Whitman vs Puget Sound vs Lewis and Clark vs Utah for biology/pre-dental

Hi! I am trying to decide which college to commit to. I’m down to: Whitman, University of Puget Sound honors, Lewis and Clark College, and University of Utah honors college. I have been accepted to all and all are within my price range. I’m looking for a school with a good biology/pre-dental program (I’ve heard that all of them do). I’m not very outdoorsy but am willing to do some outdoors things. Whitman is my favorite so far, but my concern is with how small the town is. I’m worried that I won’t have enough to do on the weekends or I’ll feel closed off. UPS is good, but I don’t love how large the acceptance rate is. It doesn’t seem like it’s a great school. Maybe I’m wrong? LC seems ok as well, but it seems a little more hippy/cliquey than UPS. I got into the U Honors program and would be able to go there for almost no money, however I live in Utah and am looking to experience a new area and want a smaller school. Any thoughts? I don’t know how to choose.

How much is the price difference, and how much would have to be loans?

Remember that dental school is very expensive, and biology majors do not generally have high paid major-related job prospects at the BA/BS level. So that is a point in favor of Utah “for almost no money”.

I wouldn’t have to take out loans for any of them, so they are all still in the runnings. The U is still on my list because I got a much bigger scholarship there, plus it’s in-state tuition. But, I would much rather have an out of state experience.

I think you have great choices and you can’t really go wrong.

If Whitman feels like the best fit, go for it. I went to a small school in a small town in a rural area. Because of the location, students rarely left on weekends and so there were always people to socialize with (not necessarily true of the other schools on your list).

In my experience, there was always something to do on campus. The relatively limited small town offerings meant that every theatre production or concert on campus was well-attended.

Regarding Puget Sound, though, don’t get distracted by its admit rate. It is on the list of Colleges That Change Lives and I frequently meet accomplished alums in the Pacific Northwest. If Whitman feels like a better fit, great. But dismiss UPS for fit, not selectivity.


I would go to The U and save any extra money for dental school. I’m an optometrist and I talk to other healthcare providers, young and old, all of the time about career choices. The consensus is that school debt is crushing these days. I’ve had more than one tell me that had they known the impact of the leverage, they would have chosen a different career.

That said, if you have it all saved and you can float it all the way through without loans, I’ve yet to meet a Whitman student who didn’t absolutely love the experience.

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For your academic interests, I don’t think you could go wrong with Whitman.

Based on some of the general aspects of what you have posted, I think UPS honors could suit you as well.


Whitman has a strong biology program and “if you want it, we can do it” mentality. I would have loved for my daughter to attend, but ultimately she wanted to attend a college in a larger city. My understanding from Whitman graduates is that there really is plenty to do, though.

I am wondering if you received one of Whitman’s achievement scholarships, and, if so, did the college guarantee the option to renew it annually?

Personally I would choose Whitman, but I’m conflicted because I am a frugal person, and U of Utah seems very hard to pass up.

Wishing you the best with your choice!


Yes, I received a scholarship from Whitman that renews each year. So hard to chose!

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Sounds like Whitman and UPS are your favorite.

I get why you have concerns with Whitman and I’d ask to talk to a student ambassador to allay or validate those concerns.

As far Puget Sound, I’d ask why did you apply? If less selective bothers you, then why did you even put in? I mean the U is not selective either.

I say this. You have to be somewhere four years…day after day after day. So your concern of Whitman may be legit and should be explored.

I don’t buy your comcern of UPS. I mean there’s lots of great schools out there that are relatively easy to get into. Pitt. Indiana. Arizona. Utah And more.

So if UPS is right for you…during those four years you are there day after day… then that’s what matters. You’ll never think about the selectivity ever again. I’ve always thought it’s a solid name.

Have you read this ? Looks like they’ve done well.

Good luck

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One tip: You might want to ask the mods to let you change your username so it isn’t your real name.

I wanted to point out that people from out of state attend Utah (esp. Honors) so you won’t miss out on meeting folks from other places. We have a few heading there from where I am (quite far away from Utah). So if it’s about meeting different people rather than experiencing a different place, then don’t exclude Utah especially if it’s less expensive and you can save money for dental school.


Thank you! I will look into that

Hello- dentist here- all your choices are fine for dental school. Dental schools don’t care so much where you went to school- they are much more interested in your GPA and your DAT (Dental Admissions Test) scores. What’s most important is that you select a college where you will excel, and a college where you are happy is easier to do well at. Dental school is extremely expensive and so anything that you can save now will help.


Thank you so much!

My son is a freshman at Whitman and loves it. It’s the perfect fit. His top 2 choices were Whitman and UPS, which both had everything he wanted in a school. It came down to choosing the drier weather in a small town vs lots of rain and gray in a small city. He chose the drier, 4 seasons weather of Walla Walla. Don’t be put off by UPS’s high acceptance rate. It’s an excellent school, with extremely happy students, who are getting a great education with professors who truly care about them. Both Whitman and UPS are Colleges that Change Lives schools. UPS is just more known in the Pacific Northwest and CA, thus the higher acceptance rate in order to make their yield. Whitties take their studies seriously but also know how to make their own fun. My son, who had zero interest in joining a fraternity, surprised us all and joined a fraternity! He’s found a great group of friends, most who are on the tennis team, and they have lots of fun together. They just had 2 weeks of spring break and my son and 12 of his fraternity friends came to Los Angeles (where we live) and stayed in Venice Beach in a hostel for a week. They had a blast. Whitman was definitely the right decision for my son. But I’m also eyeing UPS for his younger brother! Good luck in your decision!


As my friend who is a university professor said to me, “All colleges change lives. If a college doesn’t, why would you go there?”

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Thank you! What does your son usually do on the weekends? I’m just worried about how small the town is :slight_smile:

He basically does what 99% of college students do on the weekends-- sleep in, hang out with friends, go out to eat or DoorDash food, and go to parties at night. He’s pretty chill and an introvert so prefers a small friend group. Being in a frat is kinda like being in a club for him. They have events and he’s closest to those in his frat. He did a whitewater rafting trip with the frat during rush. He joined the rock climbing team in the beginning and enjoyed practice on Sundays and then they’d all go out for brunch afterwards. Hanging out and eating seems to be a lot of what he does lol! This is the Whitman Events website for all the stuff happening on campus. Presence Things are winding down though since they only have 4 weeks of classes left before finals. I’m not sure if this is the only website for events though. I think students have their own private access to all things clubs and intramurals, etc. I know they get a daily email also about all things happening on campus.


Agree with @eyemgh 's summary on this.

If $$ is a neutral variable, Whitman is a fantastic LAC that most agree would be ranked much higher if it were somewhere in New England. The others are solid schools, but around the PNW, Whitman is known to have a little bit more academic edge over the others and is typically harder to get into. Having said that, I saw some stats a year or two ago that show L&C to be close to or as selective as Whitman.

To my kids, Whitman was too remote from other places. It’s out there, but the town of Walla Walla is nice and fairly busy with the wine-related businesses, and Whitman itself is an active campus with engaged kids … I don’t think you’d be bored, but I won’t lie: you’re not going to visit Seattle casually on the weekends. You’ll need to make your social bones there in WW and at Whitman.

Oh, and one more thing (I can’t resist): there is only one “the U”, and that’s Miami. Sorry, the Ute’s have stolen that one. :smile:

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With the emphasis placed here on having safeties, I’m surprised you asked.

At any rate, OP now deciding and I think it’s perfectly fine to add selectivity to her list of variables. It’s not as if it’s entirely irrelevant. UPS is a great school, but so is Whitman, and the level of student Whitman attracts is one of the things that weighs in their favor.

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I’m a big believer in safeties - but a safety has to be:

  1. Where you know you’ll get in.
  2. Where you can afford
  3. Where you’d be excited to attend

The OP is clearly torn on #3 - so if it’s not a place you can see yourself, then you shouldn’t apply. There’s a lot of students who “regret” where they have to attend - and they could avoid this up front.

But I think OP can see herself there - and just needs to look past. After all, it’a fine school.

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