Wellesley College, an all-female liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters consortium of women’s colleges, is ranked #37 among Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. It is located in the upscale suburban town of Wellesley outside Boston, Massachusetts.
The school is guided by its belief in what it calls The Wellesley Effect, an abiding faith in their their ability to develop powerful young women who go on to impact the world in significant ways. To that end, notable women the like former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton; former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Madeleine Albright; author, Nora Ephron; journalist, Diane Sawyer; actress, Elisabeth Shue; and astronaut, Pamela Melroy have all passed through Wellesley on their ways to imprint the Wellesley Effect on the world.
Wellesley has been providing higher education to women since 1875. It began as a liberal arts college focused primarily on humanities; it then added renowned science programs in the 1960s and began exchange programs with other colleges like MIT and Brandeis University. Today, the college emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to education. They offer over 30 departmental majors, 22 interdepartmental majors, and an individually designed major. Wellesley also belongs to the Babson, Olin, Wellesley Collaboration, which gives students the advantage of each college’s expertise in entrepreneurship, engineering, and liberal arts respectively. Students can take advantage of select double degrees with MIT or Brandies. Wellesley also offers internships and study abroad programs to further enrich their academic offerings. Eighty percent of Wellesley students go to graduate or professional schools within the first decade after graduation. Being one of the larger liberal arts colleges at over 2,500 students, they still maintain an 8:1 student to faculty ratio; only professors teach classes, and they are limited to teaching two classes per semester. This arrangement ensures ample attention for every student.
Students live in one of five dorms on the Quad, four dorms in the Tower Complex—although the Lake House is reserved for upperclassmen, or three dorms on the East Side. There are also apartments, houses for Davis Scholars non-traditional (older) students, Spanish and French only houses, and a Feminist/Vegetarian Cooperative. The five dining halls include Kosher and vegetarian options. Perhaps the most unique options are the student-run Café Hoop with late night snacks and drinks; El Table serving soups, salads, sandwiches, and snacks; and Punch’s Alley, a student-run pub featuring $3 beers. Wellesley has a total of four cafés from which to choose, plus a S’mores pit. There are countless clubs, groups, and societies that address nearly every interest imaginable; every student will be able to find her niche at Wellesley. Check out their list of 50 Things to Do Before You Graduate.
The Vil refers to the downtown area of Wellesley, which is within walking distance and where students can go for sushi, a haircut, or a new pair of jeans or shoes, plus a whole lot more. Nearby Boston offers a world of opportunity to unwind. Choose anything from taking in a game at Fenway Stadium to whale watching in Boston Harbor to a night out at House of Blues. Wellesley students have plenty of opportunities to take it all in and to socialize with students from other prestigious area colleges.
Wellesley supports 14 NCAA Division III competitive teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The crew team, known as Blue Crew, is a frequent NEWMAC champion. Wellesley crew members comprised the country’s first intercollegiate rowing team for women. Many of the school’s varsity teams in other sports bring home conference championship titles, or have individuals in the sports who bring recognition to Wellesley. The school boasts two individual national champions in tennis and track and field. In addition to competitive conference sports, Wellesley hosts a vibrant group of club teams, including water polo, ultimate Frisbee, sailing, two styles of snow skiing, rugby, ice hockey, equestrian, and archery. Wellesley’s devotion to student fitness is grounded in brain research that connects physical activity to cognition. Students may participate at any level from competitive to recreational, depending on personal preference.
One of the longest held traditions at Wellesley is hoop rolling. It began in 1895 when graduating seniors, wearing their graduation gowns, participated in a race rolling wooden hoops. Traditionally, the winner was said to be the first to marry, and in the 1980s the first to become CEO, but these days she is said to be the first to be successful—in whatever way she defines that. The winner also receives a bouquet of flowers from the college president, and then her classmates throw her into Lake Waban. Sophomores traditionally plant a Class Tree on campus accompanied by a marker with their year of graduation next to it. Another longstanding annual tradition is Marathon Monday on Patriot’s Day, where Wellesley students create the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel” along the town’s portion of the Boston Marathon, cheering on participants. Other traditions include step-singing, Spring Week, and Lake Day. If you’re ready for high-octane engagement, you’re driven by a deep desire to succeed at a high level, and you enjoy the camaraderie of powerful women—Wellesley is your school.
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By Colleen Hill