Social responsibility embodies a core mission at Whittier College. Founded by Quakers, the school seeks to broaden the lives of its students with Quaker goals of personal growth and the quest for complete and well-rounded education. By means of non-traditional educational elements such as L.E.A.P., the Whittier Scholars Program, and study abroad, students are encouraged to take a place in the local community while developing an understanding of their role in the broader, national and global communities. In these ways, the Quaker goal of personal growth is both fulfilled and enhanced by the institution.
Whittier College provides students with direct attention from professors that hold advanced degrees, a solid support system and plenty of room for growth. Some of the more popular majors at Whittier College include biology, biological science and general criminal justice. Students are encouraged to challenge their own education by participating in classes that are outside their major of study to enrich their experience.
Whittier College was established in 1887 on the Religious Society of Friend’s mission of education, personal development and global involvement. In honor of the Quaker heritage, the school was founded on the strong belief that community service and global involvement were imperative to fulfill civilian duties. The initial goal of the Quaker founders was to create a stable environment where students could learn and appreciate all that the world had to offer, including technology, history and social relationships.
By 1893, the college had constructed the first building on campus, Founders Hall, which still stands in existence today. During this time, all school-related activities were held in Founders Hall until future buildings were completed. It was not until 1901 that the school was fully chartered. In 1912 several seniors, as a prank, installed the infamous Rock on campus, which still stands as a historical icon on campus grounds. During this same time period, the College became a national icon for varsity sports, competing against schools such as UCLA and Berkeley.
The very first class to enroll at Whittier College consisted of only 25 students, and Whittier’s history reflects the struggle to maintain its Quaker roots. Over the years the college managed to hang on, through both World War I and World War II, at one point becoming home to military and naval soldiers. By the late 1930s however, Whittier had renounced its official ties to the Quaker movement and developed an independent academic structure for students. This new structure continued the traditional focus on education and civility, while incorporating a larger scale of diversity, in both the curriculum and the student body.
Today, Whittier College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. Whittier Law Programs are accredited by the American Bar Association since 1978 and the school has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1987. The school enrolls roughly 1600 students and has a 74 acre campus near Los Angeles California. Diversity has continued to be crucial to the school’s modern development; the student body as well as the curriculum itself reflect that fact and mission.
Students at Whittier College can take advantage of over 31 majors and professional programs. All students are encouraged to maintain active lives on campus – both socially and academically. Whittier College strives to provide a stable environment for students to showcase and develop their skills and abilities, whether in the work place or personal lives. This empowers them to balance their skill sets as evenly as their daily schedules – between professional learning experiences and social community involvement.
Students typically take four classes in the fall, one during January Term, and four classes in the spring. Students who follow this basic model and work with their advisers should have no problem graduating in four years.
The January Term is optional for Whittier students, but most will take advantage of it because it’s included in the fees. During the January term, there are plenty of not-so-standard course offerings like “Experimental Economics,” “Japanese Ghost Stories,” and “Baseball, Literature and Film.” Some students take advantage of the January term to go abroad. Courses in this session help fulfill graduation requirements.
One optional academic program available to students is the Whittier Scholars Program which is an opportunity to create a major course of study that is tailored to a students’ specific interest and includes an “off campus” element. This program is for highly motivated scholars and allows for a greater degree of freedom and self determination in terms of educational outcomes. Students also find the Whittier L.E.A.P. program (designed to enhance leadership skills in conjunction with service), to be a unique and valuable opportunity.
Something new to Whittier is the Science and Learning Center – a building designed to be a central hub of learning, serving the entire college. The 88,000 sq. ft., five story building reflects a new and modern element within a traditional liberal arts education: science is quickly becoming an important aspect of a liberal arts education today, and The Science and Learning Center exemplifies the desire of Whittier College to be on the cutting edge of academia.
Students at Whittier College maintain pretty hectic schedules between classes and group activities. On campus, there are always daily activities and entertainment to consider, such as live performances by the theater group, or rallies on the lawn organized by various special interest groups. Nearly 58% of students are members of groups, or societies at the College – some even being inducted into National Chapters.
Many Whittier College students choose to participate in the varsity or intramural sports teams, and many students attend these games to showcase their school spirit and support. There are over 35 sport teams, and 70 interest groups and organizations established on-campus, most of which have been developed by students and are supported by faculty members.
Whittier’s encouragement to live on-campus at the freshman level provides students with the ability to adjust to college life more quickly and effectively. First year students live in designated residence halls, allowing them the option to dorm with fellow classmates that are experiencing the same transition period.
Students also have the option to pledge for the eleven “societies” located on campus, providing for the development of bonds and friendships with their peers. The Office of Student Services is available to assist students that wish to take advantage of the study abroad programs to enhance their collegiate experience.
Student Support Services: Students, faculty and Student Life Services staff members all contribute to student safety measures, such as community watch groups. Members of the Student Life Services staff reside in all housing complexes to maintain security, safety and compliance with regulations. This area of support also allows students to receive direct attention in terms of academic advising and career planning. The broad range of services offered under this umbrella is part of maintaining the traditions the founders envisioned for a strong and supportive community. Whittier is on our list of Liberal Arts Colleges least influenced by alcohol.
Whittier College remains dedicated and attentive to students financial aid needs. Counselors are available throughout the school year to help students research funding options in order to maximize their college experience, and potentially save them both time and money. There are many grants, scholarships and loan options available to students, usually on a first come, first served basis. For this reason, students are encouraged to explore all funding options as early as two months before classes begin each semester.
Whittier accepts government financial aid such as FAFSA grants and loans as well as many third party funding groups. All students are considered for various financial aid options directly from Whittier College, which may include need-based grants, merit and athletic scholarships or artistic awards. Students are encouraged to consider participating in the work-study program available at the College, regardless of their financial aid status. In these ways, Whittier College strives to assist students in keeping the cost of a quality, liberal arts, college education as low as possible, making this strong, unique, and cutting edge curriculum available to as many students as possible.
What Students Say About Whittier
“Professors actually care about their students, they aren’t just a number on the roll sheet.” – Whittier sophomore
“You really build connections with your professors and classmates, the classes are small, the people are really nice, and there are many ways to get involved.” – Whittier junior
“I love how my school has strong student-professor interaction. The professors really care that students take charge of their education. Professors are willing to get to know their students and want to help their students succeed.” – Whittier junior
“Whittier has been successfully bringing in handfuls of genuinely good people who understand how college life works and are willing to collaborate with students and others to provide the best educational, living and working experience.” – Whittier senior
Want More Information on Whittier?
Take a look at the Whittier College website.