Prospective Students Experience Life at the College During Discover Wellesley Weekend

November 1, 2016
The College welcomed 315 prospective students for Discover Wellesley Weekend this year.

Like many Wellesley students, Doris Li ’20 remembers exactly when she knew that Wellesley was not just a top choice for her undergraduate experience, but the only place she wanted to call home.

“I didn’t know much about Wellesley until I came here for Discover Wellesley Weekend last year, but those two days were absolutely amazing,” said Li. “The students I met and the events I attended helped me realize the intrinsic beauty of this school.”

Lucy Pelham, senior assistant director of admission, often hears comments like that about Discover Wellesley Weekend, which was held on campus October 16-17 this year. Prospective students—known as “prospies”—receive a warm welcome from current Wellesley students, who host them in their dorm rooms, provide campus tours, and sit on Q&A panels with alumnae. Faculty members invite prospies into their classes on Monday, while staff members from Student Life, Career Education, the Admission Office and Student Financial Services meet with parents and students both days for discussions about the services they provide.

“Discover Wellesley Weekend is often the event that convinces students to apply and ultimately to enroll,” said Pelham. “We address all the questions a student may have at this point in the admissions process: Why should I apply to Wellesley? How do I apply for admission and financial aid? What are classes, dorms, and food like? What are the students like? Do I like the clubs here?” said Pelham.

This year’s event drew 315 students and 156 parents/guests—the largest group yet—and included important new features, including nine lectures given by faculty members on Sunday, which were open to both prospies and their guests. Subjects included the unexpected benefits of pessimism, the art of setting words to music, and the economics of decision-making.

The College provided travel grants for 140 students from underrepresented groups and lower socio-economic backgrounds, thanks to generous alumnae support. It also arranged for a charter bus to bring students from and to New York City.

Response to the event was overwhelmingly positive. “I loved talking to my host and her friends; they gave me a really candid, open perspective of the school that both reinforced and added to my view of it,” wrote one young woman in her event survey. “The class I took with Professor Starr was incredible—it is making me seriously consider a major in the classics just because of the fun we had dissecting Roman family law,” wrote another. “My favorite part was visiting Harambee House because I got to hear about the experiences of current black students,” said a third prospie, who also enjoyed talking to students around campus and in the library because “I loved how they were excited about their time at Wellesley and all the College has to offer.”

Karen Su ’19, a political science major, believes so strongly in Discover Wellesley Weekend that she has hosted prospies the past two years. “Discover Wellesley is special and effective because it fosters this organic environment that allows prospective students to experience Wellesley front and center in a short time span,” she said. “They feel like they are included in the discussions in the common spaces, classrooms, and open organization meetings, and that makes it easier to visualize themselves at the school for the next four years.”

She said the on-campus experience also enables Wellesley students to convey what is most important to them about their experience at the College. For Su, Wellesley “is a place that is helping me to grow into the person that I want to be,” she said. “This is the best place to be in your most formative years because you are surrounded by people who support and challenge you to become the person you are meant to be.”

Prospective students unable to join us for Discover Wellesley Weekend still have an opportunity to register for the final Discover Wellesley Morning of the year, coming up on November 11. Guests are also invited to visit our Admissions pages for information on these and other ways to explore Wellesley.