Tiny Whittier College sits on 4 acres in the middle of a sleepy inland town, about a half hour east of downtown Los Angeles. With just 1,600 full-time students, you wouldn’t think that this small school could engender such strong school spirit – but it does. “Fear the Poet!” say the students as they cheer on their Division III sports teams. The largest classroom on campus holds just 70 students, and the average class size is 15-20 students. There are no teaching assistants at Whittier College.
Students are guaranteed on-campus housing for four years, and are required to live on campus until they reach age 21, or show that they are living with their parents closer than 25 miles away (this is why 86% of students live on campus).
About a third of the students are from California, and there is a large international student population at Whittier.
Theatre is one of the largest programs, and the art department is situated on the original wood floor of the old school gymnasium, which still has basketball hoops at either end. While the quaintness of this arrangement is fitting for the artistic types, the dorm rooms could also be labeled “quaint” – they look like they haven’t been spruced up in awhile. The spectacular new gym was just completed in 2011 and the library is less than 10 years old, and wired for all of the students’ electronic study needs.
An elementary school on campus helps to provide hands-on experience for Child Development majors. Business is the largest major on campus; a list of academic programs is here. The Whittier Scholars program allows students to design their own major, with guidance from faculty.
Whittier’s most famous alumnus, of course, is President Richard Nixon, who graduated in 1934.