Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA, USA

Reviews

Western Washington University
3.63 Average Rating

Patricia from Brush Prairie, WA

a current student here
34 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
WWU’s faculty can be characterized as innovative, challenging, and accommodating. Most every classroom is equipped with the technology to allow for multi-media presentations, so you will never have a talking head professor. The professors try to cater to every type of learner through these different mediums and apply what you learn to the real world. For me, this type of instruction included completing a project that will be used by Western faculty and affect the way they teach. You will never go hungry for knowledge with the fast paced and interactive classroom environment. Speaking up and speaking out in class is common, encouraged, and the best way to solidify class concepts. If you need help, want to talk more in-depth about a topic, just ask your professors. They’re accessible and very willing to work with you, provide feedback, or write letters of reference. Talk to students, scan www.ratemyprofessors.com and choose your professors wisely. WWU also has an excellent library with the Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) and Summit catalog as well as an extensive article database for writing papers. If you ever struggle, your peers at the Tutoring Center will be right there with you to sort out whatever complicated idea you’re trying to wrap your brain around.
Am enjoying being here
Walking through Red Square between classes, you’ll see booths for activities, clubs, and causes along with random student stunts and skits. Red Square is like the living room of WWU and reflects the quirky, energetic students that call WWU home. Since WWU’s enrollment is midsized (around 13,000), you will not feel lost among swarms of people and will have plenty of opportunities to get involved in student leadership that might not be presented at other, larger universities. Although you don’t get the “big school” sports craze, most students here are very athletic, and so you’re more likely to play sports than watch them here (intramurals). The Recreation Center is a great facility and I would highly encourage working out regularly. My days at Western are full, active, enjoyable days. Everything I learn inside and outside the classroom makes me glad to be here. Not to mention, Bellingham is a beautiful city with entertainment and personality that’s only 90 minutes from the bustling Seattle scene or Vancouver, British Columbia.
Bang for the buck
If you choose your professors wisely, enroll for up to 18 credits (it costs the same as less credits), use the resources that your tuition fees cover, and buy used textbooks, then you’re getting a great deal. Tuition prices are very reasonable, but increasing, and so the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck is to get involved and use all of the resources. The Scholarship Center, Technology Center, Writing Center, Student Employment Office, and Viking Union are excellent places to start. Plenty of events on campus offer free food, music, film, art, lectures, prizes, games—you name it. Facebook and the Viking Union will keep you posted on all the happenings. When you buy textbooks, check out the coupon booklet they give you at the register that’s loaded with discounts. Also, take advantage of free PE classes during the first week of every term since it’s a great way to vary your workout and meet new people. Western constantly strives to better their campus community and the university experience through their resources. Even with budget cuts, WWU looks for ways to offer their students uncompromised, high quality education. Learning isn’t just about listening to a lecture, or writing down notes, but doing. Do everything you can to succeed and you will.
Tips for prospective students
Invest in a pair of rain boots and a high quality jacket. When you have to walk through the lake that was once Red Square, you’ll thank me! Go to Info Fair before classes start in the fall. Not only will you get more detail on opportunities, but you can win gear, get some grub, and will never have to buy a pen (ever). If you enjoy reading the newspaper, grab a free copy of The New York Times by the library before you head to class. Attend at least one Open Mike Night on a Tuesday in the Underground Coffee House for laughs and lyrics. Study tip: If you’re looking for a reliable computer to work on, then make the trek to the 3rd floor of the Academic Instructional Center. Library and other academic building labs tend to be full or faulty, but these labs are the most recently constructed. Going to a school wondering ‘what will this school do for me?’ is not nearly as productive and engaging as ‘what can I do for this school?’ Produce real change at Western by serving on a committee, council, or the Student Senate, or by attending a forum. Western tries to put as many students as possible in jobs and positions that affect how the school is run. You make this school as prestigious, accommodating, and fun as you want it to be. I’ve presented a lot of options, but really the depth, not the breadth of what you pursue on campus determines whether or not you have a fulfilling experience. Invest in whatever gets you truly excited.
Great for these types of students
Students committed to the environment and sustainability will align with Western’s green practices, from their recycling program to the swarms of bikers to their support of real food movements (local, organic, fair trade food). Not to mention, the outdoor enthusiast will find plenty of places to climb, board, hike, kayak, sail around and near Bellingham (Mt. Baker, anyone?). Anybody interested in social change, whether you’re gaga for politics or love volunteering, will find excellent ways to get involved either on campus or off. Western students have endless enthusiasm for campus, community, and world issues with good reason—only the proactive and self-motivated survive here. Lovers of all things indie will find a thriving local music scene and great (and cheap) concerts at Western and in Seattle.
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Stephanie from Spokane, WA

a current student here
16 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Aside from some 100 level classes, class sizes are generally small (at most 20-30 students), allowing for more one-on-one time between students and professors. In my experience, all of my professors have made themselves very available to students and have offered plenty of opportunities for extra help if needed. Classes are engaging and professors are very enthusiastic about their subjects, making learning all the more enjoyable.
Am enjoying being here
There is always something going on at Western, and Bellingham is a beautiful city. The campus is on top of a hill overlooking gorgeous Bellingham Bay and the eastern side of the San Juan Islands. Residential living is very comfortable, and the residence hall staff does their best to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and included in their new environments. It's difficult to be bored when you're living in Bellingham: Boulevard Park is located right on the water and is only a short walk from campus; downtown is also within walking distance of campus, and there are a multitude of shops and restaurants that are frequented by students. Each student gets a city bus pass with tuition, and the transit system is very easy to navigate.
Bang for the buck
Having just finished my first year at Western, I can honestly say that my time there thus far has been well worth the price. I have absolutely loved living in Bellingham, and being a part of the Western community is a ton of fun! Not only are classes fun and engaging, but there is always something going on on campus. Advisors and professors make themselves easily available to students, and the campus Tutoring Center is another great resource for helping students to succeed. I lived in the dorms this past year and found it to be comfortable and enjoyable. I would recommend that all students try living on campus for a year just for the experience if nothing else. In comparison to some other colleges around the state, Western definitely gives you the most bang for your buck.
Tips for prospective students
While at Western, don't be afraid to try new things! There is an information fair each fall a couple of days before school starts and all the clubs and various student organizations turn out to connect to students and get people involved in the student community. If you love sports but find that you aren't exactly varsity material, give intramural sports a try! These are student run sports teams that compete against each other throughout their season, and there's even a tournament at the end of the season to decide the season's champion. The winner even gets The Shirt to show that he's won! Also, membership to the student rec center is included with tuition, so be sure to make the most out of that and try a class or two at the rec center. No matter your level of physical fitness, the rec center has something for everyone!
Great for these types of students
Honestly, Western's got a little bit of everything. Despite it's reputation as a granola or hippy school, Western has one of the most diverse campuses in the state. A lot of people here are very athletic and enjoy running up to Mt. Baker to ski or snowboard in the winter, but just as many enjoy biking or hiking on any of the area trails. Also, with Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands, and Seattle such a short distance away, there's always something to do! Western is a very accepting community and it seems almost impossible not to fit in here!
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Alyssa from Carpinteria, CA

a current student here
15 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
My experience with Westerns professors is challenging yet very helpful in accommodating to the needs of students if they choose to ask for help. Being a student that speaks up in class and encourages the teacher to go further in depth is highly recommended and it shows the students understanding to the professor and gives more advantages to those students. Almost all professors encourage you to come and speak with them outside of class if you have any questions ranging from you are confused to you believe what they are saying can be challenged. I recommend talking to previous students and using rate my professor when picking what classes you enroll in because it does make a huge difference. The tutoring services at Western are highly recommended also. I personally used them for math several times throughout the year. They make it so it is available to all students and those working it are very helpful.
Am enjoying being here
Western is a place with many opportunities. The Outdoors center on campus offers many activities for those interested in the outdoors and even those interested in just trying. When there are sporting events on campus they are a fun even to attend and everyone gets very into the Viking mood. Bellingham is a wonderful city to explore with many different activities you can find to do. It’s also not to far from Mt. Baker, Seattle or Vancouver, BC where many students tend to spend their weekends throughout the year. Just go after what you are interested in and you can usually find a group of people interested in the same.
Bang for the buck
Even though Western has been quite expensive being an out of state student I do have to say after my first year it was all worth it even if it may be a little high priced. Western makes sure to put every dollar to pay to use and aren't cutting you out of anything!
Tips for prospective students
If you are from out of area, like I was, I recommend making sure you know about the area you are moving into. Bellingham is a great place but the weather does get to some people and can make it seem like you hate the school. Make sure you have a good pair of rain boots and high quality rain coat. Its no fun walking through the slippery, puddled bricks on campus in tennis shoes and jeans and having to go to class sopping wet. Western students have a very laid back personality and everyone that I ever dealt with was very friendly. The bus system is a great way to get around and can take you pretty much anywhere.
Great for these types of students
Western and Bellingham is a great place for students who care about the environment and making it a greener place. Bellingham is very big on the recycling and compost and once you come an leave you will be too. It is also great for those interested in all sorts of outdoor activities because you can find about pretty much anything to do. Bellingham is a great place for those who don't want to have the big city feel but still have many of the same resources as one.
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Erin from Olympia, WA

a current student here
12 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am a sophomore science major in the honors program. Between the two programs I have taken courses that have challenged me and pushed me to improve. Like any other activity you get as much out of college as you put in and Western has a lot to offer for those who are willing. The professors are fantastic and genuinely interested in their class matter. They are supportive and, like any good teacher, encourage you to do the best you can. Having an enthusiastic professor can make all the difference. Western is a great atmosphere for learning.
Am enjoying being here
Western has a beautiful campus no matter the time of year and Bellingham itself is delightful, whenever I need a break from school I can walk downtown or take a bus to Fairhaven. One of the reasons I chose Western was because it is so close to the Puget Sound and I don't regret the decision. I have made wonderful friends and the campus is extraordinarily friendly and welcoming. I have never felt unsafe on campus even walking late at night. It's easy to have fun.
Bang for the buck
College is always expensive. As far as tuition goes Western is comparable to any other university, campus housing and meal plans are the same ridiculous price as anywhere else, the difference for me has been the amount of financial aid offered. Even with the present economic condition Western still is offering financial aid through scholarships and grants. For the education I'm receiving and the experiences I'm accruing Western is amazing.
Tips for prospective students
Remember, even when it seems like you'll need a boat to cross the mudpuddles, the sun will return. Don't forget to have fun.
Great for these types of students
Western is great for people who enjoy the outdoors. Between Bellingham Bay, and Lakewood (Western's boathouse on a nearby lake where you can rent a sailboat, kayak or wind board for $4) there are many opportunities for water sports. Also, Mount Baker is a quick drive away and their are incredible hiking, camping, mountain climbing and biking opportunities in Bellingham. Academically I can speak as a science student. In my first year of college I was able to use equipment unavailable to students at a larger school like UW until their junior or senior years. Western has their own marine center at Shannon point and their are numerous research opportunities with the professors.
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Hannah from Camas, WA

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
If you're looking into Western's Honor's Program, this review will probably be helpful for you! If not, you might still get something out of it :)

My name's Hannah and I'm working towards multiple degrees in neuroscience and biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or psychology.

Let me start this by saying that I was blown away at the difference between high school and this university. The professors here care so much more than my previous instructors. If you don't understand something and you need extra help, they will go out of their ways just to make it clearer for you. The learning isn't just text book based, either. My life experience has grown tremendously since I started going to classes here.

Western is all about being green. No, I mean really. Other institutions say that they're green, but they ain't got nothin' on Western! Throwing away recyclable stuff is pretty much a sin here.

Classes for honors students cap at about 25 students, so the likelihood of being overlooked is minimized. Even in non-honors classes and lectures, there are fewer students than in other, larger universities. I do have one course with about 400 students, but it's an elective course.

Also, I feel over 9,000X more educated since I arrived here.
Am enjoying being here
Bellingham is absolutely beautiful. The view from the Viking Commons dining hall is breathtaking. The entire campus is paved in brick and it lies in the middle of a forest. The atmosphere is friendly and trusting, and everyone's willing to help one another out. Vikings ride bicycles and longboards and wear woolen sweaters and moccasins. We're pretty much in British Columbia, so be prepared for cold winters :)

The professors and administrators are patient and know what they're talking about. George Mariz, the head of the honors program, is a sweet guy and an excellent instructor. He is the advisor for honors students, so if you have any questions just Google him and you can find his contact info!
Bang for the buck
This school is relatively inexpensive compared to other universities, especially if you live in state. The problem is that we just had budget cuts, so I would recommend that prospective students keep track of the cost of this school's tuition and other expenses. The same is probably true for a lot of schools in Washington and across the country. Overall though, I feel as though my finances are VERY manageable here. I never feel strapped for cash. That being said, I must also let you know that I spend most of my money on important stuff like food, and I cut most other expenses.
Tips for prospective students
Get to know your professors! Sit towards the front and answer questions in class so they know that you're keeping up with the reading. Make sure to impress professors that are teaching a course that is integral to your major, because you never know if that professor will be able to pull some strings for you in the future.
Great for these types of students
Western is great for students who want a rigorous course load as well as for students who would rather not work as hard. It all depends on the courses you select.

For a student who picks courses like I do (challenging ones), I'd say that Western has a chill social atmosphere and a rigorous and creative academic perspective.

Mostly, this is a school for youthful, energetic, and liberally intellectual minds.
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Anthony from Seattle, WA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Being here at Western you learn in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom. But I assume like any other colleges, there are classes that get pretty dull or some of the material may not be delivered in the right fashion to some students. Just utilize your resources online and friends if possible about which professors have the most effective teaching methods. Outside of the classroom you learn to be independent if living away from home and you learn a lot about others who come from different backgrounds.
Am enjoying being here
Western is not too big such as other colleges in the state of Washington (UW) but it is not too small either. It's the perfect size to meet people and get around campus and the city. It gets very cold at times but that just comes along with the weather in the Pacific Northwest. The recreational center is very nice, there are basketball/volleyball courts, rock wall, swimming pool, weight room, lounge area and the equipment works great!
Bang for the buck
Bellingham is not too far or too close from where I live, which is in Seattle. It is not a large urban city but it is peaceful for the most part. Class sizes are not enormous aside from the few hundreds in lecture classes. And the courses you select depends on how thoroughly you look into what your class structures are like to see if you can mange it or not.
Tips for prospective students
When entering as a freshmen you do not want to take courses that are too difficult. Take classes that you can handle and gradually get acclimated with the college lifestyle. Get involved in clubs, intramurals, or other extra curricular activities that will enable you to meet people from other parts of the state or country.
Great for these types of students
IF you are a student that enjoys the outdoors and like nature, Western is almost the ideal place to go. There is a great view of the Bellingham Bay at the Viking Commons (1/3 of WWU Dining Halls) There is also an arboretum that you can explore as well.
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Connor from Bellingham, WA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Like any University, Western has it's good professor's as well as the bad ones. However, the large majority of professors here are extremely good at what they do. They are here because they love to teach, and it shows. Many of them are prepared to dedicate their own personal time to help students who are willing to put in the same effort. Many of my own professors have not only been good educators but have come to be close friends as well.
Am enjoying being here
Bellingham WA is one of the greatest small cities in America. It is situated right at the northwest corner of Washington and sits between the Ocean, Canada, and Mt. Baker which holds the world record for annual snowfall. Western fits perfectly into this atmosphere and provides the feeling of a small community within a decently sized and well respected University. The people here are very open and extremely friendly. There are a lot of very different characters around campus and embracing that diversity is a core goal at WWU.
Bang for the buck
Western is a moderately priced school and offers a great education for the money.
Tips for prospective students
If you are considering attending WWU there are a few things to keep in mind. The lower level classes can become quite large and reach over 200 students. Once you get into your discipline though class sizes drop dramatically and most students are able to receive some great one on one experience. With this in mind it is very important to speak up in classes. It can be very easy to be intimidated in a large classroom but by adding to the classroom discussion it becomes very easy to create a small classroom feel.
Great for these types of students
Western is a very progressive school. Anybody wishing to study education will be delighted by the different education programs offered at WWU. It is home to one of the oldest Environmental colleges in the country and also houses Fairhaven College, which is an alternative style program designed to give students a much more intimate education designed around group dialogue and community exploration.
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Kyle from Shoreline, WA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
beautiful campus full of friendly, welcoming people. a diverse amount of academic programs with excellence in many. in the middle of an awesome town with many attractions and places to go.
Tips for prospective students
you will love the campus and the people that live here. the classes are challenging but not overkill for a college freshman.
Academic Rigor
moderately challenging, the strictness of what you would expect of a college, but in many beginning classes the workload of what you might not expect of a college.
Dorm Life
a lot of awesome people live in the dorms at western. making friends is really easy most of the time, and the buildings are of nice quality (most of them). wireless internet is not present in all the buildings, which can be tedious at times, but not too much of a hassle. wasn't too difficult to become adjusted to.
Food and Dining
the food is decent most of the time, and sometimes very good. there are many options on campus including the three dining halls located near each cluster of dorms. there are several markets throughout the campus, one or more in each cluster of buildings, each with high quality, but most of the time expensive food and drink for sale.
What to do for fun
mt. baker is only about an hour and twenty minute drive from campus, providing excellent opportunities for hiking, camping, and skiing or snowboarding. downtown bellingham offers countless excellent restaurants and shops, and there are quite a few parks near by. larrabee state park is an excellent place to go on a hike, or go family camping.
Bang for the buck
without the aid of scholarships, living on campus and tuition can become quite expensive, but not nearly as much as university of washington, or any private school. with many highly acclaimed departments, an education here can be as good or better than any competing school.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
there is an arboretum on the east side of campus, with a watchtower, rope swing, and a couple of small log cabins.
Great for these types of students
great for students who are outdoorsy, are looking for a moderately good to excellent education (depending on your definition of good education), and who would appreciate the absence of a greek system.
Clubs and Activities
there are hundreds of clubs ad western, one for almost any type of activity. they meet regularly and are (sometimes) funded by the associated student body. they are easy to get involved in and very welcoming and friendly.
Greek Life
there is no greek system at wwu. this, i believe, is one of the upsides. there is no drama with getting into a fraternity or sorority, and definitely not as much untimely partying... save it for the weekends!
Campus Safety
there are not any criminal acts on campus that i have heard of during the six months i lived on campus. there are emergency help stations throughout the campus that you can activate, and public safety will promptly respond and show up to your aid.
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Student from Duvall, WA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Going to WWU you'll get an all-encompassing education. Because it is a liberal arts school you get to take a little bit of everything but still get to cater to your interests. For example, you have to take some science but you can take anything from biology to astronomy. You also don't feel like just a number because the usual big lecture classes are usually only 200 or so students, which is definitely enough to feel comfortable in and talk to the teachers (who do the teaching, not TAs, and they love what they do).
Am enjoying being here
The environment here is so homey, but still not out in the middle of nowhere. Bellingham is a lovely town with lots of things to do and places to explore and the people here are amazing. Bellingham and the campus are the types of places where you can walk down the sidewalk and smile at strangers who will smile back. And there is a place for everyone, whether you are into zombies and video games or into hiking through the woods, you will definitely be happy once you find your niche (which isn't hard).
Bang for the buck
For in state, WWU definitely gives you bang for the buck. It is a very good school, often rated as one of the best in the pacific northwest, while still being very moderately priced. There are also lots of scholarships and financial aid, as well as lots of amenities and options for everyone. Western really encourages its students to go out into the world and do something instead of just sitting in a room listening to lectures.
Tips for prospective students
Get out there. Say hello to people you sit next to, make conversation, get to know the people and places around you. Be curious, innovative, creative, and bold. If you go to WWU be prepared to become one with nature. It's usually rainy and windy so get a good raincoat and a pair of rain-boots. If you don't know if this is the place for you, spend a day here. Really get into it; sit in on a class, explore campus, explore downtown Bellingham, see a dorm room, talk to current and past students. You won't know what it is really like till you see it but once you do, you should know, it's a very open and welcoming campus.
Great for these types of students
Washingtonians (you know there's just something special about Washington), nature lovers, environmental activists (we are VERY eco-friendly here, and especially known for it), any activist for that matter (there is always volunteering going on), future educators (also known for our great education program), people that want the college experience but not just the typical brick buildings with tens of thousands of students.
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Travis from Kent, WA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
There is a huge variety of programs that you can take up here which is something considering it's strictly a liberal arts college. WWU is a great place to learn things that you never even knew existed in the world we live in today. One of the greatest things about the school is that every professor is not just teaching but also learning with you because they constantly encourage conversation in class on the issues that we are faced with today and in our past. The recognize us as the future and want to make sure that we can contribute as much as possible to that future. I've only been here for a year and a half but I have developed some very strong opinions about the school and its way that it goes about teaching its students. I have not run into a bad professor yet and even though it is still early in the game I'm extremely confident that the quality of my education will not cease to satisfy my needs.
Am enjoying being here
One of the greatest things about Western Washington University is the feeling you get when walking around campus as though nothing is hidden from your view and you have access to everything that your heart desires. Campus is such a comfortable environment to be in and I cannot think of any place on its location that doesn't have something to cherish. whether it be the Viking Union where you can just hangout with your friends and visit the bookstore looking at all the different school supplies and clothes you hope to one day be able to afford or sitting in the Viking Commons eating lunch while looking out over the bay and enjoying the view and the scenery that most definitely defines Bellingham as whole. Although the weather outside can be frightful, the people are so delightful and the professors are so helpful! College is an amazing experience and it really allows you to find out who you want to be but also who you have become so far. In high school who you were was defined by the classes you went to and the people you hung out with but in college the people you hangout with and the classes you take are defined by who you want to be and what you are interested in pursuing as a chance to show everyone how amazing you are. Western Washington University is your location to do this. We're up and coming so why not be part of the frenzy and join in on the fun that's going down in Bellingham, WA.
Tips for prospective students
When first arriving at the school no matter how awkward you may feel, do your best to go around and meet new people because you will most definitely run into them again whether it be a class or just on campus. The population is over 14,000 people now but it seems that no matter what the numbers you always seem to see those that you have met before. Another tidbit of information is to take the tour of campus and go around as often as possible to the different buildings on your free time and go inside to find the best study spots because you will be needing those down the road. For the most part everyone is friendly up here at Western and in Bellingham so don't be afraid to smile and enjoy yourself here. Oh, side note, get acquainted with Bellingham! It is an amazing town with some of the coolest spots any town could ask for. You will consider yourself fortunate to be in such a friendly, fun, relaxed place while chasing after your career.
Great for these types of students
Students who are serious about having fun with their studies and their friends. Students who like good food, community and hilarious professors. Students who don't know exactly what they want to do but know they want the college experience as a whole. Students that like relaxing and absorbing as much as possible from everyone around them. Students who appreciate a beautiful view and are pulled towards sheer fun.
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