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Washington College
"Washington College has been providing an outstanding liberal arts education since the earliest days...

Washington College

Chestertown, Maryland

A proud history of putting the liberal arts into practice

Washington College offers an outstanding liberal arts education with a strong focus on American heritage, self-designed interdisciplinary study, and hands-on learning. The campus’s location on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and its enticing combination of a small town environment and close proximity to large cities makes for an almost perfect setting.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
1,467 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
48% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
97 full-time faculty
56 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Highly residential: 80% of students live on campus. Students are required to live on campus during their first two years. 29 residence halls with a total capacity for 1142 students.

School Location

Chestertown, Maryland—on the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore, 75 miles from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Retention Fall 2014

85% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

74% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 10%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 3%
White 73%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 6%


NCAA Division III, Centennial Conference. 18 varsity sports (8 men’s: baseball, basketball, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis; 10 women’s: basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball; 1 coed: sailing). Club teams and intramurals are also offered, plus an Equestrian Team and a wakeboarding team.

Other Information

Washington College is a private, liberal arts college founded in 1782.

Academic Programs

American Studies, Accounting & Finance, Anthropology, Art and Art History,  Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology, Black Studies, Business Management, Chemistry, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Drama, Earth and Planetary Science, Economics, English, Environmental and Chesapeake Regional Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, Human Development, Humanities, Information Systems, International Literature & Culture, International Studies, Justice, Law & Society, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology.

The college also offers students the possibility to create self-directed majors.

More Distinctions

  • Ranked among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in US News & World Report.

  • Included among US News & World Report’s List of Top Ten “Up and Coming” Colleges.

  • Named one of the Best Values in Private Colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

  • Ranked in “100 Colleges That Are Better Than You Think” in Jay Mathews’sHarvard Schmarvard, as well as one of his Top 10 "Hidden Gems".

  • Recognized by the Princeton Review for inclusion in its Best 373 Colleges guide.

  • One of 276 colleges in America to be granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

A place of opportunity

Washington College empowers students to become the kind of strong leaders and active independent learners the world needs…


Washington’s dedication to connecting students to the world begins in the first year when students take Global Perspectives: Research and Writing (GRW) seminars. Being a contemporary citizen requires the ability to consider problems and issues from international and global perspectives. Global Perspectives seminars, required for first-year students, offer a range of courses that encourage thinking beyond national boundaries. Topics may include global warming, world hunger, nuclear proliferation, or post-colonial literature.


The most popular majors are biology (including pre-med), business management, English, history, international studies, political science, and psychology. WC’s vibrant creative writing program benefits the entire campus community by bringing writers such as Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and The Onion’s featured editor, Joe Garden, to campus for seminars, dinners, and time with students.


Biology and environmental studies majors take advantage of WC’s waterfront location and facilities, where students conduct fieldwork during the school year. During the summer, students can participate in fieldwork trips to Bermuda, Ecuador, and Mount Desert Island.


Aspiring writers can enjoy the facilities of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, a living/learning community for writers. They may also explore the landscape of the Romantics during a summer program at Kiplin Hall in England. Every year, one fortunate graduating senior is selected to receive the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate prize in the nation. Recent winners have received over sixty thousand dollars to help them pursue the creative life after graduation.


WC’s flagship academic enrichment program, the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows, offers funding to students for a variety of self-directed projects. Requiring a grade point average of 3.6 or better, membership in the Cater Society is highly competitive and offered only to students who achieve distinction among the school’s top scholars. Junior Fellows who have completed independent projects give short presentations to the entire campus community about their experiences. Recent funded internships have been with the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC; the British Museum; the dolphin research program at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Hawaii; the Philadelphia Theater Company; and the International Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.


Students may also take advantage of the opportunities offered by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience to explore the rich American heritage of the Chestertown region, including a public archaeology laboratory housed in the college’s restored colonial-era Custom House on the Chester River. The Center for the Study of the Environment and Society also helps sponsor underwater archaeological explorations of the Chester River.

Leaders committed to putting students first

Members of the Washington College faculty are leaders in their fields with real-life experience who put their students first and challenge them to be independent thinkers…


“This school is as challenging as you want to make it,” says one WC student. Students appreciate the college’s emphasis on self-direction. It’s not uncommon for professors to let students set class test dates and other deadlines. In return, they expect students to use their freedom wisely. The relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere promotes good discussion and collaborative learning, which proves to be great practice for tomorrow’s community and business leaders. When surveyed, 96 percent of students rank faculty accessibility as excellent, and WC alumni consistently cite “exceptional faculty” as the one factor that most enhanced their experiences at the college.


As the tenth-oldest college in the nation, WC continues to follow the ideals of its presidential namesake: a better future achieved through education, respect for scholarship, and high standards for leadership, character, and service. As one professor puts it, “You won’t be told what to think, but you’ll learn how to think, to express, and to live life to the very fullest.” While traditional in form, WC offers students a progressive atmosphere in which there is a strong concern for environmental issues and a keen awareness of the area’s rich history and heritage.

A community with something for everyone

Washington College students have the opportunity to explore a multitude of interests and activities outside of the classroom. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a great setting for rigorous academic pursuits…


The comfortable and relaxed atmosphere of the small, historic community of Chestertown, Maryland, is shared by WC’s intimate campus. Nearly 80 percent of WC’s students live on campus. WC offers themed residences such as the Leadership and Service house, in which students agree to perform community and campus service. Service organizations range from well-known programs like Habitat for Humanity, Amnesty International, and the Special Olympics to local environmental programs like Furthering Outreach in the community and Environment (FORCE) and Neighbors for Good. The fraternity and sorority community at Washington is also active in service, sponsoring fundraising and other charitable events throughout the year.


WC offers over seventy clubs, a strong athletics program, and frequent concerts on campus. The college has a vibrant theatre program that’s open to majors and non-majors alike. The Riverside Players, for example, sponsor a number of programs, including the Royal Fakespeare Players, a parodic Shakespearean acting troupe. WC also offers a variety of intercollegiate and club sports, including rugby and equestrian programs.


Chestertown is located on the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore, which is forty-five minutes from Annapolis and ninety minutes from Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Chestertown offers coffeehouses, art galleries, and a vibrant community theater in a peaceful, small-town setting. Local residents attend college events, such as lectures given by top-notch speakers, including Senator John McCain, Ralph Nader, and Plácido Domingo. WC also hosts other community events and fundraisers, and many students are involved as members of local environmental clubs and even the local volunteer fire department.

A proud history of great outcomes

Washington College has a proud tradition of working with students to generate great outcomes…


Students praise WC’s career services program for its strong influence. “They will find ways to help you do what you want to do,” one student explained. About 25 percent of WC students attend graduate school at top-ranked institutions within their first year of graduation. WC alumni are proud of their college and serious about preserving it; alumni regularly participate in fundraising and other school events.


Washington’s alumni testify to the breadth of preparation available at the school as well as to its commitment to public-minded service. Their varied paths mix community service, alumni loyalty, and creativity in a way that would surely please the school’s most public-minded namesake. Noted literary alumni range from classic, James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, to the contemporary, Jonathan Segal, senior editor at Knopf. Other notable alumni include:

  • Actress Linda Hamilton;
  • Harris Whitbeck, an international correspondent for CNN
  • Joe McLain, a pioneer in pyrotechnic chemistry
  • Louis Goldstein, the longest-serving politician in the state of Maryland
  • Ralph Snyderman, a genetics researcher and former chancellor for health affairs at Duke University


Admissions Fall 2014

5,318 Total Applicants
2,960 Total Admissions
388 Total Freshmen Enrollment

55.66% of applicants admitted

The number of applicants to Washington College has been steadily growing, doubling over the past five years.  This year, the College will receive 4,750 applications for an entering class of 430 freshmen.

  • Average high school GPA of the admitted applicant pool for 2012-2013 is 3.48. 66% took one or more Advanced Placement courses in high school, 64% were in the top 25% of their high school class, and 40% were members of the National Honor Society.
  • Washington College accepts scores from both the SAT-I and ACT, however, SAT-II (formerly Achievement Tests) scores are not required. There is no minimum cut-off score, however, the middle 50% of accepted applicants have SAT-I scores in the –1070-1230 range.

Admissions Deadlines

Preference in admission and financial aid decisions will be given to students who apply on or before February 1. Early Decision applicants have an application deadline of November 15. Early Action applicants have a deadline of December 1, and Regular Admission applicants have a deadline of March 1. Admission decisions are issued biweekly from mid-December through the end of March.


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $ 41,596
Fees $ 996
Total $ 42,592
Room and Board (on campus) $ 10,010
Room Only $ 5,084
Board Only $ 4,926
Estimated Total On Campus $ 52,602


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

95% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
77% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$23,114 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$7,024 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Engaging Students for Success

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