Welcome Class of 2025!

Hello Class of 2025 –

I hope your first week of classes has been enjoyable! There is so much excitement in the air as I watch many of you head to classes, stop by various administrative offices and interact with each other on the green outside my office (North College 202).

As I shared with many of you during our Giving Good Advice session hosted by the Academic Peer Advisors during orientation, I want you to consider three challenges this year:

  1. Be Engaged
  2. Be Open-Minded
  3. Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Continue to be engaged by participating in class discussions. Introduce yourself to your classmates and to other community members you see in the dining halls. Participate in all that Wesleyan has to offer academically and co-curricularly including the Student Involvement Fair this Friday 9/10 from 2pm – 5pm in the tent behind Usdan.

Be open-minded to new experiences both in and out of the classroom. Wesleyan’s open curriculum is perfect to explore courses in so many disciplines including disciplines that may not be your eventual major. You faculty advisor is an incredible resources for you. For peer support, our Academic Peer Advisors are also a great resource to help you explore various course options; they will host a series of workshops this fall focused on supporting you in your first year – more information to follow soon.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable. You are experiencing so much right now in your transition to Wesleyan; naturally, change can sometimes cause some discomfort. It’s important to recognize you are not alone in feeling this way. There are many resources on campus to support you in this transition including me as your Class Dean. While the transition may not be perfect or may not look like you expected it to, we grow significantly as individuals when we face challenges such as this one – you’re a Wesleyan student now and I am confident you will see much success during your time here and beyond!

I will send you emails and post blogs from time to time to check in. Some upcoming dates to keep in mind:

  • Writing at Wesleyan Workshop: Friday, 9/10 from 1pm – 2pm (Shapiro Center Patio)
  • Involvement Fest: Friday, 9/10 from 2pm to 5pm (tent behind Usdan)
  • Career Checklist – What To Know as A First Year: Tuesday 9/14 12 – 1pm (Olson Commons)
  • End of Drop/Add Period: Friday, 9/17
  • Grading Mode Decision: Friday, 10/1 by 5pm
  • Last day to withdraw from 1st quarter classes: Friday, 10/15
  • Fall Break: Saturday 10/23 – Tuesday 10/26
  • Homecoming & Family Weekend: Friday 10/29 – Sunday 10/31

Click here to review my contact information, schedule an appointment or to visit my in-person or zoom drop-in hours. I look forward to joining you on your Wesleyan journey!

Academic and Career Planning for New Students through CSPL 405/406: Ideals into Practice

Would you like to receive course credit for working with other students, advisors and mentors to refine and build toward your academic and professional goals? CSPL 405/406: Ideals into Practice is a program that allows you to make connections between your academic curriculum and the practical experience you gain through campus employment, off campus internships, community service and extracurricular activities. You will be assigned to a cohort of like-minded students, receive one-on-one career advising and gain access to an online portfolio to document what you are learning both inside and outside the classroom. By allowing you to engage in deep reflection about the skills you are gaining throughout your time at Wesleyan, you will be better able to understand and explain to others how your education prepares you for life after college. Note: If you are already taking Career Decisions: From Insight to Impact on Coursera, you are ahead of the game, as it is also a requirement for CSPL 405/406! For more information, please see the Ideals into Practice website. Past participants have described this course as “fun,” “flexible,” and “a must take for anyone”!

Preparing to Meet Your Faculty Advisor

The objective of the pre-major advising program is to help first-year students and sophomores think seriously about their educational objectives in the context of the liberal arts education offered at Wesleyan. Together with your faculty advisor, you should develop a challenging and coherent educational plan for the first two years, one that achieves curricular breadth while preparing for the depth that the major will bring in the last two years.

Here are some things to think about as you plan for your first meeting with your faculty advisor:

  • Breaking the ice. A good way to introduce yourself to your advisor is to tell them about your high school experience. A good way to get to know your advisor is to ask them how they became a college professor.
  • Know the curriculum. Familiarize yourself with WesMaps and with the websites of departments in which you plan to pursue coursework. What was the logic behind your course pre-registration strategy?  Be receptive to questions and suggestions.
  • Have goals in mind. What are your academic strengths?  What are your academic weaknesses and how do you plan to address them?  How do you plan to pursue breadth? How do you plan to pursue depth? Share concerns that may affect your success in the upcoming semester.  Be sure to make arrangements to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, please see the Faculty and Student Advising Handbook.

Enrolling in the University and Resolving Action Items

Starting on Monday, August 30, at 8:30 a.m. EDT you will be required to enroll in the University. To enroll, login to WesPortal, click through the yellow alert banner at the top of the page, then click on the “Enroll Me” button.  Please be aware that you will not be able to participate in drop/add until you have enrolled in the University.  You must enroll in the University by Friday, September 17, at 11:59 p.m.

In addition to enrolling, you must resolve any holds in your list of Action Items.  To access your list, go to:

Portal > Enrollment Checklist & Addresses > Hold/Enroll

Instructions on how to resolve each action item are provided on the page.  Many action items can be resolved with a simple click of the mouse!

All action items must be resolved by Friday, September 10, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  Please be aware that you will still be able to participate in drop/add even if you have unresolved action items (as long as you have already enrolled in the University using the “Enroll Me” button).

Tips for Student Athletes

Class of 2025 student athletes, it is unfathomable the hardships you have faced in the past year and half as you and your peers tried to pursue the sports that you love. While there is nothing that can be said to make up for lost moments, there are ways to use what you have learned as an athlete to prepare you for the academic rigor of Wesleyan.

Even as a student first, “athlete” remains a crucial part of your identity. The two go hand-in-hand in many ways. Below are some tips on how to best prepare for this upcoming semester with or without an official season impeding on your classes.

To start, time management is a big one. From the classroom to lifting back to the library then to practice and then a review session, your days can become very busy. Thus, it is essential that you find a way to best manage your time. Organization is a key factor of time management. It is so important that you implement some form of planner system or Google calendar to ensure that your classes do not overlap with practices or games.

From that last point, one of the go-to answers when asked by any coach of how to improve in a game is communication. This applies on and off the field. It is imperative that you establish a relationship with your professors early on so that it is easier to communicate for the very minimal times that athletes may interfere with academics. With that, communication with coaches is also part of your academic success and ensuring the prioritization of academics over athletics in special circumstances. Use your coach as a vehicle towards achieving academic as well as athletic success. In succession with the team as a resource, the use of older teammates in helping navigate the cohesion with your sport and classes is a key point of advice. They have experience with the structure of NESCAC athletics and the rigor of the Wesleyan education.

Lastly, success in any aspect of life is contingent upon proper preparation, which includes sufficient fuel and care of the body and mind. The life of a student-athlete is often go go go, which leaves little room for self reflection. It is ok to take a break and give yourself the downtime that you deserve. Ultimately, while you are labeled as a student-athlete on campus, these tips will help you to distinguish between or separate athletics and academics while also establishing a balance with both.

Checklist:

  • Time management
  • Organization (planner)
  • Communication (on and off the field)
  • Relationships with professors
  • Plan ahead
  • Use teammates as resources
  • Use coaches as resources
  • Separate/find balance with athletics and academics
  • Take care of body and mind (fuel)
  • Give yourself a break and down time

Top 10 Recommendations for the First Year and Beyond

  1. Make Wesleyan yours: Find or create your spaces at Wesleyan, whether by joining an a cappella group or by loving your Physics lab. We have over two hundred student groups that you can sign up for. There are also jobs on campus.
  2. Build relationships: Seek out your instructors during office hours. This can be intimidating, but it is how you build a relationship and come to understand the course material better. Get to know your faculty advisor, work supervisor, your class dean, etc., as it’s important for you to know people; it’s also very important for them to know you!
  3. Learn from your classmates and try new things: Your peers have had a vast array of experiences, so make sure you’re supporting one another and growing together. Upperclassmen will be an invaluable resource as you transition to Wes. Also, make sure you try new things! Explore a new language, study abroad in a different part of the world, select a course with a topic that is completely new to you.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Wesleyan has an abundance of resources, whether the Writing Workshop, Academic Peer Advisors or Peer Tutors, as well as your Faculty Advisor, instructors and teaching assistants. Asking for help is hard, because it means being vulnerable, but it is essential to your success. First-year students sometimes see asking for help as a sign of weakness, but it is not. Asking for help is really a sign that you can make savvy use of your resources that will enable you to thrive.
  5. Wesleyan has its own culture with its own language: I have built a list of acronyms that might be helpful to you.
  6. Use your time wisely: You will suddenly have lots of unstructured time. Given the COVID situation and the need to practice social distancing, it will be challenging to to find ways to manage your time. High school is extremely structured, down to the minute, which is not the case in college. Now it’s up to you to be mindful of how you’re using your time, whether studying for a test, writing a paper, doing homework, getting to class, etc. Most students use a planner, whether electronic or paper. For example, once you have all of your courses set, you should look over all of your syllabi and then plan out all of the assignments across the semester, as you’ll know when your intense weeks will be. If those weeks include papers as well as tests, try to get those papers done earlier so that you can focus on just the tests during that week.
  7. Make sure that you’re having fun! Find ways to connect with friends.  It’s hard to be social when practicing social distancing, but with a little bit of imagination and determination it can be done. Practice mindfulness.
  8. Take care of yourself. Sleeping and eating well, avoiding as much stress as possible, all of these are important aspects of self-care. WesWell offers self-care education, programs and workshops, as does CAPS. We have at Wesleyan the Rule of 7, a guideline that recommends that you can pursue four courses and three activities, but really no more than that.
  9. Don’t let a disappointing grade derail you. If you don’t do as well on something as you had hoped, go see your instructor and discuss where you went wrong in order to improve your performance on the next assignment. A disappointing grade does not mean that you aren’t capable or that the Admissions Office made a mistake (they do not make mistakes!). Make sure that you’re reaching out for help in this moment rather than pulling back, as this has happened to countless students before. Check out the Wesleyan Resilience Project for stories of students who have gained from their moments of challenge.
  10. Your dean is here to help: Dean Leathers is available to you via email or zoom this summer and once the semester is underway.  You can schedule a drop-in appointment with her through her Google Calendar, or you can an email her at tleathers@wesleyan.edu to schedule a meeting if drop-in hours don’t fit your schedule.

Additional Information about English Coursework and Medical School Requirements

Any course that fits the classification shown below (taken from the AMCAS Guide) and entails writing at least 3 or more short papers or critiques will be considered an ENGL course for medical schools and other health professions programs. As I mentioned during the overview, you will find these courses under other course prefixes as well. For example, the First Year Seminar—August Wilson (ENGL 176), which is cross-listed with Theater and African American Studies, includes assignments such as “Short Papers, Writing Assignments, and a Final Research Essay.” Another example is the “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” which is listed as a Religious Studies (201) and as a Medieval Studies Course, requires weekly written responses and three papers and is described as:

“the Hebrew Bible within its historical context while considering its literary, philosophical, and artistic legacy. Students will be exposed to the main historical strands of biblical criticism, while also engaging with the challenges of interpreting the Bible as modern readers: How and when did the Hebrew Bible come to be, and what relevance might it hold for us today? By beginning at the beginning and proceeding systematically through the Hebrew Bible, students will hone their skills as readers and interpreters of the Bible as a canon. Students will consider questions of the texts’ function, universality, and authority, and will be encouraged to explore the wide range of biblical interpretations in literature, music, and the fine arts from antiquity to the present day.”

Another example is ENGL 216: Techniques of Poetry, which is a creative writing course and requires writing throughout the semester. Just find something that you will enjoy and that fulfills the AMCAS ENGL classification.

Image of English Language and Literature (ENGL) Categories: Composition and Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and Literature

Questions? Please contact Dr. Mildred Rodríguez (mrodriguez01@wesleyan.edu) for pre-health professions advising.

Missed the Health Professions Coursework Overview Session? You May Access the Recording and Preliminary Transcript Below!


Link to Recording and Preliminary Transcript for Health Professions Coursework Overview – July 27, 2021
https://wesleyan.zoom.us/rec/share/O_5meoefIrHqn0mQYUhAdamxW8goITi31UWmdT6Sv7IUfg208qkb-ag5nBHGLkUT.3fRxP6nnNdvqqMPX 

Passcode: sRD4+saR

Questions? Please contact Dr. Mildred Rodríguez (mrodriguez01@wesleyan.edu) for pre-health professions advising.

Additional Information about AP Credits and Medical School

This is information for students interested in medical school who have AP credits.

When completing the centralized application for MD programs i.e. the AMCAS, these are the instructions for AP credits and other advanced level courses from high school:

Advanced Placement (AP) 

To claim AP credit, the credit hours must be listed on your transcript. AP courses should be entered under the term the college credit was initially granted for. If no term is designated, include the credits with freshman coursework (FR). Include AP credit courses only once (by selecting Advanced Placement as the Special Course Type), even though AP credit for the same subject may have been awarded by more than one institution. AP courses may be assigned under the institution awarding the most credit. If AP credits appear in one block on the transcript, distribute the credit appropriately among the AP exams taken. 

AMCAS has special designations for some courses. If applicable, assign one or more special course types by checking the corresponding box. 

If you choose to omit your AP courses, AMCAS staff will add the credits to your application as a lump credit (even though the courses may be listed individually on the transcripts on file). 

For example, the University of Southern California awarded nine credits for three AP exams. On the official transcript, the credit appears as nine credits for AP exams, with no indication of the subject of the individual exams. On your AMCAS application, enter each exam as an individual course and distribute the credits appropriately, but do not exceed the total amount of credits earned. 

If the transcript from the college awarding AP credit does not list course names, enter the subject area for which credit was earned (e.g., AP Credit: English) as the Course Name. 

If the following course types appear on your official transcript, they should be indicated as AP on the AMCAS application even if they are not technically Advanced Placement. 

Image of listing of course types that may appear on a transcript.

Questions? Please contact Dr. Mildred Rodríguez (mrodriguez01@wesleyan.edu) for pre-health professions advising.

Missed the “All You Need to Know about Pre-Reg with the APAs and Dean Leathers” Session? Access Recording Info and Slides Below!

Topic: All You Need to Know about Pre-Reg with the Academic Peer Advisors (APAs) and Dean Leathers
Date: Jul 28, 2021 5:00PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting Recording and Transcript:
https://wesleyan.zoom.us/rec/share/ydUcgolsQ_Pg8fcoAdkk8ViYBvor9v6HCSl3K_DnwAoFTQ8NPY1o7KRlSjjnEuAX.Zsqc4exFmmBDiU5n

Access Passcode: 2025RSTD&R

Note: You will need to sign in with your Wesleyan credentials to access the recording and transcript of the webinar.