Washington and Lee University This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


    Lexington, VA: When people talkabout competitive colleges, they usually mention places in the Northeast. TheSouth, however, has many prestigious schools that are often overlooked. Oneexample is charming Washington and Lee University.

Washington and Lee isperfect for someone looking for a small school in a rural area. Only 451 studentsare enrolled in the class of 2004. The entire school consists of 1,700undergraduates and 350 law students. The town of Lexington only has 6,000residents.

The town and college's small sizes do not mean there are fewpeople to meet. Washington and Lee borders Virginia Military Institute, whichgreatly increases the number of college kids in the area.

To make up forthe lack of activities in Lexington, the university hosts many social events.Washington and Lee has various clubs and organizations, as well as severalfraternities and sororities. The "speaking tradition," which requiresall students and faculty members to greet each other when they pass on thecampus, promotes a strong social atmosphere.

The school's small sizeencourages close relationships between students. The student to faculty ratio of9:1 also helps create a community of trust and respect.

Students abide byan honor system created by former university president Civil War General RobertE. Lee, who wanted all students to act as gentlemen; tests are not proctored andstudents who violate the honor code are disciplined (and in many cases, expelled)by a student court rather than university administrators.

Washington andLee is a competitive school for intelligent, involved students. Among the classof 2004, 57 were valedictorians or salutatorians, 57 edited school publications,57 were presidents or vice presidents of their senior classes and 196 belong tothe National Honor Society. Fifty-seven percent of the applicants from the firstdecile of their class were accepted.

One drawback to Washington and Leeis its extreme lack of diversity. Although it boasts that the class of 2004represents 36 states, I saw very few minority students.

Anyone looking fora small, competitive school in a rural area should consider Washington and Lee.If a diverse student body is one of your priorities, however, Washington and Leeis not the place for you.


Reviewed in 2001


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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