Whitman College

2014 Quick Stats
345 Boyer Avenue

Walla Walla, WA 99362-2083

Phone: (509) 527-5111
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 15
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#41 Overall Score: 73 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Whitman College is a private institution that was founded in 1883. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,539, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 117 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Whitman College's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 41. Its tuition and fees are $43,500 (2013-14).

Campus activities are a big part of student life at Whitman College, a liberal arts institution in the rural small town of Walla Walla, Wash. Students come out in droves for intramural sports - about 70 percent compete on some team - and Greek life. Though the school only has a handful of sororities and fraternities, about a third of the student body is involved in the Greek system. About 20 percent of students compete on the Whit varsity sports teams, all members of the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference. If going Greek or playing sports isn’t your thing, there are more than 100 other student clubs and organizations to check out, too. The campus has an indoor rock climbing facility, where students can climb for fun or for course credit. Outdoor recreation lovers can also earn academic credits in unique courses such as glacier mountaineering, kayaking or wilderness skills. The student Outdoor Program coordinates just-for-fun recreation trips, too, like moonlight sea kayaking and whitewater rafting. Students at Whitman can also take advantage of the school’s western location by enrolling in the unique Semester in the West program, a three-month journey through Oregon, Nevada, California, Utah and Idaho in a converted horse trailer.

Freshmen and sophomores must live on campus, which is three blocks from downtown Walla Walla. The town is rich in local charm and home to the popular Walla Walla Balloon Stampede, an annual parade of hot air balloons. Located in southeastern Washington, Walla Walla is not in close proximity to any major towns, but students can get to Spokane, Wash., in 2.5 hours; Portland, Ore., in four hours; and Seattle in 4.5 hours. Students begin and end their education at Whitman in unique fashion: All freshmen must take a two-semester transition program into a liberal arts education called Encounters, and all seniors must complete an assessment before graduation which typically includes an oral component.

In addition to the 45 majors offered through the college, Whitman students can earn a combination undergraduate/graduate degree at select prestigious universities across the country. Interested students complete three years at Whitman before transferring to Duke University, for example, for a two-year graduate program in forestry or environmental management. Whitman students can also graduate with a law degree in six years, completing the first three at Whitman and the second three at Columbia Law School. Notable alumni include actor Adam West of Batman fame; John Markoff, a New York Times journalist; and Matthew Ames, director of research at the Mayo Clinic.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Whitman College is a vibrant, residential learning community widely known for its unique combination of academic excellence, an unpretentious Northwest culture and an engaging community. The college is honored to attract students who represent the Whitman mosaic: down-to-earth, high achievers with diverse interests. Whitman's 1,500 undergraduate students, from 45 states and 30 countries, gain broad experience in a variety of disciplines while acquiring depth of knowledge in any of more than 40 major fields. Nearly all students are involved in at least one co-curricular activity, from which there are scores to choose. And it's common for Whitties to start new clubs and activities, upon developing new interests formed through campus relationships. Whitman people can be characterized as individuals with a love of learning, passion for fun, and who like to work collaboratively. Love of the outdoors and commitment to environmental principles and sustainability issues help define the Whitman community. Whitman challenges students to write, debate, participate actively in classes and seminars, conduct independent research, think critically, and question established ideas. The academic curriculum begins with Encounters, a two-semester, first-year seminar course required of all students that is organized around a theme and provides an introduction to the liberal arts and the academic construction of knowledge. In their senior year, Whitman students must pass a senior assessments in their major which include an oral examination or may include a written and oral component. Our rigorous and collaborative liberal arts education extends beyond the classroom, and faculty are teacher-scholars, experts in their fields and devoted to enabling students to learn. The professors are as highly impassioned about teaching as they are engaged in scholarly activity. They are experts in their disciplines, mentors, collaborators, and supportive critics. Whitman professors inspire in their students a serious devotion to learning, and the college offers a number of collaborative research grants awarded each semester and in the summer to student-faculty teams. Students find balance at Whitman. Outside of class, they find an atmosphere of opportunity for leadership, sports and fitness activities, service to community and development of lasting friendships with peers, faculty and staff. They also take advantage of the region's rivers, mountains, and wilderness areas for vigorous outdoor adventures, and in the small city of Walla Walla, they play important roles as volunteers and mentors. Students thrive at Whitman; the graduation rate is 87 percent, one of the highest rates in the nation. Whitman fosters self-confidence, intellectual vitality, open-mindedness and sense of social responsibility, all of which prepare students well for a complex, rapidly changing, diverse world. Annually, Whitman students are recipients of such scholarships and fellowships as the Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright, Watson, Udall, Beinecke and Goldwater, and about 45 percent of Whitties study abroad.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1883
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar semester
Setting city
2012 Endowment $400,968,238


When applying to Whitman College, it's important to note the application deadline is January 15, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 15. The application fee at Whitman College is $50. It is more selective, with an acceptance rate of 48.6 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity more selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 48.6%
Application deadline January 15
SAT/ACT scores must be received by January 15

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Whitman College is 9:1, and the school has 62.6 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Whitman College include: Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Political Science and Government, General; Psychology, General; Economics, General; and English Language and Literature, General. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 93.5 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 9:1
4-year graduation rate 80%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 8%
Political Science and Government, General 8%
Psychology, General 8%
Economics, General 6%
English Language and Literature, General 6%

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Student Life

Whitman College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,539, with a gender distribution of 42.6 percent male students and 57.4 percent female students. At this school, 67 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 33 percent of students live off campus. Whitman College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 1,539
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Whitman College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, health service, and health insurance. Whitman College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Whitman College.

Students who have cars on campus N/A
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Whitman College, 46.5 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $26,076.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $43,500 (2013-14)
Room and board $10,900 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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