I know its kinda a stupid question. But how good is Wesleyan? Is its name recognized among professional schools, employers, and maybe even the general public? Would you say Wesleyan is better than, let say, Haverford or Swathmore? How does it rank among top liberal art collges? Also, how are these top liberal colleges compared to ivy league schools? Thanks for answering!!!
Wesleyan is definitely one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States, without question. Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams constitute the "Little Three," which contrasts the "Big Three" (Harvard, Princeton, and Yale). In terms of comparison to schools like Swarthmore and Haverford, the quality of Wesleyan's academics is easily equal to--if not better than--other top liberal arts colleges. Also, Wesleyan has the largest National Science Foundation funding of any liberal arts college in the nation, which means it has incredible science programs and research opportunities for undergraduates. Wesleyan's academics, no matter what subject or discipline, are extraordinarily solid. (Wesleyan has a top-ranked film program, also!) What distinguishes Wesleyan from other top-ranked schools is its social environment: quirky, intellectual, eccentric, somewhat countercultural, very liberal, very diverse, etc. There are so many amazing qualities about Wesleyan--this post barely scratches the surface. Check it out for yourself!
Professional schools, without question, recognize the Wesleyan name and respect it. Most employers (especially the more prestigious ones) also know Wesleyan. As for the general public, your mileage may vary. Certainly the school has wider recognition than most other liberal arts colleges, both due to its larger LAC size (2,800) and its very prominent alumni (MGMT, Michael Bay, Bill Belichick, etc.). Someone "in the know" about higher education and anyone familiar with elite schools will know Wesleyan. The average layperson? Probably not- but they probably haven't heard of Brown or UChicago either...
Thinker2014 pretty much nailed it. Wesleyan gets chipped at in the US News rankings a bit due to its smaller endowment, but its academics are just as strong as Swarthmore and perhaps better than Haverford (although Haverford is also tops in the sciences). Wesleyan is strong in almost every department.
As compared to the Ivy League schools, Wesleyan and other top LACs almost certainly offers an equal or better undergraduate education (especially moreso than schools like Cornell and Penn, which devote more of their resources towards graduate programs). People have this notion that the Ivy League schools are the best eight schools - they forget that the Ivy League is just that - a sports league. Yes, the schools are all top-notch... but definitively better than all others? I think not. I would take a Wesleyan or Amherst or Swarthmore undergraduate education over a Harvard or Yale one anyday (but would love to go there for grad school)!
smartalic34 is completely right about the US News & World Report rankings. In those rankings, for the most part, there is a direct correlation between rank and endowment (i.e., the higher a school's endowment is, the higher its rank is).
Haha...thanks guys for your input. I got my acceptance today and apparently its "early write" too! I am mighty happy! I did know that Wesleyan is one of the top LACs but i just want to make sure i got into a school that offers a good education. BTW, I am from Canada, and do you think being an international applicant helped me get in especially i don't get financial aids? Do you think my ability to pay full tuition affected the decision more so than my academic credentials?
I don't think that being a full-pay international necessarily helped you, it's that your financial situation didn't hurt you. Internationals who need aid definitely have a harder time getting in (Wes is only need blind for US students).
They don't accept internationals just because they can pay, it's that they might turn away someone because they can't. I would be confident Wes accepted you (and sent you an early write) because of your academic credentials
Don't worry--Wesleyan is just about one of the best educations you could possibly receive. Also, your being from Canada could have maybe made you a bit more appealing to the admission committee, because Wesleyan prides itself--and rightfully so!--on its diversity, but that's all. It may have added to your appeal, but it certainly didn't push you over the edge; it wasn't a deciding factor. The bottom line is this: you wouldn't have been accepted if you didn't have the academic credentials. You got in because you have what it takes!
I'm going to echo what the others said - Wesleyan is a fantastic school. In terms of being well-known and prestigious, I'd say it's about equal to Haverford and a little less so than Swarthmore/Amherst/Williams. However, the quality of education (and awesomeness of the student body) certainly rivals (and perhaps exceeds) the other schools, especially depending on what field you're in.
I think that the opportunity for undergraduate research should not be underemphasized - it's one of Wesleyan's strongest selling points. So especially if you're interested in the sciences or social sciences, you'll have the opportunity to work closely with professors in a lab or coauthor papers, if you seek it out. If you're not in those fields, you can still do significant research guided by an advisor in a senior thesis, which you might be able to turn into a book if you want to with some additional work. However, most comparable schools also allow you to do a senior thesis, at least.
I went for an interview today at a massive globally acknowledged PR company in New York: the minute I said I was from Wesleyan, they recognized it as one of the best colleges in the country.
The US News rankings are completely flawed. Wesleyan has drawn more from its endowment in past years compared to other colleges, which resulted in building now landmark strcutures like the CFA; unfortunately this has also rendered the endowment considerably shrunken. In addition to that, our alumni giving rate isnt' very high, so that results in mid rankings. However, if you look at the Forbes rankigns: you get a different picture. Wesleyan is ranked 21 out of all liberal arts colleges and universities combined: trumping Brown and Stanford. That's proof of how widely known and respected this school is.
Regarding the question about internationals: don't worry, I had the same fear: that I had been accepted for my money and not my brains but once you matriculate here and you attend classes, you see just how well you do and how perfectly you fit in here-- which is what Admissions is trying to do. Furthermore, I know many internationals who got accepted with a CRAPLOAD of financial aid who weren't ranked superbly high in highschool. The beautiful thing about Wesleyan is that it looks for something deeper than academics or extracurriculars when evaluating applicants: it looks at you as a PERSON. Which is why every person I have met here is interesting-- and that means that you are too, so bask in that fact!
But seriously, Wesleyan is a fantastic school. When I applied, my counselor kept it as a reach and schools like Boston College and Georgetown as a match school, if that's any indication.
one minor caveat - Wes still has better alumni giving than almost all other schools (52-54%), except for some of the other top LACs. Princeton, Midd, Amherst, Williams, and Bowdoin, I believe are the only schools with better rates...