Wheaton does not have Greek life but I don't miss it at all. I'm not sure if I would rush if I went to a school that offered Greek life, but I'm definitely fine without it. Most people meet their friends based on where they live on campus. Each dorm has it's pluses and minuses but there really is no bad place to live. At least on my floor, most girls keep their doors open unless they're studying. The door open thing is great because it invites people to come in and get to know each other. As an RA next year I'm going to encourage that on my floor. Also, community bathrooms in some of the dorms help you get to know everyone on your floor pretty quickly. There are people who go to bed early and people who love to stay up all night so you can find someone to talk to pretty much regardless of the hour. Freshman year, without cars, it's sometimes hard to find something to do but after freshman year alot of people have cars and we go do things almost every night and definitely every weekend. Also, if you don't have a car but want to go into Chicago, the train runs right by the campus and it's really easy to get to the city on the weekends. Wheaton has lots of musical events on campus because of the Conservatory. There is also some theater and lots of athletic events. I was a varsity athlete my freshman year and I can say that the athletic community is great at Wheaton. It's also great not being an athlete because I have more time for other things. The group that I have loved most since being at Wheaton is Honduras Project. This is a group of about 25 students and one faculty member that meets all year and does team building and work projects on the weekends in preparation to spend Spring Break in Honduras living in a remote village and digging trenches to install a gravity-fed water system for the village. I made some incredible friends through Honduras Project. It was such a great group and we really learned to rely on each other and trust each other. It was also very life changing to go and live with the people of Honduras and experience their lives and be able to tangibly help them. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I would recommend it to any future Wheaton students!
Wheaton is not a party school as we sign the community covenant which as a stipulation of being a part of a community with underage students we won't consume alcohol even if we are of age. Consequently, the kinds of fun range from lots of Intra-murals, water balloon fights, awesome pranks, hanging out in parks, going to the city and much more. We are a lot more creative with our fun than just drinking games and we have a lot of it. Most people are involved in a lot of different activities and this is where a lot of your friends often come from. The football team has the highest sense of camaraderie at Wheaton. There is the "football section" of the dining hall and it can be intimidating to approach any football player. The dating scene at Wheaton tends to be very serious. If you come WORK TO CHANGE IT! More people need to be asking others out on casual dates without the pressure of obtaining a "ring by spring." The Bench is a tradition at Wheaton reaching really far back. The Juniors and the Seniors fight over the possession of what is now a slab of concrete with two handles. This is a serious game with a ton of rules surrounding it which is for the most part fun for all involved though only a select few, mostly guys, get to even be involved. Weekends often bring train rides to the city, the metra station is basically on campus, and just enjoying the outsides when it is warm. The guest speakers at Wheaton are AMAZING because of the importance of Wheaton in the Evangelical community and its proximity to Chicago, chapel, which is a mandatory 3 times a week, is full of great opportunities to hear speakers from all over the world.
There's a lot going on. At the same time, you might be bored. There are tons of student ministries and activities you can get involved with, beyond getting involved with a local church (highly recommended and encouraged at Wheaton). But, the unorganized social scene is poor. Because there's not alcohol, there's really no parties, and that means you spend a lot of time on your dorm floor or apartment. Speaking of dorm floors, something happens at Wheaton that really doesn't happen anywhere else. There's an amazing amount of dorm floor loyalty, and there's also a fair amount of floor traditions and stereotypes. The 40 guys or 30 girls on a floor will be mostly friends for the rest of their time at Wheaton, and for some, those will be their only friends. It's a tight-knit group on dorm floors. Wheaton athletics are very popular, and rightly so. The football team is fun to watch, and usually pretty good (one of the Wheaton LB was just drafted into the NFL), and the mens soccer teams are usually national contenders. The women's soccer team usually aren't as fun to watch, but only because they always win. They went undefeated last season, and have won the DIII national title three of the last four years. The basketball team made it to the DIII elite eight this year. Wheaton sports are a lot of fun. There is no Greek presence on campus, beyond fake frats like Men's Glee Club. Concerts are usually top-notch, and chapel (three times a week, required) brings in some phenomenal speakers (John Piper, Michael W. Smith, Phil Keaggy, and Kevin Vanhoozer are just a few of the top names I remember from this year).
Improv Club; every other Friday night; $1 admission fee. about 75 min of the most hilarious entertainment you've ever seen. OK, but besides Improv, which is a campus favorite, there are tons of things that happen every weekend (and sometimes every night of the week). I am actually annoyed when lots of things go on during the same night that I want to go to. There are two theaters, no, make that three that put on productions fairly regularly. Dating... well, that is very complicated. Many people assume the best way to go is to get married or engaged in the four year timeframe you're at Wheaton. Don't stress. Just Chill. Let happen what happens and you'll save yourself undue stress. Parties- Define parties. Much of the world defines parties as drinking till you don't know where you are. I personally enjoy remembering my parties as well as where I am when I'm there. Since the no dancing rule is limited to campus (even then, there are 4 or 5 dances a year sponsored by college union and dance classes offered by the school and dance clubs) many people just go into the city of Chicago to dance. One thing that kinda bums me out about Wheaton and the surrounding area is the time everything closes; 10 PM ish. I am normally up till 2 AM. I'm in the Fischer Dorm and things are normally pretty lively till about midnight. Even then people hang out in my room till 2 Am or past just doing homework together or playing Super Smash Bros. My roomie and I would always leave our door open if we were in. If homework really had to get done, we'd just go to the library.
There are a lot of planned official activities, none of them involving alcohol. There are also a few planned unofficial activities, very few involving alcohol. You would probably hardly hear about the last named unless you were really trying. As far as dorms... most people leave their doors closed, especially during open floor, it seems. People are fairly serious about studying and tend to do it mostly in the evening to late at night. The most common time to goof off during the week is in the afternoon, which can extend to the first while of darkness. During the weekend, people are usually out and about or doing homework or trying to avoid doing homework. Dating is fairly all-or-nothing here. Either you're not dating anyone at all ever or you're engaged. I work to keep my dating casual, but it is fairly against the grain here. With that said, obviously, there aren't many random hook-ups unless you're a part of the underground. I met my closest friends through random encounters. A lot of people tend to be closest to those with whom they live, but it doesn't always have to be that way. There aren't any official sororities that I know of, but some girl's cliques might as well be them.
IM sports on campus are pretty good. my soccer team rocks, although we can never seem that final game. The social life on campus is great for upperclassmen and ok for underclassmen. Since it is really cold about 75% of the school year, people don't do much outside. And freshmen are not allowed to have cars, leaving a very limited amount of options. But we get very creative... But even for those with cars, everything in the city of Wheaton closes at 9:00, so unless you want to drive 40 minutes into Chicago, there aint much to do. However, that said, the college does have a nice recreation centre, as well as an amazing gym/work room/indoor track/climbing wall/extra basketball court. And there is always the elementary plaground right off campus too. Dating her sucks. All of the girls are so serious about dating that they only do it for marriage. Not that marriage is a bad goal, but seriously, you can't think THAT far ahead on a first date. So basically, not much casual dating happens on campus. I have tried both casual and serious dating here, but after awhile the all of the girls seem to get commitment problems and just run away. It sucks, but that just Wheaton for you.
As far as activities go, if it's out there and doesn't involve anything that might be deemed "sexual", it probably exists at Wheaton. I think that's partly because Wheaton students come from all across America and bring with them various sports and activities. For example, before I came to college I had no idea that the sport of rowing really even existed, and now I'm a rower on the Men's Varsity A boat. I had also never seen a waterpolo game, a lacrosse game, a wrestling match, or many other things that are not common occurences in my life. As far as dorm life goes, it's great. I never keep my door locked and whenever I'm in my room, the door is open. Now, the other gender isn't allowed on the floor except for a few hours a couple times a week, but it's not as bad as it sounds. Freshmen come in and complain about the "closed floor" policy a lot at first, but then they start to get it. I don't know anything about women's floors, but men's floors really come together. If the other gender was always on the floor, I'm sure that I wouldn't know my floormates nearly as well as I do. We really have time to bond, and in retrospect I am very thankful.
The most popular groups include people involved in sports (football, basketball, intermurals, etc.), service organizations, and music groups (choir, orchestra, band, etc.). I met my closest friends on my floor. That is pretty common at Wheaton. There aren't any fraternities or sororities at Wheaton, but I have never felt like I was missing out on something by going to a school without Greek life. Wheaton has so many other clubs and organizations that provide the same service opportunities and social outlets that frats/sororities aren't necessary. Wheaton is really good about having lots of random and fun things to do on the weekends (and during the week) like concerts, dances, shows, cookouts, etc. Off campus, it is really easy to get to downtown Chicago. The train station is really close to campus, and it's pretty cheap to get downtown. Chicago, of course, is an INCREDIBLE city to live close to - tons of concerts, amazing restaurants, and fun stuff.
Intermurals are really popular, especially volleyball, ultimate, and soccer. Almost all students leave theri doors open while they are in their rooms on their floor: this is a sign that they want others to stop on by and hang out. Not many of my friends are dating. I have been dating for over six months however, and that's been really fun! It is a little difficult for shy girls to find a date becuase often the guys at Wheaton need a little prompting, however, that is not true for all guys. In fact, every newer class that enters into Wheaton seems to have an easier time in the dating scene. However, both the guys and girls are really high quality! Partying, as far as alcohol is concerned, almost never happens. An extremely small percentage of students drink, smoke, do drugs, etc. As a whole, the Wheaton kids know how to have good, quality, (and not to mention hilarious) time that you can actually remember the next morning!
Wheaton brings a lot of wonderful speakers and performers to the college, and it is very convenient and great to be able to see all of these speakers and performers. The campus is very dry, except for a small underground party scene. Most people study a lot. The school newspaper is very popular on campus. I met my closest friends in the dorm I was in Freshman year. All freshmen and sophomores must live in the dormitories. It was aggravating to have to live in the dorms as a sophomore (especially with closed-floors) while my friends at other colleges were already in apartments/houses.