How to Write the Wellesley College Supplement Essay 2017-2018
Wellesley College is a private liberal arts college located just west of Boston. One of the nation’s most prestigious women’s colleges, Wellesley ranks #3 in U.S. News and World Report’s National Liberal Arts Colleges. With a student body of 2,300 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, students are afforded an intimate learning experience with the resources of a world-class research institution.
In 2017, Wellesley College received over 5,700 applications for the Class of 2021 and had a 22% admittance rate. Unlike most other colleges and universities, Wellesley College offers four decision plans: Early Decision Round I, Early Decision Round II, Regular Decision with Early Evaluation Option, and Accelerated Admission (Early Admission) for high school juniors. When deciding which plan to pursue, a student should consider her level of interest, willingness to attend if admitted, and ability to meet application deadlines and requirements.
For a more detailed breakdown of the decision plans, see our ultimate guide to applying to Wellesley.
Wellesley College Application Essay Prompt
Instead of your standard “Why School X?” prompt, Wellesley provides a starting point — or rather, 100 — to use as inspiration for your essay. Although this may seem overwhelming at first, keep in mind that the admissions committee isn’t judging your application based on which two you pick, but rather how you form those ideas into a cohesive portrait of yourself as an applicant.
For example, if you pick #60 and #84, someone else is practically guaranteed to pick the same thing. However, if you can grab the admissions officer’s attention and highlight your strengths as an applicant, you will be sure to stand out.
To alleviate the pressure of picking the “perfect” two, pick your five favorite items on the “Wellesley 100” and outline your reasons for choosing them. Next, step back and look at the bigger picture: How do you wish to present yourself as an applicant, and how will this essay fit into that picture?
For example, an applicant who started a politics column in her school newspaper and organized phone banks for a local political candidate might discuss Wellesley’s most famous alumna, Hillary Rodham Clinton (#37), and how Wellesley’s culture of female empowerment would help her to realize her dream of running for office.
An applicant interested in the intersection of neuroscience and technology might choose the Human Computer Interaction Lab (#96) and discuss the kind of research that she would like to conduct using the HCI Lab’s resources.
To further develop this idea, the applicant might find a faculty member whose research utilizes the HCI Lab’s resources, and explain how she might get involved. A potential Sociology major planning on doing a semester abroad in college might discuss how she would take advantage of The Tanner Conference (#60) as a platform to share her interests and experiences with her peers.
Since the essay does not provide a word limit, you want to be careful with length and clarity. The lack of a word limit does not give you a free pass to ramble on for 1,000 words. This essay should be just as concise as your personal statement, if not more. Try to avoid 500-word paragraphs, but make sure to delve into the details.
Regardless of the topics that you choose, you want to make them personal and specific. Focus on yourself: Your job is not to convince the reader that Wellesley is a great school, but that it is a great school for you.
Moreover, if you choose a broad topic — the wide breadth of majors available at Wellesley, for example — get down to the specifics. Is there a major that is not offered anywhere else? How does that major match your goals and interests? Do not waste your essay discussing every single major available at the college and why they pique your interest, because that could have been written by any other applicant.
Best of luck on your essay!
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