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Wellesley College


With small class sizes and some of the best professors found anywhere, Wellesley College provides an outstanding education for its all-female student population. The institution enrolls approximately 2,400 students each year, and it confers only Baccalaureate level degrees. Students may select from more than 50 disciplines that allow them to focus in one particular area or formulate a unique curriculum that’s tailored to their goals.

Wellesley College was established in 1870 when philanthropists Henry and Pauline Durant decided to act on their belief in the need for women’s higher education. After years of building a campus and curriculum, as well as attracting instructors, the first students were admitted in 1875. The campus boasted just one building. It was known as College Hall, and it contained all of the institution’s facilities. That structure was destroyed by fire in 1914. The site was reused and now Tower Court, a group of residence halls, stands there.

The beautiful 500 acre campus was initially constructed to blend in with the rolling, natural landscape. As the college grew, more buildings were added, but careful attention was always paid to the overall look and feel of the campus. Travel+Leisure Magazine has since proclaimed that Wellesley has one of America’s most beautiful campuses.

A number of distinguished graduates demonstrates how well this original member of the Seven Sisters Colleges succeeds when it comes to attracting high-achieving students. Wellesley is recognized as being one of the most selective colleges in the nation with only approximately 29% of the yearly applicants being accepted. Being admitted is a tremendous accomplishment and acknowledges exceptional academic achievements in high school and an expectation that this performance will continue at Wellesley.

Wellesley College Accreditation Details

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has accredited Wellesley College for many years. The goal of the NEASC is to continuously improve educational efforts. Wellesley’s accreditation is reviewed and renewed every few years.

Wellesley College Application Requirements

Wellesley’s application process is extremely competitive. The greater the student’s academic achievements in high school, the better the chances that they will be accepted. Moreover, Wellesley likes to assess their candidates as well-rounded individuals. This means that they are looking for applicants who are highly involved in extracurricular activities and also demonstrate community involvement.

The college does not recommend a particular program of high school courses though it does favor students who take advanced placement or other accelerated classes. Most successful applicants to Wellesley complete four years of mathematics and a foreign language in high school. They also complete challenging courses in English and at least two laboratory science classes.

The Board of Admission considers high school transcripts, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and rank in graduating class when making decisions. Favorable letters of recommendation from two high school teachers and a well-polished personal essay also weigh heavily. In some cases, students complete an interview that helps the Board of Admissions make a decision.

All prospective students must complete a free online application. Called the Common Application, the online form includes a writing supplement that is required of all applicants. Students must include high school transcripts, a letter of recommendation from a high school guidance counselor and two letters from high school teachers along with their standardized test scores.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for full-time students attending Wellesley College is approximately $45,000 per academic year. A non-refundable student activity fee of about $300 is assessed each year. Nearly 98% of all students live on-campus, which costs approximately $7,500 annually. A meal plan costs around $7,000 for the year.

Financial assistance is available to qualifying students. Wellesley takes pride in the fact that most of its students graduate with little or no student loan debt. The college strives to make higher education affordable for all families. To that end, they subsidize numerous summer internships in various parts of the world. Students at Wellesley also have multiple opportunities for grants and scholarships throughout their academic career.

Student Experience

This private, liberal arts institution offers a fantastic on-campus experience. Students may choose from five different dining halls. A coffee shop, bakery and movie theater are also found on campus. The student-run Café Hoop and the campus pub Punch’s Alley are found in the basement of the Campus Center building.

Wellesley students may consider joining one or more of the nearly 180 student organizations. While the college does not have sororities, it does have organizations with wide ranging interests. These may include academics, politics, community service and on-campus publications. Students find out what’s happening around the college by reading Counterpoint while the Wellesley News reports all media-worthy events. A literary magazine known as the Wellesley Review also offers popular reading material. Students may choose to participate in the operation of the campus radio station. Various a cappella singing groups offer opportunities for learning and performance in many venues.

Wellesley’s biggest party of the year comes early in the academic calendar. Known as Remix, this gathering is one of the most popular on-campus events. The college government’s event planning committee is responsible for hosting this event each fall. The same committee also handles Spring Week, a major celebration that includes a block party, a marathon and live music acts.

Students may choose to participate in one of the 14 varsity sports teams. Sports offered range from golf and lacrosse to basketball and volleyball. The school is a member of the NCAA Division III and of the Eastern Conference Athletic Conference.

Wellesley’s students enjoy many college traditions throughout the year. One of the most popular of these is hoop rolling, an event which has taken place on campus since 1895. After donning their graduation robes, seniors run a race while rolling a large, wooden hoop. The winner receives flowers and then a dunking in Lake Waban courtesy of her classmates. Another tradition that graduates recall fondly is that of planting a class tree. This usually occurs during the sophomore year, and the campus is dotted with trees and plaques for each graduating class.

Wellesley is known for offering small class sizes and a student to faculty ratio of 8:1. Students who attend this prestigious college are well prepared for the future. A Wellesley College graduate is poised for success in every facet of life.