Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day two of Team Brown I: Wesleyan and Yale

Yesterday, we had an introduction to New England highways in the rain. We still made good time getting to Wesleyan thanks to our Garmin. It took us right to the admissions office. We had a good tour, took pictures and our guide answered lots of questions. The school is a Division 1, that means academics come first and there are no athletic scholarships. Most classes have an average of 18:1 ratio.  They have forty-seven academic majors. Each class (freshmen, sophomores, juniors and senior have a Dean who stays with them through all four years at Wesleyan. They are there to advise and guide students along their way. I was surprised that a college that I had never heard of so many famous alums. The guy who wrote the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series got his ideas while sitting in a grave yard on campus writing other material. The guy who wrote the screen play for "The Avengers" movie is an alum. Sorry I didn't get the names, it's hard to take notes and hold an umbrella while walking around in the rain. What impressed me about Wesleyan is the way they mix different majors and have a good science department for a liberal arts college. Only about 10% of the student body is in Greek life. Twenty-five percent of the students are in a science major. Fifty percent of the undergrad students are published by the time they graduate.They have what they call an open curriculum system. This means you can take almost any course no matter how far outside of you major it is. Think of stem cell research major with a minor in dance. This was the first school we learned has a shopping period. For the first two weeks of the year, students can sit in on any class they like, see what they think of the professor or the subject, then either add or drop the class. Eighty percent of the students participate in some sort of community service. I also like the size of the school. No need for a car. A bike would be a convenience, but a necessity. All campus housing is within easy walking distance. Above freshman housing there are theme based housing, such as music, outdoors, and social justice. Senior housing consists of small four bedroom bungalows. We ordered grinders (sub type sandwiches) from a local deli. Glad I ordered everyone half orders, these were huge.

After lunch we were off to Yale. Found parking lot 37, near the undergrad admission's office. We were one of three tours. Yale is huge, old and Gothic compared to Wesleyan. Lots of the building at Yale make you think of Hogwarts.  I think it would take me several of days just figuring where everything is. Yale is subdivided into residential colleges, think Hogwarts and the different houses. The residential houses have nothing to do with your major. You can be undeclared in your major for your first two years. One point they stressed during the orientation was the essay about yourself. How to write and keep YOU as the subject and main topic of the letter. Don't talk about the people who influenced you to get where you are now. Talk about what you did and how you did it. Yale can have thousands of students apply and only about 1,200 are admitted. The selection process is not just about your GPA, it's about you and what you can contribute to the college community. In other words, Why are you special?

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