Colorful foliage in front of Penrose Library on an autum day.
The sunset illuminates fall foliage in front of Penrose Library.

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Photography by Matt Banderas '04

Whitman College is a "hidden gem," according to college planning website College Raptor's 2018 rankings. The publication recognized Whitman on its lists of "Hidden U.S. Gems" and "Hidden Northwest Gems."

Schools with fewer than 7,000 enrolled students are considered for the "hidden gem" category, with one school per state selected for "Hidden U.S. Gems": Whitman made the cut for Washington. For the regional rankings, Whitman led the way out of 17 institutions named "Hidden Northwest Gems," with three in Washington.  

A combination of other factors influences these scores, including a college's number of applications, graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student and other key metrics reported by the National Center for Education Statistics for the most recently available enrollment year.  

"Institutions like Whitman ... go beyond academic excellence and invest in an environment that provides the best educational outcomes for their students," said Bill Staib, College Raptor's CEO. "They deserve the spotlight."  

In its overall ranking for 2018, College Raptor rated Whitman 85 of the 300 four-year nonprofit colleges and universities listed, up from 95 last year.  

Whitman also ranked No. 5 for "Top 25 Best Colleges in the Northwest" and No. 20 for the national "Top 25 Best Small Colleges," with small colleges defined as having fewer than 2,000 students.  

College Raptor is a tool that offers side-by-side comparisons of estimated financial aid packages along with simplified campus match scores and admission chances. The site previously highlighted Whitman for its first-year retention rate and student-faculty ratio, among other categories.