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My W&L

"Creativity has many meanings, but for me and with regards to my college experience, it means the opportunity to shape my own identity."

Annie Persons '15

I can characterize my time at Washington and Lee in one word: creativity. Creativity has many meanings, but for me and with regards to my college experience, it means the opportunity to shape my own identity.

I came to Washington and Lee knowing that I wanted to be an English major and a creative writing minor. I also wanted minor in mass communications — I was an opinions columnist for my high school newspaper. After completing my FDRs the fall and winter of my first year, I picked a class on journalism and Vietnam for the spring term. On the morning of registration, I was shocked to be blocked from the course, not having "instructor consent." After a few minutes of frantic research, I realized that I had tried to enroll for a class that actually went to Vietnam. Panicked, I registered for Professor Wheeler's poetry-writing class instead. That split-second decision set in motion the creativity and changes that would mark the rest of my career here.

I had enjoyed writing stories as a child, but I never considered myself a "writer" and certainly not a poet until I took that first creative writing class. But writing my own poetry gave me insight into the logic, concentration and creativity that go into crafting a poem, and I found this process extremely satisfying as well as fun. I fell in love with it. Poetry taught me about literature's wonderful way of turning you inside out, of fostering introspection and human connection. In my time here, I've been in the heads of writers across the centuries — from Shakespeare and Milton to H.D., Langston Hughes, and contemporary geniuses like Claudia Rankine. The more that I've read and the more that I've written, the more connected I've become with myself and with the rest of the world.

This increased consciousness percolates into all areas of my life, from the classroom to my extra-curriculars and my future plans. The ability to make connections between my classes, between departments, and between my education and my daily life is amazing. And that's what a liberal arts education is supposed to do, right? My education at Washington and Lee has made me think critically about my actions and the people around me; it's taught me how to forge human connection, whether through conversation or through a poem. Most importantly, I've learned that the process of creating and growing won't stop when I leave here. It's true that I have already transformed in many ways in my time at Washington and Lee. But I'm still learning. That's the beauty of creativity and a liberal arts education: nothing is perfect, everything is always changing. In the words of Joyce Carol Oates, "I don't change, I just become more and more myself."

Annie Persons '15

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Major: English

Minor: Creative Writing

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Head editor of MUSE
  • Volunteer at Earthsong Montessori School
  • Volunteer at Project Horizon
  • Member of the Gender Action Group
  • Writing Center tutor

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer Research Assistant
  • SSIR grant recipient (conducted archival research for my Honors Thesis at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
  • Study Abroad in England, Spring 2014

Favorite Campus and Lexington Landmarks: Payne Hall. Even the act of squeezing through those tiny doors makes me happier. And Blue Sky bakery--I have worked there part-time on and off for the past few years. They have the kindest management and the best bread.

What professor has inspired you? So many: Professor Wheeler (my advisor), Professor Miranda, Professor Gavaler, Professor Smith, Professor Pickett, Professor Gertz, Professor Mayock...also Janet Boller, and Sandy O'Connell, the administrative assistant in Payne.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Find things that you love and don't be afraid to pour yourself into them.

Transformative Education

Washington and Lee seeks to foster an atmosphere of self-discovery and an environment where anything is possible.

In Action People and Programs

Washington and Lee fosters an atmosphere of self-discovery and an environment where anything is possible. From research theses to fully student-led theater productions, the University makes it easy for students to follow their dreams. Every year, students present research proposals to faculty and pursue hypotheses in both the sciences and the arts. Student research can occur both on campus and off, with research grants specifically designated for both areas.

With an average class size of 16, it's easy to find faculty advisors for both major projects and new clubs. Many students propose self-guided majors or pursue a double-or even triple-major, given the inclusive nature of a liberal arts education. This provides students with the opportunity to discover their passions, and also with the support to pursue them.

The University's four-week Spring Term is designed to be transformative. The courses offered during the term are set up with the dream-class concept in mind, remarkable examples of creative and expansive teaching: studying painting in Italy; the Freedom Rides throughout the South; the physics of music; code-breaking in mathematics and history; aerial dance; and many, many more. Rigorous internships and co-curricular programs like Mock Convention, the Venture Club and the Williams Investment Society immerse students in real-world learning situations that bring the concepts they've studied in the classroom to life.

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At a Glance Facts and Figures

At W&L, 22% of classes have 2-9 students, 49% have 10-19 students, 27% have 20-29 students and just 1% has 30-39 students.
44 Johnson Scholarships are awarded annually.
114 Johnson Opportunity Grants have been awarded since 2009 to support student summer experiences.
The W&L course catalog includes 1200+ courses in 37 majors and 21 minors.
190 new courses were created by W&L faculty for the new four-week Spring Term.

Visit, Interview, Apply See Yourself Here

Ready to learn more? Come visit us in Lexington for a campus tour and class visit, or connect with one of our admissions counselors in a city near you. We look forward to meeting you.

Visit Tours and Interviews

Step One:

Schedule your visit with a campus tour and/or info session online.

Step Two:

Call our office to schedule your interview and/or class visit (for high school seniors only). We will coordinate your interview and class visit with your already scheduled visit. (540) 458-8710.

Can't make it to Lexington?

There are various ways in which you can still connect with Washington and Lee University and the Office of Admissions:

Apply Now

Apply Quick Guide

  • Early Decision is a binding commitment; enrollment is required if you are accepted.
    • ED-1: Nov. 1
    • ED-2: Jan. 1
  • Regular Decision is for students who want to maximize options.
    • Deadline: Jan. 1
  • Johnson Scholarship (additional essay required, instructions on the W&L Writing Supplement to the Common Application.)
    • Deadline: Dec. 1
Application Materials:

Financial Aid and Scholarships

We seek to ensure that the cost of attending W&L does not prevent outstanding students from choosing to enroll. A generous need-based aid program and merit-based scholarships can make that investment more manageable than you may think. Visit Financial Aid for more information.

The Johnson Scholarship Program awards over 40 full tuition, room and board scholarships annually. Read More

Admitted students who meet financial aid deadlines and are found to have need will have their full need met with grant funds and a work-study job -- no loans.

The W&L Promise guarantees free tuition to any undergraduate student admitted to Washington and Lee with a family income below $100,000. Learn More

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Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students' capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.