figuring it out the first time is the most complicated, then you begin to see all the possibilities once you're there.

    Changing planes in Seattle, you can fly directly into Walla Walla, there are two flights a day. The taxi ride to campus is $12 and takes 10 minutes. Son rode in a taxi once, since then he has been delivered or picked up by friends. Or, you have more flight options if you fly into Pasco and take the Grapeline Express (Grape Line - Walla Walla to Pasco, WA - Schedule & Fares) to Walla Walla. It's a regional bus run that takes an hour+ and drops you at the Walla Walla transit center, which is a 5 minute walk to campus through the charming (really) downtown. It costs $7. My son has done this once and says it was fun because of all the Whitman students who were on the bus.

    The school also provides chartered bus service at breaks to and from the airports in Portland and Seattle, the times were a little odd when we checked it out, so son has never done that.

    There are large contingents of students who live in the Portland and Seattle areas, as time passes you will get to know them. Many of them drive to and from Whitman, so again your options become greater. Son has never had a problem.

    Once you're on campus there isn't a transportation issue, almost everything is in walking distance. For the stuff a little farther away, most students have bikes.
  • SISTOKIDSISTOKID Posts: 401- Member
    All costs being equal, I would have to give the edge to Holyoke and the five colleges consortium- you can take courses at Smith, Amherst, UMASS etc.
  • collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Thanks for your help, everyone! Actually, the costs aren't equal- Whitman is full cost, I have a 15k scholarship at Mt Holyoke, and a 17k scholarship at Willamette. Does anyone here have any experience with Willamette?
  • jkiwmomjkiwmom Posts: 1,353Registered User Senior Member
    I personally love Whitman (grandmother's undergrad was from Whitman and she grew up in Walla Walla). However, it sounds like it's less money to go to Mt. Hol and it's at same level of education. And closer to home....I'm leaning towards Mt Hol. Good luck with your decision!
  • collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Thanks for the link! Yeah I think money will end up being a major deciding factor, but I'm not too worried because I think I'll be totally fine with any of these schools. I see a lot of benefits in being close to home, but I also really like the idea of going to the northwest- it just seems like an interesting culture, and a new place to explore. Also, Mt Holyoke doesn't really have any of the awesome outdoors programs that Whitman has.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,139Registered User Senior Member
    Here is a calculator that will help you evaluate the aid packages and a few other variables: FinAid | Calculators | Advanced Award Letter Comparison Tool It will help you sort out whether the difference between the aid at Mt. Holyoke and at Willamette is significant or not.
  • collegehopeful7collegehopeful7 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Thanks! It seems that, yes, Mt Holyoke would be about $10,000 more per year than Willamette. It's probably going to end up being between Willamette and Mt Holyoke, because as much as I love Whitman, I don't think it's worth the extra $20,000-$10,000 per year.
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