By Brooke Schultz
Smile — you’re on Washington College’s campus, which has been named among the top 20 in the nation for student happiness.
The ranking is noted in the 2018 edition of The Princeton Review’s college guide, “The Best 382 Colleges” and was based on the Review’s student-submitted responses. An 80-question survey asked students to rank the campus based on academics, quality of life, politics, campus life, town life, social life, extracurriculars, social scene, and schools by type.
WC was ranked 16th in student happiness.
In a release from the College, The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Franek said that WC was selected for the book because of its “outstanding academics.”
The selections, he said, are based on surveys of administrators at several hundred four-year institutions. Decisions are also informed by annually visiting colleges, he said.
“Most importantly, we look at valuable feedback we get from each school’s customers — our surveys of students attending them. We also keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity, and character,” he said in the release.
During just their first week, freshmen students Christian Wysoef and Derrick Carter, who were participating in the pre-orientation program Underground Railroad, already felt at home.
“I feel like the upperclassmen made us feel welcomed in this community,” Carter said.
“I agree with him too. I remember talking to a group of people, they’re sophomores now, and they told me how I would love this place and if I ever needed help, they would accept me,” Wysoef said in the same interview.
Colin Levi, a freshman in the Book Arts pre-orientation program, said the inviting nature was an added comfort.
“The people are really nice, even coming on the first day, people are super welcoming,” he said. “Everyone’s helping move each other in —like no one’s just sitting there watching.”
Seniors McKayla Gamino and Brynne Brouse, both returning peer mentors, cited the community as a positive.
“I think what makes it a happy place is our family community and support. Everybody can find a place here,” Brouse said.
Gamino said that there is always someone to talk to at WC.
“You never feel alone on campus,” she said. “Even with professors you can just walk anywhere and be able to have someone who cares about you. Everyone is really invested in one another.”
In a separate interview with The Elm, President Kurt Landgraf said that he has settled down in Chestertown, but that the whole place “changed when the students came back here.”
“It’s quite interesting to watch how different the community is when the students come,” he said. “The reason the students are happy here is because it’s a warm and comfortable, caring place where you know that the faculty cares about you, the staff cares about you. From the minute you get here to the moment you leave, we are here for you. We’re devoted to your well-being.”
Molly Igoe and Abby Wargo contributed to reporting.