I chose Wellesley for many reasons, but one of them was that I really wanted to be academically stimulated, and that has more than been accomplished in my time here thusfar. These girls are driven; driven to cure cancer, change politics, paint a masterpiece, get social justice...just driven. One of the least common personalities you will find at Wellesley is apathetic. That makes for a very inspiring, yet intense, environment. There can be some heated competition, but I've never experienced it firsthand. Almost infallibly, everyone I've met here has been truly friendly and willing to help...whether they're a peer, professor, or otherwise. The size is perfect; it is definitely intimate, but in my opinion gives YOU that many more opportunities to take advantage of the large amount of resources at hand. Many people confuse Wellesley with Wesleyan, think of it as "that girls' school," or just don't know of it at all. But I find that in the areas that really matter (i.e. getting a job/internship/applying to grad school), all the right people know exactly what Wellesley is and are more than often impressed by its rigor and reputation in the "real world." The proximity to Boston is one of the best things about Wellesley. It is not right around the corner, but if you want to go into a large, vibrant college city, you can do so (at any time of the day/night/week). Sometimes it will cost you $3/trip, others it's free altogether...but it is always worth it! And the fact that you can come back to your cozy, quiet campus at the end of the night is even better than the proximity itself. The all-women factor is a bittersweet one. There are times I miss socializing with guys and wish I had them "at my disposal" so to speak, but I in no way feel that you feel "out of touch" with the male race when you're here. I am in Boston at least once a week, and have many friends both male and female at various institutions throughout the city and/or Cambridge. I do, however, love the academic environment of having all women. Coming from a fairly normal public high school, I didn't think I would be prepared to have all women in my classes, but I've found it not only to be "okay" but inspiring! There is a definite lack of school pride on campus, heightened by the fact that many women go off-campus for the weekend (when many sporting activities normally take place). However, there is so much general camaraderie on campus that it is definitely reflected in sports as well...just not as much as most large universities. One infamous Wellesley t-shirt comically spells out "Wellesley Football" on the front and "Undefeated since 1875" on the back. If you're looking for a tailgaiting party school, Wellesley is most likely not for you. But the universality of the liberal arts experience lets both our joys and sorrows translate across broad spectrums. One common belief is that Wellesley is just like a giant, eternal sleepover. I guess technically that's accurate! I adore the friends I've made here, and couldn't ask to have met more genuine, smart, fun people than I have throughout the student body. There is not nearly as much cattiness as I would have expected being at an all-women school, and I love that!
Wellesley is definitely a very unique environment. The students there are definitely some of the brightest women in the country, and they know what they want. After all, coming to a women's college is not an easy decision to make. The greatest thing about Wellesley is definitely the academic environment. The professors are brilliant and accomplished and easily accesible. Its amazing how well you get to know your professors and how much they become more than just professors and more like mentors. When I first came to Wellesley, someone joked and warned me that every Wellesley woman becomes obsessed with atleast two of her professors. It couldnt be more true, you just get to know these amazing people and they become role models. Another advantage to Wellesley is our size. Its a quaint small campus with around 2,100 students. Around 50% of our Junior class goes abroad and so we have only 2,100 students on campus at a time (another great thing about Wellesley is people's willingness to explore new things such as studying abroad- and Wellesley definitely caters to that). You get to know alot of the people on campus, and that makes it all the more fun. People dont generally react very well to hearing that I go to Wellesley. Alot of people tend not to know what it is, and many others gasp and ask how I could possibly be attending a women's college. However, occassionaly, you come across the more enlightened few that congratulate you and ask how you go to such a great school. I personally try to focus on the enlightened few. Another thing one must know about Wellesley is it's a politically charged atmosphere. Every woman has strong opinions about one thing or another and will not take it lightly if her beliefs are not respected. In fact the campus bookstore sells t-shirts that say : " Wellesley Women: I am offended." Its a Wellesley trait that we all eventually learn to love after we realize how much we contribute to it. Wellesley in general is not a place that one can adjust to easily. I definitely didn't. I spent my first semester in pretty bad shape, but my second semester has been a blast and I couldn't be more grateful that I stuck around.
In my opinion, the most incredibly part of the Wellesley experience is the feeling of sisterhood. There is something about having gone to an all-woman's college that links us strongly to each other and to all the alumnae who have gone before us. I never dreamed I would meet friends like the ones I have met here. I have six best friends who would walk through fire for me- and I think our strong connection stems from the fact that there are no boys over whom we compete or who demand attention in social situations. Wellesley is in the suburbs of Boston but it is incredibly easy to get into the city. My friends and I venture into Boston at least once a week. We explore Harvard square or Chinatown or the North End or Quincy market and we have come to realize that Boston is truly one of the most fascinating and college friendly cities in the country. Aside from Boston there is always the town of Wellesley. The "Vil" as Wellesley students call it, is the quintessential New England Town. There is a Talbots, a Gap, a bagel store, several high-end baby stores and of course the life-line of the students, CVS. I have probably spent more time in that CVS than I have in all the other stores combined. As far as the Wellesley administration goes, there is certainly some tension between the student body and those "higher up." The most recent controversy was over whether or not the infirmary should shut down their 24-hour service. Despite the student protests and petitions the administration went ahead with the shut-down. While this was somewhat disheartening, the administration has never done anything that wasn't in the students' best interest so it is probable that the new infirmary policy will not be detrimental to the student experience. I think the thing that is the most unusual about Wellesley is the bond that we have with alums. There isn't a lot of athletic school spirit per se, but there is an intense pride that comes with being a Wellesley Woman. We are all intimately connected with the women who graduated 100 years ago and with those who will graduate in the next 100 years.
The best thing about Wellesley is the intimacy. It feels more community like aside the colleges that have some 25,000 students. I think the only thing I would change is increasing the size of the library. Wellesley feels right. Everything is within walking distance. It may feel small at times, but when I think about it, if it were bigger, then it becomes difficult to get to places and it doesn't feel as safe. I get two reactions when I tell people I go to Wellesley: awe because they know Wellesley is prestigious and either admiration that I chose an all women's college or sympathy that there are no men. Half of my time is in class/at work/meetings. I would say the other half is spent in my dorm or at the library. What college town? There is a little ville outside the campus about five minutes walking. That's where the shops and restaurants are. Due to some recent events, I am thinking there is some disorganization in the funding committee for lectures and cultural events. But aside from that, I have had a good experience with the dean's office, admissions, and financial aid. The most recent controversy would probably be that a Wellesley student attempted to murder her ex-boyfriend at a nearby college. There is definitely a lot of school pride! "Wellesley women who will" is a popular phrase often used to motivate students. When it comes to unusual things, I think it would be that Wellesley goes out of its way to keep controversies such as the one mentioned, quiet. Also I hear that there have been suicides, but the college has kept that quiet as well, kind of sweeping it under the rug. One thing I will always remember is going into the lake as initiation. It was cold and I almost lost my shoes! The "Wellesley bubble" is the biggest complaint. The Wellesley bubble is a term used to mock Wellesley's "everything is happy happy happy, let's not talk about the suicides that just happened la la la" attitude.
Wellesley feels like a boarding school for adult woman, some might even call it similar to a prison. They hold your hand and tell you what you can and can't do. Unless you have a car or want to spend your life on the commuter rail or deal with the inconvenient bus schedule, you must live on campus all four years. Wellesley, the college, expects this, yet for some reason all the living spaces are still dormitory, style and very depressing and isolating. Not to mention it doesn't really teach one how to 'live' with others, because you are very separated. It also makes for much less social atmosphere as well as it ups the depression and stress levels. Many woman like to cook, that is NOT a possibility in this living style. No matter what others say, DO NOT store your food in the refigerator, for even though all dining halls on campus are free to students, girls feel the need to steal other's food. That is just lame, not to mention rude, especially for those with food and stomach issues. When I lived on campus I was either in class or in my room hiding from the rest of the campus or outside working out. I rarely did anything "community" oriented. Food at wellesley....is HORRIBLE. Not to mention the dining hall workers never know what is actually in anything so when you ask for specific allergens they don't know. While it is in a very pretty suburb of Boston, Wellesley, the town, is NOT a college town by any meaning of the word. It is a dry town and only 2 restaurants have a liquor license and if you want to drink you have to eat. The down closes down at 9pm, well CVS is open until 10 (I believe) but Starbucks even closes at 9pm. I think Wellesley spends too much on its 'image' to the public and not enough on making the campus a better place for students to live. They are even closing the overnight infirmary, that is going to be very bad for many students.
One of the things which I think is fairly unique about Wellesley is the extent to which students are involved in the running of the college. There are hardly any groups or boards which don't have student members. Students take part in Board of Trustees meetings, control the distribution of the student activities fee, are part of every major academic council committee, practically everything. Every year, four or five students are selected by their peers through the SOAC (Student Organizations and Activities Committee - a subcommittee of College Government) to sit on the Board of Admissions for two year terms. It's really incredible to read applicationst and be part of selecting the students who will come to Wellesley... in a very real way, you're shaping the future student body and alumnae network, the way Wellesley is seen in the world. With those opportunities for involvement, though, I think that it can be hard to keep perspective and there can be conflict between students' more short term goals and the administrative longview. Neither side is always right, and sometimes I think students take the instances of disagreement as proof that the administration doesn't necessarily listen to students - and by this, I think sometimes an issue of students wanting to, for better or for worse, dictate all directives - and sometimes get disillusioned rather than impassioned... it leads to a relatively small part of the student body serving in a large portion of the roles that shape the administrative view of the student body. And that's something that I think happens on a lot of levels at Wellesley - people find their niches and can sometimes get tunnel visioned within them... Crossing group boundaries can be tricky (especially to do it without getting wicked overexended) and that's something that every student determines for herself how best to navigate.
What Wellesley Does Best- Academics and Careers: Students have easier access to internships and research positions. Wellesley has a strong alumnae network. The personal attention from professors is excellent. I did not think that I needed a small college but now that I am here I see that I definitely needed a small college where I can get help from my professors and ask them a question at anytime. At a university, you will be a face in the crowd when it comes time for job placement. Huge name companies who are actively looking to hire women flock to Wellesley, the #1 womens' college in the nation. Every year, sophomores and juniors get recruited into internship programs with big-name companies such as Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan, and UBS. These sophomores and juniors are guaranteed jobs at these companies after graduation. Wellesley also has a Wellesley In Washington Program - where students intern in the White House. The Wellesley Social Life: Your social life is what you make of it - it does not come easy to you -yet, it is definitely not as hard as people think it is. I came to Wellesley without any friends in the Boston/Wellesley area. September of my first year, I was already dating guys from nearby colleges and then I met my current boyfriend, who I have been with since the Halloween Party where we met. There are on and off campus: parties, sporting events, concerts, lectures, cultural celebrations, and etc. Everyone can find something to do- you just have to actively seek it out. Warning: Wellesley is weather-dependent. Students love Wellesley and think that our campus is beautiful in early autumn and spring but in the winter it gets really drab and depressing - be sure to get off campus on the weekends.
The best part about Wellesley is the classroom dynamic. Classes are small, the students are there to learn and are usually studying the course material because they're interested it. Best of all, the professors are brilliant and highly approachable. The are no TAs, so if you have a question or hand in an exam, you're dealing directly with the profs. Size factors into other areas of college life too -- since there are only about 2,400 students at Wellesley, you'll get to know a lot of your classmates very well, which I love. And, because Wellesley is a women's school, students are rarely shy and are usually confident and outspoken. All in all, a great environment! If I were to change one thing it would be the location of the gym, which is on one end of campus rather than somewhere in the middle. That said, the campus has a gorgeous lake with a trail that loops around it, guaranteeing a beautiful run at any time of year. Wellesley College is located in the town of Wellesley, which is mostly populated by ridiculously rich people -- so while there are some great stores just off campus, most of them are outside the average student's budget. However, Wellesley provides frequent (usually hourly) transportation into Cambridge and Boston, the greatest college towns on the East Coast. A frequent complaint on campus is the lack of guys, but this is easily avoided by a short bus ride into a city populated by hundreds of thousands of college students. Wellesley students can also cross-register for classes at MIT, Olin, Babson, or Brandeis.
My friends and I love Wellesley as it is. Wellesley is so unique in character, and I have the closest girlfriends that I have ever had in my life (probably because there are no men)...who needs guys when you have your best friends?! As I say, "Hos before bros!" Besides my friends, the best thing about Wellesley are the amazing professors. I love each and every one of my professors- they are all willing to go out of their way for their students. It is obvious that they truly love what they do. Most of the time, I think Wellesley's student body is just the right size, but there are other times (like when finals come around) when it does feel a bit too small because of high stress levels. I spend my time all over campus, but the I probably spend the most time in the following areas: my room, my friends' rooms, Pendleton (more specifically, the economics department on the fourth floor), the dining hall, and when the weather is nice, on Severance Green or the Tower Courtyard. Make no mistake, Wellesley, MA is not a college town. It is a quiet upper class suburb of Boston with some cute shops (the Cheese Shop is to die for!), but the town basically shuts down after 8 pm. That said, however, it is extremely easy to get into Boston to access its never-ending nightlife. Wellesley has buses that go into Cambridge and Boston once every hour (more often on the weekends) and they run late into the night. The ride can take anywhere from 25 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.
The best thing about Wellesley are the professors. They are wonderful and honestly want you to succeed. I love the size of our school because the largest classes on campus are 60 students but most classes have between 15 and 30 per class which is amazing compared to a big university where you can have between 200 and 700 students in an intro class. This does mean however that we have less resources to do things like make a proper acoustic performance space for music unlike universities like UVA. The town is kind of stuck-up, since it's a wealthy area, there isn't much that caters to the students besides the local CVS, Lemon Thai and pizza place. The only place in town to buy clothing that isn't designer is GAP, but there's a shuttle to the mall and shopping centers in Natick every Saturday. I don't feel isolated since we're an hour outside Boston and there is direct busing to both there and Cambridge. It's not like Whitman which is totally isolated. Many important things in the college are run by the students, which I think is a good thing. The campus is pretty safe, though you should always be careful, but we don't have many incidents. There is a lake on campus, and the campus in general is beautiful. You are required to take PE twice before you graduate and you can take sailing or canoing as your PE along with karate and lots of other things. I love Wellesley, if I didn't I wouldn't be going there.