There is not a lot of racial diversity at Wheaton. I think this is something the school is trying to work on, but for the most part you look around at a sea of white. I think Wheaton can be a good place for minorities if you are willing to be a teacher to your peers and tell them about your unique experience as a minority. The Wheaton community as most people are highly achieving and we sign a covenant that we won't drink is a fairly fit community. I think this is potentially dangerous as it can lead to an unhealthy view of yourself as you look at the many fit people around you. People's dress varies from jeans and a t-shirt to the rare few who dress more business casual and don't even do that every day. Wheaton has a grassroots group of students who are socially active and aware. The HNGR program especially points us to Human Need and Global Resources (get it HNGR...) I think Wheaton students care about what is going on in the world as we are essentially focused on what our role will be for Christ in His Kingdom which is the whole world. I think the more prevalent attitude among students is not what will I make when i have a job, but what impact will I have on the world and how can I be doing things now to be working towards a greater impact in the future. Because of the small class size it is fairly easy to interact with the different types of people at Wheaton. There are a lot of missionary kids who call many different countries in the world "home."
Wheaton boasts alot of people from around the USA and the world (I know that sounds nebulus and, well, I guess it is). In my own personal opinion, I would like more black people here. That should not be a deterent if you are black because there are still plenty here and they are very active in the community. I'd just rather have more. Financials.... Ok, so, alot of people who go to Wheaton have money in the family. Partly because of the lack of scholarships and finaid, some people chicken out of going here. #1) Wheaton is rated pretty highly in the "bang for your buck" category. It is worth the money to go here. #2) If God wants you at Wheaton, He WILL provide (Jehovah Jirah= sweet praise song). I know that when I decided to go to Wheaton, I was looking at one large debt to pay off when I got out. Over the course of maybe five months, God reworked my family's entire financial situation to allow me to go to Wheaton and I'll come out with alot less debt than I had originally thought. But, I was just thinking again, another financial grouping we have are MK's. Wheaton gives large amounts of financial support to missionary kids. I think this really helps put a different view of money out in the Wheaton Community. One last note, there is a free thrift store on campus. It rocks!
Wheaton students are from all over the country and the world. Almost all of my friends have lived overseas at some point in their lives. Of my group of friends there are people from every region of America and people who have lived at some point in their lives in England, Scotland, Bolivia, Honduras, Africa, Italy, the Middle East, Australia, Asia, France, Norway, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the list goes on. It's great, especially because I am extremely interested in culture and language and exploring the world, to be able to talk to people who have had so many multicultural experiences. True, the majority of Wheaton students are caucasian, but that doesn't seem to hold them back as far as cultural experience goes. I think for the most part Wheaton students are very globally minded. Most of us really want to get out in the world and understand other cultures and be a light to the world, helping as many people in our lives as we can. Most of my friends and I want to live in other countries for at least part of our lives and work to help people in some capacity. I think spending four years in an environment like Wheaton really helps make you culturally aware and aware of what is going on in the world and how you can help.
Wheaton is what you make it. You can find nearly everything at Wheaton. This includes the good along with the less than desirable. The vast majority of the student body follows the relaxed rules we have on campus. However, there are pockets of resistance, as there probably are in every school. In all, Wheaton is a very accepting place. Contrasted to high school, I feel no peer pressure to be someone I’m not or to fit into some sort of mold. When I look at my friends, it does not seem to me like there is any particular reason that we are friends. We don’t have much in common and in high school we probably hung out in very different crowds. We come from the South, the West Coast, the Midwest, the North (or as I call it, AoMY (Area of Mass Yankees)), Germany, and one of us even lives on an Indian Reservation. There’s no rhyme or reason that we are friends, except that we enjoy each others company. There’s no motivation to try to fit a mold because there is no mold. People accept you for who you are as long as you are real. A facade is easy to see at Wheaton.
Wheaties are subject to many stereotypes: good Christian kids, perfectionist, uptight. In general, the student body at Wheaton is a little bit special because students are aware that they are in a Christian institution and that there is a community covenant. However, as you get to know more students in depth, you will realize that everyone is more complicated than you think. Just like everyone else, students here are struggles with many things, whether it be academics, relationship issues, or faith. However, the vast majority of the students here do have a serious relationship with Jesus and desire to grow in their faith. That being said, some students are more liberal than others and some are more unafraid of expressing their idiosyncrasies. It really is impossible to categorize all Wheaties under one. The majority of the students here are North Americans, or at least holds an American passport. However, there is a good amount of third culture kids (TCKs) and missionary kids (MKs) who have experience growing up overseas.
Don't get thrown off immediately by the fact that Wheaton's a conservative school. It doesn't mean that its students are. Students generally liberalize significantly as they learn more of what it truly means to follow Jesus in a highly academic setting. Expect strong support for governmental programs for the poor, and strong support for social church action. Many students are involved in ministries which meet needs in homeless and gay communities in Chicago. That said, most Wheaton students come from a lot of money. Surprisingly, most students are also incredibly generous with their time, money, and expectations. Truly, I felt love from almost everyone I met. I was consistently surprised that the box I put so-and-so in way much to tight, and that he or she was, in addition to being a jock or prep or geek or whatever, was also an intelligent, loving and surprisingly complex person. You will not meet many other people with higher character than a Wheaton college student.
The vast majority of students are white, middle-to-upper class Americans. Though, there is a high missionary and international student population that helps to balance things out. Most all are protestant and highly religious. There are rules here which are strictly enforced, so hardcore rebels are sure to feel out of place here, but there is a constant underground where one might find company. Minority students are celebrated and highly honored. This is a very let's-get-more-diversity place. Though there are many cliques. Most are based on organizations one is involved in (many are culture-based like Indian Culture Club, Koinonia, and North Korea Club), namely the football team, though others are by academics. Students who go abroad in the Human Needs and Global Resources program tend to stick together; so do students with similar interests, like the unofficial Anime Club, who watches anime together once a week.
It's pretty WASPy around here, but other people fit in pretty well. The William Osborne Society (black culture club) is really active on campus, and their performance ensemble sings at chapel as often as the chapel band. It can be tough being from outside the midwest sometimes, but people are generally really accommodating. Sometimes people say things that are offensive and just don't realize how narrow their views are, but I think it sort of gets taught out over the course of four years. There are some people who are really sheltered in their first 18 years at home, but there are also people who have seen genocide first hand in Rwanda or lived with people on FBI watchlists in Pakistan. The campus is really diverse in terms of experiences, which is a lot of fun just getting to know people.
I think students at Wheaton are generally thought of as being white, middle-class, put-together (clothes wise), and smart, but people are actually pretty varied. You can always find someone with similar interests or backgrounds to hang out with, whether that is from a racial standpoint, or from interests in certain causes/sports/passions. Financially, students are all over the place. Some kids really struggle financially, and others are from wealthy families. I don't think that is a hugely noticable issue at Wheaton. Most students are kind of aware about politics, but you can always find those few who are super outspoken and opinionated. Honestly, there are some really conservative people and some pretty liberal people as well. You can find someone who agrees with you.
The student body is very superficial, and as evangelicals they feel like they must always wear a happy face when in public and pretend they have their life together. However, when you really get to know anybody deeply, you learn that they are broken and struggling with issues just like everyone else. There are homosexuals at Wheaton, but they are afraid to come out due to the fear of discrimination. There are many cliques at Wheaton, and those groups don't tend to interact often. Most students have had a suburban middle-to-upper class upbringing, and are overwhelmingly conservative. Liberals comprise probably 20% of the student body. The students who come from overseas tend to keep to themselves in their own groups.