Washington and Lee University vs Davidson

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student hanging out in the school grounds.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson

When it comes to choosing a college, there are many factors to consider. Two highly respected institutions worth comparing are Washington and Lee University vs Davidson College. In this article, we will dive into the similarities and differences between these two schools, covering everything from location and acceptance rates to post-graduation opportunities and campus safety policies.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Location and Campus

Washington and Lee University (W&L) is located in Lexington, Virginia, while Davidson College is located in Davidson, North Carolina. Both schools are set in beautiful, quaint towns, providing a serene, peaceful environment for students to focus on their studies. The campuses themselves are also picturesque, with Washington and Lee’s campus featuring historic buildings and grand lawns, while Davidson College’s campus boasts modern buildings and green spaces.

Lexington, Virginia, where Washington and Lee are located, is a small town with a population of just over 7,000 people. The town is known for its rich history, with many historic sites and museums to explore. In contrast, Davidson, North Carolina, where Davidson College is located, is a slightly larger town with a population of around 12,000 people. The town is known for its vibrant arts scene, with many galleries and theaters to enjoy.

Both Washington and Lee and Davidson College have invested heavily in their campuses in recent years. Washington and Lee has renovated many of its historic buildings, while also adding new state-of-the-art facilities, such as a new science center. Davidson College has also added new buildings, including a new student center and a new residence hall, while also expanding its green spaces and athletic facilities.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Getting accepted into either W&L or Davidson College is no easy feat. Both schools have highly competitive admission processes with similar requirements, including a strong academic record, extracurricular involvement, and compelling essays. However, Davidson College has a slightly higher acceptance rate at 17%, compared to W&L’s 17%.

It’s important to note that both schools also consider other factors beyond academics and extracurriculars. W&L, for example, places a strong emphasis on personal character and integrity, while Davidson College values community involvement and leadership potential. Additionally, both schools offer need-blind admission and meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for accepted students, making them accessible to a diverse range of students.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Student Demographics Diversity, Size, and Gender

When it comes to student demographics, the two schools have some differences. Davidson College has a slightly larger student body with around 1,900 undergraduates, compared to Washington and Lee’s roughly 1,800. Additionally, Davidson College has a higher diversity rate, with around 46% of students identifying as students of color compared to Washington and Lee’s 15%. However, both schools have similar gender ratios, with around 47% male and 50% female students.

a group of students doing a high five

It’s worth noting that both Davidson College and Washington and Lee have made efforts to increase diversity on their campuses in recent years. Davidson College has implemented a number of initiatives to recruit and support students from underrepresented backgrounds, including a partnership with the Posse Foundation and a program that provides scholarships and mentorship to first-generation college students. Similarly, W&L has established a scholarship program for students from historically underrepresented groups and has worked to increase diversity among its faculty and staff.

Cost of Attendance: Tuition, Room and Board, and Financial Aid

Both Washington and Lee and Davidson College are private institutions with high tuition rates. However, Washington and Lee’s total cost of attendance is slightly higher than Davidson College’s – approximately $76,400 compared to $70,000. Both schools provide significant financial aid packages and work-study programs to ease the burden on students and their families.

financial aid for students

It is important to note that the cost of attendance can vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances, such as their residency status and choice of housing. Additionally, both schools offer merit-based scholarships to high-achieving students, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of attendance.

Furthermore, students at both Washington and Lee and Davidson College have access to various resources and support systems to help them manage their finances. This includes financial literacy workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions with financial aid advisors, and job fairs to connect students with potential employers.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Academic Programs: Majors, Curriculum, and Faculty

Both schools offer a broad range of majors and areas of study, with similar curriculum structures and rigorous academic programs. However, there are some differences in the faculty and research opportunities. Washington and Lee is known for its small class sizes and personalized attention from professors, while Davidson College boasts a strong emphasis on undergraduate research and opportunities to work with faculty on research projects.

Additionally, both schools have unique programs that set them apart. Washington and Lee offers a highly-regarded business program through its Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, while Davidson has a renowned Center for Interdisciplinary Studies that allows students to explore multiple fields of study and create their own majors.

Furthermore, the faculty at both schools are accomplished scholars and experts in their fields. Washington and Lee have a high percentage of professors with terminal degrees, and many have published books and articles in their respective disciplines. Davidson’s faculty includes Fulbright scholars, Guggenheim fellows, and winners of prestigious awards such as the Pulitzer Prize.

Student Life: Activities, Clubs, and Organizations

At both schools, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in activities and clubs. Washington and Lee have over 150 student organizations, ranging from academic clubs to intramural sports teams, while Davidson College has over 100 student groups, including music ensembles, service organizations, and political clubs.

Additionally, both schools offer a variety of events and activities throughout the year to enhance student life. Washington and Lee hosts an annual Spring Term, where students can take unique courses and participate in experiential learning opportunities. Davidson College has a popular event called “Spring Frolics,” which includes a carnival, live music, and other fun activities. Both schools also have active student government associations that plan events and advocate for student interests.

Athletics: Sports Programs, Facilities, and Achievements

Sports play a big role in both schools, with NCAA Division III athletics programs at each institution. The two schools have also had their fair share of impressive achievements, with the Washington and Lee women’s tennis team winning five consecutive national championships and Davidson College’s men’s basketball team making it to the Elite Eight in 2008. Both schools have top-notch facilities, with state-of-the-art gymnasiums, fields, and training facilities.

In addition to the impressive achievements of the athletic teams, both schools offer a wide range of sports programs for students to participate in. From traditional sports like basketball and soccer to more niche activities like ultimate frisbee and equestrian, there is something for everyone. The schools also prioritize inclusivity and offer adaptive sports programs for students with disabilities.

Furthermore, the athletics programs at both schools have a strong emphasis on community service and giving back. Student-athletes regularly participate in volunteer work and community outreach programs, such as coaching youth sports teams and organizing charity events. This commitment to service not only benefits the local community but also helps to instill important values in the student-athletes themselves.

Career Services: Internships, Networking, and Job Placement

Both schools offer career services to help students prepare for life after college. Davidson College has a strong focus on internships, with the college supporting students in finding and securing internships in a variety of industries. Washington and Lee have a career development office that provides students with tools like resume-building and networking opportunities to help launch their careers.

finding a job

Additionally, both schools have job placement programs that assist students in finding employment after graduation. Davidson College’s Center for Career Development offers resources such as job search strategies, interview preparation, and career counseling. W&L’s Career and Professional Development office also provides similar services, including access to job postings and alumni networking events.

Alumni Network: Connections, Contributions, and Success Stories

Both schools boast an impressive network of accomplished and successful alumni. Washington and Lee’s alumni network includes many prominent politicians, business leaders, and educators, while Davidson College’s alumni network includes CEOs, entrepreneurs, and accomplished artists. Both schools have a strong tradition of giving back, with many alumni contributing to scholarship funds and other initiatives to support current students.

Additionally, both schools offer various opportunities for alumni to connect with each other and with current students. Washington and Lee hosts regional alumni events and networking receptions, while Davidson College has a mentorship program that pairs alumni with current students for career guidance and advice. These connections often lead to valuable career opportunities and collaborations.

Campus Safety: Policies, Incidents, and Security Measures

Ensuring the safety and security of students is a top priority at both schools. Both institutions have comprehensive safety policies and procedures in place, including emergency notification systems and campus security personnel. However, there have been some incidents at both schools in the past, highlighting the ongoing need for a commitment to safety and security on campus.

campus police department

In response to these incidents, both schools have implemented additional security measures, such as increased patrols and the installation of security cameras in high-risk areas. Additionally, both schools offer resources for students to report any safety concerns or incidents, including anonymous reporting options. It is important for all members of the campus community to remain vigilant and take an active role in promoting a safe and secure environment for everyone.

Social Life: Parties, Nightlife Culture & Traditions

Both W&L and Davidson College have their own unique social scenes and traditions. Washington and Lee is known for its fraternity and sorority culture, with Greek life playing a significant role in the social scene. Davidson College has a vibrant nightlife, with a range of bars and restaurants nearby. Both schools host a variety of events throughout the year, from homecoming celebrations to concerts and lectures.

At Washington and Lee, Greek life is not just about parties and social events. Fraternities and sororities also provide opportunities for leadership development, community service, and philanthropy. Many Greek organizations at Washington and Lee have longstanding traditions, such as the annual fraternity and sorority sing competitions, which showcase the musical talents of members.

Davidson College’s nightlife scene is not just limited to bars and restaurants. The college also hosts a variety of cultural events, such as theater performances, art exhibits, and film screenings. The college’s student-run radio station, WALT, also hosts concerts and music events throughout the year, featuring both local and national artists.

Campus Environment: Climate & Sustainability Efforts

Both W&L and Davidson College prioritize sustainability and environmental efforts, with a commitment to reducing their carbon footprints. Davidson College has implemented solar panels and energy-efficient buildings, while Washington and Lee has a sustainability committee that promotes sustainable practices and initiatives on campus.

Additionally, both colleges have implemented composting programs and encourage students to reduce waste by using reusable containers and utensils. Washington and Lee have also implemented a bike-sharing program to reduce carbon emissions from transportation on campus. Both colleges regularly host events and workshops to educate students and the community on sustainable practices and the importance of environmental conservation.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Academic Reputation & Rankings

Both Washington and Lee and Davidson College are widely recognized as top-tier institutions, with strong academic programs and renowned faculty members. Davidson College has been ranked as the number one liberal arts college in the country by U.S News & World Report, while W&L has consistently been ranked in the top 20 liberal arts colleges.

Additionally, both colleges have a strong commitment to undergraduate research and offer numerous opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences. W&L’s Johnson Scholarship program provides funding for students to pursue independent research projects, while Davidson’s Dean Rusk International Studies Program offers students the chance to conduct research abroad. These programs, along with many others, contribute to the colleges’ reputations as institutions that prioritize academic excellence and student success.

Washington and Lee University vs Davidson: Post-Graduation Opportunities and Outcomes

Graduates from both Washington and Lee and Davidson College have gone on to achieve great success in their careers, with a high percentage of graduates pursuing graduate or professional degrees. Both schools have strong alumni networks that provide valuable connections and networking opportunities to current students.

A female student holding a pen and thinking

Additionally, both W&L and Davidson College offer various resources and support for students seeking post-graduation opportunities. Career centers at both schools provide guidance on job searching, resume building, and interview preparation. They also host career fairs and networking events, bringing in employers from various industries to connect with students. Furthermore, both schools have partnerships with companies and organizations, providing internship and job opportunities exclusively for their students and graduates.

Technology Infrastructure & Resources Available to Students

Both schools provide students with state-of-the-art technology resources and infrastructure, with high-speed internet access, computer labs, and multimedia rooms available to students. Additionally, both schools offer technology support services to ensure that students have the tools they need to succeed academically.

Furthermore, students at both schools have access to online learning platforms and digital libraries, which provide them with a wealth of educational resources and materials. These resources include e-books, academic journals, and multimedia content, which students can access from anywhere, at any time.

a group of six student journalist gathered around a table while working

Moreover, both schools have invested in cutting-edge technology, such as virtual and augmented reality tools, to enhance the learning experience for students. These tools allow students to explore complex concepts and ideas in a more interactive and engaging way, making learning more fun and effective.

Unique Opportunities & Experiences Available at Each Institution

Ultimately, what sets Washington and Lee and Davidson College apart are the unique opportunities and experiences that each institution offers. Washington and Lee have a renowned honor system and a close-knit community, while Davidson College has a strong emphasis on community engagement and service learning. At Washington and Lee, students have the opportunity to study abroad in over 70 countries, while Davidson College offers immersive study away programs in locations like New York City and Washington D.C.

In addition to these opportunities, Washington and Lee also offer a distinctive program called the Johnson Scholarship, which provides full tuition, room, and board for select students who demonstrate exceptional leadership, intellectual curiosity, and community involvement. On the other hand, Davidson College has a unique program called the Davidson Trust, which ensures that all students can graduate debt-free by meeting 100% of their demonstrated financial needs with grants and work-study opportunities.

Faculty Research & Publications

Faculty research and publications play an important role in the academic reputation of both schools. Washington and Lee boast some of the most productive faculty members in the country, with many professors publishing papers and conducting research in their fields. Davidson College has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with professors on research projects.

At Washington and Lee, faculty research covers a wide range of disciplines, from science and engineering to humanities and social sciences. The university has several research centers and institutes, including the Center for International Education, the Center for Global Learning, and the Center for Leadership and Ethics. These centers provide resources and support for faculty members to conduct research and engage in scholarly activities.

Davidson College also has a strong tradition of faculty research, with professors regularly publishing articles and books in their respective fields. The college has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Center for Civic Engagement, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Center for Environmental Studies. These centers offer opportunities for faculty members to collaborate on research projects and engage with students in meaningful ways.

What Students Say About the College in their Reviews?

When it comes to students’ opinions of the two schools, there is no shortage of reviews and testimonials online. Many students praise both institutions for their rigorous academic programs, engaged faculty members, and beautiful campuses. Others note that the social scenes can be competitive or exclusive at times. However, overall, the resounding sentiment is that both Washington and Lee and Davidson College provide students with a transformative and rewarding college experience.

One common theme among student reviews is the emphasis on community and collaboration at both Washington and Lee and Davidson College. Students often mention the close-knit nature of the student body and the supportive relationships they have formed with their peers and professors. This sense of community extends beyond the classroom, with many students participating in extracurricular activities and service projects together.

Another aspect that students frequently highlight is the opportunities for personal growth and development. Both Washington and Lee and Davidson College offer a range of resources and programs to help students explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and prepare for life after graduation. From internships and research opportunities to study abroad programs and career services, students have access to a wealth of resources to help them achieve their goals.


Choosing the right college is no small task. However, when comparing Washington and Lee University and Davidson College, it is clear that both schools have a lot to offer. While there are some differences between the two institutions, such as location, student demographics, and campus culture, both Washington and Lee and Davidson College provide students with a world-class education, top-notch resources, and unique opportunities that will help launch their careers and shape their lives for years to come.

It is important for prospective students to consider their personal preferences and priorities when making a decision between these two excellent institutions. For example, students who value a small, tight-knit community may prefer Washington and Lees’s intimate campus, while those who are interested in a more diverse student body may be drawn to Davidson’s larger population. Additionally, students who are interested in pursuing specific academic programs or extracurricular activities should carefully research each school’s offerings to determine which institution is the best fit for their individual goals and interests.


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