Wesleyan over-enrollment

Our S22 is very interested in Wesleyan but the latest residential news–that massive over-enrollment has led to use of the local inn as a dorm and the conversion of doubles into triples–is a cause for concern. Any first-hand sense of the situation from current students or parents? It seems a minor consideration, but then you realize the large class will be there for four years and wonder about how things will play out longer term, including with class selection and other relevant issues. Thanks for all comments!

Yes, if your student will be taking courses more commonly taken by students a year ahead (e.g. due to advanced placement), then the oversize year ahead class can be an issue.

That’s one scenario. The other possibility is that they (Wesleyan) admit a significantly smaller class the following year maybe two until total enrollment evens out. Remember, this year’s over-enrollment was not the result of a deliberate decision but happened because Wesleyan has become unexpectedly popular.


I would ask admissions what the plans are, they are the only ones who know (and they might not even have all the answers).

Wesleyan likely has around 200 or so students who study abroad each semester in non-pandemic times, so once that gets back to normal that alone might solve the problem (I don’t know to what degree they are overenrolled right now).


They over shot their target size for the Class of 2025 by ~200 students.

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Then that seems low enough that come next year, the study abroad students leaving campus will alleviate the problems, no need to bring in a smaller class next year or beyond.

The year my kid was a freshman, her college (santa clara) overenrolled by about the same number of students. Students first were offered the triples at reduced costs. Then they were assigned. At the end of the first quarter, those in the triples were given the option of moving to rooms vacated by study abroad or students who were not returning. DD said there were very very few students who took the moves…having made friends.

Another reason enrollment might have been higher this year…there were students who either deferred enrollment or didn’t even apply for admission fall 2020 (due to Covid). Many schools had record applicants and perhaps actual yield was harder to predict.

DS went to BU. They used a hotel for overflow dorm space and those students really liked it! Private bathrooms for two kids, nice lobby/lounge area, convenient location.

That’s if you are looking at it solely as a matter of finding beds for people. Wesleyan has always been fortunate in having sufficient “swing” space in case of emergencies. I think you also have to take into account the effect of a larger than anticipated class will have on financial aid for subsequent classes; a student’s award doesn’t change because they are taking classes abroad.

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Yes, they might choose more full pay students over the next full years, but we don’t know if this current overenrollment has led to more FA being given (maybe they took more full pays this year, or relatively more full pays enrolled, for example). This should be clear whenever they release there CDS in late winter/spring.

Agree that there are many things we don’t know at this point, but I doubt that enrolling more full-pay students next year is high on Wesleyan’s list of counter-measures.


Wesleyan admitted students as if its admission yield would be no higher than about a somewhat pessimistic 31% this year, presumably to avoid the possibility of under-enrollment. In doing so, it took a risk of over-enrollment if its yield were higher. In actuality, Wesleyan’s yield appears to have been ~36% this year.

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They likely also have more upperclassmen who deferred a semester or 2 last year and will be graduating either this Dec or next spring.


COVID has turned the world upside down and all of higher education took a hit. There are other top tier schools that are facing similar problems. My guess is they will make adjustments to continue offering the fine education that they are known for. I do know of a state school some years ago that moved kids into the Hilton and let me tell you, that was a total upgrade!

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I have a pied a terre at what is probably the only luxury apartment building in Middletown and the Wesleyan students are pretty easy to spot: they’re the ones walking around with their eyes staring resolutely at their i-phones. :smiley:

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My daughter is a first-year student at Wesleyan this year, and granted, she is only 2 weeks into school and we have nothing else to compare it to, but I would say that the larger-than-expected first-year class has not presented many dramatic problems for her so far at all. It was rather difficult (and complicated) to register for classes, but I’m not sure if it was much worse than other years, and she did end up getting a schedule she is happy with – and otherwise things seem to be off to a great start!


Thank you everyone for these very helpful comments! I’m glad to hear, especially following the craziness of the last few years, that Wesleyan’s large class is not too disruptive. Any other thoughts/observations from the ground much appreciated.


My son, also a first year student at Wesleyan, checked the box for a single on the residential preference form and has a large single in the Butterfields (Butts). He is currently enrolled in all 200 level courses thanks to APs and was able to get the courses he wanted this semester. I would highly suggest taking a first-year seminar course over the summer before you start on campus, since the course registration system places the other first year students in a seminar first and then their other selected courses.

Thanks for this update. I’m not familiar with the first-year-seminar-in-the-summer possibility. Is this easy? And does it get in the way of potential bonding with other first years upon arrival?

My son took the Mathematical Writing seminar and the professor was great at mixing the kids up into small break out rooms to work on problems. My son stayed in touch with several kids who became his first friends on campus and introduced him to other friends in their dorms.

First-year seminars were offered virtually at no additional cost to students, but were real courses with a lot of homework and grades that are on the transcript. His course had problem sets and writings due every week along with a midterm, final paper and exam. Other courses required a lot of reading in addition to the writing assignments. I hope they continue to offer these classes for future years. It was a great way to meet other kids and to feel part of Wesleyan.



The latest on next year’s target numbers:

"We will not have a large class next year. How much smaller it will be than normal is still being discussed with Admissions. We have more applicants than we’ve had in the past, and our target number will be dramatically lower than what we have this year. We don’t want to be in a situation when the big class graduates that we’re very under-enrolled. So we’re trying to balance that.”
The Wesleyan Argus | Roth Updates Students on the Board of Trustees and Answers Questions in WSA Forum