How to Write the Wellesley College Essay 2021-2022
For the last century and a half, Wellesley has been at the forefront of education, with a new class of prepared and independent women graduating annually. Wellesley women take pride in the work they’ve accomplished and are go-getters who are constantly thinking about ways to make waves in their respective fields.
Wellesley students have unique opportunities, including the ability to take classes at surrounding Bostonian institutions such as MIT and Brandeis. Because of the school’s boundless opportunities, women from all over the world apply to the college each year. The selectivity of admissions means that it is imperative that your supplemental essay is humanizing and shows your commitment to the Wellesley community.
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Wellesley College Application Essay Prompt
When choosing a college community, you are choosing an intellectual community and a place where you believe that you can live, learn, and flourish. We know that there are more than 100 reasons to choose Wellesley, but it’s a good place to start. Visit the Wellesley 100 and select one or two items that attract, inspire, or energize you. Have fun with this and use this opportunity to reflect personally on what items appeal to you most and why.
Please limit your response to the Wellesley College essay to two well-developed paragraphs (minimum 250 words, maximum 400 words).
This prompt is the classic “Why This College” essay, though it provides a helpful starting point by providing you a list of 100 reasons why Wellesley is a great place to be. Before you start writing, the smart thing to do is check out this list and write down all the points that are of interest to you—anything that stands out. Don’t think too hard about which points you are picking—it’s just an exercise to get the ball rolling.
After you have chosen some reasons that stand out to you, you should consider why those points stood out to you and how they relate to your life. Even though you are writing an essay about why you want to go to Wellesley, you should use every opportunity you have to reveal more about yourself.
When brainstorming ideas, it’s important to remember that a large part of college admissions is the idea of fit—how well the school thinks it can offer you the opportunities that you need to reach your end goal. If you can draw parallels between the offerings of Wellesley and your personal goals, then you will make a strong case for why you should be admitted.
Some examples of how students’ personal goals and ambitions might relate to the Wellesley 100:
- A student might choose #11—the neuroscience major—because they are interested in pursuing a career as a neurosurgeon. They could talk about how Wellesley not only offers rigorous courses and bountiful research opportunities to give students the foundation they need, but its unique environment also provides an empowering space to pursue a field that is traditionally male-dominated.
- A student who is worried about applying their classwork to their career could use #15—Wellesley Career Education—to speak about how the dedication of the college to get their students actual work experience is something they desire in their undergraduate institution.
On the other hand, instead of describing how Wellesly can help you achieve your goals, you may be more interested in emphasizing how Wellesley’s values align with yours. That is also a great path!
Some examples of how students’ personal experiences and values might relate to the Wellesley 100:
- A first-generation student could use #15—Wellesley Career Education—in a different way. With this reason, the student could make themself vulnerable and dig deep into their anxiety around doing something their family has never done before.
- A young writer could emphasize the importance of creativity and imagination in their approach to life. They could use #37—Nancy Drew—as an avenue for describing Wellesley as a campus where students build their own futures—exactly the kind of community they’ve always dreamed of being a part of.
- A student who never felt at home until stepping on Wellesley’s campus could write about a specific transformative moment with reason #40—Visiting. They could describe a difficult upbringing, then paint a juxtaposed picture of their experience on campus (probably focusing on a specific anecdote). The people reading this application walk around the Wellesley campus every day so, if written with descriptive language and imagery, this essay could really resonate with them.
- A student from Los Angeles who has a strong personal tie to the Griffith Observatory (perhaps it’s where they discovered their curiosity about unknown frontiers) could write about #60—the Whitin Observatory. They could describe how it will simultaneously present them with new opportunities for discovery and remind them of home during difficult times.
- A student with a diverse cultural background might discuss #94—Yanvalou. They can tell a story of how music (or food, dance, and other customs) contributed to their cultural upbringing and explain they hope to find a home at a school that values culture, which Wellesley is clearly committed to.
Here is a potential expanded outline for a previous example, using #11—The neuroscience major:
- Describe your interest in neuroscience
- Describe the difficulties you have already faced as a woman in STEM (perhaps including an anecdote)
- Describe what you wish your experiences as a woman in STEM had been like
- Describe how Wellesley will be a positive environment for you as a woman in STEM
- Reflect on what this desire says about you. Is it just about being surrounded by women? What do the Wellesley women have to offer? Where is it that Wellesley women get their power? Is that where you find your power? How would you describe them? Is that how you would describe yourself?
Here is a potential expanded outline for a previous example, using #40—Visiting:
- Describe how you felt out-of-place growing up (perhaps touching on specific experiences)
- Describe the anxiety you have experienced when thinking about college and feeling out-of-place in a new place
- Provide an image of the moment you first felt at home at Wellesley—describe the scenery, the people involved, the emotions
- Reflect on why you felt at home. Did that experience show that Wellesley’s values align with yours? Does being around women make you feel more comfortable? Did you see your culture represented? What did Wellesley have that you have always been looking for?
Note: It’s no secret that Wellesley takes significant pride in the fact that they are a women’s institution. Feel free to take advantage of the fact that they are interested in hearing specifically about why you believe that pursuing resources in a female-centric campus is better than a co-ed university.
It is important to make sure that your essay connects back to you and your desires. Wellesley already knows why it’s great (hence the comprehensive list), so your job is to tell them how you can use their resources in a meaningful way—with a meaning specific to you. Everyone has their own unique reasons for applying to Wellesley and their own unique story. Tell the admissions officers your story!
Finally, don’t be afraid to be a bit more casual in your writing. You might want to open up the essay with an anecdote and intersperse humor, dialogue, and personality. These elements are all part of your story and will help when showing Wellesley who you are.
As Wellesley only requires one supplement, this is your chance to stand out as an applicant. Be genuine in your writing and don’t be scared to let some personality shine through!
We hope that this guide has been helpful to get you started on your writing, but you may also want to check out essays of applicants who have successfully been admitted to Wellesley. While you can’t and shouldn’t use their ideas directly, it will show you the kinds of profiles that speak to the admissions officers.
Where to Get Your Wellesley Essays Edited for Free
If you’ve already written your Wellesley supplemental essay, it is time to get it edited. Having peers read your essay will help you to identify areas for improvement and, ultimately, will help you maximize your chances of getting into Wellesley. By creating a free CollegeVine account, you will have access to CollegeVine resources like our free peer-review service. We’re here to help you put your best foot forward and feel prepared throughout this application season—because we know how overwhelming it can get.