The college also boasts one of the highest proportions of students who go on to medical school.
The students are what make Washington & Jefferson College the warm and energetic campus that it is— the kind of place where students hold doors for you. On a sunny day, they are more likely to be outside studying or throwing a frisbee than inside playing video games. The college sees its mission as producing the next generation of ethical leaders.
Many students go on to law and business graduate programs too, and there are several other programs affiliated with graduate schools in pre-health, engineering, business and more.
W&J students are hardworking and driven, with 94% graduating in four years. Washington Fellows is a by-invitation honors program that offers networking, leadership training, special seminars and more. The college also boasts one of the highest proportions of students who go on to medical school. Medical school recommendations are written by a committee which includes faculty beyond just science. Premed students have a second advisor from the committee who aligns with their intended medical specialty (MD, dental, etc.)
Professors also connect students with summer research at universities across the USA.
One option for aspiring physicians is a combined program with Temple University Medical School
which is very selective and is the only degree program at the college that is not test optional.
Applicants must have a 1350 SAT with no subscore below 600 or a 31 ACT composite. The
Average GPA for admitted students to the program is 3.95 unweighted. The rigor of the
student’s curriculum is less important to Temple than their extracurricular activities. They want
to see involvement with research, shadowing and other initiatives that show interest in
medicine. Of course, many students who do not enter this program still apply to medical school.
Many students go on to law and business graduate programs too, and there are several other programs affiliated with graduate schools in pre-health, engineering, business and more. While W&J’s strengths are in preprofessional advising and STEM majors, the college also has excellent programs in English, communications, and social sciences. Direct entry nursing is being added in fall 2024. More than one third of students enter undecided about major, and their first-year seminar professor is their advisor until they declare a major. Students also have an upperclass peer mentor as part of their first-year seminar.
Professors care. They will call a student who missed class. Several students we spoke with had professors who served as mentors—the students had been invited to assist with their research in most instances. Professors also connect students with summer research at universities across the USA.
If a student visits campus they will receive a $1000 grant per year if they matriculate.
The college has 1100 students, so the largest lecture is 30 and most classes are under 20. The campus is located 30 minutes from Pittsburgh. It has a large endowment (a source of funding that supports a college well into the future) of $123 million. In October 2023 the college received a gift of $50 million for student scholarships.
Many colleges provide a discount rate on their tuition. At these colleges, the list price is not the true cost, as everyone who is admitted receives a reduction in tuition. Washington & Jefferson College previously used this model, however, this year they have cut tuition by 40 percent to be more transparent about the cost of attendance. Combined with their scholarship offerings, this new cost makes the college affordable for many applicants. If a student visits campus they will receive a $1000 grant per year if they matriculate. While most colleges will reduce the financial aid award grant if the student receives an outside scholarship, W&J does not follow this practice—they will reduce the family’s contribution instead.
The Professional Pathways program guides students toward their career goals.
One of the most exciting benefits of attending W&J is the Magellan Project where students can travel anywhere for six to eight weeks in the summer and receive funding of $3000 to cover the cost. About 100 applicants for Magellan are approved each year, and students can participate in more than one adventure. Scholarships are also available to cover the cost of travel. My colleagues and I spoke with a student who used her Magellan grant to explore photography in national parks.
The college has long offered two-week J-term (January) classes, but they are shifting the schedule to May for May-term. The class often travels abroad or domestically. One class traveled to Italy for art and culture, and a Star Wars class visited Disney World. Funding is available.
The Professional Pathways program guides students toward their career goals–if they want to be a CEO, a diplomat, or any other profession, career services will help them understand how to get there. The college also hosts Ignite, a business incubator and co-working space available to businesses in the community in addition to students and faculty.
Washington & Jefferson has strong leadership that is providing a supportive environment for its students and many opportunities at an affordable cost. It is well worth a look.