Whitman is among 40 colleges nationwide included in the newest edition of Colleges that Change Lives, a guidebook by acclaimed New York Times education writer Loren Pope and revised by Hilary Masell Oswald.
In selecting colleges to include, the popular guidebook identifies “the characteristics that are at the heart of a college’s ability to enrich and empower students.” Among these characteristics are a collaborative versus competitive learning style, strong sense of community and students who value their time in the classroom beyond simply getting a degree.
In its chapter on Whitman, the guidebook describes a "near perfect formula" of work and play:
"Whitman strikes the right balance: Its academic program is serious; its focus on social justice, earnest; and its playfulness, healthy."
The chapter also reports on many of the qualities and programs that help distinguish and define Whitman, including:
- Students who apply what they learn to how they live
- Strong interest in community service
- Student academic advisors who help first-year students adjust to college-level course work
- The Encounters program, which provides a shared academic foundation for all students
- A friendly, diverse community founded on principles of mutual respect and support
- An active theatre department, outdoor program, radio station and intramural sports scene
- A 24-hour health center and library where students compete to be the last person left studying each night.
- Semester in the West, an interdisciplinary field program in environmental studies
- Dedicated faculty eager to collaborate on research partnerships with students.
- A high percentage of graduates who receive prestigious fellowships or go on to attend graduate school
"As an institution featured in the original 1994 edition and a founding member of Colleges That Change Lives, Whitman's association with the book and the concept of colleges that Loren Pope touted has been a positive influence for Whitman," said Tony Cabasco dean of admission and financial aid. "Loren Pope's book and concept is widely read and admired, and many prospective students point to the book as one of their reasons for considering Whitman."
In addition to student and faculty feedback, the Whitman chapter includes information about the look and feel of the campus, academic rigor, research opportunities and percentage of students who receive financial aid from the college (about 80 percent).