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Whittier College
"Diverse, challenging, life-changing -- just a few of the adjectives students use to describe...

Whittier College

Whittier, California

What Really Matters.


From its inception, Whittier was not designed to be like any other school. In 1887, its Quaker founders opened the doors of Whittier to persons of both genders and every race, placing the college at the forefront of social awareness. Although Whittier’s official affiliation with the Society of Friends ended in the 1930’s, the fundamental Quaker belief – that every individual has unique gifts to develop and share – is reflected throughout campus life today.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,645 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
44% male — 56% female
16% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
116 full-time faculty
72 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
70% of first year students live on campus
50% of all students live on campus

School Location

Whittier, California—at the crossroads of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, 18 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences x
Common Intellectual Experiences x
Learning Communities x
Writing-Intensive Courses x
Collaborative Assignments and Projects x
Undergraduate Research x
Diversity/Global Learning x
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning x
Internships/Coops/Practicums x
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience x

Retention Fall 2015

81% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 year graduation rate 2015

66% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 3%
Hispanic/Latino 44%
Black or African American 5%
White 31%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 10%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division III, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. 22 varsity sports (11 men’s: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field, water polo; 11 women’s: basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, water polo).

Other Information

Whittier College is a four-year, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1887.

Academic Programs

Anthropology, Art- History Track, Art- Studio Track, Biochemistry, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Child Development, Chinese, Comparative Cultures, Economics, English, English- Creative Writing Emphasis, Environmental Science, Film Studies, French, Global and Cultural Studies, History, Japanese, Kinesiology & Nutrition Science, Mathematics, Mathematics/Business Administration, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science; Pre-Professional Studies: Athletic Training, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Veterinary Science; Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre and Communication Arts, Whittier Scholars Program, Gender and Women’s Studies.

Design Your Own Curriculum

While few colleges offer a design-your-own-curriculum option, Whittier College offers the Whittier Scholars Program. This unique option provides students an opportunity to construct a personalized educational program. In addition to seminars and classes with professors from across the academic spectrum, the Whittier Scholars program incorporates off-campus learning opportunities. The goal is the creation of unique and specialized educational programs that succeed in challenging students to become critical thinkers and researchers. Marc Beylerian, class of 1996, designed his own major in international business and now uses his skills to import fabric from Vietnam and China. Oswaldo Rodriguez, class of 1991, used the Whittier Scholars Program to research a particular protein’s involvement with Alzheimer’s disease, before going on to earn his MD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Study Abroad

Whittier College offers a number of study-abroad opportunities for students. Traditionally, nearly two-thirds of Whittier students have taken advantage of semester-long programs as part of their four-year curriculum. Study abroad is encouraged for students in a number of majors, and many students choose to participate in the Denmark International Studies International Business Program in Copenhagen, Denmark. Students have also taken advantage of programs in Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and more.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN X
Music ensembles X
Musical theater  
Pep band  
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra  
Television station X
Yearbook X

Faculty and Students

Offering personalized attention for students, Whittier boasts faculty whose commitment to education is paramount. Professors at Whittier are like explorers, leading students on expeditions to discover new worlds each and every day. The student to faculty ratio is thirteen to one, while the average class size is nineteen. Perhaps it is because of these small classes or Whittier’s tradition of fostering personal growth in the classroom–or maybe it’s a function of who they are–but professors at Whittier College are driven to facilitate the discussion and dissection of ideas. Beyond the classroom, professors are part of the environment in which students live. Some professors live at Faculty Masters’ houses, where resident professors regularly host one-of-a-kind educational experiences that complement classroom learning. Recent examples of events at Faculty Masters’ houses include a visit by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Young Hollywood lecture series, henna tattooing, board game and movie nights, a Valentine’s Day card-making party, and more.

Freshman Writing

The freshman writing courses offer dynamic classroom discussions on subjects across the academic spectrum. These courses provide fodder, both for improving writing skills and creating engaging papers, while exposing students to the individual attention and personalized instruction that form the core of the Whittier experience.

Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Learning

Collaborative teaching is common at Whittier. The Whittier experience is rooted in the liberal arts tradition, embracing interdisciplinary understanding at every level. By providing broad educational exposure, Whittier students gain the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world in which disciplines and ideas intersect. In Whittier’s paired courses, the curriculum links classes from different departments in order to more fully explore a range of thoughts and study, facilitating the application of ideas in new and interesting directions. For example, a biology course and sociology course merge to create a pair called globalization and the environment. Not all classes are paired, but those that are stem from a commitment to look beyond a narrow view—to instead see the wider picture.

Research and Fieldwork

At Whittier, students work in active collaboration with professors who are leaders in their fields. Together they conduct research projects to push the boundaries of knowledge and inquiry. For example, students might support faculty members with their professional, academic investigations, or at other times faculty might assist students in pursuing groundbreaking new research. As a result, Whittier students often go on to participate in conferences and other academic conclaves across the nation.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 76 148 154 21 4 4 1 408

Let Your Life Speak

Since its founding in 1887, Whittier College has been a place of academic integrity as well as educational innovation. Whittier is a community where the exchange of ideas is rigorous and challenging, and where students are given an intellectual grounding that will serve them throughout their lives, as scholars, as professionals, and as responsible world citizens. While Whittier College no longer has a formal affiliation with the Quakers (Whittier became an independent college in the 1930s), many of the traditions and values are evident within the community. The long academic tradition—grounded in the Quaker quest for knowledge and personal growth—aims to foster in students an appreciation for the complexities of the modern world and workplace, while never losing sight of the importance of social responsibility.

Ways to Engage

With social clubs and service organizations spanning a wide spectrum of interests and pursuits, Whittier students don’t just read about places and ideas, they engage at every level. Numerous clubs and organizations offer an academic outlet, including Whittier’s own brand of fraternities and sororities called societies, as well as intramural sports, Division III athletics, student government, internships, and more.

Uptown Whittier

Near to the College, Uptown Whittier offers a historic district full of coffee houses, boutique shops, restaurants, and a movie theatre. For those students who want to escape suburban and city life, the hills behind the College are among the few remaining undeveloped strips of land in Southern California complete. A corresponding nature corridor runs from campus to the famous beaches that line the Pacific Ocean.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Internships and Professional Development

Career and professional development is not a one-time event, but a dynamic and ongoing process engaged throughout a lifetime. From career exploration, career preparation, and building career connections, Whittier’s Center for Career and Professional Development provides one-on-one counseling and coaching to students and alumni.  Internship options are abundant for Whittier students. California has always been considered on the edge of social change and innovation, and Whittier College is a vital part of those advances. At the intersection of Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California, Whittier is minutes away from the heart of the most dynamic city in the nation, a center of art, commerce, and ideas.  Students have interned with New Line Cinema, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Martin Sound Studio, Disneyland Resort College Program, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, Merrill Lynch, Yamaha Instruments, Growthink Research, the American Red Cross, and Valvoline, just to name a few.

A Record That Speaks for Itself

If you want to know the real value of a Whittier education, look to their graduates. Four Whittier students have won Rhodes Scholarships; many others have been state and regional finalists for the prestigious award. Many Whittier graduates continue their studies at prestigious institutions, such as the medical schools of Boston University, Cornell University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, UCLA and Yale, or the law schools of Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, and Vanderbilt. Whittier grads have also been admitted to a wide range of outstanding graduate schools such as Boston College, Carnegie-Mellon University, Columbia University, Duke University, New York University, Northwestern University, Oxford, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and Stanford University

Notable Whittier alumni include Richard Nixon ’34 (U.S. President), Ann Daley ’67 (Assistant Treasurer for the State of Washington), Fred Anderson ’62 (Chief Financial Officer, Apple Computers), Darrell Walker ’76 (Vice President for Business Affairs, Columbia Studios), Robert Zemsky ’62 (Founding Director of the Institute For Higher Research in Education), and Roy “RJ” Clason ’84 (Vice-President for Corporate Communications, Dell Computer Corporation).


Admissions Fall 2015

5,192 Total Applicants
3,251 Total Admissions
445 Total Freshmen Enrollment

62.62% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Application Essay
Character/personal qualities

Standardized test scores
Extracurricular activities
Volunteer work

Class rank
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Racial/ethnic status
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 463 580
SAT Math 470 590
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 26
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    

How to Apply

Whittier exclusively accepts the Common Application (www.commonapp.org). Students must also submit a $50 application fee (fee waivers accepted), essay, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and SAT I or ACT with writing scores. Whittier has a test-optional policy for students with a high school GPA above a 3.0,

The best way to know if Whittier College is right for you is to plunge right in. Want to talk to a professor about pre-med studies? Sit in on a philosophy class? Watch a lacrosse game? Whittier can arrange it all. Just tell them how much time you can spend on campus – from an hour to an overnight stay – and they’ll create an itinerary tailored to your interests. Whittier invites you to explore the campus at your convenience. Ready to set up your visit? Simply visit the Whittier College website (www.whittier.edu).


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $44,184
Fees $590
Total $44,774
Room and Board (on campus) $12,902
Estimated Total On Campus $57,676


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 Estimated

$35,803 First year students
$31,278 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 Estimated

77% on average, the percentage of need that was met
16% of financial need students that had need fully met

$31,278 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$5,519 Average need-based loan

Scholarship Information

John Greenleaf Whittier Scholarships and Poet Awards: Merit award given based on academic achievement and/or leadership in extracurricular activities. Financial need is not a requirement for this award which ranges from $5,000 to full tuition.

Talent Scholarship: Merit-based scholarships awarded for talent in art, music, and theatre (acting or stage management/design/technology). Audition dates for music and theatre are determined by each department. Art applicants must submit a portfolio. Scholarships range from $1,000-$12,000. Winners do not have to major or minor in discipline to be eligible.

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