Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA, USA

Reviews

Washington and Lee University
4.34 Average Rating

Jared from Jackson, WI

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Washington & Lee University challenges its students at a high academic and moral level. The student-run Honor System is truly a very unique way of maintaining honesty and integrity on campus. The social scene on campus is lively and widely varied, with something for every kind of student and person!
Tips for prospective students
Even if the price tag looks a bit big, apply! W&L is excellent at giving good financial aid.
Academic Rigor
This is a very high-level school that WILL challenge you. The professors are there to help you and provide office hours to ask questions, but no course is truly a free A. However, the courses are incredibly rewarding as well.
Dorm Life
Spacious and well-furnished dormitories and rooms with plenty of personal space. Options for loft beds, and rental microwaves and refrigerators are available. Common areas are very comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Food and Dining
The main cafeteria is hit or miss when it comes to lunch and dinner, but I have found breakfast to be consistently good. Other food options on campus are generally good, and food in town is fabulous. Freshman meal plans provide for more than you will ever need.
What to do for fun
Anything you want! There are parties on most Wednesdays and weekends during warm months, plenty of clubs to join, intramural sports to play, and great natural scenery to explore!
Bang for the buck
W&L has a fantastic financial aid program, meeting all demonstrated need of accepted applicants. The Johnson Scholars program is also an excellent way that W&L awards highly-achieving students. In short, this school makes a way for students to get here despite financial shortcomings, and provides the same world-class courses and community.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Robert E. Lee is buried on campus, and our chief meeting-place is the scenic Lee Chapel, built by the former general when he served as president of the university. The spirit of of Lee's horse, Traveller, is rumored to roam the campus, and is also the namesake of a sober-ride bus service run through campus to several party scenes around town.
One of dormitories, Graham-Lees Hall, has a tunnel going through it with columns at one end of the tunnel. It is said that if one walks through the center two columns, where the widest gap or thoroughfare is, that person will fail his/her next exam. This tradition is so well-observed that the concrete between the outer columns on either side is worn down because everybody walks to either side instead of going through the middle two columns.
Great for these types of students
Social, hard-working, honest, talented, versatile, skilled, achieving, etc. This school requires high effort and high integrity of its students. The ever-lively and widely varied social scene allows students of all backgrounds and social preferences to find a niche.
Clubs and Activities
Huge variety. This place has something (several things really) for everybody! There are no shortage of ways to get involved and be active on campus. Speaking as a member of our Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions swimming team, our athletics are very competitive and perform well at our level of competition. As other examples, we have one of the best Outing Clubs in the country and our Mock Convention organization has predicted the presidential winner 19 out of 25 times since 1908, including the most recent election. In short, W&L clubs and activities are very versatile, with no wrong choices!
Greek Life
Not your stereotypical big-school rowdy party boys and girls (well, the partying part does happen). Greek Life is an incredible way to join a whole new family on campus, and have a group of people you can always rely on. The fraternity and sorority houses are huge and gorgeous, with lots of space for social events and privacy, and there are also plenty of off-campus housing opportunities for seniors.
Campus Safety
Incredibly safe! Public Safety Services are a big help in a lot of ways (unlocking dorm room doors and such), and the Honor System is so effective that I could leave my laptop, wallet and smartphone sitting on a table in the library, walk away for two hours, and when I come back it will all be there.
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Jonathan from Oak Park, CA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Rigorous academics with very friendly people. Professors all love their subject and will work to help you. Social life revolves heavily around the party scene.
Tips for prospective students
Go out and get to tons of people as a freshman. The more people you know the happier you will be.
Academic Rigor
Classes are very tough regardless of your major and you will have to work hard. There are always resources to help you out when you need it.
Dorm Life
The freshman dorms are all very nice and newly renovated, and the new junior year village is beautiful. Only place that really stands out as old and desperately needs renovation are the sophomore apartments.
Food and Dining
Standard dining hall is decent enough, but the cafe 77 and the Hillel dining in the morning are good alternatives. New seasonally themed dining at the third year village is great too.
What to do for fun
Tons of outdoor activities. Beyond that Lexington is a very small town so you might have to drive out to the neighboring cities.
Bang for the buck
Expensive school, but the alumni network and name recognition are huge draws.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Speaking tradition encourages everyone to be friendly, and it cultivates a great atmosphere.
Great for these types of students
Academically driven people who also like to party as hard as they study.
Clubs and Activities
Tons of clubs and organizations and its easy to create one of your own.
Greek Life
Dominates the social scene. something like 85% Greek membership, so its the best way to be social. Can't speak much on the other options for non affiliated students, but I know the school provides several alcohol free options.
Campus Safety
Never felt unsafe here. Public safety is always around and available if you need help.
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Maryland

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A small campus with a great community vibe, filled with overachieving students that graduate with starry eyes and top internships.
Tips for prospective students
If you're looking for a school with diversity, this may not be the most obvious pick. Though many students come from similar backgrounds, you can be sure that every student you will meet is extraordinary in some, or many, ways. Don't judge a book by it's cover. In addition, use your faculty! This school is rare in that all the faculty really want to help you, take you out for ice cream, give you research opportunities, etc. Don't end up senior year feeling like you never got to know any of your professors (though I'm not sure this is even possible!).
Academic Rigor
Washington and Lee is an intense academic environment. However, the professors are very dedicated and willing to help, unlike at many large universities, where their prime focus is on research. If you put in the work, top grades are possible, but many students have a hard time adjusting from their lax high school schedules.
Dorm Life
While the dorms are currently below-par, the university is currently doing construction to totally remodel and update all of the freshman dorms. The amount of activities (including alcohol-free) are boundless, with movie nights, visiting comedians, pool tables, monthly freshman bonding activities (like bonfires, carnivals, etc.), and more. You'd be hard-pressed to find a freshmen with nothing to do on a Friday night.
Food and Dining
The dining hall (dhall) is full of local, healthy food, though the diversity leaves something to be desired. Off campus, there are a variety of great local restaurants with unique dishes and cult followings.
What to do for fun
On campus, the parties are inventive and crazy, and activities like Fancy Dress and lots of visiting musical artists (including Pretty Lights, White Panda, and more) and comedians will keep you busy. Off campus, go to Natural Bridge Zoo, Foamhenge, or tube down the Maury.
Bang for the buck
W&L is a top ranked school- and employers know that. Almost every department could be considered one of the best in the nation, and the career opportunities that follow students- particularly business majors- are unheard of. There are also a wide variety of opportunities for students in the sciences, including the prestigious Richmond Term, where W&L alumni doctors host students in their practices for a month, and a wide variety of research labs that are easy to get involved in. However, if you're hoping to go to grad school, you can expect great recs, but don't hope for much help otherwise. The career counseling office is a little lacking, and most of the opportunities are thanks to the very supportive and successful alumns.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The streaking tradition started here! General Robert E. Lee started the streaking tradition across our epic colonnade, and if you graduate without doing it, you aren't a real W&L graduate! Our school fight song, the Washington & Lee Swing, also has a much-copied tune. Look it up- I guarantee you've heard it. Other great activities include Mock Convention. Every four years over 90% of the campus gets involved to predict who will be elected to run in the presidential race in the party out of power. We're right almost every time, and get keynote speakers like Ann Coulter and Carville. Lastly, our yearly Fancy Dress is like prom on crack- every student and tons of faculty get dolled up and go to this black tie event, featuring a live band AND a DJ, as well as an unforgettable theme each year.
Great for these types of students
Business students, journalism students, premed and prelaw students, and artistic students who want a chance to really stand out.
Clubs and Activities
There are lots of different clubs, from a capella to volunteering to language clubs. Most of the clubs are smaller, allowing for you to really get to know the people involved and a GREAT chance for leadership, and the funding is substantial, but it's often hard to get non-members involved in activities, since the school is on the smaller side (this is especially obvious in sorority fundraisers). Unfortunately, the club sports are also very limited (though it's pretty easy to get involved in our NCAA sports, since we're division 3).
Greek Life
Greek life is huge at Washington and Lee. Almost every student is involved, which can sound daunting. It may be helpful to know that greek life is not as exclusive as at other schools, and you'll find that there really is an organization for everyone. Many of the students involved aren't typically greek (i.e. snobby, rich) and find that the system allows great opportunities for community service as well as great housing.
Campus Safety
Lexington is a small town and the campus security is very active and helpful. We have a very strong honor system in place, allowed students to leave their rooms unlocked and their backpacks unattended with little worry anything will happen. I have many friends who have lost wallets, phones, etc., and had them promptly returned.
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Sommer from MT Pleasant, SC

accepted here and planning to attend soon
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
I've had the chance to sit in on an econ class, and from that one class it is clear that the professors are top-notch. The academic quality of the school makes it worth the hefty price tag.
Will enjoy being here
Located in the South, everyone is so super friendly and hospitable. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and being an outdoorsy girl, it's a perfect location to go outside and enjoy the mountains
Bang for the buck
It's a pricey school, but if you work hard (and apply for the Johnson Scholarship) it can be affordable. Hopefully it will pay out after graduation.
Tips for prospective students
Definitely apply for the Johnson Scholarship, even if you don't get it, the Scholarship Competition is a great way to really get familiar with the campus. And have a teacher proof-read your essay before you submit it!
Great for these types of students
It's great for anyone who knows they want to go Greek since Greek life is a big part of the school.
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McKenzie from Winston Salem, NC

researching this school
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
I toured W&L this past year, and I had the most amazing experience! I got to sit with a guidance counselor and talk with him and my mom for over an hour about the school and various programs that I was interested in, and then I went on a tour with a senior there who was very informative and helpful and even introduced me to some of his professors. It felt like the tour was catered specifically for me!
Academic Rigor
All of the professors I talked to seemed very engaged and interested in getting to know their students personally.
Dorm Life
We didn't get to go inside of a dorm, but they were all beautiful from the outside. They also said it was very common for upperclassmen to rent a townhouse down the road from W&L as a group and live there too, and it wasn't too expensive. Variety of options!
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