Wheaton College rocks

Congrats to your son. Wheaton’s campus is pretty small, I’ve walked a lot on it. And actually Pine isn’t much further from the academic buildings than many other dorms. It’s also close to the main dining hall; and the newest most comfortable form as well.
Sorry I can’t really speak to the 1st year and sophomore projects. But I do know that my son enjoyed his 1st year seminar enough — he didn’t get his top choice but his second.
Great college, nurturing environment, super academics.

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By area, Wheaton’s campus measures larger than many, at 478 acres. By this standard, it appears to be a few times larger than that of most urban campuses, such as that of, say, Brown (146 acres). However, Pine Hall seems contiguous with the heart of Wheaton’s campus, with the true perimeter locations consisting mostly of athletic facilities, playing fields and parking lots.

https://map.wheatoncollege.edu/

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Great! Thank you!

What is your son’s major? Mine is interested in something bio/biochem/neuroscience.

We visited this weekend and while Pine was set back the furthest of the first year dorms, they were really all in the same general area, and the walk from Pine wouldn’t be significantly longer than the walk from the other first year dorms.

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Great! I thank you so much for your insight.

So, what did you and your son think? Did you learn anything new? Has he made a decision?

I know that my son is excited, by we are trying not to get our hopes up too high until we see the FinAid offer.

@WPIMom my son, husband, and I all really liked Wheaton - I think we came away liking it even more than we had before our visit.

We started by driving up past the Norton Reservoir to Mansfield since that is the way the bus (that students can take) goes. The reservoir was pretty, Mansfield was small but cute, and the train station was there which we wanted S21 to see since that’s how he could get to Boston or Providence (2 stops to Providence…we also visited Providence the night before so he had a sense for where the train dropped off there…while there, we walked around The East End of Providence, the Brown campus, Benefit Street, and up along the river).

It was about a 10 minute drive to get from campus to the train station. Then we headed back towards campus and wanted to check out Bagels and Cream - it’s pretty close to campus, and we thought it might offer an opportunity for an off-campus bite to eat or coffee drink on occasion. The bagel was good, and the place was walkable from campus (and our tour guide actually mentioned the place later when she was talking about some things students like to do).

Then we parked in the visitor lot and walked around campus for almost an hour before our tour. We felt the campus was larger than we’d expected, in a good way. (It wasn’t huge and hard to get around at all…I imagine it starts to feel small after a while, but bigger than we’d thought). There was a nice variety of styles and materials to the buildings, but everything fit together in a cohesive way. The first year housing (aside from Pine) was old and looked less nice than the rest of campus, but we figure it’s a one year rite of passage to get through, and the housing options for upperclassmen seemed nice - some suite style, some beautiful older buildings, some special interest housing. S21 wasn’t phased by the first year housing buildings - he felt them “basic but not ugly.” I’m not sure I’d agree, but I’m not the one going to college (and my freshman dorm in college was ugly and bit bleh…it didn’t affect my enjoyment overall).

Our tour was good - the guide wasn’t as good as our guide at Clark the previous day, but I figure that kind of thing is hit or miss. She was fine and gave him some scoop on some of the best things to eat on campus at which places, etc. During the tour, more and more students were showing up outside to enjoy the nice weather. By the time we left, there were quite a few sitting in small clusters on the green spaces hanging out. We didn’t get to talk to any other students, but the vibe we picked up just be seeing people was of a very comfortable place. Chill. Be who you are. We didn’t get to go inside any buildings (except the Admission Office to use the bathrooms).

We were glad we had walked around before the tour since we went to some of the further parts of campus that the tour didn’t take us. After the tour, we walked for a while in the Wheaton Woods (connected to campus…a trail through the woods that goes out to a firepit and then continues on). We saw students out there on the trail, too, and every one of them said a friendly hello to us before we’d said anything.

It remains on the list (which still includes 4 schools but is down from 9 pre-visit). If I were to guess, I’d say it’s at or near the top of those 4, but there is one S21 hasn’t seen yet which we’ll see in a few weeks. Hope that helps - if you have any specific questions I might be able to answer after having been in the area for a few hours, let me know.

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Thank you so much for such a detailed review - Wheaton should give you a commission! (Or at least a gift certificate at the bagel place.)

I was also wondering about the train to Providence, because we’ve been reading about how they could take 2 courses at Brown. Also, today we discovered that Wheaton students are offered reduced rates at a local golf course, and they do have a recreational club, which is of interest to my son.

As for dorms, I don’t think anything could be more shocking than my eldest son’s forced triple at WPI: cinder blocks, teeny, and all the carpeting smelled like dirty feet. As you say, a rite of passage.

My son signed up for an online ‘lunch with a Lyon’ tomorrow with a current student, and I’m sure most of his questions will be answered. I think that the only doubt my son has left is whether a ‘less competitive’ small college can offer the academic challenge he is looking for - whatever he thinks that is.

@WPIMom maybe your son would be interested in applying to be a May Fellow? May Fellows Program - Wheaton College Massachusetts

It seems a little bit like an honors college…housing, programming, some other perks

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Actually, yes! I have read about it, and it definitely looks like something he would be very interested in, but my understanding is that you need to be invited.

@BGTENN , thank you for responding on the other thread.

Basically, I am biased against Wheaton because my sister went there in the 90s and did not like it, transferring out her sophomore year. I realize that many years have passed, but the average GPA of accepted Wheaton students is a 3.3, which is also a bit of a turnoff, too.

The only reason my son applied to Wheaton was because he was getting so many rejections from other schools (and was ultimately waitlisted by his safety), that we had to extend his application range. He did not tour Wheaton, speak to other students, or get the College’s ‘spiel’, and he cannot visit the school now because we are in Europe. We are basically flying blind, and his questions/concerns have not been addressed when he participated in a Lunch with a Lyon, when I connected with the Parent to Parent chat, or when he has sent in questions to the Admissions Counselor.

Just now, he has sent a message to another Student Ambassador, but perhaps it’s not the best week to get answers.

Basically, what we need is an explanation of the academic requirements from top to bottom. From what I have read online, the system has changed to Compass, but the explanation is very vague. What are the core requirements? Does the FYE cover some requirements? Are there FYE choices, or does everyone do the same? Is the Sophomore Experience related to the major? Is there time to double major (biology + ?) or just a major and minor?

Any information you may have would be very appreciated!

I have information that may answer some of those questions based on the notes I took from the several hours-long virtual open house we attended in 2020:

  1. What are the core requirements?
    It is a very open curriculum. Students are required to major and must take 16 (of 32) credits outside the major. All must do the first year seminar, the sophomore experience, and some kind of a capstone. Beyond that, students can explore, focus on courses of interest, etc. I think this is why a lot of students end up with not just a major but either a double major or a major and multiple minors.

  2. Does the FYE cover some requirements? Are there FYE choices, or does everyone do the same?
    The first year seminar is one of the requirements (see #1 above) but it doesn’t cover any of the other requirements (since the other requirements are only sophomore experience and senior capstone). There are choices for the first year seminar (though I imagine, as at most schools, that students indicate multiple preferences for which one they want and may not get their top choice depending on popularity of each one…that’s what happened to me when I was in undergrad, and I think it’s likely true at many schools now)

  3. Is the Sophomore Experience related to the major?
    I’m not 100% sure on this one, but since the major doesn’t get declared until 2nd semester sophomore year, I would think this is flexible - could be related to major or not. The sophomore experience is “internship, research, service, or study abroad.”

  4. Is there time to double major (biology + ?) or just a major and minor?
    See above regarding open curriculum - this should allow for more time to double major. Bio major is 15 classes (of 32 to graduate). 1 is taken up by first year seminar. The rest are open for a double major or whatever else.

Hopefully @BGTENN can clarify more or correct any info since he has a current student there.

Other info from that open house -
*the MAP is required of all students (mentored academic pathway - a structured advising program in which the students engage with peers in an advising cohort in relation to career programming, community building, etc.)
*Honors/Scholars - there are 3 different ways to get honors: Eliza Wheaton (basically a breadth requirement), Global Honors, Taylor & Lane honors (social justice/equity/diversity/inclusion)
*LEAPS are certificate style programs (like a minor but with real world experience and professional mentoring)
*Can opt for Grade/Pass/Fail once each semester until student has 3 Passes (set the minimum grade willing to take and otherwise get a pass)…meant to encourage risk taking in course selection; generally cannot do this in the major field

Hope that helps!

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@WPIMom You’re welcome. To be completely honest with you, based on your view of the college and the students who go there, and how your son applied to it not knowing the campus, students, or school’s philosophy, it sounds like he should just go to WPI.

@nichols51 , again, I think that you should be earning commission!

I’m glad to learn that Wheaton students have that sort of flexibility to explore several different areas, or focus on just a few. My son is very interested in doing a double-major, but I wanted to confirm that that was feasible.

I was a bit leary of the first-year seminar, because it is very limiting at WPI and does not always help students fulfill their requirements. Good to know that is not the case at Wheaton.

I had read about the MAP, Honors/Scholars and LEAPS, but I had not seen anything about the pass/fail option.

Many, many thanks, and I will pass on the info to my son. I think he is ready to make a decision. Has your son decided yet?

@BGTENN , I am sorry, but I must have expressed myself very poorly. I do not have a current view of the college - that is something I am trying to determine now by asking so many questions and trying to become informed. Also, I certainly do not have a ‘view’ of the students who go there, as no student body is homogenous.

My son actually knows the campus quite well, as he attended two PGC basketball camps there in 2019 and 2018, staying in Everett, eating in Emerson and taking classes in the Science Center. You are correct that he has not been able to meet any students in person, although he has taken part in the online Lunch with a Lyon opportunity since his acceptance.

In the past 15 months, my son has become ill and is now disabled. I am doing everything I can to make informed decisions, taking into account other factors that I will not mention here. But, no, WPI is not the best choice for him at this time.

Sorry to have bothered you.

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@WPIMom My son has not decided yet. His three favorites at this point are Wheaton, Dickinson, and Wooster. He’s been to 2 of the 3, and we will visit the 3rd in about a week, so we’re waiting on that before he makes a decision. We feel he can’t really go wrong with any of the choices, but there are differences he’ll need to consider…at this point I have no idea which way it’s going to go, but he and my husband and I all have found a lot to love about Wheaton and feel sure it would be a great place for him.

Also, if you don’t end up feeling as if Wheaton is a good fit for your son, there will be other colleges still looking to enroll students in May (especially with the uncertainty in enrollment management this year due to COVID). There is a list published every year of schools accepting applications after the deposit deadline passes, and you might find something that works well for him that way. For example, if I recall correctly, College of Wooster is sometimes on that list - maybe its research focus would appeal to your son. The list can be found through nanacnet.org

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@WPIMom Just to point out: You DO have a view of the college and its students and you wrote exactly such.

“I am biased against Wheaton because my sister went there in the 90s and did not like it”

“the average GPA of accepted Wheaton students is a 3.3, which is also a bit of a turnoff, too”

And then you said: “He did not tour Wheaton, speak to other students, or get the College’s ‘spiel’, and he cannot visit the school now because we are in Europe. We are basically flying blind.”

Now you’re saying he knows the campus well having been there many times, stayed in dorms, etc… so, yes, I guess you just expressed yourself very poorly. No big deal. It happens. No hard feelings.

Meanwhile I am very sorry to hear about your son’s illness and situation. All the best to you all. God bless.

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I’m “eavesdropping” on the conversation and learning a lot! Our “local” choices are BU, Clark, and Wheaton.

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@HoldensMom 3 excellent schools!! you must be proud. :slight_smile:

Thanks! And RELIEVED. It’s been a tricky year to navigate the admissions process, and we feel very fortunate to come out with choices that have my S happy and excited.

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