Resources to Consider

Good morning, Class of 2025!

I hope this communication finds you well. Some items that may be of interest to you:

  1. Employment. Interested in obtaining a part-time job? Be sure to utilize Handshake or visit the Gordon Career Center to learn about employment opportunities.
  1. SHAPE: The Office of Support, Healing, Activism, and Prevention Education (SHAPE) has created a series of events in October to raise awareness about dating violence in our community and beyond. See their blog to learn more.
  1. Department Open Houses: Though you will not declare your major until second semester of your sophomore year, some of you may already have an idea of what you want to study. Visiting a department open house can provide a lot of insight into various majors. See the schedule for department open houses that run in October and November here.

I’ve enjoyed meeting with many of you over the past couple of weeks. Don’t forget to check out your class photo. As a reminder, those who visit my office and show me where they are in the photo will get a small takeaway for stopping by. Get that Wes swag!

Dean Dunn

How to Study On Campus Workshop TOMORROW 9/30 12pm

Class of 2025! Be sure to attend the workshop How to Study On Campus provided by the Academic Peer Advisors:

  • Thursday, 9/30 at 12pm in Usdan 108
  • Learn about:
    • Best spots to study on campus – some you may not know about yet!
    • Essential study tips
    • Time management strategies
    • Credit/Unsatisfactory and A-F Course Grading (grading options due Friday 10/1 at 5pm for courses with student grading option on WesPortal)
  • And don’t forget, free Wesleyan swag!

Feel free to bring your lunch or a snack and eat while you learn!

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!

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).

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.

6 Tips for Course Selection

Hey guys!

As we dive deeper into July, now’s a great time to start thinking about courses that you’d like to take. WesMaps has hundreds of incredible options, so let’s break it down to get a sense of which classes work best for your academic interests.

1. Start thinking about requirements for possible intended majors.

If you’re like many Wes students, the open curriculum is one of the main drivers for attending this university. While it is totally fine (and common!) if you have no idea what you’d like to major in—there is no pressure for you to decide this early on in your college careers, it is not a bad idea to start thinking about certain courses that need to be fulfilled to satisfy specific majors. For example, certain majors require students to fulfill General Education Expectations (Gen Eds), so starting to fulfill those requirements as early as possible could save a lot of stress in the future. There are two stages within Gen Eds:

Stage 1:
One NSM (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), One HA (Humanities), and One
SBS (Social and Behavioral Sciences) credits before the end of your sophomore year

Stage 2:
Two NSM (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), Two HA (Humanities), and Two
SBS
(Social and Behavioral Sciences) credits before graduation

2. Vary your courses by class size.

A part of the college academic experience is to take a bunch of different courses: not only by subject but also by class size! Towards the beginning of college, it can be beneficial to take classes of various sizes, ranging from a 50+ person lecture class to a smaller, 12-person seminar that dives deeper into the material. Taking courses with varied class sizes towards the beginning of your academic career can help you get a sense of which class size best responds to your learning style.

3. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone!

Part of the excitement of a liberal arts experience is to take really interesting classes that you might not normally take at another type of school. Even if you are on the engineering or pre-med track, don’t scare yourself away from taking that really cool Toni Morrison class you were looking at. If you’re a psych major, you might surprise yourself by enrolling in an Intro to Dance course! It is sometimes the most obscure course that we either remember or love the most.

4. Consider the graded assignments and examinations

When looking for courses to take, also consider your academic strengths. If you’re more test-taking-oriented, maybe you wouldn’t want to take a class with weekly writing assignments. On the flip side, if you’re more humanities-focused, you might not benefit from a course with 4 exams. Aside from a course’s rigor, it is important to feel like your level of understanding can be represented through the modes of examination a given class offers, therefore looking at the types of assignments classes have can be crucial to your course selection process. On the flip side, however, taking courses with varied types of graded assignments can also be a great strategy to create a more challenging course schedule (if that’s what you’d like to do!) 

5. On Ranking Courses

Ranking can be one of the trickiest parts of course selection, but once you have a plan of action, it’s not too bad! The first tip on ranking courses concerns seat distribution by class year. Towards the bottom of WesMaps, check and see how many seats a given course usually reserves for class year. For example, if you are deciding between two courses that you’d really like to take and rank for your top spot, it might be more helpful for you to rank the course that has fewer seats as your top pick and the other class with more seats ranked second since you’d have a better chance of getting into it. That way, you might get lucky and be able to take both classes that semester! Or, in contrast, maybe you choose the class with more seats as your first choice and wait until next year to rank the other class first if there is a better chance of getting a seat as an upperclassman. Course ranking can be a gamble and while there is no perfect recipe for deciding which courses to rank in a particular order, we hope this tip provides more clarity into ranking courses.

Quick reminder: an X means a given class year is refrained from taking that course; a 0 means that while that class year doesn’t usually have seats offered in that course, there is a possibility that you can take it if someone drops it or if you email the professor!

6. No need to panic!

Course selection may seem crazy, stressful, and all over the place, but you’re not the only one who feels this way. There are many stages of picking classes, so do not fear if you feel like you chose a class you no longer want to take; you have plenty of chances to change around your schedule and drop and add different courses! Additionally, no need to feel like this process must be done independently; there are so many resources, like RAs, class deans, pre-major advisors (and APAs of course!) to help you along the way/make it as easy a process as possible.

Best of luck with course selection!

Sincerely,
The Academic Peer Advisors (APAs)
peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu