- Class: Freshman
- Major: Other
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
How do people react when you tell them you go to Wellesley? Ha. There are so many possible responses. (1) Oh, Wesleyan? That's really cool. (2) Wait, where? (3) Oh. Ohhhhh. A women's college. Uh-huh. (4) Oh... okay. (As in, I have no idea what that is, but I'm going to pretend I know, because I have a feeling I should.) (5) Wellesley! Now THAT'S a really good school. The last response is, of course, my favorite, although I only get it from doctors and guidance counselors, strangely. And of course the reactions from other students in the Boston area vary, but they know what Wellesley is, so there's that element. The administration kind of sucks sometimes. I'm just going to put that out there. The decision making process is NOT transparent, and it's a little ridiculously bureaucratic. That said, lower level administrative departments (like, not the deans and stuff, but Residential Life, Student Activities, etc) are awesome. I love the res life staff (and in fact am going to join them as an RA next year because I think they're fantastic), and Student Activities gets us discounted tickets to all these things in Boston, and stuff like that. So, the administration at its highest levels is irritating, but you don't come up against them all that much. And the people you interact with on a daily basis are almost always wonderful. The town of Wellesley would be a great college town... if college students were rich middle-aged women. The Ville, as we call it, is full of stores that close at 5pm, and even if they stayed open later, there wouldn't be anything we could afford in them anyhow. CVS, the Gap, and Lemon Thai (Wellesley's collective favorite delivery place) are basically all we can afford. BUT that's what Boston's for! Wellesley has buses into the city on the hour (and every forty minutes, on weekends), and Boston is great and super accessible and MORE than makes up for the Ville. I think there's a lot of school pride. At least, *I'm* proud of my school! Wellesley women know that, among their peers, Wellesley may not get the recognition it deserves, but out in the real, professional world, it does. (Which may be part of the reason we're perceived as so driven and future-focused and all that.) I think a lot of us are proud to be here. The best thing about Wellesley (besides the fantastic academics, which I'll get to in the next section) is the community. We have these amazing traditions, and honestly, the people here are the sort of people I want to be friends with in any situation. It's not because there AREN'T guys. It's because there ARE women who have decided, on balance, that they can deal without guys, in the service of becoming the best, brightest, strongest person they can be. They know that Wellesley can help them do that, and they're up to the challenge.
What can I say about the academics at Wellesley? They really don't get much better than this. I know there are a few schools who are better known for this, but I firmly believe that the "anywhere else it would have been an A" mentality applies here. DON'T come to Wellesley looking for an easy A. There's no such thing around here. In fact, don't come here if you're dead set on getting A's, easy or not. But do come here if you want professors who are incredibly passionate about their subject and who know your name and are willing to go out of their way to help you, or if you want tiny classes (this semester, I don't have a single class above 20 students, and three of the four have under 15), or if you want a giant library and a fantastic course selection for such a small school, or if you want to live and learn with other women who are as focused and intelligent and hard-working as you are. You will work harder here than you think you will. That is, because Wellesley is a women's college, it's less selective (in terms of admissions) than comparable coed schools, because the applicant pool is automatically cut in half. So there's this perception, sometimes, that Wellesley is not as academically challenging as those schools. And this is so incredibly untrue that it's kind of funny. The grading standards for Wellesley's writing department, for example, say something like, "If you do everything your professor asks, and do it well, we feel that this work merits a B." No matter how smart you are, you're not guaranteed to do well here. You have to work, and hard. But if you do put in the work, it is so rewarding. Hardly anyone makes it out of here with a 4.0, but almost everyone leaves with an incredibly good education. Students are competitive, but more with themselves then with each other. Everyone is driven to do well, and there is pride in doing well, but it doesn't come into friendships. Like, I might mention to my friend that I got an A on a paper, but I wouldn't compare GPAs with her, and I certainly wouldn't ask about her grades in a class we were both taking. We study. Oh, how we study. We study A LOT. (We also procrastinate a lot, but you know how that goes.) Wellesley women taking studying VERY seriously. During reading period and finals, we have campus-wide 23-Hour Quiet Hours (as in, no loud noises anywhere in the residence halls), and people WILL call you out on it if you talk too loudly while they're trying to study. We're all constantly sleep deprived, and in most cases, it has nothing to do with going out. We work hard around here.
Wellesley prides itself on being diverse (take a look at the admissions literature, if you don't believe me). How diverse is it really? Probably somewhat above average, but I don't know how much. I have a lot of Asian friends (Wellesley is something like 25% Asian), and I know a bunch of international students. Religiously, it's a little less diverse -- I'm Jewish, and I don't know too many other Jewish students. (Well, I know OF several, but most of them are really religious -- like, I don't know of any other Reform Jews.) That said, Wellesley is really open and welcoming about religious diversity, even if there isn't that much of it. I'm always explaining Jewish holidays to my friends, and they think it's cool. We even tried to make latkes! (It didn't work so well, but we had about two ingredients, so that's to be expected.) LGBT-wise, Wellesley is great. I don't know the statistics, but they are a small but active, open, and welcoming group of. I know several members of Spectrum, the LGBTQQA organization, and they're fantastic. Socio-economically, Wellesley has a pretty decent (and recently improved!) financial aid program, so we have a fair bit of that. And people are pretty open about whether they're on financial aid (I mean, you wouldn't ask, but no one would feel uncomfortable saying they were), so there's not too much tension surrounding that. The only people who would feel out of place at Wellesley are women who are really set on having your basic, traditional, all-American college experience. We're a women's college, yeah. It's a little different here. You have to come in with the mindset that your experience is going to be a little different -- NOT worse, but definitely different. Also, people who aren't interested in working hard. This is not a school for smart people who don't want to work. Being smart got you in, but spending a lot of time studying is going to keep you afloat. One other thing -- Wellesley women are very PC, and the joke around here is "I'm offended," because people do get offended when you aren't PC. So basically, you have to be open and considerate and, yeah, PC. Other than that, pretty much any sort of person would fit in here. If you know what you're getting into, and you're willing to work hard to get the most out of it, Wellesley will be a fantastic experience for you. What do most students wear to class? Oh, how it varies. There are some who have the "there are no guys to dress up for" mentality, and so they come to class in sweats. Then there are some who get dressed up and come to class in a skirt and sweater set and heels. Most people are in between. Jeans and a sweater/sweatshirt/t-shirt/whatever is very common. Umm... a lot of people around here have Uggs, but that's the only specific thing I can think of. Yes, different types of students interact. About half of my friends are of a different race than me, almost all of them have a different religion, a few are bisexual/lesbians, and while I don't know their specific socioeconomic situations, I'm sure there's a lot of diversity there as well. Where are most of us from? Northeast or California. Politically aware? YES. Especially with the upcoming election, most students at Wellesley know what's going on, and have an opinion on it. And of course it doesn't hurt that the first viable female presidential candidate is a Wellesley alumna! (Which does NOT AT ALL mean that Wellesley students who support Hillary do so only because she's an alumna, but I think the fact does get people interested in the race in general.) I know a ton of people who are incredibly, passionately politically involved. And yeah, like most private liberal arts schools, we lean left. But that doesn't mean there are no conservatives on campus. A girl down the hall from me is on the executive board of the College Republicans, and they have a hilarious fundraiser going on right now: t-shirts that say "Hillary Rodham for President... of Wellesley College Republicans" (because of course Hillary was a Republican until her junior year at dear Swelles). Some students talk about how much they'll earn one day, but it's not a predominant theme. Lots of people talk about the future, but not in terms of money. Wellesley women want to go places, do fantastic things, change the world, etc, and yeah, it would be nice to make a lot of money somewhere in there, but I don't think it's what most of us are focusing on.
The Best Things
The wonderful academics and the great, welcoming sense of community.
The Worst Things
Stress! We work hard, and we don't sleep enough, and sometimes it's tough.