Impressions Of
Wesleyan University

Academic Experience

Male Neuroscience and Theater Double Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s competitive to some extent, but it’s not a cutthroat environment where people are trying to do better than you. People are trying to do well, but they’re also helping you do well. There’s a lot of collaboration and it can be hard to distinguish who is tutoring who because everyone is helping someone understand some of the concepts in class. That for me is really good because once you learn it, the concept is reinforced in your mind while your teaching it to somebody else and then you do better on your exams.

How accessible are your professors?
They all have office hours and it’s not just something they publish, they actually use them. There is also an area called STEM Zone where mainly TA’s will have office hours, but professors will also go there to help their students. Professors really go out of their way to make themselves available so that you can speak with them if there are concerns.

Female African-American Studies Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
We are really strong in the history element of African-American studies. A lot of our courses focus on the Harlem Renaissance, Black women’s history, and Black literature as well. The department does a good job of teaching students the history of everything. Both the students and the professors also create a very inclusive classroom environment.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re completely accessible. If you want to reach them by email or just go to their office hours to come and talk, you can. My largest class that I’ve taken here was about 45 students, so if you want to get in contact with a professor after class it’s pretty easy.

Do you feel people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yeah, a lot of people are very well-rounded in different subject matters so there’s always a mixture of different types of people in my classes. For example, I’m taking a class on slavery in Middletown, and we have a bunch of different majors in that class as well. It doesn’t matter what your major is or what your interests are, you can use them in the major. That’s what I really like about the major and the school.

Male Earth & Environmental Sciences and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

Is there anything that you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
Economics specifically could work on bringing in more students of color and female students. It’s one of the majors that’s mostly dominated by White dudes. Environmental Science does a better job of that and there’s also much more of a community feeling because the major’s smaller. In the classroom, some of the professors in Economics can be pretty awful. It makes you have to pick classes based on who’s teaching it, not based on the material. The difficulty level of classes, which will be registered as the same class on your transcript, will vary significantly based on the professor teaching it. That’s also a general recommendation for anyone in college, no matter how much you like the class, if you have a bad professor you’re going to hate your time. For Environmental Science, there is more consistency with professors.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely more collaborative. Nobody is trying to beat you out of a grade. For Environmental Science there’s not curved grading structure so there’s no reason why you would be competing with other students. Plus, you can learn the information better that way. I don’t know if that’s a byproduct of who is in the classes, but people just tend to work together no matter what. In the Economics classes, there are a lot of athletes so they’ll work with their teammates, but I’m not an athlete so I work with other non-athletes which works great.

Social Opportunities

Male English Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Apart from the bars in Middletown, there’s not a lot that the city offers for nightlife. Almost all of the nightlife is confined to campus. There is always some sort of party, concert, or event that is held that people like to go to. It’s also a very artistic campus, so there is some sort of performance or exhibit you can go to. I personally like to hang out with friends, we go to parties on campus every now and then, but we’re almost always on campus. Parties on campus are held in pretty much every time of living arrangement you can think of, so program houses, apartments, dorms, etc. Sometimes we go to Main Street with one of my friends who has a car and go to a restaurant or hang out at a bar.

What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
Movies are always played on campus, on the weekends especially. There is oftentimes some sort of theater performance. Like, this weekend we have art, film, and theater theses being displayed. There’s a healthy variety of things to do.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
We pretty much don’t have Greek life. We have one residential frat, DKE, and a few co-ed societies, one of which is residential. Because so few of the Wesleyan population is involved in Greek life and even fewer are involved in what is traditionally considered Greek life, people don’t pay attention to it as much. There are some parties held at some of the residential Greek societies, but not many people I know go to those. [About 7% of the student body is involved in Greek life. Wesleyan has been working to rescind DKE’s residential status.]

Female African-American Studies Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Every weekend there’s a bunch of parties at university housing. Program houses will usually throw parties and different student groups will have events at their houses. Every weekend there’s something going on, which is pretty cool. There aren’t really any boring weekends. Sometimes there will be themed parties that certain groups, people, or clubs on campus throw. For example, this month the Program House, Malcolm X House, threw a bunch of events for Black History Month, and last weekend there was a showcase where there were dancers, singers, and musicians, and there was a party after.

What is the impact on Greek life on nightlife?
It doesn’t have much of an impact if you’re not part of Greek life. You’re still welcomed into the parties if you’re not in Greek life. They do have their own private events, but they also have a lot of public parties. As a person that’s not in Greek life, I don’t ever feel alienated or like I can’t go to an event or anything. There is a presence on campus but I don’t feel like it’s overbearing in that there’s a social pressure to join or not go to a certain event.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Wesleyan?
I’m pretty happy with the weekend options. There isn’t anything really terrible about it. Of course, if you party every single weekend it will get old so I’m happy there are other options. Also, just chilling in your room or watching a movie with friends is always a good time. I love the options.

Male Earth & Environmental Sciences and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I will usually go to friends’ houses, I personally don’t like big party situations. I think a decent amount of people follow that logic in that there is a smaller party and then they all go to a big party after, but sometimes I won’t even go to the big parties because I don’t really like them. It’s just a lot of people trying to dance but there isn’t much space to move around. Every once in a while, I’ll go to the bigger events, but not consistently.

There are a lot of athletic events, which is cool. It’s not like you’re watching a Division I football game, but a lot of the student-athletes like to go support each other. There are a lot of hipster-ish artistic students, so there’s an alternative music scene. The people of color community is also really strong, so they have a lot of events that they will go to where they feel comfortable and safe.

What are some of your favorite events on campus?
I love going to basketball games because I like sports and, in my opinion, that is one of the most high-caliber teams. There are [the UCAB] events that are actually pretty decent, they’ll bring in a hypnotist or a performer. They are varied enough that they actually entice you to go.

Campus Culture

Male English Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene?
Very, very different. Really immersive. What I always tell people who are looking at Wesleyan is if you don’t want to be completely immersed in some sort of community, you shouldn’t come to Wesleyan because the only people who transfer out of this school are people who want to go to big schools. It demands a lot in terms of academics and social life. You find a group and become really close with that group. If you’d rather be a distant wallflower – not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s not the place for you because you’re in the social scene all the time whether you want to be or not. Since everybody finds their niche, and those niches oftentimes don’t overlap, if you don’t have your niche or close group of friends, it can increase the feeling of loneliness for people.

How would you describe the Christian community? How strong is it?
This is a complicated question. We have been ranked Wesleyan as the number one school with least religious students and that is definitely reflected in the religious community on campus. It is very difficult to be religious because there is a lot of spoken and unspoken anti-religious sentiment on campus, so the community here is a lot smaller than you would find at other universities. On the flip side, because the community is small, everybody knows each other very well and there is a strong sense of community and mutual support that exists. The same is true for the other religious communities except for the Jewish community, which is a bit larger.

Male Neuroscience and Theater Double Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s a small campus, but in some ways it can seem big, and everyone is so friendly. I like the fact that it feels like a melting pot of students with different views who are also tolerant of others’ views. We love to express ourselves and be creative and we get along really well.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
In terms of race, I find that people tend to have different groups of friends, so you have your White friends, your Black friends, and so forth. There’s intermingling going on, but for the most part, people stick with people of their own race. There is still a mix but it doesn’t happen super commonly. In terms of sexuality, people are very tolerant. A lot of people like to say 35% of Wesleyan is [Queer], so there’s no separation there.

Were there any parts of Wesleyan or American University in general that surprised you when you arrive on campus?
Coming from Jamaica, I was surprised by how many things could be perceived as offensive. That was definitely a shock. Political correctness culture was a shock.

Female African-American Studies Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s very artsy, liberal and politically active. People aren’t afraid to speak on certain topics, and I think that’s a lot of what being at Wesleyan represents.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
A lot of what Wesleyan is about is being inclusive of everyone and all identities, so on any given day you’ll see all different types of people on campus. There are also a lot of groups and events on campus that are very inclusive to Queer identities and people of color, so I don’t think anyone feels out of place on this campus because Wesleyan does a lot to include everyone.

How would you describe the Black community at Wesleyan? How strong is it?
That’s one of the reasons I decided to come here. While I was still in high school I did an orientation where I stayed overnight here and I really liked the Black community. It very much feels like a family at times because we have different resources, like the Malcolm X House and Ujamaa, which is our Black Student Union. I don’t feel alienated. We are a small percentage of students here, but that can change. I don’t have any problems here as a Black student and I feel like the Black community is very cool here. [About 7% of students are Black.]

Middletown, CT

Pros of

  • “It’s a small community and is very quiet, so it’s not a distraction. I love that because I spend most of my time on the campus and I’m not distracted by a busy city so I can focus on academics.”
  • “Because the campus isn’t close to a bunch of other stuff, a lot of events and activities happen on campus during weekends. The campus has a closer feeling because people don’t abandon campus on weekends. Your friends during the week will be your friends on the weekends too.”
  • “If you like outdoor activities, there’s a lot of hiking.”
  • “Even though it’s a small town, it’s close to wherever you may want to travel. It’s a half-hour drive to Hartford and New Haven, and a 2-hour drive from Boston and New York. You don’t have to deal with the busyness of the city but you can get away from Middletown if you need to.”

Cons of

  • “You have to travel a bit of a distance to get to Wal-Mart and Target. The nearest thing that is similar is a Rite Aid in town.”
  • “Like any college, there is a culture where during the week you’re cranking out work and being very productive for five days and then on the weekend people expect you to be partying and stuff like that. The location exasperates that because it’s hard to get off campus.”
  • “The main thing is it can feel that you’re in a bubble because there’s so much stuff going on around the work, but sometimes the environment on campus can feel like you’re in paradise because nothing really goes on. You’re isolated from everything. I wish I wasn’t so sheltered because there are things I want to be involved.”
  • “It’s very quiet and stagnant. There’s not really much going on besides Wesleyan. It’s not that bad, but it’s just a very quiet, stagnant town.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Neuroscience and Theater Double Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Wesleyan before entering as a freshman?
The biggest shock for me was how sensitive students on campus can be. That’s something I wish I knew before coming.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
We have a program called WesFest that pretty much goes over everything Wesleyan has to offer. If you don’t go to that, you will miss a lot. My advice is trying to come here during that week.

Male Earth & Environmental Sciences and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

What is something a prospective student from a lower-income background may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
In my opinion, being low income has been great because it’s helped me meet more people from different backgrounds. I’ve met a lot of people in the community because I’ve been able to bond over the fact that we have no money and are trying to figure out what they need to pay for tuition this semester and stuff like that. On the flip side, there’s also a lot of people who are very rich and don’t understand what it’s like for low-income students. You’ll have a student in designer clothes right next to a student who is barely able to afford tuition and loans, so you sometimes feel like you have to teach people that there are people who don’t automatically have money for everything. But, you also have that low-income community who you can always fall back on. [Socioeconomically, 45% of students come from the top 5%.]

Female Psychology Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
For tours, you have the option to visit a class, and I think that’s very helpful and I don’t think all prospective students take advantage of it. Based on what class you attend, the [classroom environment] is different and the professors teach differently, but I feel if they can go into the class that will help them make the decision on where they want to go.

What is something a prospective first-generation student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
They really have to go out of their comfort zone because the school isn’t going to pamper you and hold your hand. They do that to some extent, but you have to go out of your way to strive for opportunities and make friends, which will overall make them a better person.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Wesleyan University

To Attend

  • “There are awesome professors who make time for students and actually care about their well-being.”
  • “They don’t pressure you to be one specific major. You can explore what you want. With the general education requirements, you can take a lot of classes. You can also take a lot of classes based on your interests because there are a lot of unique classes. I like that they invite students to explore different types of academics.”
  • “You’ll get to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different places.” [In the Class of 2022, 82% of students live outside of New England and 12% are international students from 63 different countries.]
  • “The college is pretty accommodating to different types of people and they don’t force you to follow the norms of college. There is a substance-free club that has events where you can explore Middletown without drinking.”

To Not Attend

  • “If you are a fan of the city life and always want to be in the hustle and bustle.”
  • “If you aren’t okay with meeting people from different backgrounds and aren’t comfortable bridging that, then it might be too much for you.”
  • “There have been complaints about the president because he [has promoted an increase of conservative views on campus]. Our campus is very liberal-minded, and a lot of people complained about that.”
  • “The academics are a lot, so you have to be prepared for that.”
Notice: Wesleyan University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Wesleyan University.

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