Academic Indicators

Academic Indicators

The Washington and Lee University Undergraduate Academic Indicators Report contains a set of key performance indicators trended over time. The collection and reporting of official admissions data, enrollment figures, and financial information follow different cycles, so it is important to pay careful attention to the time period identified for individual indicators.

The University considers among its peers the top liberal arts institutions in the country, including Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Carleton College, Claremont McKenna College, Colby College, Colgate University, Colorado College, Davidson College, Grinnell College, Hamilton College, Harvey Mudd College, Haverford College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, University of Richmond, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College

Admissions Applications

From 2010 - 2014, the number of students applying to Washington and Lee averaged 6,221, due in large part to interest and competition for the esteemed Johnson Scholarships. Over the past several years, changes in admissions practice, strategy, and efficiencies have netted fewer applicants while attracting a more diverse student body of equally exceptional academic ability and talent. The 19% decline in applicants in Fall 2020 coincided with many factors and is viewed as an anomaly outside the typical trends.

Admissions Selectivity

Selectivity remains highly competitive with large numbers of exceptional applicants. Over the past decade, the pecentage of admitted students ranged from 18% - 24%, while the percentage of admitted students who enrolled averaged 39%.

Admissions Selectivity
Year of Application Yield (% of Accepted Students Who Enrolled) Selectivity (% of Applicants Accepted)
Fall 2010 37 19
Fall 2011 42 18
Fall 2012 41 19
Fall 2013 42 18
Fall 2014 41 20
Fall 2015 35 24
Fall 2016 39 24
Fall 2017 39 22
Fall 2018 38 21
Fall 2019 40 19
Fall 2020 37 24

Class Rank

On average, 97% of enrolled first-year students graduated in the top 25% of their high school class while fully 82% placed in the top 10%.

Class Rank
Application Year2010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Top 10% 83 81 80 80 81 85 83 81 83 82
Top 25% 98 98 98 98 95 99 99 96 97 96

ACT Scores

ACT scores of incoming first-year students remain exceptional and are significantly higher than the national averages of all college bound seniors. At 32 and 33, the bottom and top quartiles of students submit ACT scores that vary by only two points.

ACT Scores
Fall 2010Fall 2011Fall 2012Fall 2013Fall 2014Fall 2015Fall 2016Fall 2017Fall 2018Fall 2019Fall 2020
W&L 75th %ile 32 32 32 33 33 33 33 33 34 34 34
W&L Average 31 31 31 31 32 32 32 32 33 33 33
W&L 25th %ile 29 29 29 30 30 30 30 31 32 32 32
National Average 21.0 21.1 21.1 20.9 21.0 21.0 20.8 21.0 21.0 20.7 20.6

Enrollment by State

The Class of 2024 represents 40 states and 13 different foreign countries.

Class of 2024: Top States of Origin
State Students
Virginia 59
Texas 46
North Carolina 39
Georgia 31
Maryland 26
Pennsylvania 26
New York 25
New Jersey 24
Nonresident or Abroad 23
Florida 19
South Carolina 16
All Others 125

First-Year Enrollment by Census Region

A majority of students in the Class of 2024 come from the South Atlantic, Middle Atlantic and West South Central US Census Regions.

Enrollment History

Undergraduate enrollment has averaged 1,833 over the last five years. Law School enrollment declined to record lows and, mirroring national trends, has now rebounded .

Enrollment History
Year of Enrollment Undergraduate Enrollment Law Enrollment
2010 1759 414
2011 1793 403
2012 1838 464
2013 1855 422
2014 1890 374
2015 1854 318
2016 1830 330
2017 1827 393
2018 1829 394
2019 1860 404
2020 1822 361

Financial Aid of any Type for First-Year Students

Financial aid packages may include federal, state, local and institutional grants, as well as student loans and work-study. Of the class entering in Fall of 2019, 67% received at least one type of financial aid.

Institutional Grants for First-Year Students

In 2019-20, 52% of first year students received an institutional grant at an average of $51,401 per recipient. Additionally, concurrent with the W&L Promise, the average award per recipient has increased by nearly $10,000 over the past four years.

Undergraduates Receiving Pell Grants

Sixty-seven (67%) percent of all Washington and Lee undergraduate students received financial aid in 2019-20. Of the total student population, 10% received Pell grants.

Total Grant Aid Awarded

In 2019-20 over $52,290,000 was awarded in grants to W&L undergraduates. This includes all grant aid dollars received from the federal government, state or local government, the institution, and private grant sources. The overwhelming majority of grant aid comes from private and institutional sources.

First-Year Retention

The retention rate is an indicator of how well first-year students acclimate to an institution's academic and social life. Ninety-six percent (96%) or more of the University's first-year students consistentily return their second year, a rate comparable with that of our peer institutions and among the highest levels in the nation.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The student-faculty ratio reflects the intimacy of the educational experience. In recent years, W&L's ratio has maintained a favorable ratio of 1 faculty member for every 8 students.

Class Size

Over 70% of undergraduate courses at Washington and Lee have fewer than 20 students, fostering a more personalized learning experience.

Distribution of Majors

In 2019-20, W&L awarded 446 undergraduate degrees to students who completed a total of 574 first and second majors. The accompanying chart illustrates the distribution of majors by broad discipline.

Graduation Rates

The six-year graduation rate represents students who enrolled as first-time, full-time students six years earlier and completed their undergraduate degrees within 150% of the traditional 4-year time frame. W&L's six-year graduation rates are equivalent with our peers. Although the six-year graduation rate is a federal reporting standard, nearly all students complete their program in four years.

Post-Graduation Study

At graduation, 87 members of the Class of 2019 (21% of those who responded) reported they were beginning advanced studies immediately. Law and medicine are consistently popular fields of post-graduate study.

Employment Rates

A majority of graduates report being employed, either full-or part-time. 76% of the Class of 2018 reported being employed 6 months after graduation. The majority of those who are not employed are enrolled full-time in graduate studies, for a combined total of 98% attending graduate school or employed 6 months after graduation.

Top Fields of Employment

In recent survey years, a larger percentage of graduates have been employed in the economics and finance fields. Education, Marketing, Health Care, and Science fields are also popular.