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.
Noteable 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 2023 SNAPSHOT
1,379 admitted (21%)
612 enrolling (44%)
46 states represented (+ D.C, Guam, and Puerto Rico)
23 nations of citizenship
52% students of color, including two or more races
Race/ethnicity: African American/Black: 7%
Asian American and/or Pacific Islander: 25%
Native American: <1%
Pacific Islander: <1%
Two or more races: 9%
Other/not reported: 1%
International citizens: 13%
Students who come from a home where at least one language other than English is spoken: 47%
Neither parent has a four-year college degree. Percent of entering class: 18%
Percent of entering class receiving financial aid award containing grant aid: 59%
SECONDARY SCHOOL TYPE
Public and charter: 63%
MEAN TEST SCORES
SAT evidence-based reading and writing: 712
SAT math: 722
ACT composite: 32
HIGH SCHOOL RANK
(Of the 32% who were ranked) Top ten percent: 79%
Alumnae relatives include mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, or sisters.
Percent of entering class: 11%
New England: 20%
Pacific and Mountain: 26%
International and Americans abroad: 14%
By location of high school: 46 states (+ D.C., Guam, & Puerto Rico)
Top states represented: California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, New Jersey
23 nations of citizenship represented by non-U.S. citizens
Top countries of citizenship represented: China, South Korea, India, Canada, Singapore
|Early Decision I and II||686||222||32%|
|Deferred from Early Decision||||25||13%|
|Regular Decision with Early Evaluation||1,793||574||32%|
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 Board 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 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. 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 at Wellesley College is called the Board of Admission. The committee includes faculty, administrators, admission staff, and students.
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 off-campus interviews and review the deadlines required for each decision plan before scheduling.
Wellesley requires that you submit scores from the ACT or the SAT. (We do not require the optional SAT essay component or ACT Writing.) The TOEFL, or another English proficiency test, is strongly recommended for students whose native language is not English (see instructions for International Applicants). See the SAT and ACT websites for test deadlines.
Wellesley recommends that you complete your SAT and/or ACT testing at least one month prior to the application deadline of the college(s) to which you plan to apply. You will feel less rushed—and perhaps more confident—in sitting for these exams if you know you have allowed ample time for your official scores to reach admission offices. Admission offices that require standardized testing typically will not begin to read a student’s application until her testing profile is complete.
If you plan to apply Early Decision, we strongly recommend that you complete the tests before the end of your junior year or no later than October of your senior year.
If you face financial challenges in meeting Wellesley’s standardized testing requirements, please contact the Office of Admission for guidance in submitting your application. In some instances, the Office of Admission may be able to waive a standardized testing requirement due to financial hardship.
Readers on the Board of Admission use judgment and sensitivity in evaluating standardized testing. Standardized testing alone is not a good indicator of a student’s ability to succeed at Wellesley. However, when used in conjunction with the high school transcript, these test scores are helpful in providing additional insight into a student’s academic readiness for Wellesley.
No, there are no “cut-off” scores. For the class of 2022, the mean SAT evidence-based reading and writing score was 702; the mean SAT math score was 713; and the mean ACT score was 32. For more statistics on students in the first-year class, see the First Year Admission Statistics FAQ.
Several years ago the College Board instituted Score Choice, a score reporting policy, whereby students can choose which scores to send, either by test date for the SAT or by individual test for the SAT subject tests (Note: Wellesley does not require SAT subject tests.) When you sign up for a standardized test, you have the option of releasing the scores to Wellesley College. Wellesley records and reviews only your top scores from each SAT or ACT sitting and uses only your highest individual test scores to make our final admission decision. Therefore, sending all your scores will not have a negative impact on your application for admission. You may, however, choose to send only the scores from your highest test sittings. The code required to submit scores to Wellesley College is 3957.
Wellesley evaluates your application based on your “score of record.” The score of record is your highest composite score from either the SAT or the ACT. We use the College Board’s SAT/ACT Concordance Table to determine your highest score.
Once you have submitted your application to Wellesley College you will be able to self-report your required SAT or ACT scores within the Self Reported Score Form within your Applicant Portal. Required standardized test scores reported within the Common or Coalition Application test section will not fulfill the self-reported score requirement.
Once you're admitted and enrolled at Wellesley College, you will need to submit your verified scores in one of the following manners if you have not already done so:
- Ask your school counselor to upload your score results to Slate.org
- Ask your school counselor to email your score results to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ask your school counselor to fax your score results to 781-283-3678
- Contact the testing agency and have them send us your score results electronically
Please note that required SAT or ACT scores will be verified for all enrolling students and discrepancies between self-reported scores and official scores may jeopardize a student’s place at Wellesley.
If you would like to self-report optional standardized test scores (SAT Subject Tests, AP scores, or IB exam results) to demonstrate particular academic strengths, you may do so through your application's score section.
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 Board 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.
All applicants are required to take the ACT or the SAT. 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), Early Evaluation (January 1 deadline) or Regular Decision plan (January 15 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 in January (spring term) must apply by November 1. They will receive their decisions in mid-December.
Students applying for fall entry must apply by March 1; the College notifies these students of their decisions in late May.
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, those 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 applicationand 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 15. 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. You may not apply for admission to the spring semester. International students who are currently enrolled in colleges or universities within the United States who do not require financial assistance may apply under any available decision plan.
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 Board 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 Board 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. (We do not admit Davis Scholars for spring entrance.)
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
- Flipflops 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 accommmodations. 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.