Wesleyan University

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#26, overall score 68.08/100

Fun Fact:

“In the Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical, was first performed at Wesleyan in 2004 when Miranda was a student there.

Why should Jewish students attend Wesleyan?: “For Jewish students looking for a welcoming, highly creative, and multi(or is it post?)-denominational environment to grow both individually and communally, the Wesleyan Jewish Community is a must-see stop on your college tours.” — Rabbi David Leipziger Teva, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, University Jewish Chaplain, Wesleyan University

“Wesleyan University is an incredibly strong school academically with a beautiful campus and a fantastic community. The Jewish community is especially warm and welcoming and with construction of a new Chabad House on campus soon underway there will be even more opportunities to get involved in Jewish life. Chabad at Wes hosts many popular and well-attended events that bring the Jewish community together. Whether it’s a Shabbat or holiday dinner, classes, or just a social event, there is something for everyone.” — Rabbi Levi Schechtman, Chabad at Wesleyan

CAMPUS INFORMATION

  • Location: Middletown, Conn.
  • Region: New England
  • Campus type: Suburb
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Liberal Arts: Yes
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,971
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 700
  • Jewish population share: 24%
  • Student origin: 8% in-state / 92% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Wesleyan Argus
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Cardinals
  • Ultimate Frisbee team names: Nietzsch Factor / Vicious Circles

What Students Say:

“Wesleyan is an intellectually exciting school where critical thinking crosses over seamlessly from class to campus communities and social circles in a dynamic and inclusive way”…”Wesleyan University is a place where there really is true diversity, demographically speaking. This results in sometimes very intense dynamics where people from different backgrounds have to interact on unequal footing, and people of more marginalized identities end up shouldering much of the labor necessary to communicate effectively with people from wealthier places, whiter places, etc. Of course, this is the case in many places, but what makes Wesleyan unique in this regard is that there are people who are trying sincerely to take on these contradictions head on.”

COST & AID Score: 10/15

  • Score: 10/15
  • Tuition: $52,474
  • Room & board costs: $15,456
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $46,960
  • Average loan debt: $22,930
  • Starting median salary: $55,900
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: No

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 16%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 7.8:1
  • Median SAT range: 1300-1500
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 14/20

SAFETY Score: 6.33/11

  • Score: 6.33/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 14.04/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 21.40/1,000 people (medium-low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 17.75/34

  • Score: 17.75/34
  • Hillel: The Wesleyan Jewish Community is not affiliated with Hillel international.
  • Chabad: Yes
  • Jewish fraternities: None
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Jewish dorm: The Bayit
  • Jewish a capella group: The Mazel Tones
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan?: Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – WJC: 60
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 30
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 2 (Conservative)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Kenneth Lonergan
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: “The Shabbat co-op stands out. While we have a dedicated kosher kitchen in the university center under rabbinic supervision that’s open 7 days a week and could have dinner in the campus center, we’ve found an alternative that makes Shabbat extra special. Every Friday, students shop and prepare a scrumptious, home-cooked meal for 50+ students. It’s served and cooked in the Bayit, which functions as a Jewish dorm.”
  • Where do Jewish students come from?: Boston, New York and Los Angeles — and all over the country.
  • Kosher food details: A diverse menu is available in the Campus Center in the Shalom Salaam eatery, and it’s fully integrated into the meal plan. Award-winning vegan food is available as well.

What Students Say:

““The range of events sponsored by the Wesleyan Jewish Community (WJC) is incredibly unique. We run programs that connect us to Judaism via cooking, singing, praying, dancing, socializing, studying, celebrating holidays and making art, to name a few”…”I love that students are active in shaping the community at every level, so that is constantly responding to evolving needs”…”[The Jewish community is] not associated with a Hillel, so it’s very open to student governance and listens to what the current Jewish population on campus needs”…”Though are aren’t many, Jews on the more Conservative side of the spectrum generally do not enjoy services and may find themselves isolated from the community…Chabad has been able to fill that gap, providing a more traditional Shabbat Dinner experience and building a community in the last few years that is proving very strong…They are in the process of building a new campus center on campus and I would not be surprised if they begin to fill the other gaps in the WJC including services.”…”Aside from weekly Shabbat services, groups have recently sprung up including a learning club where we explore issues of Jewish identity and justice together, a nigun circle where we sing and learn nigunim together, weekly programming on Saturday afternoons to engage with Shabbat beyond just services and of course really vibrant events for all of the holidays.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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