I want to congratulate you on your wise decision to consider Wesleyan. If you’re like most students and parents, you are thinking about Wesleyan because of our strong reputation as a liberal arts college. Has anyone questioned why you would want to attend a liberal arts college? If so, I want you to be ready with answers that come straight from recent headlines and book titles.
A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees
The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World
Council for Independent Colleges Liberal Arts Campaign: “Securing America’s Future”
I also want to congratulate you for recognizing the importance of a women’s college education. Did you know that even though women’s college graduates represent less than 2% of U.S. women undergraduates, they represent
More than twice that (5%) of women Fortune 500 CEOs
56% Nonprofit CEOs
(Reported at September 2017 Women’s College Coalition meeting)
If anything, these statistics prove both the need for and the added value of a women’s college education. And compared to a coeducational experience, woman who attend a women's college are;
More likely to graduate in four years
More likely to develop critical skills for life and career
More likely to engage with top faculty and resources
More likely to pursue majors in mathematics and sciences
More likely to be leaders, communicators, and persuaders
(Women’s College Coalition Hardwick-Day Report 2012)
You will fall in love with our beautiful campus and our wonderful students, but after all, you’re coming here for an education, so permit me to say a few things about Wesleyan from an academic perspective.
We place strong emphasis on the first year. We know that if students are successful in the first year of college, the rest is usually “smooth sailing.” So we have created a seamless first-year experience that begins with summer orientation and continues throughout the year, including curricular and co-curricular activities and a close-knit network of support. At Wesleyan, we want every student to be as successful as she wants to be, and we will mobilize student mentors, faculty advisors, and staff professionals to help students develop foundational strategies for success in college and in life.
We place strong emphasis on the liberal arts. We believe that students cannot possibly learn all they need to know in four years, but they can learn how to learn for life. Our general education curriculum is carefully-designed to produce graduates who think well; speak and write clearly and persuasively; understand and appreciate human differences; can have an intelligent conversation about art, science, history, and religion; and who understand how to find, analyze and make judgments about information in this information-rich world we live in. In addition, students often find time in 120 credits to complete two majors, or a major and one or more minors, thus preparing them even more to be competitive in life after college.
We create powerful ways to engage students in and out of the classroom over the course of their college years. That power shows in national ratings, and the one that brings us greatest pride is our National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data. Wesleyan was among a select group to pilot this survey several years ago, and we were recognized for our remarkable results that continue to reveal our success in areas like:
active and collaborative learning
supportive campus environment
enriching educational experiences
The researchers at NSSE were so surprised by Wesleyan’s results (and similar results at other women’s colleges) that they decided to see if this just applies to women or if women’s colleges provide exceptionally engaging learning environments, and here’s what they found; women’s colleges are “true to their word, …appear to have created a climate where women are encouraged to realize their potential and become involved in various facets of campus life, inside and outside the classroom.”
The truly unique thing about Wesleyan College is not numbers and rankings; its students. And we know them well. We know them well enough to write persuasive letters of recommendation for national and international awards, prestigious graduate programs, and successful careers. We know them well enough to help them design internships and research projects that inspire them.
Beyond the classroom, we encourage Wesleyan students to travel abroad, combine service and learning, and complete internships. In fact, we provide scholarship assistance for study abroad to dozens of students each year. And through our “From Here to Career” initiatives, faculty and staff are ready and willing to assist them with their plans for the future and help their dreams come true.
We provide many opportunities for students to develop leadership skills. Whether its serving as a Student Government Association officer, class officer, servant leader, Wesleyan Disciple, student athlete, Resident Advisor, Orientation Leader, IT Assistant, Girls Who Code assistant, lab assistant, Model UN member, Mock Trial Team member or in dozens of other exciting positions, we will help you hone your leadership and communication skills and learn how to promote these experiences as transferable skills on your resume and electronic portfolio.
At Wesleyan you won’t just hear “What do you want to be when you graduate?” You’ll hear “Who are you called to be for life?” It doesn't take long for students to recognize the magic of a women’s college education at a place like Wesleyan College, an education that leads to success for so many students. I recognized it as a student many years ago, and I have seen it for the last 31 years as a professor, administrator, parent of women’s college graduates, and now president. I hope to see you here next year so you can help create the magic for the Class of 2022!
Dr. Vivia L. Fowler