Whitman College


Academics at Whitman College

This school appears in our ranking of the 10 Best University Jazz Programs.

Whitman College is a small, yet mighty Annapolis Group campus that builds upon its hallmark liberal arts core with 48 majors. For example, the Bachelor of Music creates pleasing ensembles in Jazz, Music History, Performance, Standard, and Theory/Composition tracks. The B.A. in Geology rocks undergrads’ worlds with emphases in Astronomy, Environmental Studies, or Physics. B.A. in Chinese majors say Nǐ hǎo to specializations in World Literature or Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Whitman also offers 33 minors, such as Rhetoric Studies, Theatre, Gender Studies, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Visual Culture. From the First-Year Encounters experience to the senior comprehensive exam, courses have a highly interactive 9:1 student-faculty ratio.

Off-campus, Whitman’s Global Studies Initiative is highly regarded for sending students abroad from Senegal to Scotland and Singapore. The Semester in the West Program has traveled 8,000 miles each year since 2002 to study diverse landscapes. The Outdoor Program received the AORE David J. Webb Excellence Award for weekend trips climbing, kayaking, and skiing. Undergrads commit to the Give 20 Challenge to volunteer via Bilingual United, Classroom Connections, Adopt-a-Family, Science Outreach, and more. Whitman College is one of America’s 16 Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship schools. Partnerships let students pursue CalTech’s 3+2 Master of Engineering, Duke’s 3+2 Master of Environmental Management, and Washington’s 3+2 Master’s in Oceanography too.

About Whitman College

Whitman College was founded in 1859 by Reverend Cushing Eells as a pre-collegiate, coed Christian seminary in honor of missionaries Dr. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman killed by the Cayuse tribe 12 years prior. Prospering after its inaugural class of 60, Whitman broke its Congregational Church covenant to become a private, nonsectarian liberal arts school in 1907. Endowed for $477 million, Whitman College belongs to the elite Oberlin Group and has the Pacific Northwest’s oldest Phi Theta Kappa chapter to help 1,498 Blues from 40 countries “Rise Through Adversities.” Known for its Student Engagement Center, Whitman’s 117-acre, Victorian-style campus stands among the Cascades in Walla Walla, Washington. Linked to 9,912 LinkedIn alumni, Whitman College has trained Adam West, William O. Douglas, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, and more.

Featured by Colleges That Change Lives, Whitman is ranked America’s 41st best liberal arts school and 77th top value with the 20th best baccalaureate teaching on the U.S. News & World Report. According to the Princeton Review, Whitman College gives the 15th best classroom experience and 14th best quality of life. Niche declared Whitman the 37th top small college for the 44th best environmental science and 53rd best film majors. On Forbes, Whitman is the country’s 65th best private university and 44th best-loved school with “A” finances. Estimating a mid-career median salary of $112,700, PayScale placed Whitman College 125th for income ROI nationwide. Washington Monthly recognized Whitman for the 21st highest Ph.D. completion rate, 64th most community service, and 162nd best affordable value.

Whitman College Accreditation Details

In Fall 2013, Whitman College had its Level III accreditation renewed for another decade by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) in Redmond under president Kathleen Murray. This regional approval certifies all Whitman bachelor’s for Federal Title-IV eligibility from the U.S. Department of Education. Curricula is authorized by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB). Whitman College’s only discipline-specific accreditation was reaffirmed by the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2016.

Whitman College Application Requirements

Classified as “more selective,” Whitman College had a Fall 2016 acceptance rate of 51 percent that signals stiff competition. First-year Blues must have finished a high school diploma with a 16-unit, college-prep curriculum, including four years of English and math. Advanced Placement exams, such as Music Theory or European History, scored four or five are transferable. Freshmen generally rank in the top 20th percentile of their class with an average GPA of 3.73. Though test-optional, Whitman boasts a mean SAT score 1380 and ACT score of 30. Undergrads from other accredited colleges can transfer up to 70 credits with a cumulative GPA over 2.5. Joining the 1,500 foreign students will require proving English fluency with at least 560 on the TOEFL or 7.0 on the IELTS.

Whitman College has established an Early Decision deadline of November 15th and Regular Decision deadline of January 15th for freshmen. Transfers are considered until March 1st for Fall and November 1st for Spring entry. Hopeful undergrads generally file the Common Application or Whitman Application online for $50, but fees are waived if before December 1st. Extra materials can be emailed to application@whitman.edu or physically sent to 345 Boyer Avenue in Walla Walla, WA 99362. Admission committees at Whitman look for the following:

  • Official academic transcripts (Grades 9-12)
  • Mid-year secondary school reports
  • One counselor and one faculty recommendation
  • Typed, 500-word personal essay
  • Standardized testing scores (optional)
  • English proficiency exams via code 4951

Whitman College Tuition and Financial Aid

Pursuing the 48 bachelor’s majors at Whitman College costs full-time undergrads $49,390 per year regardless of one’s native state. The Associated Students Association fee adds $390 annually. Living at the Walla Walla campus’ dorms like Jewett Hall will charge $12,524 for yearly room and board. Whitman suggests budgeting $1,400 for textbooks, $800 for personal expenses, and $1,500 for computer funds. Total annual cost of attendance is roughly $64,504 for residents and $51,980 for commuters. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked Whitman the 47th best value for average student debt of $18,089 after four years though.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 80 percent of beginning, full-time Whitman Blues share $24.4 million for financial aid packages that average $25,630. Undergrads should submit the FAFSA via code 003803 to qualify for Federal Pell, FSEOG, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant funding. Evergreen State natives receive the Washington State Need Grant and College Bound Scholarship. Money can be saved in the GET Program’s 529 college savings plan. The Federal Work-Study program compensates $2,500 annually from campus employers like Tech Services and Bon Appétit. Around 40 percent of students carefully borrow Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. The Whitman Need-Based Scholarship awards $1,000 to $60,000 based on need for four years. Other institutional offerings at Whitman College include the Lomen-Douglas Scholarship, Eells Scholarship, Merit Scholarship, Paul Garrett Scholarship, Claire Sherwood Memorial Scholarship, Campbell Music Scholarship, Debate Scholarship, and President’s Award.

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