How to Get Into Wesleyan University: Admissions Data & Strategies
Wesleyan University is a top 20 liberal arts school that has never been afraid to do things their way. Situated in Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan is slightly larger than many of its peers with 2,800+ undergraduates and it places a great deal of emphasis on intellectual exploration, creativity, and interdisciplinary learning. Wesleyan’s uniquely superb academic offerings and one-of-a-kind vibe have made it a top-choice college for brilliant teens from all over the globe.
Wesleyan has always been a highly selective institution, but the quest to gain acceptance into this liberal arts gem entered a new stratosphere of selectivity around 2010 and has stayed there ever since.
- 1995: 42%
- 2004: 28%
- 2010: 20%
- 2021: 19%
To give future Wesleyan applicants a better sense of their admissions chances, this blog will cover the following topics:
- Wesleyan University’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
- Wesleyan’s 2025 Early Decision acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Wesleyan University applicants
- Wesleyan Admissions trends for the Class of 2025
- Wesleyan University’s system for rating applicants
- A look at the demographics of current Wesleyan undergraduates
- The percent of accepted students that attend the Wesleyan (yield rate)
- Tips for applying to Wesleyan
- How to assess whether applying to Wesleyan University is even worth the $65 application fee (for you)
Many students applying to Wesleyan University may also find the following blogs to be of interest:
- How to Get Into Middlebury College
- How to Get Into Bowdoin College
- How to Get Into Swarthmore College
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Wesleyan University Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025
Wesleyan received 13,145 applications for a place in the fall 2021 first-year cohort and accepted only 2,540. This acceptance rate of 19.3% was a touch lower than the 21% acceptance rate the previous year for the Class of 2024.
Wesleyan University Early Decision Acceptance Rate
Wesleyan admitted 488 students through ED in 2025 out of a pool of 888 applicants. This works out to a 55% acceptance rate. Overall, those who were accepted in the Early Decision round made up more than half of the total freshman class. The ED acceptance rate is more than double the acceptance rate in the regular round.
Wesleyan University Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
We will examine the stats for both the admitted students as well as those who actually went on to enroll in the Class of 2025.
- ACT Median: 34
- SAT Median:1520
- ACT Median: 34
- SAT Median: 1500
- Top 10%: 76%
- Top 25%: 91%
Admissions Trends & Notes – Class of 2025
- 59% of applicants who were admitted submitted SAT or ACT results with their application.
- 10% of entering freshmen were international students, down from 14% the previous year.
- The percentage of enrolled students of color—33%–remained identical to the previous cycle.
- 10% of the Class of 2025 are first-generation students, down from 14-15% in recent years.
- Legacy students (any relative) accounted for 14% of the 2021-22 freshman class; 7% had at least one parent who graduated from Wesleyan.
- 82% of entering freshmen took Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in high school.
- 79% took a fourth year of a foreign language in high school.
- An identical 79% completed Calculus while in high school.
How Wesleyan Rates Applicants
Wesleyan views only one factor—the rigor of your high school coursework—as “very important” to their evaluation process: There are eight factors that the school views as “important”: class rank, GPA, race/ethnicity, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, application essays, recommendations, and first-generation status.
Factors that were in the “considered” tier were: standardized test scores, the interview, extracurricular activities, legacy status, religious affiliation, volunteer work, and work experience.
Straight from the Wesleyan admissions office:
- “Ours is a highly selective, competitive process and, in the spirit of holistic review, there is no formula or any single number, grade, test score, or experience that guarantees admission. All candidates are expected to help the admission committee learn their personal narratives, the context in which they have been living and learning, along with an understanding of what each might contribute to the Wesleyan community.”
Wesleyan University Demographics
Let’s look at the demographics of the Wesleyan undergraduate student body. The geographical breakdown by region for the incoming Class of 2025 was as follows:
- New England: 23%
- Mid-Atlantic: 36%
- Midwest: 4%
- South: 6%
- West: 21%
- Outside of U.S.: 10%
Ten percent of students admitted into the Class of 2025 are international students. The greatest number of international students typically comes from the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
In terms of ethnic identity, the breakdown of the Class of 2025 is as follows:
- Asian: 20%
- Hispanic: 12%
- African American: 10%
- Native American: 1%
- International: 10%
A look at the gender split reveals that the university enrolled a slightly greater number of women than men in the Class of 2025:
- Men: 47%
- Women: 53%
Enrolled students came from following types of high schools:
- Public: 53%
- Other: 47%
Wesleyan’s “Yield Rate”
Wesleyan University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 36%. This places them a bit below some other top liberal arts schools which have the following yields: Williams College (46%), Pomona College (45%), and Swarthmore College (35%).
Tips for Applying to Wesleyan University
If you plan on joining the 13,000+ Wesleyan University hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- Wesleyan has been fully test-optional since 2014, so they have not seen any policy shifts in this area through the pandemic.
- If Wesleyan is your top choice, you’ll want to strongly consider applying ED I by November 15 or ED II by January 1. The Regular Decision deadline falls in the first week of January, but the acceptance rates are significantly lower in this round.
- Wesleyan does recommend that students sit for an evaluative alumni interview. Interviews at Wesleyan are evaluative, play a role in the admission process, and are a valuable opportunity for an exchange of information about both the candidate and the university. Interviews either on campus or with an alumnus locally are not required, but are highly recommended.
- Your counselor and teacher recommendations will be key at Wesleyan. Visit our blog for tips on requesting high school letters of recommendation.
- You’ll need to submit a Mid-Year Report in late February so remember to keep those grades up throughout your senior year of high school.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the Common App essay when working on your Wesleyan application. In the 2021-22 cycle, there were no supplemental essays offered by the college, a rarity among highly-selective schools.
Should I Apply to Wesleyan?
The vast majority of successful Wesleyan applicants finished near the top of their high school class and can claim many special talents both inside and outside of the classroom. Given the sub- 20% acceptance rate, any student applying to a school of Wesleyan University’s caliber also needs to also have a proper mix or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).