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Washington and Lee University


Washington and Lee University is a gorgeous college with an even more beautiful campus that is close to the Virginia Military Institute. Founded in 1749 as the Augusta Academy, it originally offered a small number of courses designed to help students gain skills needed for working in some of the more common local jobs. It added Washington to its name after George Washington himself donated a large amount of money to the school. After Robert E. Lee took over the running of the school, it changed its name once again to reflect the two most important men in its history.

Washington & Lee University accepts fewer than 30% of all those who apply, which makes it one of the most selective schools in the past. Its selective admission process also led to the university developing a strong reputation. Forbes puts out an annual list of the best American colleges and recently ranked Washington & Lee at number 29 on its list. Both Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report recognized the school as one of the top liberal arts schools in the nation as well, and both listed the university within the top 25. This private university has around 2,200 students and admits a small number each year to keep its ratio of students to professors down.

Washington and Lee University Accreditation Details

Though Washington & Lee is a relatively small college, it has accreditation from some of the top organizations. Accreditation generally falls into two categories: regional or program. Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). SACS accreditation ensures that students graduate from an accredited university and receive a degree. It also allows students to seek student financial aid from the federal government in the form of loans and grants. Program accreditation means that individual programs within the school and its various departments have specialty accreditation.

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications awarded the university accreditation for its program in journalism. Its law program has accreditation from the American Bar Association, which means that students can sit for the Bar exam to become a lawyer after graduation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business granted the university accreditation for its business programs, and it also has accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council for its teaching programs.

Washington and Lee University Application Requirements

Students can apply to Washington & Lee for either regular decision or early decision. Early decision is best for those who pick the school as their top choice. They will usually receive a response by the end of December. Those applying for early decision must also sign an agreement that states they will attend the university and that they will not apply to any other schools for an early decision. Regular decision students will receive an answer in the early spring or even sooner. Washington & Lee uses the common application, which refers to a website that lets students create an account and submit the different requirements needed for applying to multiple schools. Unlike other colleges that require an essay as part of the common application, Washington & Lee only requires a special section that asks students about their backgrounds.

Other requirements include official test scores. Students need to either take the critical reading, writing and math sections of the SAT or the math, science, English and reading sections of the ACT. Students must also submit an official transcript, a recommendation from a school counselor, a secondary school report, their grades in the middle of the year and the final grades they received at the end of the year.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees at Washington & Lee can top $62,000 a year when factoring in the cost of room and board. Students pay around $45,000 a year for tuition alone. This figure includes the cost of taking a full course load of up to 18 credit hours every semester. Those who enroll on a part time basis pay less, and the amount they pay depends on the number of credits they take. Washington & Lee also includes the cost of textbooks and personal expenses into this figure. Staying in a single dorm room will cost more than living in a double room with a roommate will.

The W&L Promise is a unique program that the university offers for students who come from families making less than $75,000 a year. This program provides students with grants and other financial assistance that pays for their tuition. The university also offers grants and work-study programs that can help students cover their room and board costs. Washington & Lee also has Johnson scholarships that go to more than 40 students every year who cannot afford the cost of attending the university. Qualified students who demonstrate a high amount of need can often attend the university without taking out a single loan.

Student Experience

Washington & Lee has approximately six students for every professor working on campus, which is one of the lowest ratios of students to professors in the country. The university also offers a number of opportunities for students, including the Shepherd Poverty Program, which lets students gain experience working with homeless and poor families in the area. The spring term immersion is another unique program that allows students to study a more unique topic for four straight weeks in the spring. Students might study art overseas, the environment in Virginia or even historic battlefields across the south.

There are more than 30 programs available through the university that provide additional study opportunities for students. The poverty studies department goes beyond the simple social work courses that most colleges offer and give students real hands on experiences. Many of the foreign language programs offered by Washington & Lee, including its Portuguese and Japanese programs, give students the option of studying abroad for a semester or longer. Students enrolled in the history program can choose a concentration in American, European or global history. Many gain additional experience through an independent study project or an internship during the last year of their history studies. Washington and Lee University allows students studying any subject in any department the chance to create an independent study project or do fieldwork for course credit.