Middletown, CT 06459-0260
Web Site: www.wesleyan.edu
"A small college with university resources."
Wesleyan University is one of the premier colleges in the United States. It’s a school that garners strong respect and a high ranking, no matter what poll you look at. In a recent US News & World Report College Edition, Wes was ranked 9th (up from the 14th spot) in the "Best National Liberal Arts" category of colleges. It sits alongside schools like Amherst, Haverford, Smith, Bowdoin, Wellesley, and Bryn Mawr.
Wesleyan is a school that takes pride in its rep-
utation for academic excellence, as well as in its revered image as a place of diversity. It’s no wonder educators and students alike sometimes refer to this institution as "Diversity University." That nickname hints at the worthiness of the school's mission.
When you first arrive at Wesleyan you're surprised that the actual school-—its space-—seems diminutive when you consider its reputation. You expect to see acres upon acres of land, with buildings and dorm-
itories stretching for miles. But that's not the case. Wesleyan is a small New England school, lo-
cated in a small town, population about 45,000. Still, Hartford and New Haven are relatively close by car (15 to 20 miles). In each you'll find sub-
stantial Black communities. Wes students (over 90% from out-of-state), can also head to Yale, Conn-
ecticut, or Trinity College, all about a half hour away. Wadsworth Falls and the beautiful New England countryside are also nearby.
Wesleyan is a campus of ivy-covered brownstones and other buildings with a "stately" look. The architec- ture varies from the modern Center of the Arts to the sometimes older dorms (now renovated) that were build in the '60’s. One college guide correctly points out that the place leaves you with an overall impression of "Main Street, USA."
This 120-acre college has the resources that are equivalent to those at some of the smaller univer-
sities. At Wesleyan there's a Science Tower, an observatory with one of the largest telescopes in Connecticut, and an athletic center. There's Mocon, the main dining hall, and two smaller cafeterias, a famous Art Galley, Olin and three other libraries, and a computer center and other labs (some open 24 hours a day).
Clark Hall is four stories high and is exclusively
for first-year students. It’s across the street from the Science Center and just a few steps from Olin Library. The halls of Clark are coed, with two Resident Advisors per floor assigned to supervise 38 students. On each floor there are double and triple rooms, always with three hall bathrooms—-one coed and one for each of the sexes.
West College, just another of many residences, sits on Foss Hill and is located near the center of campus. It’s for students who are interested in living in a "Multi-racial, Multicultural Community." Here, you'll find Wesleyan’s only student-run café in a setting that allows for weekly theatrical, musical, educational, and other forums. Enjoy the dorm's beautiful courtyard, play pool, or simply play tunes on the available piano.
For African Americans interested in theme houses, there's the Women of Color House (343 High Street) or Malcolm X House (227 Pine Street), the latter founded in 1969 to celebrate and affirm the African Diaspora. Ten spaces are usually reserved for first- year students.
In a January, 1999 news release it was noted that
applications to Wesleyan (over 6,000) had set an all-time record. It’s a very popular school, with more than 2,700 students in residence from over 48 states and 32 foreign countries. But it's not an easy admit. The acceptance rate is about 33%, with the normal freshman class projected to be about 715 students. When you factor in the fact that 42% of this total applied for Early Decision, and that 215
valedictorians and salutatorians are in this group-
ing, you can see that getting in is no cakewalk. You must be academically capable. For example, Wesleyan reports that, for the class of 2002, over 70% of the admitted students took calculus and 74% took a triad of courses including biology, chemistry, and physics. Be forewarned: be prepared. Usually more than 200 National Merit Semifinalists are on campus at any given time.
African Americans make up about 8% of the student body. Although recent median SAT scores for Wesleyan students were 686 (Verbal) and 679 (Math)--with the average ACT score 29.1--we can be "in the ballpark" with scores that are much lower. Be on the college preparatory track and present exemplary support material: leadership quality, special talents, ser-
vices to your high school and/or community. Note that 54% of the students applying are from public schools. Indeed, if you think you might be a fit at Wesleyan, do apply.
Imagine the best debate you've ever had, then imagine an environment where that kind of dialogue is continuous, intense, and always available. At some colleges you might advance by studying by rote, memorizing things. But here you're encouraged to think, to create. The "Scholar-Teachers" (affordable because of Wesleyan’s high endowment), are access-
ible. Classes are generally small, and you are intellectually challenged. Your viewpoint and ideas are valuable. Of course, in this environment there are many "hot" courses and professors. One example was a Toni Morrison class a few years back. Every-
body wanted to take that class. English, along with political science/government and history are very popular majors. Art, art history, and education also attract a lot of attention. As in the past, courses like biology and chemistry are tough, as well as those in any of the pre-professional tracks like law or medicine. Lastly, there's an African-American Studies major. With any major, you can take courses like The Harlem Renaissance, Jazz Dance, or the Anthropology of African-Americans.
If you've been "chosen," you'll probably rise to the occasion. The school's freshman retention rate is a high 92%, and at the sophomore level it's even higher. And, yes, there are self-designed majors, cooperative education, internships, and accelerated degree possibilities.
In recent years there's been a "New Students of Color Orientation" for arriving students. This is a helpful multifaceted presentation given by upper-
class students that covers all the necessary topics: resources, the surrounding community, how to study, partying and recreation, majors, and more--from a Black perspective.
There are over 250 clubs and organizations on campus. African Americans have many options and/or avenues they can explore. There's the African-
African Studies Center, with its W.E.B. DuBois Library on the second floor. There's Ankh, the Black student newspaper. There's Ujamaa, a student group, and "Little Ujamaa," the mentoring group for Black teenagers. If you can sing, look up the Students of Color A Cappella Group. If you dance, there's the Women of Color Dance Troupe.
Although most guides say the Greek life is almost non-existent at Wes, there's the Pi Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. The sisters share connections with the sisterhood at Yale, Southern Connecticut State, and the University of New Haven. Lastly, if you want to volunteer, you can join Big Bothers/Big Sisters, counsel at the Ingersoll Youth Shelter, or assist at the Church of the Holy Trinity.
And there's more to do on the Wesleyan campus. You'll find a drama/teacher group, a radio station, and student-run newspapers. You've also got Aikido (martial arts), Chess, "Bad Sam" (sketch comedy group), Cross Street Tutorial, volleyball, Phil-
osophy Majors (a club), religious and cultural clubs galore.
There are, too, many intercollegiate sports clubs. At Wes you can pick your "delight" or "poison," as one student puts it.
Protests? Of course. Recently there have been sev-
eral small protests because an African-African pro-
fessor wasn't granted tenure. Students are asking for the "hiring and retention of more faculty of color."
Financial Aid deadline: January 15th.
Application deadline (priority): January 1st.
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