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Willamette University: A Hidden Gem in Oregon

Willamette University is located in Salem, Oregon directly next door to the state capitol. It is a small, liberal arts college in a mid-size town. The average GPA of the freshmen class in 2019 was a 3.82 with SAT scores between 1100-1300 and ACT scores between 25-30. Because of its location near the state capitol and the local hospital the there are many opportunities for students to get internships and off campus jobs. Students at Willamette tend to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the many activities surrounding Salem including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, etc.



All students at Willamette complete the freshman College Colloquium seminar, study in a language other than English, and coursework in six modes of inquiry—the natural world; the arts; arguments, reasons, and values; thinking historically; interpreting texts; and understanding society. Students also take capstone senior seminars, often culminating in research or thesis projects. The most popular majors are economics, politics, psychology, and biology. Other particularly strong programs include theatre, chemistry, Japanese studies, and history. The management and law schools offer 3-2 (B.A./M.B.A.) and 3-3 (B.A./J.D.) programs that integrate the liberal arts and professional education.


The academics at Willamette are rigorous, but the emphasis is on collaboration, not competition. Professors are focused on teaching their students in classes that are typically less than 20 students. Free tutoring is available for all classes and the campus offers a writing center for students to get support on their papers.


Much of the student body at Willamette is from out of state and most students live on campus their first two years, before moving off campus and living in Salem. There is Greek life on the university, but it does not dominate the social scene on campus. The university also has a very robust study abroad program with half of the student body studying abroad in one of 40 countries at some point in their academic career.


If you're interested in a small, outdoorsy school, with an emphasis on academics this one is worth checking out.

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