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Articles / Preparing for College / Northwest 5 Consortium: Check Out These Colleges in the Pacific Northwest

Northwest 5 Consortium: Check Out These Colleges in the Pacific Northwest

S Written by Shreya Nagunuri | Nov. 21, 2022
Image by the Northwest 5 Consortium

As November is coming to a close, students are placing their finishing touches on their applications - but perhaps you want to add some extra schools to your college list. Well, you have come to the right place. The Northwest 5 Consortium is a collection of small liberal arts colleges located in the Northwest region of the United States. On November 13, four universities from the Northwest 5 Consortium hosted an info session for students to learn more about the schools.

University of Puget Sound


Mark Howard, the Assistant Director of Admission, talked about life and unique opportunities at Puget Sound.

The University of Puget Sound is located in Tacoma, Washington where students get to experience the best of two worlds. Tacoma is just an hour away from Seattle but distant enough for students to relax in the natural scenery.

As a small liberal arts college, Puget Sound has a strong focus on its undergraduate student body and its residential experience. The university has an 11-to-1 students-to-faculty ratio, a 17-student average class size, and zero graduate instructors. This means students really get to work with their professors one-on-one.

Puget Sound is highly focused on experiential learning. In fact, it is a requirement for all students to finish a form of experiential learning before graduation. Students can pursue an internship through the RISE program on campus, study abroad, do research with professors or create a community project.

Besides this, students are easily able to double major to ensure a well-rounded education. These programs and requirements ensure a student’s success even after graduation.

Puget Sound has an 80 percent acceptance rate to medical school and a 90 percent acceptance rate to law school. As stated before, students are close to Seattle where they can access a huge job market for all disciplines.

For any questions about Puget Sound reach out to Mark Howard.

Willamette University


To speak about Willamette University and its opportunities is Zachery Brown, the Assistant Director of Admissions.

Willamette University is located in Salem, Oregon, and was founded in 1842. Willamette is a small liberal arts college like the other universities on this list. Their motto is “Non Nobis Solum Nati Sumus” which means “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.” Students at Willamette try to live this motto as they make positive societal changes through service, leadership, and innovation.

With class sizes of 15, students are able to work collaboratively with their peers and have their voices heard in classroom discussions.

Even Willamette's location is beneficial for students. It is in front of the state capital and a hospital, which is useful to both political science students and those in the pre-medical fields. Additionally, Willamette owns more than 384 acres of natural scenery that is used by environmental science and biology majors to gain more hands-on learning experiences.

If you are interested in applying to Willamette University, you are in luck! Not only is Willamette easily accessible on the common application, but they are test-optional and are free to apply to.

Reed College

To talk about Reed College is the Associate Dean of Admissions, Grant Sewell.

Reed College is located in Portland, Oregon. Reed has only 1,600 students (most of them are undergraduates) which contributes to the great sense of community among the students.

Students get to declare a major in their second year of schooling which allows students the freedom to explore what they are interested in before settling on a major.

While there is a lot of freedom in what classes students can take, there are some requirements for graduation. All students take HUM110: Introduction to the Humanities which analyzes ancient history and unpacks it with disciplines across the college like art, music, and science.

In addition to regular lectures, there are also conferences where students discuss and debate information taught in class. Additionally, all students must write a senior thesis which is a culminating project that asks a big question about something the student is passionate about.

Community is a huge part of life at Reed. There is a great diversity in where students are from, with only 10 percent of students local to Oregon. Students come from all over the states, and eight percent of students come internationally, creating a unique global community.

Students are required to live on campus for two years which cultivates a strong bond in the residential community. There are no exclusive clubs or groups like fraternities or clubs requiring prerequisites. In fact, the most popular club on campus is the cheese club. There are also fun traditions that keep the community active. For example, Paideia Week is a week where anyone can teach whatever subject they wish.

Reed College has a holistic admission review of students where they examine all portions of the application equally. There is an optional interview section but it is highly recommended for potential students. If you have something that you wish to teach on Paideia Week you are in luck because the supplemental essay for Reed is about exactly that.

Reed College has an early decision and regular application decision period and both are test blind.

Whitman College

Jesse Crosby is an Admissions Officer at Whitman College who spoke about admissions and academic life at Whitman.

Whitman College is a small liberal arts college with around 1,500 students. The student body is diverse, with students coming from nearly all 50 states and international students from over 60 plus countries.

The small student body allows for close discussion with peers and faculty members. There is a 9-to-1 faculty-to-students ratio and an average of 17 students in class.

Whitman College has one of the highest graduation rates in the northwest and 60+ majors and minors to offer its students. While students get significant freedom in the classes they choose to take, First Year Seminar is required for all students. In this class, students learn how to ask questions and learn how to academically delve into a new subject. Students are just as active outside the classroom with over 150 student-led organizations for like-minded students to join together to discuss subjects they are passionate about.

Financial aid at Whitman is also very generous. They offer need-based aid, merit-based aid, and talent-based aid. For students to gain an accurate idea of what they may need to pay for Whitman, students can send them their transcripts, CSS profile, and other documents and they will send an expected financial aid offer in around two weeks without even applying.

If you think Whitman is the place for you, you are in luck because Whitman is on the common application and is test-optional. In addition, if you apply to Whitman before December they will waive your application fee.

Whitman College accepts Early Decision I (Nov 15), Early Decision II (Jan 10), and Regular Decision (Jan 15) applications. There are no supplemental essays, but it is highly recommended that students complete the interview.

Explore more on College Confidential:

Written by


Shreya Nagunuri

Shreya is a freshman at the University of California, San Diego where she studies Math and Computer Science. She is passionate about social justice and using technology in unconventional ways to better the lives of others. In high school, she was heavily involved in Speech and Debate and taught speech and debate to students around the world. In addition, she conducted research at the University of Southern California on epilepsy and post-traumatic brain injury. Her main involvement in college is Women in Computing and ACM where she and her peers create fun projects with software. In her free time, she loves teaching, reading, and exploring hidden gems in San Diego. 

  • CC name: @smilely_face101
  • Instagram: @shreya.nagunuri
  • LinkedIn: Shreya Nagunuri

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