My friend from high school is set on applying to both of these schools this year for the class of 2017. I am biased towards Wesleyan cause I currently go there. I was wondering if anyone can tell me what Yale would be looking for in a student, aside from academics, and how can he make himself out stand more. I don't think I am able to help him given that i am not familiar with the admissions standard of Yale or the Ives, i know that Wesleyan and other top LAC's have similar standards to those of Yale. Also I don't know much about the student atmosphere. By the way, given the competitiveness of college admissions he is also applying to safety schools like University of Florida, Florida International, and Florida Atlantic.
My friend has a 3.9 UW GPA
Mostly A's , only 2 B's
He ranks in the top 10 of his school
Has taken a total of 11 AP's. (world:5, Chemistry:5, Physics:3, lit: 4, Lang:3, Euro:5, US Gov: 3, Int Gov: 4, physics c mec: 3, calculus ab: 5, calc bc: 4)
Took Multi-variable Calculus, Organic Chemistry, and College Level Biology through Dual enrollment at a local community college.
Volunteered at a local library for 2 years and then at a veterinary office for 3 years, he enjoys animals but doesn't want to be a veterinarian. Mainly did his volunteering for commitment rather than just to put it on his applications.
He is multiracial (African,Asian, Iberian, and Native American (his father was of Mayan) descend)
The only way to know is to apply. Yale's acceptance rate last year was 7.35%; Wesleyan was 19.7%, so it's difficult to know if your friend would be able to get into Yale. BTW: If your friend needs financial aid, Yale beats Wesleyan any day of the week. My son was accepted to both schools and for our family Wes was literally $20K more per year.
Location: South of the Mason-Dixon line, north of Cuba
Gibby's Financial Aid generalization is based on a single data point - her(?) family's.
This year, for our family, Wesleyan's and Yale's Financial Aid awards were very close. Total cost for Wes would have been about 2K more than total cost for Yale.
This would have been for a year in which we would have 2 in college.
Wesleyan FA's projection for the amount of FA they would be offering in subsequent years (with just one in college) was significantly less - more in line with Gibby's experience.
The moral of the story is that details matter in the FA world. Our family has a lowish six-figure income, which in general is the sweet spot of Yale (and Harvard and Princeton) FA superiority. Someone applying from a family with a lower total income might well see very comparable FA offers from Wesleyan and Yale.
Unless you find a parent with kids at both schools, or siblings at each of the schools, I don't think will find a definitive answer. If you google Yale vs Wes, there are several sites that will do a side-by-side comparison. I'm not sure how accurate they are.
College selectivity is based upon the number of beds divided by the number of applicants. Last year Wesleyan with 800 beds had 10,033 applicants vs. Yale's 1300 beds and 28,974 applicants. Yale is more selective because the ratio of beds to applicants is lower; Yale is more selective because more students are interested in going to Yale than Wesleyan. That will not change with the addition of Yale's two new dorms.
Using simple arithmetic, when Yale's dorms open and 800 more beds are available, Yale selectivity numbers will indeed go up. But, if the applicant numbers stay the same, Yale will still be more selective than Wesleyan. (Using Yale's applicants this year, but with an increase in beds, would mean Yale's ratio would be: 2100/28,974 = .072. Wes's ratio this year was .077.)
You have to count "beds" consistently. Gibby was talking about freshman beds. The new colleges are going to add about 200 freshman beds. Had they been available last year, it would have reduced Yale's applicants/beds ratio to 19.3 from 22.3. (In reality, when they become available the new beds are likely to encourage even more applications to Yale, as people overvalue the reduction in selectivity they will cause.) Meanwhile, Wesleyan attracts 12.5 applicants/bed, which is admirable but an indication that it is less popular than Yale.
I happen to know a lot about Wes. My dad went there, and it changed his life, no question. He is a very loyal alum (as is his fraternity brother, Herb Kelleher, the founder and longtime CEO of Southwestern Airlines). One of my best friends from high school went there, and she had lots of cute, social friends, so my other best friend from high school and I would go to Wesleyan from time to time to play, and they would come down to Yale to play with us. One of my wife's closest college friends -- also the girlfriend of one of my roommates for several years -- married a guy from Wesleyan, and another good friend of ours around town here is a Wesleyan alum. Then for some reason my block has produced a steady stream of kids going to Wesleyan (four in the past 10 years), and one of my virtual nieces is there (a kid I have known since before she was born), and my son's first girlfriend is a recent graduate.
Wesleyan is a great school. People tend to love it -- and I'm talking a wide variety of people here, from transgendered African-American studies majors to frat-boy econ major jocks who vote Republican. There is a good mixture of fun, intellectualism, social activism, and artiness. There is an overall cast of extreme political correctness, but at the individual student level it's far from simple dogmatism (in most cases). People don't take it that seriously, but they are proud -- even those more to the right -- of being thoughtful and inclusive about people who are often ignored, and of everyone confronting difficult social issues together on a daily basis. (I note, however, the Wesleyan is probably not a good place for someone who is an extreme social conservative with strong, religiously based opposition to things like gay marriage and abortion, and a need to preach those positions publicly.) Educationally, it is very rigorous. Socially, it is probably most popular among affluent, sophisticated kids from private schools (or wealthy public school districts) on the East and West Coasts, but kids from those schools who don't want an environment where they will be flashing their wealth around and dressing up a lot.
Wesleyan is solid in all the things you would want it to be solid in -- economics, political science, philosophy, literature, lab sciences. It also has fields of real excellence in the arts. Its ethnomusicology graduate program is tops. It has produced a few indy pop stars recently (MGMT, Das Racist, Boy Crisis). And its film studies program is one of the few liberal arts programs that has a real track record in Hollywood. Among the most prominent members of the Wesleyan mafia are Michael Bay (Transformers and a dozen or so other blockbusters) and Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Avengers), and the current art-house hit Beasts of the Southern Wild was made by a collective of Wesleyan grads from 2004-2006.
What it isn't is a major university. It's big for a LAC, but still only a little more than half the size of Yale college, and it has very few graduate students and a small faculty (relative to Yale). It's the standard LAC-uni trade-off: more intimacy and faculty attention, but less overall intellectual activity and excitement, fewer courses to choose from, and you are learning about things that are happening elsewhere most of the time.
And Middletown is just big enough to be a little seedy, but small enough to be really uninteresting, and not to support even the modest lively commercial district that surrounds Yale. People at Wesleyan spend a lot more time than people at Yale scheming how to get someplace else. (Including study abroad, which I believe is much more popular at Wes than at Yale, in large part because people at Yale don't see a lot of value in going some place else to study anything.)
Wes has built some new dorms in the past 20 years, so its dorms are not as monolithically crappy as they once were. But a bunch of the crappy ones are still there. You don't go to Wes for luxurious living accommodations (although they have some great houses that seniors can live in). Yale is spending about $750,000 per bed in its new dorms, to ensure they are up to the standard of Yale's other dorms; a tenth of that would do the trick at Wesleyan, and then some.
Actually, Middletown does a pretty good job of supporting its Main Street, even without help from a wealthy, university landlord. There are numerous owner-operated businesses a student on a budget can patronize with or without parents in tow. It's chief drawback is that Wesleyan isn't large enough to expand to the commercial district's edge which cuts down on foot traffic at night.
Wesleyan's oldest, last remaining unreconstructed dorms, are about sixty years old and were built in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you are allergic to blonde wood, built-in cabinetry, and cinder-block walls, naturally, you are going to view them as "uniformly crappy". However, after you've lived in them a while, you begin to appreciate the generous sized windows, the roomy corridors and sunny stairwells. You most especially appreciate (for those lucky enough) having a balcony on warm October and April days.