Dean of Admission
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Room and Board:
Fees, books, misc.:
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Overview / Video
Wellesley College is an independent, residential liberal arts college for women with an enrollment of 2,300 students. Situated on a 500-acre campus 12 miles west of Boston, Wellesley is a college for the serious student with high expectations for her personal and professional life. Students at the College come from across the U.S., from around the world, and from many different cultures and backgrounds. They have prepared for Wellesley at hundreds of different secondary schools.
Most students live in residence halls on campuseach hall is its own community within the larger Wellesley community. Residents may gather for informal talks over dinner. Residences also sponsor social events, guest lecturers, dinners with faculty members, and guests-in-residence.
Location and Community
The College is located in the town of Wellesley, a suburban community of more than 27,000 people, with many shops, restaurants, and bookstores. Its proximity to Boston allows students to take advantage of the vast array of opportunities there, which include volunteer work and internships in government or social agencies; performances given by the Boston Ballet or the Boston Symphony; sports events, such as Boston Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox games; and visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science, or the many historic sites. Within metropolitan Boston, there are approximately 250,000 college and university students and many major educational institutions. The campus is only a short distance from New England winter sports areas as well as from the Atlantic coast and Cape Cod beaches.
Each candidate is required to complete 32 credits of academic work with a C average or better. Nine credits must be taken in the following general areas: language and literature; visual arts, music, video, film, and theater; social and behavioral analysis; epistemology and cognition; ethics, religion, and moral philosophy; historical studies; natural and physical science; and mathematical modeling and problem solving in the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science. Proficiency in one foreign language is required, as are courses in writing and quantitative reasoning. Students must also complete a one-course multicultural requirement designed to allow the student to see a people, culture, or society through its own eyes. Wellesley offers a thorough background for students preparing to attend medical school or law school. The medical school acceptance rate is generally more than 70 percent; acceptance to law school is approximately 80 percent. Between 25 and 30 percent of Wellesley's graduates continue directly on to graduate school.
The Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program at Wellesley welcomes women who are beyond the traditional undergraduate age to complete a B.A. degree on a part-time or full-time basis. The program takes into account the special needs of adult students regarding admission, advising, orientation, housing, and financial aid. Postbaccalaureate study at Wellesley is for men and women who have a bachelor's degree and wish to complete further undergraduate work for a specific purpose. Many students take courses to prepare for medical school or other graduate programs. Those interested in these programs should contact the Board of Admission.
Instruction by faculty members of all ranks is available to all students. Currently, there are 235 full-time and 102 part-time faculty members; 98 percent of full-time tenure-track faculty members hold the doctoral degree or final degree in their field, and 58 percent of tenured faculty members are women. The faculty consists of scholars actively involved in research and writing; however, teaching is a major priority, and students find their professors to be easily accessible.
Wellesley College grants the B.A. and offers majors in humanities: art history, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian studies, Japanese, Latin, music, Russian, Spanish, and studio art; in social sciences: Africana studies, anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, and women's studies; and in science and mathematics: astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysics, mathematics, and physics. The twenty-three interdepartmental majors are American studies, architecture, astrophysics, biological chemistry, cinema and media studies, classical and Near Eastern archaeology, classical civilization, cognitive and linguistic sciences, comparative literature, East Asian studies, environmental studies, French cultural studies, German studies, international relations, Jewish studies, Latin American studies, media arts and sciences, medieval/Renaissance studies, Middle Eastern studies, neuroscience, peace and justice studies, Russian area studies, and theater studies. Students may also design individual majors, such as history of medicine, South Asian studies, and Islamic studies.
Off Campus/Study Abroad Programs:
Wellesley has cross-registration programs with MIT, Babson, Brandeis, and Olin College of Engineering. Through the Twelve College Exchange program, students may live and study for a semester or a full academic year at any of the member institutions (Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wesleyan, Wheaton, and Williams). Students may also attend the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, which is accredited by Connecticut College, and the WilliamsMystic Seaport Program in Maritime Studies. In addition, there are exchanges with Spelman College, a predominantly black liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, Georgia, and with Mills College in Oakland, California.
Approximately 30 percent of the junior class studies abroad each year for either a semester or a year. Students attend programs sponsored by other colleges and universities or those sponsored by Wellesley. At present, Wellesley runs programs in Aix-en-Provence, France; Vienna, Austria; and Oaxaca, Mexico. Wellesley is a consortium member for programs in Spain, Italy, and Japan and offers exchange programs with institutions in the United Kingdom, Japan, Argentina, and Korea. The Washington Internship Program provides 18 to 20 juniors with an opportunity to spend the summer in Washington, D.C., working within the federal government, within Congress, at public interest organizations, and at cultural and scientific institutions.
Facilities and Resources
The College library contains more than 1.3 million volumes and more than 2,500 periodical subscriptions, government documents, and audiovisual holdings. Special collections include rare books and manuscripts, book arts, and English and American poetry. Departmental libraries focus on art, astronomy, music, and science. Access to a broad range of electronic reference and full-text resources is provided through the library's World Wide Web site. Wellesley is the only undergraduate institution in the Boston Library Consortium, an association of major research and academic libraries devoted to sharing resources. The Knapp Media and Technology Center consolidates course support services, media services, and language laboratory facilities. Providing access to the most current instructional technology, the center is a facility where students, the faculty, and staff members can collaborate in interactive learning and on creating multimedia projects. Technology is an integral part of every student's life at Wellesley. The campus network provides a wealth of research opportunities on campus and through the Internet. E-mail and electronic bulletin boards are important extensions of both social and academic communication. Courses use technology for activities as diverse as reviewing art history slides and interacting with animated simulations of biological and chemical processes. Every student has network access in her dorm room. In addition, there are shared clusters of PCs and Macintoshes in every residence and areas throughout campus for wireless connections.
The Jewett Arts Center houses extensive facilities for the art and music departments, including a concert hall, student galleries, two libraries, and art studios and music practice rooms. The Davis Museum and Cultural Center, located in a separate building, houses exhibition galleries, an art collection of 5,000 works, a print room, a study gallery/seminar room, a café, and a cinema. The Science Center houses laboratories, classrooms, and offices for eight scientific disciplines; a vivarium; a science library of more than 105,000 volumes; and shared support facilities. The completely up-to-date instrumentation available for undergraduate use includes an X-ray diffractometer, spectrometers (nuclear magnetic resonance, mass, Mössbauer, UV, and IR), electron microscopes, and argon and dye lasers. An expansion and renovation project of the Science Center made available several laboratories (molecular biology, cognitive learning, laser, electronics, and optics) and other facilities. The Whitin Observatory includes 24-inch, 12-inch, and 6-inch telescopes, as well as a library, classrooms, and auxiliary instruments. The greenhouses contain two research houses and one of the largest teaching collections of plants in the Northeast, including specimens that range from temperate to tropical species. Botanical facilities include growth chambers with temperature, light, and humidity control as well as extensive botanical gardens and an arboretum.
Many extracurricular activities are often held in the Schneider Student Center, which is used by all members of the College community. Throughout the year, distinguished artists, musicians, lecturers, and public figures are invited to the campus, and their presentations are free of charge. The new Wang Campus Center is scheduled to open in 2005. There are no sororities, but there are several academic societies, including two historically black public service organizations. Ethos, the black student association on campus, is housed in Harambee House and brings speakers as well as artistic and cultural events to the College throughout the year. Alianza, the organization primarily for international Hispanic and Latin American students, and Mezcla, the organization for Hispanic/Latina students, were formed by students from these groups at Wellesley to promote their feelings of solidarity and to enrich the College community through cultural offerings. These two groups collaborate closely. Members of Alianza and Mezcla are also involved in communities off campus, especially in the Spanish-speaking communities of Greater Boston. The Asian Student Union, an umbrella organization for many clubs, sponsors films, seminars, and workshops on campus as well as social and cultural events with other colleges in the Boston area. The Slater International Center provides a meeting place where international students at Wellesley can relax and share common experiences.
Students, through election to the College Government Senate and through voting representation on College committees, share responsibility in the decision-making processes of the College. Students serve on committees of the Board of Trustees, on the Board of Admission, and on important departmental committees. Students regulate their lives in the residence halls through House Council and manage student activity funds used to support more than 160 student organizations. The honor system is a strong tradition at Wellesley, permitting self-scheduled examinations, take-home tests, and a lack of stringent social regulations.
Sports / Varsity Athletics
Wellesley's Sports Center includes an eight-lane, 25-meter/25-yard swimming pool and separate diving well; a volleyball arena; badminton, squash, and racquetball courts; fencing/dance/exercise studios; weight machine and free-weights rooms; and an athletic training area. The field house has a basketball arena, indoor tennis courts, a 200-meter track, and a cardiovascular machine area. Outdoor sports facilities include a boathouse for canoes, sailboats, and crew shells and a swimming beach, both located on the campus's Lake Waban. Wellesley also maintains a nine-hole golf course, and twelve tennis courts. In 2002, the College added new soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey fields; a softball diamond; and an outdoor track.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
Approximately 50 percent of Wellesley students receive financial aid through the College. The decision to admit a student is made independently of her financial need. Full need, as determined by Wellesley's standards and policies, is met through the financial aid package. Usually aid consists of a combination of grants and loans, as well as student employment during the academic year. In addition, other students receive outside scholarships and grants, and many work on or off campus through the Student Employment Office.
Admission Requirements / Application
Admission to Wellesley is competitive. Prospective applicants should have a strong secondary school record and are advised to take the most academically challenging course of study available to them. Students entering Wellesley normally have completed four years of college-preparatory studies in secondary school. However, Wellesley also considers applications from students who plan to complete only three years of high school and who demonstrate academic strength and social and personal maturity. Good preparation includes training in clear and coherent writing and in interpreting literature, in the principles of mathematics, and in history; experience in at least two laboratory sciences; and competence in at least one foreign languageancient or modernusually achieved through four years of study. College credit may be given to students who have taken Advanced Placement examinations. Wellesley participates in an early decision plan. Transfer students are admitted in both semesters. The ACT or SAT and three SAT Subject Tests, one of which must be the Writing Test, are required for admission. An interview is strongly recommended. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Advanced Placement International English Language Exam (APIEL) is highly recommended of all international students when English is not their first language.
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