Wesleyan University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


- If you're going pre-med/ science, life is gonna be HARD. Mostly because these classes have extra TA sessions, labs, and homework so you lose a lot of time. -Favorite and least favorite class Well, I'm a freshman and am in five classes, so there aren't many options for me. My favorite class is Sociology (tied with principles of chemistry), and my least favorite class is Three Big Novels. It's a first year seminar and is a great class for people who like English literature discussions, but not people who like discussing symbolism (and are more science oriented to begin with). -Class participation is REALLY common. 90{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of the people are in the class because they want to be and care about their classes, so everyone is really into it and participates. -Another great thing about Wesleyan: we aren't super competitive. This had a huge impact over my decision to go to somewhere like UPenn or Cornell; they are equal in academics, but Wes students aren't going to be competing all the time against each other. We study hard because we want to do well in our academics, not to beat the other kid in the same major.


Academics are slightly above par. You definitely will find a professor you'll end up being bffls with, and the variety of courses is staggering. There are no minimum requirements (except those for your major) to graduate, so what courses you end up taking is completely up to you. That being said, the quantity of courses are small in number. Save for a few majors, there really isn't much flexibility in most of the academics. For example, you need 5 X classes to major in X, and the school only offers 6 classes in that major. This puts a lot of pressure on experimenting with other courses and exploring the liberal arts education because of time constraints. Pro Tip: Knock out as many major courses as you can in your freshman and sophomore years. The school may encourage you to explore during these first two years, but in reality life is much easier when you experiment in senior and junior year. It's also worth noting that in terms of practicality, the academic program sucks. Only a few subjects will teach you practical skills that are useful in searching for jobs and later life.


The academics are rigorous and interesting; not particularly competitive per se.


I'm a strong believer in the value of a liberal arts education. At Wesleyan, students have a unique opportunity to take courses across a variety of disciplines. The professors are all very intelligent and passionate about their respective fields of study, which makes for interesting lectures and seminars. They are all accessible outside of the classroom in office hours, and, as has been my experience, love to talk with students. Personally, I like to spend as much time with professors as I can. They're very knowledgeable and have a lot to offer. My experience has been that the students are competitive in the sense that they like to push themselves to do as well as possible. I think what you get out of your education is a function mostly of what you put in.


Even in the largest lecture class, the professor will attempt to get to know your name, whether they succeed is entirely on a case by case basis, but there will always be legitimate effort. The best class I have taken at Wesleyan was International Law, which surveyed the international political systems, focusing on the interplay between states and how the development of the international community and the creation of international law has become a powerful, yet controversial force within todays' world. My least favorite classes have been NSM (Non-Science Major) classes, because I feel that they often try too hard to make the material accessible to non science majors that the material isnt as valuable. However, these classes can easily be avoided, but for those that cannot handle a hard science, the alternatives that they offer are often tedious and not all that exciting. Students typically spend at least 4 hrs/day on work, give or take a few hours depending on the student and their schedules. In smaller classes, most kids will participate or the professor will prompt participation to guarantee that the class is not dominated by one single voice. Most students become engaged enough in class that not only do discussions leave the classroom, but they are often shared with friends outside the class and pursued in greater length and detail outside of class. There is a passion and desire to learn that is embodied in most Wesleyan students. We are definitely a school that is concerned with learning for learning sake, many professors will even warn students that if they are taking the class for a grade, then they are in the wrong place. Though kids can get competitive, the majority looks at learning as a process with inherent importance.


Wesleyan has a reputation for its academic excellence. From my experience, this is due both to the students and the professors. Most students have a strong desire to learn, to stimulate their intellectual curiosity, and to question what they know. All of the Wes professors are extremely knowledgeable in their fields, and are more than willing to share their knowledge and experiences with students. You are just as likely to find some of your friends out on a Friday night as you are to find others in the library studying for an exam or writing a paper. Though Wesleyan students are extremely intelligent, I have never felt there was a sense of competition in or out of the classroom. Everyone is more or less interested in getting the most out of their classes and not worrying about getting a better grade than the person next to then. Of course, that is not to say that grades aren't important to Wes students. I don't think there are any "easy" classes or majors at Wesleyan. Even the introductory courses and courses designed for non-majors are challenging and require lots of time and work. As a senior History major, I put in almost as much time for my introductory Modern Europe course as I do for my upper-level seminar. Professors often act as advisors for students in their majors, but they are more concerned with teaching and their own research than with advising students, which has been a problem for me in the past.


I'm a freshman, and it makes sense that I'd be in some larger introductory classes rather than upper-level courses. Also, Wesleyan's class of 2015 is unusually large, so it was pretty difficult to get into certain popular classes. That said, my classes range from a fifteen-person seminar in English literature to a 150-person introductory chemistry lecture. I'm also taking a Government course and a Sociology course that have about 30 people each. All of my professors are great; they are obviously scholars, but they're also very accessible. The other day, my Government professor mentioned offhandedly that he'd been invited to discuss Russian politics and foreign policy at a talk show in Washington D.C., but he'd declined because he had to grade the papers we'd handed in the week before. My chemistry lecture is my only class with a TA, and even then I could easily talk to the professor if I wanted to. Students here are generally not competitive, but cooperative. We discuss the course material outside of class, not because we have to, but because it's generally interesting. People complain about the amount of homework they have and help each other if they can. Wesleyan classes are definitely geared towards learning for learning's sake, but there's also lots of resources for pursuing a career.


Rigorous academics where open conversation between students and faculty is the norm.


Though Wesleyan prides itself on its top-notch academic programs across the board, its most popular and attractive programs include CSS, COL, English, Government, History, American Studies, Music, Film, and the sciences. Wesleyan does not impose strict general education requirements for students to fulfill, which enables students to take courses that genuinely interest them, resulting in an enriching classroom experience where the instructor teaches students who actually WANT to be there. Also, because of the lack of gened requirements, students are granted the freedom to decide how hard or easy they want their course load to be. Though there are students who choose to fill their schedule with easy classes throughout their college career, the majority of Wesleyan students like to challenge themselves academically and intellectually in their classes. For the most part, people at Wes care more about learning for the sake of learning than about earning a 6-figure paycheck after graduation. The larger science classes and intro film course can have upwards to 150 students in them. However, a lot of the studio art and seminar classes have fewer than 20 students, which makes for an personally enriching classroom experience for both the professor and students. As you enter your major after the second semester of sophomore year, your class sizes will diminish. Next fall, my smallest class will have 12 people, and my largest class will be capped at 24. Intellectual conversations frequently occur beyond the walls of the classroom; during dinner at Summerfields, walking to Usdan for dinner, or even 3am in the dorm after a night of partying, I find myself having debates about everything and anything with my friends.


The large classes can feel overwhelming and very un-liberal-arts-like. The point of Wesleyan is small classes. They MAKE the Wesleyan experience. Students are privately very studious, but they are not often outright competitive, at least not in a negative way. There is not too much know-it-all behavior, even though most kids consider themselves very smart. Teachers are wonderful, but they expect a lot from you: participation, originality, punctuality, respect, curiosity.


Professors are so helpful and willing to accomodate you. They want to see you succeed and are passionate about what they teach. Students are not competitive at all, which was a really nice relief after high school. I was able to determine my own standards of what a good performance in a class went. Looking at the course selection my Freshman year was very exciting. I am able to take classes that I want to take. This makes college something I do for myself, rather than for my family, grad school, etc. (as selfish as it may seem).


Academics can get to one's head because they are often stressful, but just like at any school, if one works one will learn.


I wish it was easier to get into the classes we wanted...people pay so much money..and get stuck taking something they don't want to take. I am a science major who needs to take an English class. I have not taken an English class since high school--and the only one that i could get into was Nonfiction Techniques--which requires skill--skill that I feel I don't yet have and I'm worried I will drown.


The education at Wesleyan is definitly more geared toward learning for it's own sake rather than for a job. Although this is sometimes criticized I have found that job markets are more appreciative than ever to have libral arts students. I think it gives one the ability to learn in a multitude of ways instead of just one. All of teachers have known my name and how I am doing in the class. I believe that there are only a few intro lecture classes where teachers have no idea who is in their class. I have found that teachers are always willing to help you. How well you know your professors depends on how much effort you put in to seeking them out. Class participation is also almost always important, again, unless you are in one of the few larger lecture classes.


You can be a very serious student at Wes. You can also take a class that examines global warming through interpretive dance. Your call.


people generally take academics seriously and so do the professors. without trying really hard it is definitely difficult to get a GPA over 3.5, for example. A lot of the professors are very smart and reknown in their respective fields but that does not necessarily mean that they are great at teaching. some are actually terrible


Professors at Wesleyan are the shit. As long as you don't get the shitty ones.


this is the best part. there are so many incredible classes to choose from, and no requirements. if youre into art, you can take art classes and use any of the great facilities that the school offers. if youre into astronomy, you can take astronomy classes and use the big telescope that wes is so proud of. there are very few, if any, weak departments. Humanities are strong, arts are strong, sciences are strong. Music and Film are especially strong, which makes life better for everyone, since there are always concerts and film screenings, and who doesnt enjoy concerts and movies? English and History are also very strong... but the point is, you can take anything. Last semester i took a class in Gamelan, a twenty-something person Indonesian percussion instrument, a class in modern architecture, a class in german fairy tales and a drawing class. they were all great, most of them difficult, and i was very glad to have taken all of them. How many college students can say that about their classes as a freshman?


Okay, this survey is f-in long and that 10 minutes is a lie. That said: Academics is tight. Sure, slackers can weave an easy path through it all if they like. You can also bang your head against knotty, soul-draining problems, questions and schedules, if that's really your cup of tea (you know you're out there). Taking five courses happens a fair bit, and if you can swing it, it's dam useful, and occasionally fun. Most of the people I know definitely converse with substance. I wouldn't call it 'intellectual' though. More like, Wesleyan students are generally intelligent, and they're articulate enough to express what they got in they heads. I've had wonderfully approachable professors. I've heard of curmudgeons, but have yet to meet them in person. I know there's some kind of academic requirements, but I seriously don't pay attention to them. That's not what the place is about.


The professors are really cool, and really personable, for the most part. There are so many interesting courses that it's really easy to take a little of everything and then panic about picking a major sophomore year, but it's also really important to explore the options, because most colleges don't give them to you. I got my Science requirements out of the way with an Intro to Environmental Studies class and a purely applied science class called BioChem in the Modern World. It was learning about what and how germs cause diseases, and how the medicines that cure them work, and things about why all sorts of drugs affect the body. If you've ever sat in a science class wondering "when am I ever going to use this information?"... well, that sentiment is really easy to avoid at Wesleyan, while taking a lot of interesting classes.


The professors also amazing. You may not know it, but these professors are on par with those that teach at the best Ivy League schools and unlike those professors, the ones at Wesleyan are not preoccupied with their graduate students or their research: YOU are their greatest priority! Science classes tend to be a bit larger than humanities classes. But once you declare a major (in March of sophomore year), your classes will definitely decrease in size. As a freshman, I never had a class with more than 30 students. And my smallest class (Russian Language) had 10 students. Also, this is not a school where what is said in the classroom stays in the classroom. I have had passionate academic discussions with people in the dorms at 1am. It is really an unbelievable academic environment. For Wesleyan students, work comes first. There is no pressure to go out and party if you need to finish a big paper or study for a big test. Reading Week at Wesleyan is not four days to party, it is four days of study time/time to just chill. All the classes at Wesleyan are unique. Of the ones I have taken, Philosophy of Religion and Fairy Tales were the most mind opening. Wesleyan classes are ALL about learning for the sake of learning. If you want guidance on what profession you may be interested in, it isn't going to come from inside the classroom. But that's not a bad thing. The only thing that I do not love about the academics is the general education requirements. While the requirements are tame in comparison to some schools, Wesleyan requires all students to take 3 classes in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences each. It's not bad but there are just SO many interesting courses that sometimes the requirements get in the way of what you really want to take.


My first semester I had relatively uninspring classes, but that is only because I was nervous that Wes would be over my head so I signed up for easy stuff. Big mistake. I learned that yes, the school is as difficult as I had thought but, more importantly, that those challenges are manageable if you are motivated. Especially when you open yourself up to the fantastic faculty and students, all of whom are ready and willing to talk to you.


My teachers all know my name by now. The intellectual community is very active outside of class and students are genuinely fascinated by what they study. I'm a double major in art and government. I would tell everyone to take the government major RIGHT NOW. The teachers are the most amazing group of scholars, and they disguise the most interesting classes in the university with painfully dull names. "American Constitutional Law" in most universities is as dry as it sounds; at Wesleyan, it completely changed my point of view and made me decide to study government. Hard to get into higher level seminars w/o being a major but really, really great. The art major has taught me a huge amount, good and bad. The other art majors have provided me with the most fullfilling intellectual relationships of my life. The faculty is a collection of tallented, though often difficult, working artists, and classes can be very hard to get into. If a teacher doesn't like you, forget it, you won't be an art major. The younger teachers are generally awesome people who are easier to work with than the tenured faculty. Also, you will definitely learn what it means to be a working artists and to sort through a range of critisisms. Overall, way too personalistic, but a good program if you want to put up with a lot of bullshit.


Small yet diverse classes, good professors, strong curriculum. Pretty much everything has a liberal slant though (but it's not too overwhelming).


Academics at Wesleyan are very strenuous. They take up a great deal of time. Since I play lacrosse at school as well it becomes very important to balance work, sports, and fun. It is possible to get everything done, but its a chore and finals week is hellish.


The resources at Wesleyan are phenomenal. There are many, many wonderful professors and strong departments. Wesleyan is a very intellectual place - most students are incredibly self-motivated, and like to learn. I have several close relationships with professors, and we have shared many meals together. Students work very hard, but, at least in humanities classes, they are not competitive with one another. They work hard because they want to learn, want to master their subject, want to challenge themselves or their professor. Wesleyan's academic requirements reflect the nature of academics at Wes. Although there are General Education Requirements, students do not need to fulfill them to graduate; they need only to fulfill them if they wish to receive University Honors after writing a thesis in their senior year. I have to say, I have been a little bit disappointed with the African American studies department at Wes. After this year, the department will be losing some incredible tenured professors, and their shoes will be nearly impossible to fill. Over the past few years, the department has made much use of visiting professors, none of whom I have found to be very inspiring or informative. It is also difficult to form substantial relationships with visiting professors, because their status is only temporary. Also, because the department is interdisciplinary and only roughly 25 years old, it is not taken very seriously, by either the administration or by other students. It offers some really wonderful classes, and I do not regret for a second my choice to major in AFAM, but the department needs some work, some resources, and some administrative assistance.


Wes, as you know if you are reading this, is one of the highest-ranked liberal arts schools in the country. It goes without saying that the academics are unparalleled. What I love the most is that no matter what subject you study, and no matter what classes you take, every single department works hard to offer at least one course relating the department topic to certain controversies that go on in the real world. For example, I can't think of one department that doesn't have a class relating to Sexism or Race Relations or even Socio-Economic relations. Even the economics department has a class on the economics of gender. Class sizes are generally not too big, unless you're taking a film course, and even my intro lectures to courses such as literature only totaled up to about 60. Kids typically do work on most weeknights in the library, but Olin usually turns into a social scene if you stay on the first floor. I know (and may be guilty of) people who actually consider what they are wearing before heading to Olin on weeknights, because you never know who will be there to distract!


Small classes, no manditory gen-eds, few brown-nosing former valedictorians. Most kinds at the school are extremely bright, but probably weren't as grade-grubbingly ambitious as many peers. The athletes, you can tell, REALLY don't seem to fit in. Education geared MUCH more to learning for its own sake, not to getting a job. Many graduate without defined career goals.


professors are great, classes are perfect size. you can eat lunch with them or only see them in class, but it's your decision. i love that there are no required classes, this is college, i want to study what i want to study. education is geared towards learning for learning's sake...people are supremely intelligent and there is no competition about grades, which i love.


Professors for the most part know your name. Of course, it is not a one way street. Students have to make an effort to get to know the professors too, but I think it's probably much easier at Wesleyan because of the small size of the school. I love Wesleyan's requirements because basically there are none. I am a very eclectic person, and I have a lot of interests in varied subjects, so next semester for instance, I am taking an econ course, a dance class, rowing for fitness, a math class, an astronomy class, and a political science class. Because there are no requirements outside your major (and I only have three math classes left to complete my major requirements) there is a lot of opportunity to explore other areas of interest. Of course, this depends on your major. I think Neuroscience majors, for example, have more required credits than most majors. And of course if you're premed you have all those requirements, so it differs depending on what you want to study, but overall there's a lot of freedom in the courses you can take.


I've taken classes at a bunch of universities, and Wesleyan has some terrific and accessible professors. Wesleyan is definitely geared towards learning for its own sake, there is really much less of a pre-professional feel to school than at other colleges. I enjoyed the low student/professor ratio, and I really did learn a lot in my time here. I don't spend time with professors outside of class, but I've been able to meet with professors and have conversations with them whenever I want to, something that is truly remarkable.


Wesleyan students work their butts off. But they are the types that fool you into thinking they are not working at all. A laissez-faire attitude is consistently backed up by countless hours in the library everyday. The professors here, at least in the history department, expect a lot. They are scholar/teachers, (with an emphasis on teacher), and derive much of their pleasure from seeing students work hard and succeed. You can get A's, but you will put in the work to get them. Professors are easily accessible, and most often they leave their office doors open even outside of ususal office hours.


There's little more you could ask for in Wesleyan's academic atmosphere. Professors are generally both great teachers and scholars and most of them seem to genuinely care about getting to know and help their students. Some departments could use a little more funding or a few extra professors, but there are really no weak departments. Outside the classroom, intellectual conversations are definitely commonplace, students truly enjoy talking about what they have learned or want to learn, it's a very intellectual atmosphere.


It's Wesleyan. The classes are run by awesome professors who know their shit and know they know their shit.


for the most part, i really enjoy wesleyan academics. as a liberal arts school, they stress pursuing many different areas of study. i find it essential because it allows exposure to many different perspectives and raises questions otherwise never considered. however, as a science pre-med student, i am also left plenty of room to pursue serious science courses and fulfill requirements for grad school. i think i love about wesleyan is while students are intellectual and creative, they are rarely looking to advertise it. some conversations or class discussions may seem intimiating at times, they serve to motivate students to pursue greater knowledge of the topics rather than feeling overwhelmed or competitive in the academic environment. while certain individuals may be competitive, it is rare to find much tension within the classroom and between friends. people tend me more much more helpful than competitive when it comes to classes. the teacher-student relationship is completely available and can be as initimate as the student desires. i emailed some professors weekly about articles and class discussions, while some professors i spoke to once or twice per semester. it all comes down to how much interaction you would like to have with your prof. while some complaints revolve around not recieving an education geared toward a specific profession, i think that wesleyan teaches the essential skills in approaching problems and situations that will lead to innovative, exceptional skills in any work situation. however, this is too something to be pursued from studies. a student walks away with as much as they look to learn. the same goes for experience outside the class setting.


Academics are challenging. Students work hard, and the majority of them are incredibly smart. People aren't overly competitive for grades, but there's a little bit of peer pressure to study. Like, "everyone else is studying so hard for this test, I guess I should too". Still, its easy to find a good balance between academics, athletics, clubs or jobs, and a full social life. Intro classes can be up to 150 or 200 students, but most of my classes had about 25-35 students. This makes class participation easier, but it can also make it more difficult to get the classes you want. I got pretty lucky with course selection, but I have a few friends who were disappointed with their courses. After my freshman year, I've really learned to value my education, not my grades. Professors are, for the most part, very approachable, and many of them really make an effort to get to know their students.


Wesleyan is very challenging academically, but it is anything but competitive. Cooperation and study groups are the norm, and I've never heard of anyone trying to hold someone else back, or even complain that someone else did better. Academics are a big part of students' lives, and intellectual issues will often make their way into even the most idle conversations. At the beginning of each semester, as I get to know my new professors, I realize yet again what an amazing wealth of knowledge and expertise we have at Wesleyan. I have liked almost all of the professors I've had, and stop to say hi or chat with them when I see them outside of class. I've found almost all of them to be really committed to us as students, and it is clear that they respect us and value our opinions, incorporating student participation even into large lecture classes. One of the only negative experiences I've had with a professor was with someone who was very nice, and who I was told was a great teacher in other classes, but in the particular class I was taking simply didn't know the material well enough to teach it effectively. My major, the College of Letters, is a program that combines literature, history and philosophy with a focus on the European cultural tradition. This means reading a lot of dead white men, but in the process you gain an in-depth understanding of the intellectual and cultural traditions on which Western society has been founded. You also still have plenty of time to balance the cultural bias by taking other classes in African-American history, Animal Behavior, or Javanese Gamelan, if you want to. The core of the COL, and its greatest asset, I think, is the discussion-based colloquium that you take every semester with all the other students in your class year. Over time, you build up a sort of intellectual community that it is difficult to find anywhere else.


Wesleyan's academics are wonderful. As a junior I was easily able to get into classes with 7, 11, and 12 people. This close interaction with professors is invaluable. I feel like a lot of my professors really know me, and are excited to see me learn and grow. People's excitement about their classes often goes way beyond the classrooms, and I have not experienced any significant competition with my other students.


One thing I can say for Wesleyan students is that we're not competitive. The professors want you to do well, just as much as the other students. Almost all of my professors knew my name (most classes even freshman year are small), and were available outside of class during office hours for help. Though most students work hard and classes can take a lot of your time if you want them too, most find a healthy balance between work and fun. And because there are only "expectations" rather than distribution requirements, students are free to experiment with a variety of classes.


The Psychology department is the second largest department at Wesleyan, and it is by far the least staffed. If you want to be in Psychology, go to Swarthmore. Seriously, you wont get any research time, there are no courses to take, and there is no way to specialize in anything.


If you are over being crazy about grades, you can really take advantage of the academic system. Getting straight A's requires a ridiculous amount of dedication; a student can explore the subjects they love extensively and learn a lot from their teachers and peers. The classes, other than large introductory science classes, are small and inclusive; the professors are enthusiastic about engagement with the students. Time with professors outside of class is encouraged.


Over 4 years here, I have developed tons of close relationships with distinguished professors. It's safe to say I have four mentors, among dozens of other close relationships with professors. The Wes culture makes for a tremendously rigorous academic environment. Students here learn critical thinking about social issues (which they can apply to *every* possible discipline) in ways that never happens at most schools. The academic requirements are easy to fulfill but ensure a breadth of education. Students in every major benefit from the liberal arts education, learning how their studies fit into a larger social framework which allows for fruitful opportunities of collaboration. Students have academic discussions outside of class all the time, and a huge part of your education comes from your peers. The academic environment is largely supportive, not competitive, and you never hear people asking about one another's grades. It's all about the education.


Wesleyan is known for its academic excellence, and for those students who take advantage of what the school has to offer, the education is a great one. I personally feel that I got the best college education for me here, and have no worries about finding a job post-graduation. Our Career Resource Center is wonderful, and Wesleyan alumni generally tend to do interesting things with their educations (for example, the writers putting together this college guide!). There are, of course, several caveats. I'm a music major, and in my four years got to know several of my professors well enough to call them by their first names and eat dinner at one's house. One even played with me in my senior thesis recital. However, the music department is on the smaller side, with only about 50 students at any one time, so I can't speak for students in larger departments like English or Government. What I can say is that many of my friends in other departments are happy here, and aside from the occasional bad professor (ever school has them), the academics are great. In fact, my boyfriend told a me a story about Harvard alum he worked for who went to both Harvard and Wesleyan reunions (his wife was a Wes alum), and said that the only difference between the alums was that those from Wesleyan were more interesting.


pretty fucking useless. a lot of mental masterbation and generalizations by rich white kids and white washed ethnic kids. "i feeeeel like..... i feeeeeeel like.... well... i feeeeeeel like, well i just have something to say and i feeeeeeeeeel like you all give a shit." even the studio arts classes are USELESS. its hard to be that excessively useless in an already useless environment but too bad, its possible. i took a sculpture class and we didnt even cover mold making. it is all theory and nothing practical. i cannot say i left wesleyan with a single practical skill outside of what i acquired on my own, on my own time, off campus, from non students. wesleyan was an immense drain on my time and resources and i cannot stress how badly i regret going to that piece of shit school. the campus is pretty.. lots of campuses are pretty.. dont be fooled.


the most unique class I've taken was the second student architecture class, where we had a whole class design and build project. our client was local audobon society chapter and the assignment was to create a structure that facilitated viewing of a out of commision cranberry bog and its wildlife (particularly birds). Many people in the class pulled all nighters in the studio together various times throughout the semester. And we all spent a few weekend days (9-6 or so) assembling the structure on site. It was a very valuable learning process. (note: design build architecture studios are often part of a graduate school's arch curriculum. but its very rare to do this with undergrads. )


Academics here are very strong. I know people who have taken classes like History of R&B or Western Films looking for a fun and easy A, and found that although the class might have been fun, the A was definitely not easy. Professors are for the most part helpful, accessible, and make an effort to have a one-on-one relationship with the students even in the biggest lecture classes. My biggest complaint about the academic situation here is that it can be tough to get into the most popular classes. Sometimes you have to request it three semesters in a row before the online course registration algorithm gives you a seat.


Very tough school work is made easier by the fact that many professors have close, personal relationships with their students. Whether I liked it or not, I was on a first-name basis with just about all of my teachers by the time I had finished a semester with them. Professors foster lots of discussion in class, not that they'd have to, because most students are excited enough about their own opinions to speak their minds liberally in and out of class. That's not to say that all students are obnoxious, just that they're all intelligent and enjoy the subject matter of their studies immensely (if not the work itself). The Art History department, I can attest, is a very tight-knit group of students and professors who know one another, are interested in each other's work, and enjoy what they do. Learning is definitely something that happens for learning's sake at Wes, and most students take certain classes because they have a strong, genuine intellectual interest in the subject matter, not just to learn formulaic skills or processes.


Class sizes vary, but the biggest classes at Wesleyan are the introductory science classes which are about 300 students. In general, most of my classes my freshman year were around 30 or 40 students. The professors are friendly and willing to help--the majority of my professors at the least knew my name by the end of the semester. It is a liberal arts college, so these are not pre-profesional classes. There are what we call "Gen Eds" that are a set of recommended types of courses over various areas that you are only required to take to graduate with honors. There is no core at Wesleyan, so you are open to take courses wherever you want.


It's definitely easy to become friendly with professors, have lunch with them, talk to them on the phone, etc. Students aren't obsessed with grades for the most part which is nice. Classes are a wide variety of sizes, but it is hard to find classes with under 25/30 students. Wesleyan edu is geared toward different things, depending on your major. Social sciences tend to be about understanding the world around you and becoming an informed citizen. Anthropology is a small, intimate department that is very supportive of its students. All the professors know all the students and most of the professors are great, although a few are really awful. But it is easy to take classes with professors you like. FGSS (Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) is a major that is not a major. In other words, it is comprised of professors who are in other departments but teach classes cross-listed with FGSS. It's a pretty crappy department and major, although some of the professors are wonderful as are some of the classes.


Academics are challenging, or as challenging as you make them. Students generally do between 2 and 4 hours of home work a night, although it really does vary. Nobody seems too stressed out, though, except during midterm and finals time. It's not a competitive atmosphere at all, and people discuss things they learn in class a lot.