Category Archives: Admissions

So Apparently Wesleyan is “Economically Diverse”

Paying tuition never looked so bucolic

Paying tuition never looked so bucolic

Please put your iPhone back in your Patagonia sweatshirt pocket for a second. Apparently it’s time to rethink the idea that the Wesleyan student body is entirely made up of students from upper-class families, at least according to new data from the New York Times. In conjunction with an article on colleges recruiting from an increasingly diverse set of economic backgrounds, the Times has published a chart comparing the economic diversity of various schools. And Wesleyan has come out at number 13 on the list.

The chart ranks colleges according to a College Access Index, which is based on the percent of the past few freshman classes who came from low-income families (measured by the share receiving a Pell grant) and on the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families. The data states that 18% of freshman classes arriving 2012-14 have received Pell grants, and that the average cost for low- and middle-income students is $8,700 a year. This gives Wesleyan a College Access Ranking of 1.5, putting us below Amherst and above Williams, for reference.

Forbes College Rankings Come Out, Suddenly We Care Because We’re No. 15

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For those of you who haven’t been following the buttload of obnoxious college rankings that come out every August/September, you’re in luck: Wesleyan is faring pretty damn well. A couple of the highlights and interesting tidbits:

1. Forbes ranked Wes number 15 on its 2014 list of best colleges in America. Impressive colleges we’re ranked higher than include Dartmouth, Northwestern, Columbia, Duke, and University of Chicago. Cue the awkward moment this summer when I used “So we beat you in the Forbes rankings” as a conversation starter with a current Dartmouth student. Whoops.

The Myth of the Little Three: Are College Rankings Killing Wesleyan’s Culture?

BADGE!

Do you ever get the feeling Wesleyan is having a little bit of an identity crisis?

There’s a good chance that my ‘ideal’ Wesleyan doesn’t look exactly the same as yours; our concerns and tastes are different, as are our experiences here. But it is likely that the things you love most about Wesleyan are unique to it, are not quantifiable, and are not things that are in step with success as defined by any rankings algorithm. I’m serious about Wesleyan dropping out of college rankings like US News. Reed College president Colin Diver explains in a 2005 Atlantic article that “one-size-fits-all ranking schemes undermine the institutional diversity that characterizes American higher education…(as) The urge to improve one’s ranking creates an irresistible pressure toward homogeneity, and schools that… strive to be different are almost inevitably penalized.” In my opinion, Wesleyan students have been struggling against that subtle pressure in different ways for years now. 

#ThisisObama’sNow

obama-jogging

Prez Obama is running away with our #ThisIsWhy campaign.

What do you do when the leader of the free world hijacks your hashtag campaign? Barack Obama recently launched a new site featuring stories on why health care (reform) matters. The tagline’s Twitter-translation? #ThisisWhy.

It all began on January 1st, with Virginia.

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Virginia may be able to go to the doctor again but does she have anything on James W. Thomasson ’63, an alum who gives us this story as part of Wesleyan’s #ThisIsWhy campaign?

At the age of eight, in socially divided Middleburg, Virginia, I was “reported” to my mother by a neighborhood “wag” for playing in the street with “John Henry”—yes, a ten-year-old black boy. As big a disgrace as that must have been for the neighbor, it paled in comparison to the embarrassment of my mother and the rage of my father.

Students Petition President Roth to Change Financial Aid Donation Policy

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A little under a week ago, I posted a video in which Josh Krugman ’14 took the microphone at a senior class reception and, immediately following speeches by University administrators exhorting members of the senior class to donate to Wesleyan, asked his fellow seniors to not donate in protest of the University’s abandoning of need-blind admissions and alleged fiscal irresponsibility. The post generated a debate over whether alumni should give to the University – informed in part by a recent letter from alumni who withheld donations on “Giving Tuesday” due to the University’s financial aid policies.

This post was followed immediately by a post by pyrotechnics about the 68% figure referenced in Josh’s speech. This post shed light on a serious problem with the way the University deals with financial aid donations:

There is currently no way for donors to increase the amount of money the University plans to spend on financial aid. Given the budget cap, there is no such mechanism for that right now, confirmed to me by President Michael Roth himself. (Again, note that there is a way to decrease the amount of money spent: not donating.) This is something I (wearing a different hat) am currently working on fixing with University Relations, with tentative support from both President Roth and Barbara-Jan Wilson.

In response to this and the fact that the number of students on grant-based matriculation aid fell this past year, Benny Docter ‘14, Danny Blinderman ’14, and Josh Krugman ’14 presented a letter to the administration calling for a revision to the financial aid donation policy. This letter, cosigned by WSA leadership, campus group leaders, student fundraisers, Greek-life presidents, and others, makes two simple demands on the administration:

1) Donors should be able to specify that 100% of their gift goes to increase financial aid for the following school year; 2) Donors should be able to specify that 100% of their gift goes into the endowment for financial aid, to be drawn at a rate equal to the annual draw rate of the endowment as a whole, and could be spent only on permanently increasing the number and quality of financial aid packages that the University offers.

The idea is that any donation made in this new manner would result in an increase in financial aid spending proportional to the size of the gift – as opposed to the current system, where all donations received are already planned for in the financial aid budget. The letter does not call for a boycott on donations to financial aid, nor does it ask for a return to need-blind admissions. Rather, it demands that the University allow those who donate to financial aid to increase financial aid spending as a total portion of the University budget in the same way that alumni donations to athletic programs or academic departments do not result in a corresponding decrease in the funding those programs receive from the University.

Early Decision Letters Go Out to the Class of 2018, College Confidential Explodes

Yes, I know, we all feel really fucking old.

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Breaking news: Some of the youngsters of the class of 2018 (yes, meaning most of them were born in 1996) have been accepted to Wes through Early Decision, and they are now officially part of the Wesleyan community. Holla at all the prefrosh who are reading this post, and welcome to the Bestleyan.

Oh the little ED applicants.

Oh the little ED applicants.

As usual, however, no one really cares about the actual members of the class; we’re all in it for the WesAdmits 2018 page (which does in fact exist already!). Prefrosh who are reading this: Save yourself some awkwardness when you get to campus and know your WesAdmits etiquette.

  • About 70% of the upperclassmen on WesAdmits are totally trolling the shit out of you. When they say really random things things like, “All Wesleyan dorms are being equipped with froyo machines next year!”, they’re expecting you to be gullible. Last year one of my friends convinced an entire group of freshmen that Summerfields was getting a Starbucks express line.
  • Don’t talk about all the other colleges you were going to apply to. You got into Wesleyan ED; those other colleges don’t mean anything now. Stop trying to impress everyone with how you were going to apply to Brown ED but didn’t because you were too authentic for that Ivy League life.
  • Don’t post pictures of you holding your acceptance letter on WesAdmits. Some weird upperclassmen will turn it into their Facebook cover photo. Plus it just looks awkward.
  • Do NOT for the love of all that is Wesleyan friend request everyone in the WesAdmits Facebook group. It’s been two years since I got into Wesleyan, and to this day, every time my friends and I see the kid from my class year who friended 350+ Wes ED classmates back in December 2011, someone yells, “That’s the dude who friended all the people on WesAdmits!”

The 68 Percent Figure: Where Did It Come From?

I have been pleasantly surprised to see a few comments on recent articles asking for a source on the 68% figure that has been flying thick and heavy around need-blind conversations lately. For context, here is an excerpt from a recent controversial speech about donating to Wesleyan:

“Did you know that 68% of any donation earmarked for financial aid gets swept into the general operating budget, and that only 32% of such donations goes to improving the financial aid budget?”

That 68% figure was first circulated in a document produced by Need Blind Wes and distributed during Homecoming Weekend. It is profoundly shocking that the majority of a specified donation would somehow be weaseled into unrestricted funds, isn’t it? Isn’t that illegal?

Well, yes, that would be illegal — except the 68% figure is just flat-out false as described. Incorrect. Inaccurate. Wrong. Or, at the very least, incredibly misleading.

Josh Krugman ’14 Speaks at Senior Reception about Need-Blind

On Tuesday, December 3, there was a senior class reception held by SWAG (Seniors of Wesleyan Annual Gift) in Beckham Hall. At the reception, a number of administrators gave speeches about why students should give to Wesleyan.

And then, Josh Krugman ’14 got up and gave a speech about need-blind, how the University handles donations, and why you maybe shouldn’t give to Wes.

The video is above and a rough transcript is past the jump, courtesy of Josh. When you watch the video, notice the how the administrators and those planning the event try and pressure Josh off the stage and how the student band begins playing to try and drown out his speech. Also, unseen in this video is Michael Roth bolting out of the room when Josh got up there.

BZOD EDIT 12/9/13, 1:50 PM: For some much-needed clarification on that 68% figure, check out this article