For those of you considering Wheaton College in Massachusetts, I just wanted to share from a parents perspective how wonderful the school is. I had seen a post (prior to the collegeconfidential update) asking about the vibe there, and another about the surrounding area and access to Boston. Our son attends Wheaton and he is super happy there, and we as parents absolutely love his choice. Cannot say enough great things about the school, the administration, his professors, the communal atmosphere of the students, and the Wheaton president, Dennis Hanno. Our son was just saying yesterday that he feels like he definitely made the right choice and that Wheaton truly does feel like a special place. Specifically he was talking about how friendly and non-judgemental the president is, and how he interacts casually but confidently with the students around the campus – a couple of times he has been seen out on the campus grounds grilling burgers and dogs for students passing by; he is also an active professor still and my son hopes to take one of his classes (of which he hears great things).
- More about the school specifically: It is a gorgeous, quintessential New England liberal arts campus. Great architecture, history, and layout. It’s in a small, quiet town (Norton), which just has a couple of streets with businesses and amenities, but it’s cute. It is close to Foxborough and Mansfield, and some good shopping, etc within range. It’s not super close to Boston, but it’s totally accessible (without a car). There is a free shuttle from the campus to the Mansfield train station, and then one can take the train up to the city ($11?) [and the airport, by the way]. He has gone up a few times and really loves having access to that. Providence RI, which is a really cool city, is even closer. The atmosphere of the campus is friendly, accepting, and fairly liberal. There are no frats/sororities, and thee is no football team: some people might consider this lacking, but he loves it, as it creates fewer cliques and less social (drinking) pressure than schools his friends are attending… and it’s not all about the football team/sports. There are actually lots of strong sports teams at the school and clubs as well, so that is there for athletic types. It’s just not the central focus of the vibe. It’s definitely a quieter, smaller school. It’s got strong arts programs and also strong economics and science offerings. It’s also a tight-knit community across students and admin, and they’re pretty serious about social justice, women’s respect and issues, racial equality, and more. We were having a conversation about sexual harassment and such (because of an incident he had heard about at a different school), and my son was saying how the students at Wheaton really look out for each other and it would be awfully hard for kids to get away with at his school. I know this type or junk happens everywhere: but we just feel like WC has created a safe, positive, and respectful environment there. They also have a strong honor code, so people are allowed to take their exams unmonitored etc; again, just an approach of responsibility and trust. And finally, they handled the COVID nightmare as well as any school we know (testing every student 2 times per week for the entire semester, hybrid classes approach, strict mask policy, etc, etc).
- For those looking for a small liberal arts school with great academics, a laid back atmosphere, and a beautiful campus, Wheaton is totally worth it! If anyone has any specific questions or wants more information from a parent’s perspective, just let me know.