Whitman College Visit Report by LostCoast
Visit to Whitman College in July 2010 by LostCoast(Parent of Student, HS Class of 2012)
(Member since June 01 2010 with 52 posts)
4 of 4 people found this visit report helpful
Information Session: Yes - There were only two families there, so we were able to ask lots of questions. The answers we got were both frank and helpful.
Campus Tour: Yes - Small tour, and the student giving it provided tons of information. We didn't, but it felt like she took us into every building on campus.
Friendliness/Courtesy of Students:
Friendliness/Courtesy of Staff:
Appearance of Campus:
Overall Campus Impression:
Area Immediately Around Campus:
Campus Visit Notes for Whitman College
"If only it were somewhere besides Walla Walla." That was my daughter's comment. It would easily be her top choice otherwise.
Although Whitman has more than a thousand fewer students than the University of Puget Sound, it feels larger. That may partly be due to the fact that the buildings are closer together than at UPS, and that they have a very large, nice, new theater dominating one end of campus.
All students take the same seminar courses in their freshman year, albeit from different professors. Both the tour guide and the admissions officer indicated that, as a result, there is a lot of discussion among students. The bonding among students, either classmates, housemates, or fellow majors, was a major theme. I think that's one aspect that was especially attractive to my daughter.
The academic rigor seems higher than at most colleges. All students at Whitman undergo a comprehensive exam in their final year. The admissions officer described hers as a history major that involved an oral presentation followed by questions. It sounded like a lighter version of a thesis defense. While terrifying, it's an experience that will stand them in good stead later.
Financial aid sounds like a drawback. Need-based aid is available, but loans seem to figure prominently. Merit-based aid is harder to come by, since they already take "the cream of the crop."
The dorm rooms are varied. Some are fairly traditional doubles, with pull-out beds that convert to sofas during the day. Those rooms are small, though larger than average. There are also suites with two, smaller rooms. The students can arrange those to be either two separate bedrooms, or as a separate sleeping and living rooms. Starting in their second year, most students live off campus, which usually means within a few blocks.
The town unfortunately doesn't have much going for it. Walla Walla is trying to re-invent itself as a wine lovers destination. The small downtown area has a number of tasting rooms, some nice restaurants, and some touristy shops. More than a few blocks away, however, it looks like a basic, kind of run-down, rural town.
Surrounding the town is miles of empty agricultural land. Driving there, you really feel like you're leaving civilization behind. There are outdoor recreational opportunities. Our tour guide said that you can rent anything you need on campus for snow, water, or trail, and there are plenty of chances to get away. On the other hand, she also said that on most weekends she was doing coursework and/or research. Not that it was all work--after the tour she was going off to coach a community swim team. So the students can clearly find something to do.
Unfortunately, from my daughter's point of view, the extracurricular opportunities don't include sport fencing, another drawback for the campus. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up her first choice, if we can afford it.