Wellesley College Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Sophia

As mentioned, the professors get to know you on a personal level, especially within the major. You have a high likeliness of taking multiple courses with the same professors and they personally guide you into developing a real understanding of the field. Personally, I have gotten to know many professors in my department and have become very close with almost all of them. Some professors (like my advisor) take their students out to get coffee, to eat meals together, and even cook at their house for their students. It's a wonderful environment to learn. Of course, it must be noted that Wellesley has a very rigorous curriculum and any student thinking about applying and attending Wellesley could be ready to stretch their brains in ways they have never before. Class participation is key since the classes can go as small as 6 students. This means that every students is given a prominent voice at every class, and also means that attendance is an important part of our grade. Students are very competitive, some more than others depending on the major.

Yu

The academics is truly amazing. Professors not only know my name, but they do care! I can easily make an appointment with any professor, or go to his or her office hours, even if she doesn't teach me. Some professors you can even get to know them on a personal basis. I am a prospective architecture major, and I find all the professors in the art and architecture department are so charming. Each one has particular characteristics and they are all marvelous in their courses. Class participation is common, because most of the classes are small. But I also enjoy lectures, which normally have 20 to 30 people. Students study really hard here. I mean, really hard. But they are all very smart! You get to know really wonderful people here. Last semester I took introduction drawing class with Daniela, and she is the most charming professor I've ever met! She does not teach, but she INSPIRES you to draw. At the end of the semester, I found that I have grasped most of the drawing techniques and know how to draw from the inside and what it means to be an artist. Other professors are also amazing. It is a small liberal arts college, but you will be amazed at its abundant academic resources and the diverse courses that it provides. Because it is near Boston, students usually get wonderful internship and jobs. The courses are mostly for its own sake, but students care about internships and jobs so much that it is almost a peer pressure that you get an internship over the summer, even if you are just a first-year...

Alexa

The professors are highly touted at Wellesley, and for good reason. They care so sincerely about their students, and the tiny class sizes make it almost impossible to not become close with most of your professors. This is NOT a sit-in-the-back-of-the-lecture-hall type school. Classes are engaging, and there is generally a lot expected of students. As a moderate-conservative in ideology, I am almost scared to venture into the Women's and Gender Studies department (one that is quite popular here). My political theory class was very liberally slanted, and it made me dislike the department, although it is mostly the doing of the student body and less of the professors. My favorite departments are French and Theater. French is a fairly large department, and the opportunities to study abroad are amazing (one program in particular sends about 30 students a semester to Aix-en-Provence, France). The theater department is really tiny, but I know of many students ranging from seasoned professionals to complete newcomers who love the intimacy of the department. The professors almost always care and are there to help you. There are a lot of academic requirements; in fact one of the few schools left who has so many. Personally, I didn't think skimping out of my lab requirement by taking Geosciences will be that helpful in the grand scheme of things, but I do love that there is some structure and it forces you to look at departments you'd never usually consider. Education is DEFINITELY geared toward learning, however I think many people really reap the benefits of that through the means of getting great jobs as well.

Victoria

Professors usually know students' names by the second week of classes. Classes are small -- the smallest class I've had so far is 10 people, the largest 30 -- and not only do professors know your name, but a trend towards class discussion (especially in the social sciences and humanities) ensures that you often get to know your classmates fairly well too. There is a stereotype that Wellesley students (the most hardcore of us are called "Wendy Wellesleys") are cutthroat with regard to competition, but I have yet to encounter this. Classmates are friendly, approachable and helpful. If you miss a class, you can ask a complete stranger and she'll give you her notes. Like at any educational institution -- including both high schools and colleges -- there are a range of study habits outside of the classroom, where some students never leave their rooms while others have inhumanly active social lives. Classes at Wellesley are definitely demanding, but if you learn time management there's no reason why you shouldn't have lots of free time for Netflix, parties and friends. I'm double-majoring in history and biology, both of which are fantastic departments at Wellesley. I shopped around a lot before settling on these majors (throughout my first three semesters I considered majors in philosophy, political science, Spanish, English, and biochemistry), but Wellesley's flexible graduation requirements enabled me to try out lots of departments without falling behind. My favourite class to date is a history course I took on Alexander the Great, which detailed the life and death of the greatest conqueror the world has ever seen -- the class was awesome and the professor who teaches it is now my major advisor. Next year I want to spend a semester biology (especially genetics) in Dublin.

Ryan

People care about ideas and are committed to their causes at Wellesley. You are likely to vehemently discuss Foucault and Butler in the dining hall before having a whipped cream fight with your friends. There is an emphasis on originality in your scholarship and research. Women aren't afraid to be smart and a lot of people have a real love of learning. I found people much more interesting and intellectually curious at Wellesley than at law school. The distribution requirements are not onerous, so you have a good deal of discretion in selecting your classes. Both the classes and the school itself are the right size, which is to say pretty small. You are not anonymous here.

Gene

The class sizes are generally small. Some classes, like writing classes and seminars, have a cap at fifteen students. I don't think I've ever been in a class where the professor didn't know my name (and I don't speak that often) and they are really good about going the extra mile for students, giving extensions (it's kind of an unwritten rule that you don't ask unless you really need it, so they are generally not denied), extending office hours, meeting on weekends, sometimes inviting classes to their house for dinner. Flying under the radar is not easy at Wellesley, but I suppose it could be done. Competition at Wellesley is not really blatant, but some students always need that A, and will study as much as possible in order to do it. Mostly it's a competition with oneself. And studying depends on the person; the sciences are pretty hard, as well as economics, but I myself don't study very often. Unfortunately, the academics are more geared towards getting a job, meeting the requirements, etc. than towards learning for the sake of learning, with a few exceptions. The creative writing department is amazing, as is the history department; think further, deeper, ask more questions is to be found in some classes, but I would recommend these departments for sure.

Brett

Wellesley admits girls who upon entry may not be quite at the level academically of students entering the ivys (harvard, princeton, yale), however after spending four years at wellesley, girls here come out at the level or above their ivy educated peers.

Natalie

Professors come to Wellesley because they want to get to know their students. The classes are small, and barely any of them have TAs. Instructors are mostly friendly and approachable, and they practically beg their students to come to office hours. Whether or not you come to office hours, the professor will know you by name and major within a few weeks. Wellesley is both politically charged and socially conscious; you'll find a lot of people debating with each other outside of class. While academics matter to students, they don't war with each other for grades. A lot of people tutor one subject or another, and overall classmates support each other. The education at Wellesley is geared toward learning for its own sake, and celebrating the benefits of a liberal arts curriculum. Recruiters come to Wellesley from top professional schools and companies because they know Wellesley produces smart, talented, exceptional workers.

Nicole

Profs are outstanding, classes stimulating. Small classes, lecture style. Fundamentally, I chose to attend Wellesley because of the intimate learning environment. I have not been disappointed.

Shelby

Academics at Wellesley are very rigorous; classes are not easy. But, the Wellesley faculty is so approachable and friendly and helpful that if there were a problem in terms of not understanding something, they'd be the first to help in the classroom and outside in office hours or even in the student center. They are willing to assist you in any way you need help, within reason. Classes are small which provide a very intimate learning environment where professors know their students' names and classmates know each others' names. The sciences are very strong at this particular college and it has turned out a disproportionately large number of women scientists. This being said, I am a humanities person and I feel the social sciences are equally, if not stronger, than the hard sciences. My favorite classes have included Art Histories, Political Sciences, South Asian Studies, Spanish, and Economics. I feel that Wellesley's academic requirements are reasonable, and truly encapsulate the essence of a liberal arts college. This institution really stresses the well rounded individual who has taken courses in a wide variety of subjects.

Aleyah

All my professors know my name, and most make it an effort to know it within the next few days. My favorite class would be either chemistry or German. My least favorite class would be calculus, just because I don't like math, but the professors are great. Most students probably study at least ten hours per week. Class participation is pretty common, and students in the same class would normally discuss the topics spoken about in lectures outside of class, sometimes for hours on end. Most students are not too competitive with each other; they are willing to help each other out, but there are some students that will do anything just to be the best in the class.

Anna

overall, the academics are amazing and I would only change the grade deflation policy

Eileen

Academics are what makes Wellesley, Wellesley. You will have a lot of reading and writing and problem sets- it will stretch you intellectually like you cannot even imagine. Classes are small (especially as you take higher level courses) and the professors know you and most departments have some sort of weekly event (example- math tea on Wednesdays, lunch with professors every few weeks in Psych) where you can sit with professors and other people in your course or major. Wellesley students do carry intellectual conversations out of class. There are no classes held during lunch (the entire campus has a break from 12:30-1:20 every day and people generally meet up with friends or student orgs and it's amazing to see what everyone has done that day! You'll be surprised how many times you end up staying awake much longer than you anticipated because you got caught up in a discussion with your friend across the hall about her philosphy class. The Wellesley network is an amazing way to find a job- take advantage of the alums that want you to succeed! The Center for Work and service, which assists in career activities and post Wellesley education, provides services to you FOREVER, even after you graduate-- yo can even store letters of recommendation from professors there in case you ever need them!

Alex

The class sizes are small. Professors always know your name and encourage students to come to office hours. Wellesley students are extremely hard working. I feel like the college is trying to prove the rest of the world that just because we are an all-women's college, doesn't mean we still study etiquette and square dancing....we now have grade-deflation (unlike Harvard) and a rigorous curriculum to prove we mean business. Many girls take classes at MIT, Babson, and even at Harvard....99% come back saying that they were easy compared to Wellesley. The intense academic atmosphere has caused the campus to be a stressful environment. Students are less likely to help one another (however, this could be due to the fact that most of my classes are filled with pre-med girls). I feel like Wellesley hires its faculty based only on their resume . It rarely matters if the indivual is a good teacher or not, if he or she has a Ph.D from an Ivy, MIT, or UC Berkeley, he or she is hired. I have had many bad teachers in the Chemistry department. Yes, they are brilliant, but my high school teachers are better at explaining concepts.

Suzy

All profs know our names. They make it a point to know your name within the 1st week or so. It's really kinda creepy sometimes. Students are always studying and always have something to say during class. In most, if not all classes participation will be a large part of your grade. Students are very competitive and can end up studying and working all week long. Certain professors will invite your class for dinner at their house at the end of the year or will bring in snacks during class. Wellesley makes you take classes in all areas- it's more so that you can be a well rounded person- it even has a gym requirement.

Sarah

As I said earlier academics at Wellesley are nothing less than amazing. Ive enjoyed every class I've taken till now. Some more than others, but I have no complaints. Professors here definitely get to know you by name. They are very generous with their office hours and get to know you personally. We even have some departments which choose to have dinner with their students in a less formal environment. Alot of professors even go as far as enviting their classes to their homes. Class participation at Wellesley is VERY common and intellectual conversations outside of class are even more common. Wellesley students definitely have to do alot of studying. As great as the classes can be, there is NO easy A at Wellesley. However, it depends on the student and her courses, but I cannot say that one can slack and make it at Wellesley. In addition, students here can be competitive. Like every other school there is always THAT girl that's trying to hog all the attention in class, already looking up law schools in her first year, and refuses to share her notes. Another thing about Wellesley is that its very "learning for its own sake". Its not very career oriented, and students learn to learn not to get a job. Although, again, there are exceptions.

Sarah

I've loved almost all of my classes at Wellesley. All my professors have been really outstanding, and I have always felt motivated to come to class just because I don't want to miss what my professor will say that day. I would definitely say that Wellesley classes are geared toward learning for its own sake, but the topics are not so obscure that one could never hope to apply them in real life. Probably the most unusual class I've taken so far was a sociology course called Masculinities, in which we studied the different types of masculinities in society, the possible explanations for why the genders act the way they do, and the rapidly changing gender dynamics in today's society. I really enjoyed taking this class because I felt it was a great alternative to the typical women's studies classes, and it helped me to think beyond feminist propaganda about the actual situation in which the sexes find themselves now. It was taught by two male professors, an older one who wore bow ties and tweed jackets all the time, and a younger one who was kind of loud and liked to joke around a lot. It was very entertaining to watch them play off of each other. As for competition, yes, students are very competitive, but not in an overt way. There are just a lot of really bright girls at Wellesley who are very driven and eager to share what they know. Class participation is quite common, unless it's a lecture-style class.

morgan

the academics at wellesley are challenging, if not simply difficult, but the proffesors are there to get to know you, establish relationships, and push you. They will challenge you, and hard work is expected. But the proffesors do take personal interest in you-i was having a very hard time with my french class, and my teacher took me to the side and after repeatedly telling me to see the tutor, she took me to meet her after class and schedule weekly meetings. she also scheduled to meet with me once a week outside of class for one on one practice. I dont know if i would have passed the course without her. All of my teachers have shown that same kind of interest in their students. They have conference hours for visits, but if they are in their office they will take anyone regardless if its visiting hours. I have had teachers take groups of their students to lunch to get to know them, and every teacher makes an effort to know everyones names. we have small classes for that reason-to forge those relationships.

Hunter

Good. Most classes are academically strong, while some are lacking. A lot of department politics, so sometimes you see really amazing professors (forced to) leave. Students brown nose a lot, professors eat it up. Students don't seem to study much together or help each other out so much. Academic requirements are burdensome.

Emily

Academics at Wellesley are probably the best part. Professors, in general, are caring, understanding and passionate. Students are passionate too, about academics and everything else. Every department has it's pros and cons. The best departments are probably Economics and Art History. The only problem I have found with academics is the prevelance of grade deflation. The policy is that in a 100 or 200 level class, the average must be no greater than a B+. This can become a problem because it forces students to compete with one another and forces the mentality that if everyone gets an A, nobody gets an A. Even though students might not want to compete, they may have to.

Jessie

As Wellesley is a Liberal arts college, learning is mostly geared for its own sake. Of course Wellesley has the Center for Work and Service to help guide students with jobs and internships, but I feel that Wellesley requiring students take, for example, foreign language, math, science, multicultural class, etc. is a great way of learning about everything, and not just sticking to science courses if you plan to be a doctor or something. Wellesley is really competitive. The grading policy, of which I was not aware of until after I accepted Wellesley's offer to attend, also makes competition a little higher. (The grading policy states that the class average cannot be greater than a B+) Just about everyone is up at 2-3 in the morning studying or completing assignments or some other ridiculous hour. In particular, science majors, like me; science course are like a two courses in one- one lecture and one lab so it requires more time. Another thing I absolutely love- even as a first year- all my professors know me and my name. This is why I preferred going to a private school- smaller campus. Had I gone to a state school, I'm sure I would not be able to say that all my professors know my name. I've even gone to a professor's house for something not academic, I keep in touch with professors even if I am not taking any classes with them. It's great to have this kind of opportunity available to students.

Carolyn

Professors are usually really great. I'm undeclared, but most likely a history major, and I've found that the professors in that department in particular are really superb. Both classes I've taken have been taught by professors who were really eager to hear (and actually listen to) the opinions of students. Even though neither of the classes were technically conference style classes, they were both conducted that way. My Athenian democracy professor told me that he couldn't imagine why anyone would choose to do anything with their lives other than study ancient Greece and Rome. I thought it was absolutely incredible that he was so passionate about what he was teaching. That class was also great because a lot of the stuff we were learning was really groundbreaking, new information, some of which the professor had discovered himself. Students study A LOT. Literally, in any kind of common space you go, you will find people studying. Students are really competitive, although it's definitely possible to find people who are more relaxed. And classes actually DON'T have to be NEARLY as stressful as people make them out to be. They're challenging, sure, but not insane.

Victoria

Academics at Wellesley is first-rate. All of my professors know me on a nick name basis, which really goes to show how personal the learning environment becomes. My favorite class this year was an American Politics class. My professor structured the course around the current presidential election and so we did most our learning from current New York Times articles. It was truly amazing to learn first hand. My least favorite classes have been as a result of new professors who don't really want to learn about their students. Class participation is probably the main way of learning- the girls in the classes are so smart- we really learn from each other. Professors are amazing- and most invite students to their houses for all sorts of events; my spanish teacher this semester invited us to her home for Cinco De Mayo- it was very important to her that we learned about that aspect of Spanish culture. Wellesley is definitely the place to be if you want an education.

Emily

All my professors learn my name. They're smart, interesting lecturers who know what it's like to be a student struggling to get by with mounting work loads and incorporate that into their lectures and assignments. Students can be crazy sometimes, super competitive, everyone wanting to prove they have the biggest workload and thus deserve the most praise and pity. But not everyone is like that, some people realize how much they don't like always comparing themselves to everyone else and try to avoid it. The education isn't geared toward a specific job like a business school or tech school, but the education we get prepares us well for graduate school and is broad which allows us to apply for any number of jobs that may or may not coincide with our major.

Taylor

Profesors know my name, but don't know how to pronounce it, but I don't blame them! My favorite class so far was organismal biology. The professor was exclent and made the class more intersting by connecting what we learned to her area of expertise. One of my least favorite classes was a class on the history of art in China, Korea, and Japan. The professor had an impossible to understand accent and refused to write almost anything on the board. The material was also taught in a pretty boring way, so the only thing that kept me alert in class was the attempt to figure out what she was saying. Class participation is rather common, but for some professors getting students to participate is like pulling out teeth. The most unique class I've taken was introduction to enviornmental studies. There was one discussion session a week and one lab, where we went on field trips to places like the local recycling center and a LEED certified "green" building. I don't spend much time with professors outside class, except for a few review sessions and a short meeting to discuss grades. Wellesley has to many distribution requirements; I don't think it's necessary for students to take 3 classes in arts and literature, for example. The education at Wellesley is geared towards learning for its own sake.

Quinn

I know all of my professors names and they know mine. Every member of the faculty is here because they love to teach and we are here because we love to learn. Professors welcome you into their offices and when you are a firstie it is frightening, but before you know it your poli sci professor is asking you if your sore throat is gone yet. It is an amazing environment to learn in.

Tina

Exremely rigorous. A's do not come easily in any shape or form. Wellesley academics shape you into an extremely well-rounded, intelligent and hard-working woman. As a result sevreal companies recruit on campus.

Betsy

In a word: rigorous. Very. Wellesley is geared more towards homework, as opposed to class time, so while you spend less time in class than some schools, you do have to put in your hours doing homework. There are distribution requirements that have to be fulfilled, but that's normal for a school like Wellesley. The emphasis is in finding what you're interested in, not about finding a job. So if you're like me and don't really know what you want to spend your life doing, the distribution requirements don't really mean anything. All the professors hold office hours and they're very careful about them. If you go in, they'll be there. They greatly encourage students to go in and talk to them. It's the way they know that you're interested, or you're struggling. Every professor learns your name quickly because of the small class sizes. All the classes are small, which I didn't think would matter when I was picking a school, but it really does--especially the language classes.

Christine

Academics at wellesley are very much what they advertise. Small class sizes and personal attention is always granted if you approach the professor. They are always happy to help, well for the most part. Many students have outside the class room relationships (in the friendship sense) with many students. Classes and students are very competitive and stress out way too much. Most students study FAR TOO MUCH and should get out and do some good for their bodies. Some of the academic requirements are a bit much but nothing horrendous. Wellesley is place to go and LEARN, not get a job. People need to RELAX and know that the world will NOT come to an end if you don't do every single piece of reading a professor assigns. Two words: THAT GIRL.

Julia

The professors get to know everyone's name in the class. Most of the classes have less than 20 students. I was in a larger class (Greek Mythology) which had almost 50 students and our professor still learned almost everyone's name. It definitely helps that the students are encouraged to participate in the class so the professor is forced to call you by name at least a couple times in the semester. Students study all the time. There is always someone studying. Even on friday night when you just want to play your music and hang out with your friends, campus police will inevitably come knocking on your door telling you that there was a noise complaint from a student trying to study for an exam on monday. It can get ridiculous sometimes. But it just means that the students really care about their work. It also means that the students are super competitive though. But we're really competitive about stupid things, like who slept the least, who has the most exams and papers due in one week, and who has had the least amount of time for eating (not to mention who got an A on last weeks midterm). The most unique class I've ever taken was my Italian Women Directors class this semester. There is literally no other class like it in the U.S. Our professor brings in the e-mails she gets from people outside of Wellesley asking about the class and the syllabus (which is posted online).

Alex

Professors are probably one of the best things here at Wellesley. Yes, many of them do know your name and some even set up individual meetings with everyone in the class JUST to get to know you better. While it varies between types of classes, discussion is usually encouraged and used a lot. One of my favorite seminars was 90% discussion and we definitely had some heat in there. And some really cool fun classes I've taken include a robotics class and a theater class. I'm majoring in Psychology and the whole department is pretty strong with a range of really amazing professors. I think the students at Wellesley tend to stress out a lot though, and the atmosphere definitely feels competitive. But people are also extremely intelligent and have both fun and intellectual chats out of class.

Tate

Academics are the heart and soul of Wellesley. Academics are the reason that we are there, and it shows. People study like crazy everywhere, all the time. Each one of my professors knows my name and my interests (a few even know my life story). I am on a first-name basis with quite a few of my professors. My favorite class has probably been econometrics, but that's because I love economics and I love practical statistics- I guess you could say that I am a typical geek. In class participation is what classes here are made of. Almost everyone participates in active in-class discussions all the time. Even outside of class, students are constantly having academic discussions...we love to use our brains! Academic competitiveness is apparent in some departments, but for the most part, students are very helpful and supportive of one another. The distribution requirements can be annoying sometimes, but I honestly think they are for the better- I would never have discovered my love of economics if it weren't for the distribution requirements. All in all, an education at Wellesley is about the love of learning, but you will get such a good education in whatever major you choose, that you will be able to do almost anything you want after you graduate! It's the best of both worlds!

Alex

Wellesley is the place for academics. The professors are amazing and more than willing to make time for a student. The classes are small and discussion oriented. Every student is passionate about their work, many students even do research abroad.

Jennifer

Professors are very approachable and want to help you succeed in their classes. Standards are incredibly high at Wellesley. In addition to a heavy workload, your assignments must be completed with absolute perfection or you won't get an A. This is due in part to the mandatory grading curve and in part to the nature of the school. However, at the end of the day, the seemingly impossible standards make you a better scholar. Your struggles through the 100 and 200 level classes will prepare you to succeed in your senior year seminars and in graduate school.

Athena

The class are engaging and exciting. I am always thrilled come course registration time because I always find classes that focus on the most interesting topics. I am so excited to take the Politics of China course and the International Security course next fall. Do not get scared about the distributions - there is a large variety of classes for you to choose from- most people finish their distributions without even realizing it.

Jerry

The academics at Wellesley are the reason I didn't transfer. The professors are brilliant, accessible, and supportive. I've never taken a class I didn't like. My favorite was a CompLit seminar last year called "Reading Travel." The class sizes are really nice and even the biggest classes still somehow manage to have discussions. The one down side is that students are VERY competitive, to the point where sometimes participating in class is too intimidating.

Jenna

Academics are very challenging. I think the grade Deflation policy should be eliminated in order to reduce the competition and intensity levels among students. I like the challenge of Wellesley, but sometimes it is too overwhelming.

Tate

Academics are tough. The work load is heavy, the material is deep, and the scheduling can get pretty intense - but it is all do-able. The professors are kind and caring, and they can, in fact, learn your name. One of the best resources you can take advantage of at Wellesley is 'Office Hours' where you can go to discuss with your professor pretty much anything that is on your mind. In the (nearly) two semesters I've been at Wellesley, I have taken 2 physics classes, 1 language class (Latin - it kicked my butt), 2 religion classes (Buddhism and a class about Hildegard of Bingen which I'm actually taking for music credit), 1 math class (second semester calculus), and 2 writing courses (short story composition and a required writing class on the relationship between the great apes and humans). Next semester (yes, I'm coming back) I'm changing gears completely and taking some environmental studies courses, as well as a psychology 101. I do have to say that the academic requirements are tough - but the best thing to remember about Wellesley - and college in general - is that nothing is set in stone. Just because you get through a year and realize you're studying entirely the wrong thing (like I did) doesn't mean that your future is ruined. If you have to do another year, well, then do it! You need to follow your dreams and d something you love - if I've learned anything in my time at Wellesley, it's that following your passions is the absolute best thing you can do with your life.

angela

Academics are INTENSE at Wellesley. Your friends can tell you how hard it is at their school- don't believe them- Wellesley is probably 10 times more intense- and you really have to EARN every point of your grade. They will not give you an A (or even an A-) unless you truly reached excellence.

Janie

All of my professors have known my name. They aren't superhuman so it might take awhile and sometimes they know when you have no idea they know and it can freak you out sometimes. Professors are generally really helpful and friendly especially when you go to office hours, all professors have them and if you can't make it in the scheduled times they can usually help you out and work with your schedule. My favorite class has been American Politics, it's very interesting, informative, and fun. My professor usually teaches by lecture but we have had hands-on experiments in statistics featuring M&Ms (chocolate is an easy way to get a Wellesley Woman's attention), and films that offer insight into different aspects of American politics. Wellesley is a lot of work, you have to expect that. You will have to write many, many papers and the reading load is a bit excessive. Problem sets and labs are also time consuming but it also depends on the class and teacher. You can't slack off all the time, maybe a few days each semester or a few weekends. You might regret it though. Everyone participates to different degrees. Some girls speak up once or twice a class or semester, others have trouble not speaking in class. Every class has a "that girl" who talks all the time and is either always right or hit or miss. Everyone here is different and some people love intellectual conversations others not so much. It depends on your friends, roommate(s), classmates, or hallmates. There is a good variety of intellectual conversations and debates and normal girly talks and experience and life talks. I have a lot of intellectual debates because many of my best friends are very liberal and try to liberalize me, with my friends from College Republicans it is more an intellectual reassurance of beliefs. People tend to be accepting to differing opinions but some people aren't.

Abby

Let me start off by saying that I have loved the majority of my classes here and it is as much due to the material being taught as it has to do with the professor. My professors have been really wonderful both inside and outside of the classroom. They are so accessible and if you cannot make their office hours, they make an effort to find time to see you. Their number one priority is their students and they want nothing more than to see their students do well. Besides office hours, the resources available to students are immense including peer tutors and general help rooms run by students. Within the classroom environment, classes vary based on whether it is discussion based or lecture based. Many of the science classes are lecture based and so there isn't a lot of student participation but in the humanities, the more discussion there is, the better the class is. The professor can offer you what you know but often the most interesting comments come from the students themselves.

Andy

Great academics, many great professors who're easy to talk to. Students are smart, but most don't really do intellectual conversations outside of class. They're competitive with themselves more often than they are with others.

Wendy

I love my classes at Wellesley. There has never been a question in my mind that I came her for my classes and they have never failed me. My professors know who I am, not only by name, but also my interests, other pursuits, directions. I meet a few times a semester with my advisor, but I've also adopted several other "advisors", whose strengths, weaknesses, and personalities complement one another beautifully. And beyond helping me choose courses, I think that there's no question that Wellesley professors will go above and beyond for their students. I took two courses on Chaucer and other Middle English literature, and at the end of them, my professor offered to teach a small Old English group. So there are three of us who have been learning to read Old English together this year. Likewise, I have struggled to find courses which match my interests in our relatively small German department (nice, but very small), and my first professor has been an advisor for not one but two independant studies, above and beyond his normal teaching load, so that I can pursue the topics I'm most interested in. In terms of most unique or interesting classes (because I have a zillion favorites!), I think I have to mention one I'm enrolled in right now, EXTD 240: Papyrus to Print to Pixel. The course is co-taught by the Special Collections Head Librarian and the director of the Book Arts Lab. Every week we look at different phases in the history of textual transmission, looking at examples in special collections (Wellesley's special collections are AMAZING! AMAZING!), and then we have a "lab" in the book arts lab to try things out for ourselves. I've made papyrus, I've made hemp and rag paper, I've set type by hand, I've tried my hand at calligraphy on parchment, I've bound a book - it's really an incredible class. And on top of all of that, we have guest lecturers from all across campus (from the Classics to History to English to Computer Science) and professional artisans (the man who lead the carving on the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C.? Yeah, he came to our class, gave a carving demonstration, let us give it a go.). The course is absolutely amazing, and I think it just wouldn't be possible somewhere without the combined resources of our special collections, book arts lab, and generous alum donors. And on one mroe note, working from the prompts above: I think that the student body at Wellesley is really interesting because I think we're very split on why we're here. I came for myself, and I was fortunate that that was possible, for me to take four years and study what I love without having to gear up for a particular position. But our law, medical, and graduate school placements are quite good, as are our recruiting relationships with big firms - and of course the alumnae W network - so there are people who choose Wellesley because it is a school which can enable them to move towards later professional goals.

Casey

We have grade deflation to counter the accusations of grade inflation at elite colleges, which is a bit rough to take as a student. For the administration, it's a great policy. Very respectable. Wellesley students are known for being pretty intense and competitive, and everyone talks in class. Know how in high school, one person from each group wanted to do all the work? Every single one of those went to Wellesley -- group projects are like a power struggle. Wellesley also has a physical education requirement, but there are a lot of fun ways to fill it: golf, tennis, sailing, horseback riding...lots of stuff.

Wendy

I love the classroom academics. Professors always know my name, and encourage participation. The professors are truly wonderful, and I would rather spend my time in office hours with them than with most Wellesley students. My current favorite class is Weapons, Strategy, and War with Professor Goddard. She lights up like a kid on Christmas morning when she talks about most topics. Political Theory is a class I was dreading, but Professor Candreva has made it one of my favorite classes as well. She really is able to bring Hobbes, Burke, Mill and others alive. Students are way too competitive. In class they act like they do all the reading - and most of them do. This is quite a feat. Wellesley students tend to be too focused on academics, and the competition is cutthroat. You know the Cutthroat Bitch on House? That probably can describe many Wellesley students. I don't like Wellesley's academic requirements, and after being abroad, wished I went to a college that didn't have academic requirements. They really are a big burden unless you plan for them, and your major(s) and goring abroad from day 1 at Wellesley.

anna

my professors not only know my name, but probably know even more about me. contrary to the stereotype, students aren't competitive with each other, but with themselves. i do spend time with some of my professors out of class. my film professor had a screening/tea party at her home one day when we had a long weekend. the most unique class i've taken so far was a class about ancient athenian politics. it had never been taught before, and was based on research that my professor had compiled for his doctoral thesis, which he published the semester before. we used very modern poli sci theories and analyses to account for the existence of a "true" democracy, which was previously thought to be impossible in reality.

Julia

My prof's DEFINITELY know my name, background, life story (some of them, anyway...and they would almost all be interested), strengths and weaknesses... Favorite class: Econ with Velenchik. She's hilarious, charismatic, and above all a very clear professor. She also tells it like it is, which I really respect. Least favorite: Astro 101lab. Prof French is awesome, but hot damn, don't take that class thinking it's going to be an easy A. It's not. And it's fucking cold outside at 11pm by the telescopes in winter (well, almost any time, really).

Anne

It's the best! I love my professors and my classes are small, so you really get to know them. Since Wellesley is solely undergrad, so the professors are really here to teach and not quite as interested in research. I feel really challenged in all my classes, and it's really a fun place to live and go to school.

Olivia

They are hard. There are no breaks. Usually you have to go to class. People are smart here and they participate. You have to study for tests. It's a lot like high school ... but harder.

Alex

A friend from Dartmouth College once commented that, "The closer I get to Wellesley, the higher I can feel my blood pressure rising." Wellesley is not for the faint of heart. We are a community of driven, overachievers. We are used to being the best and find anything less hard to accept. This mindset would lead many to assume that Wellesley is an extremely competitive school, which is true. However, competition does not exist between individuals. The only place competition lives is within each student where a fierce battle rages between the student you are and the student you want to be. Academics are the focus of the college and generally a sense of quiet reigns over the campus (during finals week, it's more an eerie silence). Classes are never optional and participation is expected. This is great for creating dialogue and an exchange of ideas, but it also prompts the inevitable handraiser: the girl who always has a question or a comment, even if it happens to be identical to what the professor just said.

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