Middlebury, CT: Last week I took a trip to visit Wesleyan University. The campus is beautiful, with the traditional New England brick buildings covered in ivy, green fields, and trees turning fall colors. I called a month in advance to arrange an overnight visit. The admissions office set me up with a hostess for the night, and gave me two free meal tickets. In all, I spent about a day and a half at the University, and by the end of my stay, Wesleyan had moved up to be my first choice of prospective colleges.
The dorm that I stayed in was called Foss-6. It was co-ed by floor, although other buildings on campus are co-ed by room. My hostess had a two-room double, and both the rooms were fairly large, as dorm rooms go. They had a back door leading onto a balcony. In general, Foss-6 and the other dorms that I visited were clean, spacious, and filled with milling people, who were not too loud.
My hostess was lucky because her dorm was right next to Mocon, the cafeteria where most of the Frosh eat (at Wesleyan the students use the word “frosh” to replace “freshmen,” as the first year students are “freshwomen” as well as men). I ate dinner at Mocon the night that I arrived. Like any school, the food wasn’t exactly given raves by students. There was enough to satisfy me, however; a huge, fresh salad bar, and unlimited ice cream.
I found the classes at Wesleyan amazingly alive. I went to a philosophy class where about fifteen students and a teacher sat around a table discussing a book by David Hume. The students were free to speak up, ask questions, and come up with their own conclusions to the reading. The professor not only listened to what the students said, but got excited about their ideas. The French class I visited was similar in that the teacher demanded a lot from the students. They were expected to bring energy and ideas to class.
Although I thought the classes were great, the campus was beautiful, and the food not-so-bad, what impressed me most about Wesleyan was the enthusiasm of the people whom I met. Everyone I talked to seemed thrilled. The student body, as well as the professors and coaches, seemed like a passionate, energetic group of people. Everywhere I went, whether I was with the people I had met, or alone, I was greeted with smiles and asked questions about my high school, my interests, and the other colleges I am applying to. When I looked around I saw many different kinds of people, different races, different backgrounds, different tastes.
Wesleyan seemed to be a very “moving” campus. There were signs everywhere about different awareness groups, workshops, and information meetings. I got a sense that this was a campus interested and ready to act on issues like “date rape,” homosexuality, and the troops in Saudi Arabia. My tour guide said that one of Wesleyan’s goals is to challenge the ideas that young people have grown up with, without questioning.
Overall, I was very impressed with Wesleyan. It seems like a school where students are dealt with as whole beings. Students are stretched not only intellectually, but ethically and physically as well. Now my only obstacle is convincing the Admissions Board that they need me as much as I need them! n
Reviewed in 1990