@bopambo , I’ve been on this forum for a long, long time, and I thus know you are a big Whitman booster. That’s ok, but reality is reality.
I’ve spent a TON of time in WW. Besides three kids considering it for college attendance, I have a partner who owns a partial interest in a winery there. Believe me, I’ve been there more times than I’d like.
It’s not a weird cultural bias. That’s a weird and ridiculous statement. It’s a geographical fact. The fact that you have to name forests and the Columbia river is all anyone needs to know. Forests? Really? Neah Bay and Forks are quite close to the Olympic National Park. Neah Bay and Forks, I’m sure you’d agree, are in the middle of nowhere. The Columbia River? Honestly? Your list makes my point rather nicely.
Yeah, WW has more than the average podunk town due in large measure to Whitman and the vineyards. The wine scene, for example, offers a few decent restaurants over the typical small town greasy spoon dive. But come on, a museum, wineries and a cute three block main street is about it. It is what it is. The other colleges are Walla Walla U and a CC.
And I don’t think the word “underbelly” is in my post. I didn’t suggest “wretched” either. You’re being defensive and your hyperbole demonstrates that quite clearly. But isolated? Oh, yeah, it’s isolated. And the entire town is not bucolic. Come on, you know exactly what I mean unless you never left campus or main street when you visited your son.
Yes, there are worse rural locations. But Whitman is super rural and super isolated. When anybody discusses St. Lawrence, they talk about the extreme isolation of Canton, which is also a cute little town. But it’s a cute little down 5 hours from practically anything. It’s 2 hours from Syracuse for God’s sake. It’s ISOLATED. It just is. So is Whitman. So is Middlebury. That’s why one of my kids left.
I think you do a disservice to readers to simply state, “If a kid wants to be near a big city, do not go to Whitman.” That’s how you would describe Middletown, CT, which is 1/2 from Hartford, 2 hours from Boston and 2 from Manhattan. Whitman is more in the St. Lawrence category.
Telling people it’s fairly easy to get there by flying into WW or Pasco, if they haven’t tried to do that, is rather misleading too. With the same effort you can “fly” into or near most anyplace. That doesn’t make it easy.
Whitman is 5+ hours from Seattle, and almost 3 to Spokane and over 4 to Boise. The nearest town of any size is Pasco more than an hour away, and Pasco is … well, it’s Pasco. Hardly cosmopolitan.
I say again: to be happy at Whitman, the kid needs to be happy with the activities on campus.