Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable" - Wesleyan

Even though we have only been in Providence for about four days, I think everyone is started to get used to running on at least three hours of sleep and eating a really quick breakfast. I slept like a baby, but unfortunately woke up at seven twenty this morning, which only gave me twenty five minutes to get freshened up and dressed for our big adventure. The adventure? Going to the information session and tour at Wesleyan in Middleton, Connecticut!

The drive to Middleton was about an hour and a half. We found parking and walked into the admissions office. After getting water and going to the bathroom, we went to the information session, where we learned many interesting facts about Wesleyan:

  • It was quickly addressed to us that seniors should NOT apply to Wesleyan if they are only going to stay inside of their comfort zone because they would quickly be pushed out of it. While students will get an adviser and can get tutoring, students need to take charge of their education. It was stated that the school was definitely not for dependent people 
  • Wesleyan offers 900 classes a year. There are no minors at the school, however, they have 10 certificate programs, with subjects such writing and international relations; you have to have a major to be a part of this certificate program. Over 30 percent of students are double majors, which is easy due to the open curriculum. Wesleyan has open curriculum outside of requirements for the major. They also have a Bachelor's Master Program, which is a five year program for those majoring in the sciences (fifth year is after graduation and is tuition year). To obtain a full degree, Wesleyan students take 32 classes, so 10 classes a year. 
  • Wesleyan looks for students who can balance academics with extracurriculars. The school has 200 clubs/organizations. There are 29 club sports and lots of varsity sports. 25-30 percent of students participate in varsity sports. 
  • Wesleyan uses the Common Application, and they have an optional supplement prior to filling out the Common App., but the supplement doesn't have essay prompts. There are no GPA and test score formulas. Wesley is very critical of students' high school transcripts; if it is apparent that a student is not challenging themselves, then anything else the admission officers see in the application is deemed "irrelevant." They require the SAT and two SAT subject tests or the ACT. The school also looks for true investment in academics and extracurriculars, not someone who joined 35 clubs and quit them all after a month.
  • Most people study abroad during their junior year, for one semester, sometimes even for a whole year. Students travel to places such as France, Germany, Spain, Montreal, Italy, etc. 
We left the information session early to have a quick but informative meeting with Christian Lanser, the Associate Dean of Admission who is admits students from Northern California. A 2009 Wesleyan alum named Kora was also there to answer any questions we had that weren't covered while we were at the Information Session. Kora is a government and Italian Studies major, and went to Bologna, Italy for a semester because it was a part of her Italian Studies major.

After the meeting, we went on the tour. Our tour guide was Jessica, a rising junior at Wesleyan who is a Film Studies major. Majority of what Jessica talked about was covered during the information session, so while I listened to see if I could find out any more information, I tried to get a good look at the architecture and structure of the campus. Unlike Dartmouth, which is more isolated and close together, and Boston University, which was large but had a cozy aura to it, Wesleyan was very spread out.
While I felt that Wesleyan was in a very nice area and the buildings were very nice, I didn't feel very connected to the school. I felt like they were looking for a certain type of student, typically students who are more into mathematics and science. While I do like both subjects, I am leaning more towards majors involving business, general education, and English. Who knows? I don't know what I will be like when I enter college, but I wish that Wesleyan was a bit more open.

After the tour, we headed to Luce, a restaurant only a couple of blocks away from Wesleyan, for lunch. I ordered rigatoni, a delicious pasta. We had a long and interesting debate and discussion about women leaders and women running for United States president, such as Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin, the CAHSEE and whether we believed it should not be a requirement for English Language Development Students or not, and got an insight about The Dream Act. Overall it was a very interesting and fun lunch.

Once we got back to the hotel, we had almost two hours to rest before getting ready to go to a very formal dinner. As a group, we stopped by the local CVS to pick up some toiletries before heading back to the hotel. Mariko went to work out, while I took advantage of my time by reading a magazine I bought and then by taking a short nap.

We met in the lobby at almost 7 in the evening to drive to the Number 9 restaurant in Boston. After having trouble getting there due to street sign confusion, we successfully managed to get there thanks to the Google Maps application on my cell phone. The reason why the dinner was so formal was because it was with a Brown University Alum (class of 2009), Amy Tan! (No, she is not the Amy Tan that wrote The Joy Luck Club!)

The food was absolutely great, and Amy was really informative. Amy was multiracial (she is Dutch and Indonesian with Chinese descent) who lived in Houston, Texas from when she was in 8th grade to her high school graduation. She applied Early Action to Yale but did not get in, which she found disappointing at first. She feels that going to Brown was definitely the right decision. Amy was an International Relations major, which was interesting because she admitted that she entered Brown believing she was going to get a major in Chemistry. She is tentatively pre-law and is enjoying the firm she is currently working in. She gave us a lot of advice on Brown and what to expect at our summer program and if we end up going there for college. I absolutely loved talking to her. She was very fresh and very nice.
After a very long drive back from Boston, we have arrived. We will tour Wellesley tomorrow, and I'm excited to be continuing this college tour journey!

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