Whitman’s legacy of academic excellence, its unmatched campus culture and the impressive achievements of its faculty, students and alumni have once again contributed to earning high praise for the college in a number of 2010-2011 rankings and college guide publications. From recognition as the best college in the Pacific Northwest to a top-15 ranking for its esteemed faculty, Whitman’s reputation as a premier liberal arts college is annually affirmed by third-party ranking organizations.

“Though the breadth of the Whitman experience cannot be defined simply by a number on a ranking list, I am pleased that the college is consistently recognized as one of the top schools in the nation,” President George Bridges said. “The methodology for many of these rankings relies largely on student surveys – making Whitman’s high standing a tribute to our respected faculty, dedicated staff and a diverse student body comprised of some of the brightest young minds in the country.”

Here’s a round-up of current rankings:



Forbes’ annual ranking of “America’s Best Colleges” has placed Whitman at No. 16 on its list of 610 colleges and universities across the nation. The ranking also brands Whitman as the top college in the Pacific Northwest. Based in large part on student input, the list takes into account a range of dimensions including the quality of education, enjoyment of classes and overall academic experience, student achievement and post-college success.


The Princeton Review: "The 373 Best Colleges"

Whitman is once again featured in The Princeton Review’s flagship publication, “The Best 373 Colleges.” The publication recognizes included colleges in a variety of Top-20 categories. Based on student interviews, Whitman appears on the following Princeton Review ranking lists for 2010-11:

  • Best Classroom Experience (18th)
  • Professors Get High Marks (11th)
  • School Runs Like Butter (16th)
  • Best College Theater (14th)
  • Everyone Plays Intramural Sports (15th)
  • Best College Radio Station (17th)

Whitman is also included in The Princeton Review’s list of “Best Western Colleges,” which identifies “colleges and universities that we feel stand out within each region,” according to the publisher. “From hundreds of institutions we reviewed in each region, we selected these colleges and universities primarily for their excellent academic programs. We also took into account what students attending the schools reported to us about their campus experiences ... Our ‘regional best’ colleges constitute only 25 percent of the nation's four-year colleges – a select group, indeed. We believe our choices offer applicants and their parents a wide range of fine schools to consider.”

US News

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report continues to rank Whitman in its top-40 national liberal arts colleges. Ranked overall at No. 38 out of 266 institutions, Whitman is in the top-25 for its student selectivity and alumni giving rates. U.S. News uses a variety of criteria to develop its list, ranging from graduation and retention rates, for which Whitman ranks 21, to faculty resources, for which Whitman ranks 30.

Whitman also ranks No. 3 on U.S. News' list of "Up-and-Coming National Liberal Arts Colleges," reflecting responses from the peer assessment survey about institutions "that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life," according to the publisher's Web site.

The Princeton Review: "Best Value Colleges"

Whitman College is named one of the nation’s 50 “Best Value” private colleges and universities by the Princeton Review. Whitman is the only private college in the Pacific Northwest to appear on the annual ranking of “Best Value Colleges for 2011,” which includes 50 public and 50 private institutions. The Princeton Review partners with USA Today to publish the Best Value schools. The Web site reports that the factors most influencing Whitman’s “Bang for your buck” include the college’s suite of scholarships. Specifically noted among the array of need- and merit-based scholarships Whitman offers, the ranking highlights the Paul Garrett Scholarship for men, the Claire Sherwood Memorial Scholarship for Women and the Eells Scholarship.

Washington Monthly

Washington Monthly Washington Monthly ranks Whitman 16th in the nation in its “Best Colleges” rankings, which are based on measures related to social mobility, research and service. The number of fellowships received by our students contributes to this ranking. Since 1999, award-winning Whitman students include: 48 Fulbright scholars, 15 Watson Fellows, seven Udall Scholars, four Truman Scholars, 15 National Science Foundation Fellows, one Rhodes Scholar, one Scoville Peace Fellow, one Pickering Undergraduate Fellow and one Killam Scholar. 


Parade logo

The annual college ranking season continues with Parade’s release of its “College A-List,” which ranks Whitman as a top college in a number of categories, including “Small Private Schools,” “Art Programs” and “Pre-Med.” The publication highlights the unique Whitman experience, reporting that “Whitman has excellent academics and a strong sense of community on campus – students are collaborative not competitive. Faculty are easily accessible and so is the president, who is extremely personable.” The round-up also makes special mention of Penrose Library, adding, “This is a college for and about students. The library, for example, is always open. Always.”

The “A-List,” which appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of Parade, is based on the recommendations of 43 top high school guidance counselors across the country. See the article online here.


Sierra Magazine


Sierra magazine’s fourth annual “Coolest Schools” survey ranks Whitman at No. 72. To get its rankings, Sierra sends to 900 schools an 11-page questionnaire that explores sustainability efforts, including such variables as energy supply, efficiency, food and transport. (illustration by Aesthetic Apparatus, photo by Lori Eanes.) 



Whitman College has once again placed in the top-30 of Kiplinger’s annual ranking of “Best Values In Private Colleges.” The 2010 list ranks the college No. 26 out of 100 private liberal arts schools in the nation, reflecting Whitman’s enduring legacy of providing quality education and exceptional value.


Whitman’s ranking makes it the best value among schools of its kind in the Northwest, and one of just five private liberal arts colleges in the entire Western United States to place in the top-30.

Read more here.

Sustainable Endowments Institute

The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) has given Whitman College a B grade on its 2011 College Sustainability Report Card. Whitman’s green grade has moved from a C- to a B- to a B over the past three years as a result of ongoing improvements in responsible environmental practices and systems.

The annual report card provides in-depth sustainability profiles for more than 300 colleges in all 50 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces. Whitman was recognized for accomplishments across a number of categories, including a 22 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 levels, and the installation of energy-saving technologies such as heat recovery systems, lighting sensors and high-efficiency lighting.