Social Scene at Wesleyan

<p>I've visited and taken the tour, but there are still some things I am unclear about. Can anyone answer these questions:</p>

<p>Do people actually date?
Or are they too wrapped up in ECs and careers and grades to bother?
How are the girls there? Are they cute?
Do people support the sports teams, or does nobody care? School spirit?
What do people do for fun?
Is Wesleyan a party school?
Do different people mix, or do people hang out in cliques?
Is it necessary to have a car?</p>

<p>I guess my main concern is the type of people there. I have heard that Wesleyan is very open and liberal, but I have some doubts... a lot of people in my school say they are really openminded, but only if you fit their preconceived notions of you, and that just sucks. I'm thinking of applying ED to Wesleyan over schools like Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, etc. because of Wesleyan's rep of being very accepting, diverse, and friendly as opposed to the preppy, snobbish "get-aheadness" I found in lots of other schools. </p>

<p>But I've started having some misgivings after some friends told me that Wesleyan was NOT open, but actually really closeminded. They said that almost everyone there is a GSA member, or a tree hugging pot smoking hippie, and all the girls are uptight feminists(no I'm not a misogynist or a homophobe and I do care about the environment), and that if you differ from the traditional left wing, liberal view, you're shunned and excluded. I know that my friends are probably completely wrong, but still... I picked Wesleyan over a lot of other schools BECAUSE of the fact it was so open and accepting; it'd suck if it turned out it wasn't.</p>

<p>The problem with high school sewing circles like that is that a small number of people bring back misinformation and it gets repeated and amplified by more people with no real idea what they're talking about. I know of what I speak, my high school was just as bad. The amount of incorrect or misleading rumors about college in general is astounding to me, as I look back at it.</p>

<p>Anyway, I won't bore you with telling you that all that is untrue. Everyone's experience varies and for all I know maybe someone's time at Wes was like that, although mine certainly hasn't been at all.</p>

<p>I should say, though, that every top private (secular) school is pretty solidly left of center, with almost no exceptions. Wesleyan does have a certain self-styled "radical" element that might embody what you describe, but it's small and it hardly dominates the student body at all. Wesleyan is pretty big as LACs go (about 3000 undergrads+grads) so it's actually pretty hard to pin down the students as being all one thing or another thing. I would suggest just visiting and doing an overnight and forming your own opinion.</p>

<p>Best of luck.</p>


<p>Yeah, one thing I keep forgetting is that it is a UNIVERSITY and not a COLLEGE. It's actually one of the biggest LACs, but for some reason when I visited, it felt like it was one of the smallest. Everyone knew each other, everyone was friendly, everyone said hello; it definitely had the feeling of a small, closeknit community(which is probably a good thing for a college of its size). </p>

<p>I'm going again on Friday for an interview, to visit coaches, and attend the information session. The first time I visited I had a generally favorable impression of the school, but I wasn't really paying attention to specifics. I'll look more closely this time.</p>

<p>Well, yeah, it is still a pretty close-knit community relative to very large universities, and we are technically classified as a liberal arts college although some departments (esp. the sciences) kind of defy that classification. I know, however, that I really don't know the majority of my class, let alone the whole school. It does seem the way when you're walking around and you pass people you know all the time, but that probably has more to do with it being a fairly compact campus.</p>

<p>Visiting during the summer unfortunately doesn't let you see how the place buzzes when school is in session, but the interviews are supposed to be good (I never did one). They're generally with a rising senior or a recent alum, so it's a lot of fun and will probably do more to assuage whatever concerns you have than College Confidential will. :)</p>

<p>I think that because there's so much self-selection, the people who choose Wesleyan choose it because they're looking for a liberal, open place. A <em>lot</em> of the students there have been exposed to more conservative and preppy communities, and are looking for something different. This means that there are radicals who don't really like the idea of other "normal" people intruding on their space, but then, most people just like to meet other awesome people.</p>

<p>Because of this sort of self-selection, the people at Wesleyan tend to love talking to each other and being with each other. This means that you have some of the happiest college students, and when students are happy with their college, they have school spirit. This may not always manifest itself in sports obsession (Wesleyan <em>does</em> have a reputation for not being the most sports-enthusiastic school, although there are tons of sports players, intramurals, and the main field is right in front of Foss Hill so tons of people watch casually, especially in the warmer seasons), but it does mean there is school spirit. </p>

<p>I must say, the girls are RIDICULOUSLY cute. I'm a girl, but I'm also into girls some of the time, and oh man, the girls I've met are crazy-hot. Yay!!</p>

<p>As for partying, i can't really say so much, as I'm still a prefrosh - I start school next year. I went to Wesfest, which was one giant party, and I partied more there than in my entire high school career. Went to multiple parties every night. However, Wesfest is the ultimate of Wesleyan, so I don't know if that's representative of usual life.</p>

<p>Also, people tend to love talking and chilling and hanging out. While there are tons of extracurriculars to do and lots of academic expectations to not fail, students wouldn't give up their chilling time. There is definitely time to meet people, hang out, and yes, date.</p>


<p>(we are technically classified as a liberal arts college although some departments (esp. the sciences) kind of defy that classification.) </p>

<p>Would you please elaborate on this? </p>

<p>Are the science departments the best of both an LAC and University or otherwise?</p>


<p>Back in the fifties, during the height of the Sputnik craze, when it looked as if the Soviet Union was going to beat America to the moon, a study was made to determine what it would take to make the science departments at Wesleyan the best in the country. Every faculty member polled agreed that without doctoral students it would be impossible to attract the kind of teachers doing the most serious work in the most interesting fields. By at least one criterion, they were proven right: study after study has shown that, on a <em>per capita</em> basis, Wesleyan science faculty publish more and are cited more often by other scholars than any other LAC. And, yes, because LACs present certain unique features that are difficult for uni-docs to duplicate, it is arguable that Wesleyan offers the best of both worlds.</p>

<p>What is Wesfest?</p>

<p>Officially, it's the meet-and-greet weekend for newly admitted pre-frosh. Everyone is assigned a student host and given a chance to stay overnight in a dorm; there are speeches and lectures and lots of organized events. <em>Unofficially</em>, it has evolved into the ultimate "let Wesleyan be Wesleyan" weekend.</p>

<p>glrfdad: Yeah, johnwesley has it pretty much right, although I didn't really know the history behind it. The general definition of "LAC" today is a school with no graduate programs. Wesleyan does have fully functional Ph.D programs in physics, biology, and chemistry, and an M.A. program in astronomy.</p>

<p>It is very hard to run a science department without grad students to take some of the load off the professors. Teaching and running labs and other research facilities are both basically full-time jobs. At schools with no grad students, the research expectations for faculty have to drop during the year due to the teaching obligations. This is not necessarily the case at Wes where major research projects are happenng all year round.</p>

<p>By comparison, I'm at Williams this summer working in the astronomy department (as part of a research exchange program with 8 LACs). They rope in tons of undergrads (almost 150) to work in labs over the summer which is when the bulk of their work gets done. Of course given the success of people from both types of schools, I don't mean to discredit places like Williams... but in terms of faculty productivity, grant success, and like, Wesleyan tops all the other top LACs easily in the sciences.</p>


<p>Have you received the same level of personal attention and mentoring that you believe you would receive at an LAC (i.e. Williams)? Do you think the grad students diminish or enhance:
1. a Wes undergrad's relationships with his/her professors? and
2. the undergrad experience in the sciences at Wes?</p>


<p>Yeah, I have. That's what's cool about Wesleyan, is that the grad programs are pretty small, and each major class is also pretty small, so pretty much every undergrad major is pretty well-known fixture in their department and has a faculty advisor in their department that they consult with a lot.</p>

<p>In a lot of cases the grad students are TAs for intro or intermediate classes (that is, they run the weekly help sessions and sometimes grad the problem sets), so undergrads and grads interact a lot. Graduate students are soft of the halfway point between student and faculty, and they know their subject inside out while still not being that far removed from their days as an undergrad. My dealings with grad students have always been very positive.</p>

<p>My senior interviewer was really cool! I was worried he was going to be uptight and condescending but he was really friendly and open about his experiences at Wesleyan. I hope he wrote something nice down on my file, though.</p>

<p>One thing I liked during the visit- all the other kids were from all different parts of the world. At Bowdoin, about 70% of them were from MA, but here there were people from Florida, Arkansas, California, Oregon, Singapore, Canada... That was pretty cool.</p>

<p>wraider, i'm glad you like wesleyan - it's a great place! it was one of my top choices when i was applying - but i feel the need to defend my school. you're a bit off on your stats (70%?!). you'll find people from all of those places at bowdoin, too - perhaps you just didn't happen to meet them. looking at the entering class of '08 stats, wesleyan <em>does</em> have more international students than bowdoin, and bowdoin <em>does</em> seem to fill those same spaces with more students from new england - but other than that, the statistics are pretty similar, except that wes draws mostly from the mid-atlantic, while bowdoin draws mostly from new england. while i'd agree that wes is more diverse than bowdoin and some of the other schools you mention, and has a more "liberal" atmosphere in general, to some degree, it seems like you may have seen only (or mostly) the flaws in the other schools, while you're looking at wesleyan through rose-colored glasses. this isn't necessarily a problem - it's just something to consider.</p>

<p>apologies for barging in. good luck with the application process! <strong>goes back to her own subforum</strong></p>

<p>About the same percent of Bowdoin matriculants come from Massachusetts as New Yorkers who attend Wesleyan--26%. Fifty-five percent of Bowdoin's Class of 2007 came from four states: MA, ME, NY, and CT: </p>

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<p>Sixty-two percent of Wesleyan's Class of 2008 came from the Northeast.</p>

<p>allison- thanks for your comments. I was referring to the geographic distribution of the info session groups and NOT the actual colleges themselves. But you do have a point, I am probably guilty of falling in love with one school.</p>

<p>Sorry about responding so slowly, I was recently suspended for flaming another member.</p>