WHC is really competitive. A lot of high stats students are denied admission into WHC each year. There are about 2,300 applications submitted; 300 freshmen are accepted and a few sophomores/juniors/seniors.
If the WHC freshmen return to Zura in 21-22, their dorm is not cushier. It’s really nice and was completely renovated just a few years ago, but the core of the building was still built in the late 60s. It doesn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago, and $54 million was put into the renovations, but it is still a dorm with doubles, triples, and quads and communal hall bathrooms. The dorm they are in during the pandemic is really nice though and was just built a few years ago (but it is on a major city street next to public transit stops while Zura is in a less traveled area).
Like @Gumbymom wrote, there aren’t any additional expenses for WHC students (except for the mandatory study abroad - which can be a real quick week or two experience or a full semester - my kid went on a 4 or 5 week summer study abroad).
For my kid, it was worth it (and he paid for his whole undergrad on his own with scholarships, grants, and working in the dorms). The academic mentor who lived on each floor was a huge plus and her work with him freshman year was instrumental in helping him graduate with a STEM major/WHC minor in four years. WHC helped open a lot of doors for him on campus from work to organizations and societies. He felt as a STEM major that the curriculum made him a better well-rounded scholar (he has a heart for humanities). He was also introduced to WHC professors who offered to help him post graduation. The WHC friendships he made during that first year in the dorms are still his closest friends today.
The biggest plus for him though was probably the director, Dr. Sinclair, and her staff. He’s a big city kid, but the large urban public university campus can be isolating/lonely for students. Dr. Sinclair and her staff had an open door policy and were always welcoming and very helpful with advice and guidance. They hosted events that brought the cohort together and gave them opportunities for volunteering and making a difference on campus.
The toughest part for students is juggling the WHC classes with their major’s required courses. For engineering/STEM majors, it’s very difficult and can be overwhelming for the students and isn’t worth it if it will cause stress, etc.
But all WHC students are overachievers and they will do well in college whether or not they are in WHC but it did make my kid’s undergrad experience a lot more fun and memorable.