Frequently Asked Questions
We know you’ve got questions. Below are the ones we get most often about Wellesley and the application process.
If you’re still stumped, you can always ask us: email@example.com or 781.283.2270.
Wellesley is a private, nonprofit liberal arts college for women, located 12 miles west of Boston in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Considered one of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country, Wellesley has provided a transformative educational experience for women who lead change in our world. Wellesley is an undergraduate institution; students earn a four-year baccalaureate degree (bachelor of arts) in one of over 50 majors. See Wellesley’s mission and values. Founded in 1870, it is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
About 2,350 students are enrolled at Wellesley. (The retention rate is over 95 percent!)
Wellesley students come from every U.S. state, more than 80 countries, and many social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Wellesley values and celebrates many different types of diversity.
Wellesley is known for the excellence of its education (and in particular its student/faculty ratio of 8:1), the beauty of its setting (with a 500-acre residential campus of rolling hills, woodlands, a lake, and spectacular architecture, it is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in North America), its gifted faculty (93 percent of full-time faculty hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field), and its unique campus culture. It’s among the most successful institutions in the world at educating women leaders. The College is also known for its commitment to affordability. Nearly 60 percent of students receive (need-based) financial aid.
Notable alumnae include Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59, former U.S. Secretary of State; Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69, former senator and U.S. Secretary of State, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in 2016; Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (Soong May-ling) 1917, former first lady of the Republic of China; Diane Sawyer ’67, television broadcast journalist; Persis Drell ’77, physicist and director emeritus of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Robin Chase ’80, cofounder and former CEO of Zipcar; Desiree Rogers ’81, CEO of Johnson Publishing, also named one of the 50 most powerful African-American women in business by Black Enterprise; Ophelia Dahl ’94, executive director, Partners in Health; Pamela Melroy ’83, former astronaut/NASA Space Shuttle pilot and commander; Susan L. Wagner ’82, financial executive, founding director of BlackRock.
CLASS OF 2024 SNAPSHOT
1,343 admitted (20%)
580 enrolling (43%)
44 states represented (+ D.C, Guam, and Puerto Rico)
29 nations of citizenship
51% students of color, including two or more races
Race/ethnicity: African American/Black: 7%
Asian American and/or Pacific Islander: 22%
Native American: <1%
Pacific Islander: <1%
Two or more races: 5%
Other/not reported: 1%
International citizens: 14%
Students who come from a home where at least one language other than English is spoken: 46%
Neither parent has a four-year college degree. Percent of entering class: 19%
Percent of entering class receiving financial aid award containing grant aid: 58%
SECONDARY SCHOOL TYPE
Public and charter: 62%
MEAN TEST SCORES
SAT evidence-based reading and writing: 710
SAT math: 721
ACT composite: 32
HIGH SCHOOL RANK
(Of the 34% who were ranked) Top ten percent: 85%
Alumnae relatives include mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, or sisters.
Percent of entering class: 11%
New England: 20%
Pacific and Mountain: 23%
International and Americans abroad: 14%
By location of high school: 44 states (+ D.C., Guam, & Puerto Rico)
Top states represented: California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, New Jersey
29 nations of citizenship represented by non-U.S. citizens
Top countries of citizenship represented: China, Canada, South Korea, India, Mexico
|Early Decision I and II||649||253||39%|
|Deferred from Early Decision||||18||8%|
Can I apply to Wellesley?
Yes! U.S. veterans, mothers, and any woman who was unable to complete her bachelor’s degree during the traditional 18- to 24-year-old period of her life may apply as an Elizabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program candidate.
Yes! Listed as “Early Admission—juniors only” on the Common Application, the Accelerated Admission or "Early Admission - juniors only" decision plan is for high school juniors who fulfill their high school requirements and graduate at the end of their junior year (third year of high school). You apply under the Regular Decision plan. You must demonstrate the academic and personal maturity necessary to compete with other Regular Decision candidates. Strong accelerated candidates will have gone above and beyond high school graduation requirements; they will have transcripts that look very similar to those of students who have spent the full four years in high school.
Yes! Please see the Transfer Student page for information about applying as a transfer student.
Wellesley will consider for admission any applicant who lives as a woman and consistently identifies as a woman; therefore, candidates assigned male at birth who identify as women are eligible to apply for admission. Those assigned female at birth who identify as men are not eligible for consideration for admission. Steadfast in our commitment to the College’s mission of educating women, Wellesley will consider for admission women who are prepared for a rigorous academic environment that challenges them to achieve at their highest potential.
Yes! Wellesley accepts applications from those who were assigned female at birth and who feel they belong in our community of women. The College provides students with a uniquely empowering learning environment—one designed specifically to prepare women to thrive in a complex world.
We encourage students with questions about preparing or submitting their Common Application or Coalition Application online to call the Office of Admission and ask to contact us to speak with an admission counselor. Counselors are available to provide helpful guidance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m., Eastern time.
Please note: The Common Application and Coalition Application instruct online applicants to identify their legal sex, regardless of their gender identity. If you identify as female and encounter any challenge in submitting your application to Wellesley based on your answer to this question, please reach out to the Office of Admission for assistance. Our admission counselors can provide instructions for addressing this issue in the submission of your application.
Yes! Wellesley accepts applications from undocumented and DACA students.
For financial aid purposes, Wellesley considers undocumented and DACA students as international citizens, which means financial assistance is available for a limited number of undocumented and DACA students.
However, Wellesley is committed to meeting 100 percent of calculated need for all admitted undocumented and DACA students who apply for financial aid during the admission process. Admitted undocumented and DACA students will receive financial assistance in the form of grant aid. Students will not be expected to borrow funds (via a student loan) as part of their aid packages. Students who are ineligible to work in the United States will receive grant aid in place of the typical school year work-study expectation and summer work earnings expectations.
High school coursework, recommendations and transfer credits
Wellesley does not require a fixed plan of secondary school course preparation. However, entering students normally have completed four years of college preparatory studies in secondary school that include training in clear and coherent writing and in interpreting literature; history; training in the principles of mathematics (typically four years); competence in at least one foreign language, ancient or modern (usually four years of study); and experience in at least two laboratory sciences.
Students planning to concentrate in mathematics, premedical studies, or natural sciences are urged to elect additional courses in mathematics and science in secondary school and to complete mathematics coursework through pre-calculus. Students planning to concentrate in language or literature are urged to study a modern foreign language and Latin or Greek.
There are often exceptions to the above, and the Office of Admission will consider an applicant whose educational background varies from this description. Wellesley's applicant pool has been consistently strong. As a result, not all applicants who are academically qualified are admitted.
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 Office 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. In addition, the International Baccalaureate diploma, GCE A-Level, and French Baccalaureate diploma programs are well respected and may result in credit.
Wellesley requires three letters of recommendation: two from teachers of academic subjects and the third from a secondary school counselor or other school official. We encourage you to provide academic recommendations from teachers of two different subjects.
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 four units of credit from approved AP/IB/GCE/French Bacc work toward your Wellesley degree.
The application process
The admission committee at Wellesley College engages in a decision-making process that reflects holistic principles of application review, meaning admission decisions are based on the committee’s consideration of all pieces of an application, quantitative and qualitative, at once and in the context of an applicant’s school and home environment. Committee members are trained to assess each student’s academic, co-curricular, and personal accomplishments, as well as her potential to contribute to the Wellesley community. After reviewing files in their assigned geographic regions, groups of committee members meet to discuss the applicants from their regions. Together the members come to a consensus about the most appropriate admission decision for each student, in the context of the full applicant pool.
Wellesley College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
The admission committee is comprised of admission staff members within the Office of Admission.
Students may apply to Wellesley College through the Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge applications. Wellesley considers all three applications equally in the review process.
Interviews are not required but they are recommended. Read more about alum interviews and review the deadlines required for each decision plan before scheduling.
Suspension of Standardized Testing Requirement
Suspension of Standardized Testing Requirement for 2021-22
Updated February 2021
Wellesley has extended the one year suspension of its standardized testing requirement for first-year applicants given the fact that many high school students are still unable to sit for standardized tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that submission of SAT or ACT scores will be optional for first-year applicants applying to the College for entry in the fall of 2021 and 2022. If an applicant wishes to have their standardized test scores considered as one component of their application, we will consider the scores in a nuanced and contextual way alongside all other application credentials. If applicants choose not to submit standardized test scores, we will evaluate their application in a nuanced and contextual way without scores. Our holistic, committee-based application review process gives us the flexibility to evaluate each applicant’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments within individual context.
No, Wellesley has extended the one year suspension of its standardized testing requirement for first-year applicants given the fact that many high school students are still unable to sit for standardized tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that submission of SAT or ACT scores will be optional for first-year applicants applying to the College for entry in the fall of 2021 and 2022. If an applicant wishes to have their standardized test scores considered as one component of their application, we will consider the scores in a nuanced and contextual way alongside all other application credentials. If applicants choose not to submit standardized test scores, we will evaluate their application in a nuanced and contextual way without scores. Our holistic, committee-based application review process gives us the flexibility to evaluate each applicant’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments within individual context.
Yes, the policy applies to all students. It is strongly recommended that international students whose native language is not English, and who have been studying in English-based curriculum for fewer than five years, take one of our approved English proficiency exams (https://www.wellesley.edu/admission/apply/international/instructions)
No. Applicants who do not have or choose not to submit scores will not be at a disadvantage. If an applicant wishes to have their standardized test scores considered as one component of their application, we will consider the scores in a nuanced and contextual way alongside all other application credentials. If applicants choose not to submit standardized test scores, we will evaluate their application in a nuanced and contextual way without scores. Our holistic, committee-based application review process gives us the flexibility to evaluate each applicant’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments within individual context.
- For applicants using the Common Application, the question is located in the Wellesley-specific question section of the application.
- For applicants using the Coalition Application, the question is located in the Wellesley Coalition Application Supplement section.
- For applicants using the QuestBridge Application, the question is on the SAT-ACT Score Choice form available in the Wellesley applicant portal after submitting the application.
- Applicants may change their plan via the SAT-ACT Score Choice form available in the Wellesley applicant portal after submitting the application up until the point of the application deadline for your round.
- Changing from “consider tests” to “do not consider tests”: Once The Office of Admission begins reading applications on the application deadline, we cannot guarantee that we didn’t already read your application with your scores, and therefore we cannot change the standardized testing preference to “do not consider tests” from that point forward.
- Changing from “do not consider tests” to “consider tests”: You will have more time to request that we “consider tests” since we can review applications again with tests as a factor, if an applicant changes their mind with enough time for the Admission Office to review an application before releasing decisions. To request to change your testing preference to “consider tests” after the application deadline, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage applicants to select the “do not consider tests” option if they do not have scores in hand that they wish for the Admission Office to consider at the time of application submission.
We will be as flexible as possible with scores that arrive after the application deadline, but we will not allow applicants who submitted scores to change to “do not consider scores” after the application deadline has passed.
Applicants who elect to have scores considered may submit self-reported scores while their application is being reviewed and must provide official scores upon enrollment. Applicants who ask that their SAT/ACT scores not be considered may be asked for scores upon enrollment for research purposes only.
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 one of our Early Decision options—Early Decision Round I (deadline November 1) or Early Decision Round II (deadline January 1). Carefully consider your decision to apply Early Decision. Entering into an Early Decision agreement is a serious commitment. If you are offered admission to Wellesley under one of our Early Decision plans and submit your enrollment confirmation, 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.
It is true that a slightly 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 allow you to know where you are going to college earlier—around the time of your winter break. See Decision Plans for more information.
No. If you apply as an Early Decision I candidate and the Office of Admission votes to defer your application, you will then be considered for review in the Regular Decision round. You cannot be considered for review in the Early Decision II round or Early Evaluation.
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.
No. Candidates from schools outside the United States, including U.S. citizens studying outside the United States, must simply complete and submit the Common Application or Coalition Application.
If English is not your native language and you have been studying in an English-based curriculum for fewer than five years, we strongly recommend that you take one of the following English proficiency tests:
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
- Duolingo English Test
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
- Cambridge Assessment English Qualifications (C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency, or C1 Business Higher accepted)
- GTEC CBT (Global Test of English Communication Computer Based Testing)
Wellesley is not need-blind for students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The College has the resources to support a limited number of need-based financial aid awards for international citizens with calculated need. Therefore, admission is highly competitive for international citizens applying for financial aid. For those admitted, the College will fund the full amount of their calculated need. Please see Financial Aid for International Students.
International citizens applying for financial aid may apply under any of Wellesley's decision plans: Early Decision Round I (November 1 deadline), Early Decision Round II (January 1 deadline), or Regular Decision plan (January 8 deadline). Please see specific financial aid due dates.
International citizens who wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during their four years at Wellesley must apply for aid while applying for admission. Applications for financial aid are not accepted from international citizens after admission decisions have been made. If an international citizen is awarded financial aid at the time of admission, she is not required to reapply in future years. International citizens who do not receive financial assistance at the time of admission cannot apply for aid during their remaining years at Wellesley.
You will receive an email from Wellesley that will allow you to login to your Wellesley Applicant Portal to see the status of your materials.
Yes! If you are not selected through the National College Match with Wellesley College, you have additional options for applying to Wellesley through one of our decision plans following the Match process in mid-December. See the Questbridge Application Instructions.
No. There is no fee to apply to Wellesley.
Yes, Wellesley does consider international, undocumented, and DACA students for the QuestBridge Match Program.
Wellesley does not require non-match finalists to submit a Common Application or Coalition Application (see Questbridge Application Instructions). Should you decide to submit an application via the Common Application or Coalition Application, you may copy and paste the same essay submitted through the QuestBridge application onto your Common Application or Coalition Application.
We have a need-based financial aid policy, and we fulfill 100 percent of calculated need, so for some students the package could be the same. For international, undocumented, or DACA students, please note that while we meet 100 percent of calculated need for all admitted students, we are only able to fund a limited number each year. That means that the admission process is especially selective for members of these groups who are not being considered through the QuestBridge Match process. For information about how Wellesley determines financial need, please refer to Wellesley’s Student Financial Services website.
Yes! We host an overnight program for interested students in mid-October. See Discover Wellesley. Please check your email for more information on this program and possible ways to fund your visit.
Students who will have completed at least two full-time semesters, but no more than four full-time semesters at an accredited two- or four-year private or public institution in the United States at the time of enrollment may apply. Students in the first semester of their first year at any college or university are not eligible for admission. Because the College requires that students complete at least four semesters of coursework at Wellesley in order to earn a degree, rising seniors are also ineligible for transfer admission.
Applicants who wish to enroll for the fall must apply by March 1; the College notifies these students of their decisions in late May.
Please note, Wellesley College is not accepting applications for entry in January 2021 (spring term).
If you applied to Wellesley in an earlier year or semester either as a first-year or transfer candidate, you will need to resubmit your application. However, if you submitted official test scores within the last two years, as part of an earlier application, the scores will be in our database and attributed to your new application.
Applicants are required to send us their scores if their current school required them. Community college students are not required to submit scores. There is no need to sit for an exam if you have not done so already as a traditional applicant. If you applied to Wellesley within the last two years, you do not need to resend your scores. When you submit your application and log into your Application Portal, you will see that the checklist material for Test scores is fulfilled.
Results must be released to Wellesley College from the testing agency. The College Board school code for Wellesley is 3957. The ACT school code for Wellesley is 1926.
Wellesley’s admission process is need-blind for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and the College guarantees that it will meet 100 percent of every admitted student’s calculated financial need. Visit Student Financial Services for more information about applying for financial aid at Wellesley.
No, Wellesley does not permit people to earn a second degree from the College. If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, regardless of the institution where you earned it, you are not allowed to apply to Wellesley for a second degree.
Yes, housing is guaranteed for all Wellesley students. Transfer students are not required to live in College housing, but nearly 98 percent of the student body chooses to do so.
Incoming sophomore transfer students will still have time to take part in junior year abroad or the Twelve College Exchange. Incoming junior transfer students must spend a minimum of four semesters at Wellesley in order to obtain a Wellesley degree, so it is not possible to fit the aforementioned options into their schedule. However, as a transfer student, you may participate in Wintersession programs, some of which take place abroad. You can also take advantage of the many internships Wellesley offers during the academic year, Wintersession, and summer.
No. Wellesley admits transfer students from U.S. colleges and universities only. Any student who wishes to apply to Wellesley College from an institution outside of the United States must apply as a first-year student and submit her application by the first-year application deadline, January 8. See first-year students.
As financial aid for international students is limited, admission to Wellesley for international students is need-sensitive and competition is extraordinarily keen. International students who are currently enrolled in colleges or universities within the United States, and who would require financial assistance if they were to transfer to Wellesley, must apply by March 1 for admission to the fall semester, which begins in September.
Davis Degree Program applicants
U.S. veterans, mothers, and any woman who was unable to complete her bachelor’s degree during the traditional 18-24-year-old period of her life may apply for the Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program.
Davis Scholars take the same classes as traditional-age students, have the same degree requirements, and graduate with the same Wellesley degree. Unlike the traditional-age students, Davis Scholars have the option of taking classes part time, which grants them the flexibility to design an academic schedule that accommodates other demands on their time, such as work and family responsibilities. They can even choose to live in on-campus housing. Davis Scholars also have their own dean, who will guide them through the curriculum at the College, along with their major advisors.
While the College does not offer family housing, students who choose to live on campus may choose between nine-month and 12-month housing options. You must be full time in order to qualify for on-campus housing. In addition, The Continuing Education (CE) House provides a place for all Davis Scholars, especially commuters, to gather as a community, study, and hang out.
Student Financial Services uses the same financial aid formula for Davis Scholars as they use for traditional-age students. Wellesley is widely recognized as one of the top 10 colleges in the country for students graduating with the least amount of debt. Loans are eliminated for students with the greatest need. It is not all that uncommon for students to find that the cost of attending Wellesley is less than the cost to attend their in-state institutions. We recognize that a Davis Scholar’s financial position is often unique and after you read more about financial aid at Wellesley, we encourage you to contact Student Financial Services if you have additional questions.
While every Davis Scholar has a unique story, what they all share is an eagerness to engage in Wellesley’s vibrant academic community. Students who are successful in the Davis applicant pool typically have completed some recent coursework at a community college. Prior to graduation from Wellesley, the College requires that all students satisfy distribution requirements, including work in English and writing, mathematics, the sciences, social science, and foreign language. When reading an application, the Office of Admission must feel confident the application contains evidence that a potential Davis Scholar can be successful in these fields. Read advice from the dean for more information about preparing to successfully transfer credit to Wellesley.
Bonus tip: The Office of Admission suggests that students complete math courses at least through pre-calculus prior to applying for admission. (Your traditional-age classmates will have typically completed calculus while in high school.)
See Transfer Dates and Deadlines for fall entrance information.
To apply to Wellesley as a Davis Degree Program candidate, you must complete and submit the online Common Application for Transfer Candidates. It’s free to do so. Please be sure to identify yourself as a transfer applicant when you register for your Common Application account. Follow these step-by-step application instructions for Davis Degree applicants.
Wellesley does not automatically grant credit for courses taken at other colleges. Each candidate’s record is evaluated according to Wellesley’s degree requirements and the accreditation of the institutions under consideration. Credit is only given for those courses that are comparable to courses offered in the liberal arts and sciences curriculum at Wellesley. Credit is not given for courses taken online. A tentative evaluation concerning the transferal of credits will be made by the registrar at the time of the offer of admission. For more information, see Transfer Credit Guidelines.
No, Wellesley does not permit people to earn a second degree from the College. If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, regardless of the institution where you earned it, you are not allowed to apply to Wellesley for a second degree.
Discover Wellesley Weekend
Hint: Keep it light! If you are staying overnight, you will be carrying your own luggage to your residence hall, so pack lightly! Please bring the following:
- Sleeping bag (definitely; sleeping on the hard floor without one—not so comfortable)
- Pillow, bath towel, hand towel
- Casual clothes. October can be a little unpredictable. Be sure to check the weather!
- Comfortable footwear as you will be walking all over campus
- Flip-flops for the shower
- Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.
- A small notebook, in case you want to take a few notes
While students stay in residence halls, parents must make their own arrangements for accommodations. See list of nearby hotels.
See directions for getting to campus by car or public transportation.
See walking maps, showing parking, entrances, and major buildings.
It depends on when you arrive.
Sunday arrivals: You’ll be tempted to park in Admission Parking, also known as the Dower Lot. Don’t do it; you'll be on the wrong side of campus for the start of the program! Park in “Visitor Parking” in the garage (Davis Parking Facility).
Monday arrivals: Park in Admission Parking/Dower Lot.
Sunday arrivals before 5 p.m.: Join us in the Ballroom on the ground floor of Alumnae Hall (the brick building with five arches that would have been on your left, across the circle, as you entered the Parking Garage).
Sunday arrivals after 5 p.m.: Check your email for check-in location.
Monday arrivals: Park in Admission Parking/Dower Lot.