Application Process FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:
The Application Process


How do you determine which applicants you accept?
Admission decisions are never based on a single factor. Academic achievement, motivation, and creativity are all important attributes for Wellesley candidates. The Board of Admission will consider the following factors when evaluating your application:
  • High school record
  • Difficulty of high school curriculum
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Rank in class
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Scores from SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT Subject Tests or ACT with Writing
  • Leadership activities
  • Special talent
  • Interview
Who is on the Board of Admission?
The Board of Admission includes faculty, administrators, admission staff, and students. The Board looks for evidence of academic achievement and potential. They also value evidence of unusual talent and a readiness to contribute to one's community.
What are the minimum required SAT or ACT scores?
There are no "cut-offs."   For the Class of 2016, the mean SAT Critical Reading score was 692; the mean Writing score was  699; the mean Math score was 686; and the mean ACT score was 30. For more statistics on admitted and enrolling students in the Class of 2016 see admission statistics.
What can I do now to prepare for admission to Wellesley-should I take advanced, accelerated, or honors courses in high school?
If the opportunity is there, take it! Your junior and senior years of high school are important, and you should enroll in the advanced courses available to you. The Board of Admission is interested in seeing how you have chosen to challenge yourself in your high school program. Advanced courses will not only challenge you in high school; they may also help you get ahead in college. One unit of credit will be awarded for a score of 5 on most AP exams. For Math BC, students will earn 2 units of credit for a score of 4 or 5. For Math AB or AB subscores on the Math BC exam, students will earn 1 unit of credit for a score of 4 or 5. In addition, the International Baccalaureate diploma is highly respected and may result in credit.
What can I do to improve my chances of acceptance to Wellesley?
It is no secret that Wellesley has high academic standards. The Board of Admission will determine your ability to meet those standards by reviewing your high school record, including whether you have chosen to challenge yourself in accelerated or advanced-level courses, if available. While Wellesley does not require a specific course of study in high school, the following are a few recommendations:
  • Take four years of high school mathematics.
  • Take at least two laboratory sciences.
  • Take four years of a language other than English.
  • Take significant courses in writing, history, and literature.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills and motivation through extracurricular activities.
Are standardized test scores required? If so, which tests should I take?
Wellesley requires that you submit the SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT Subject Tests or the ACT with Writing. The TOEFL is strongly recommended for students whose native language is not English. See Standardized Testing FAQ for more information, and refer to the SAT and ACT websites for test deadlines.
I know a lot of schools say money doesn't matter when they make admission decisions, but is that really true?
It is true at Wellesley. Wellesley's need-blind admission policy ensures that you will be considered for admission only on the basis of your talents and personal qualities, not on your ability to pay. If you have financial needs, Wellesley will work with you to establish a financial aid package. Wellesley meets 100 percent of demonstrated need, based on a financial aid formula. See Financial Aid for more information.
Should I apply Early Decision?
If you have a strong high school record and you're sure Wellesley is the college for you, then you may want to consider applying under our Early Decision option. However, don't make this decision lightly-entering into an Early Decision agreement is a serious commitment. If you are offered admission to Wellesley under the Early Decision plan, you are required to withdraw your applications from other colleges and universities. Keep in mind that you can apply Early Decision to only one institution, so choose carefully. Your financial aid will remain the same regardless of the admission plan under which you apply. See Decision Plans for more information.
Is it true that applying Early Decision will improve my chances?
It is true that a higher percentage of applicants who apply Early Decision get in, but that is not because there are different standards for those applicants. It's simply because Early Decision applicants tend to be a pool of highly qualified students who are certain that Wellesley is a good fit for them — and they are often right. If you are certain that Wellesley is the right choice for you, applying Early Decision will simply allow you to know where you are going to college earlier—around the time of your winter break. See Decision Plans for more information.
Should I send additional material if I am deferred?
If you are deferred, sending certain additional materials may be helpful to the College during the next round of the decision-making process. You may want to send us your most up-to-date grades, a list of any recent special honors or awards you have received, or any helpful information you may not have provided with your initial application. An additional recommendation may also be helpful. If you have been deferred and you are not sure exactly what to send, just contact us and we'll help you decide.
Who should write my recommendations?
Wellesley requires three letters of recommendation: two from teachers of academic subjects and the third from a guidance counselor.
Is there a Wellesley alumna in my hometown I can talk to?
Sometimes putting a hometown face and voice to the school makes the application process easier. If you are interested in gaining a fresh perspective from a local Wellesley graduate, please contact us and we will provide information to you about alumnae in your area.
If I have college credit already, can I apply it to my academic requirements?
If you have college credits that have not been applied toward your high school diploma, you may have these credits evaluated by the Registrar's Office to receive credit toward graduation from Wellesley. It is possible to apply up to 2 units of credit toward your Wellesley degree.
Do I have to decide on a major when I apply?
No, you have plenty of time to decide what interests you. The College's broad-based curriculum is one of the main reasons students choose to apply. Visit Academic Program or Wellesley's on-line catalog to find out more. Wellesley's diverse curriculum allows you to explore your options and realize your potential. Enjoy your journey; take classes you might never have considered. You don't have to declare your major until the second semester of your sophomore year.
Should I send extra letters of recommendation?
Extra letters of recommendation may be submitted; however, please remember that the two recommendations from teachers and the recommendation from your guidance counselor are all that we require of our applicants and that these recommendations frequently provide ample insight. If you feel that an additional recommendation might be important in evaluating your application (for example, a recommendation from your piano teacher from whom you have taken lessons for the past five years), you may submit it as a part of your application.
Do I need to have an interview?
Interviews are not required for high school students applying to Wellesley, but they are recommended. An interview is required for accelerating, Davis Scholar, and postbaccalaureate candidates. Students interested in interviewing on campus should call our office at 781-283-2270 to schedule an appointment. Students interested in interviewing off campus should complete the off-campus interview request form. Visit Schedule an Interview for more information.
If I'm accepted to Wellesley, may I defer entering?
An accepted candidate may request a deferral of entrance to Wellesley for one year. She should accept the offer of admission by May 1, at which time she should also request a year's deferral in writing. A student who attends college full-time between secondary school and Wellesley must reapply as a transfer student.