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Wellesley College

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back in time and visit myself as a high school senior, I would offer myself words of comfort. Before I left home for college, I was terrified; I'm from California, so I was nervous about leaving my family and attending college in Massachusetts. I cried for days leading up to my departure. Even though, deep down, I knew everything was going to be all right, and that I would love college once I got settled in, the thought of leaving my family, friends, and beloved hometown was overwhelmingly sad. Now that I've completed one year of college and discovered how much I enjoy it, I wish I could go back and tell myself all about my positive experiences at Wellesley. I would talk about my caring roommate, my three best friends, my extracurricular activites, and, most importantly, the safe, friendly, environment that makes Wellesley feel like home, despite how much I worried that it would never feel that way. I would tell myself to be brave, and to keep in mind that no matter how scary college may seem at the moment, I will never regret having to undergo this dificult transition.

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The single most important thing to think about when finding the right college is whether or not the school feels right to you. It could be the best school in the country but not be the best school for you. There is more to your college experience than rankings and that is definitely something to consider in your college search. To make the most out of your college experience you have to have a good balance between academics, extracurricular activities, and your social life. Spending too much time on any one thing, even academics, can be overwhelming and lead to stress and general unhappiness. It is important to use your time wisely and make the most out of your time spent in classes and on your coursework. The more efficient you can be, the more time you have to relax and catch up on those things that you need to balance out your life. My main advice would be to go to a school that feels like the perfect place for you; the people are open and accepting, the coursework is challenging, and the atmosphere is inspiring and just right for you to make the most of your college experience.

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Finding the right college is a subject that has been hashed and rehashed countless times and students receive advice from many sources. Often these sources give conflicting advice and make the decision to find the RIGHT college seem insurmountable. What many students don't realize is that it often comes down to a single moment when a student just knows that THAT particular school is right for them. For me, that moment happened to occur during a school tour. It's true that once a student enrolls in a college, the grass might start looking just a little bit greener on the other side of the fence. What I have learned is that while the decision of what college to attend to important, the best advice that a student can heed is to throw themselves into wherever they end up. Join a club, go to optional lectures or play a sport. Pay attention when an upperclass mentor tells you that tutors are available, and DON'T skip out on office hours. Use the resources your school provides, and above all, get some sleep. With a rested and open mind, a student can enjoy their experience at any school.

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Standing before myself as a high school senior I would advice myself not to worry so much, to stay focused, but most of all to be outgoing. I would tell my self to take oppertunities as they arise because you don't know when they are going to come around again. I would instruct myself to take full advantage of the resources being offered to me, clubs, services, other students and especially the faculty. I would make sure to tell myself that professors want to help, and that I should email them with questions and talk to them about papers and tests. Going to office hours and talking with someone whose life is revolved around the subject you are learning is one of the easiest ways to learn about that subject. The faculty enjoy teaching you and they love their subject so I would advice myself to use them. Being outgoing says all of this in two simple words. While staying focused and clearing my head of all the bad thoughts about what was to come I think knowing to be outgoing would have been the most useful advice for me to take full advantage of my first semester.

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Before I came to college, I was one of those high school students that dreamed of going to an Ivy League University. I looked at the name values of colleges/universities and thought they were very important. However, after coming to college I have realized that those factors should not play such a big role when it comes to choosing your college education. My best advice to those looking into choosing the 'right' college would be to look at what the school has to offer you. For example, does the environment suit you? Do they offer courses that draw your interest that you might want to take or major in? What departments are strong in the college or university? All of these information would be far more useful to you and your parents than the simple name value of a school or how well known the school is. Don't be afraid to look at schools that not many people know about, and be honest with yourself when it comes to choosing your school. Afterall, you will be spending the next four years or so at the college you choose. I wish you all the best of luck!

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Hello, Gail. It's me (you!) from the future. I know you're busy studying for the SAT Subject Tests, so I'll make this brief. You'll be moving thousands of miles away to a completely new region of the U.S. New England is cold, so bring snow boots and lots of sweaters. More importantly, though, be open-minded and friendly. Your first roommate will be amazing and gregarious, and you should take up her offers on going to a social event or hanging out. You shouldn't repeat the same habits you did in high school, i.e. completely forgoing a social life. Academics are important, sure, but did you know the best students thrive on a healthy balance with both social and academic fuel? That said, you'll meet many smart people in college. A lot of them are valedictorians. Don't overestimate your abilities, and never be too proud to ask for help. Even if you don't understand a concept the first time, keep asking for guidance! You'll never learn otherwise. Study at least 5 days in advance, and use the quiz-and-recall method. All right, cheers. Good luck.

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Looking back on my senior year, I wish I had completed more scholarships. By November, I was tired of the college application process and excited by the prospect of being able to "slack off" as a second semester senior. I took classes that I knew would raise my GPA from the trouble I had when I tried to over-achieve during junior year. While I tried hard and excelled in those classes, I didn't really challenge myself. A year of non-challenging classes followed by a summer of laziness was not the best set up for a first semester of college. While it is great to reward yourself for your hard work, it is important to stay busy so as not to lose your work ethic. Junior year I over-booked myself with activities and challenging classes; senior year I took a much easier route. I needed to learn to find a healthy balance not only between easy and hard, but also between work and fun. I had little social life in high school because I was so focused on work. In college, I was so excited for fun and extra-curriculars, that almost neglected school-work.

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As a high school valedictorian I felt the pressure to get accepted into an ivy league school. I blindly applied to five top schools solely based on their rank and never visited the campuses even after I got accepted to them. I could not have made a more wrong choice. Yes, education is the main reason for going to college, yet it is definitely not the only one. Looking back at the college selection process, I wish I had done my research as to what type of environment I would be living in, how the social life was, how happy current students felt at such school, what type of weather would dominate, etc. As I apply now for graduate school, my decision on the schools I apply to will be based on whether they are a right fit for me and not because of their prestigious image. This time around I will visit the campuses, talk to current students , sit in on a class, talk to a professor, have lunch in the dining hall, and explore all the resources available to me. I am very grateful that I have a second chance to learn from my mistakes!

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I can be extremely shy. I would tell my younger self to not feel so self-conscious; the truth is, everyone feels that way the first few weeks of college. The questions "Will I make friends? Will people like me?" might be present, but even so, put yourself out there. I regret my first couple of weeks, where I kept to myself and stuck to what I knew. The third week, when I saw people jamming music in the dorm common room, I finally took the plunge. I spontaneously whipped out my mediocre singing voice and a violin, and those people became my best friends. Join things, you never know. Regarding grades, I would tell myself to prioritize. What if there's an event going on, and I have a test worth 40% of my grade tomorrow? Probably shouldn't bomb that one. What if it's one of the best events of the year and I have a minor quiz tomorrow? Go to the awesome event! I definitely had moments where I should have worked instead of played, and vice versa, played instead of worked. Have priorities, but try to be smart about them!

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There are a couple of things I found out about myself while I was transitioning into college life, both academically and socially. First is that no, I can't live without friends. The first thing I'd tell myself as a senior is "Hey, I know you're going to a Boston-Area school like a lot of your friends, but you need to meet new friends on your campus!" Maybe then I would've discovered the amazing group of friends I have now way earlier. I also found out that my favorite subject was not in fact English, but History. Honestly I wish I would have taken more classes that I just wanted to take, rather than sticking to a plan that is now useless anyway. So the second thing I'd say is "Ditch the plan. Take what looks cool!" Lastly, on a wholly practical level, I came into Wellesley with the worst senioritis-hangover ever. I wish I could go back to my senior year self, and scream "Keep studying! You can rest in the summer!" And maybe then I would have done better on some placement exams and not have to review material.

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