Wheaton is a four-year, private, residential college in Norton, Massachusetts that consistently ranks among the nation’s best. Ranked as a Top 50 liberal arts college by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education and one of The Princeton Review’s Top 200 Colleges That Pay You Back, the college’s innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum combines rigorous academic study with real-world experience. In fact, the college’s comprehensive educational program, known as The Wheaton Edge, guarantees that every student will receive funding for an internship, service project or research opportunity before their senior year.
Located halfway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, Wheaton is a remarkably diverse learning community. Described as a place sparking possibilities and world-changing ideas, students come from all over the world. The college currently enrolls approximately 1700 students, representing 40 states and more than 70 countries. Approximately 10 percent of Wheaton’s students are international and 23 percent reflect underrepresented populations, including Asian, Black and Hispanic. First-generation students account for roughly 19 percent of enrolled students. Nearly one third of Wheaton students participate in the 21 NCAA Division III athletic teams and 13 club sports.
Wheaton’s mission is to provide a transformative liberal arts and sciences education for intellectually curious students in a collaborative and academically vibrant residential community that values a diverse world. Wheaton’s vision is to prepare these students to create innovative solutions to big challenges and to act on them. Its living learning environment, where 97% of students live on campus, consists of more than 100+ student organizations that prepare graduates to live purposeful lives, to be engaged in their communities, to be scientifically and technologically literate, and to act effectively to promote change. Forty-five percent of Wheaton students study abroad in the nearly 100 year-long, semester-long or short-term Wheaton faculty-led study abroad programs in 45 countries, including a unique program in Bhutan. The college also hosts domestic study away programs in Boston, New York City and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Curricular innovation is a crucial part of Wheaton’s cultural fabric. The college encourages and nurtures a culture of experimentation, investing in the resources needed to spur innovation. Wheaton offers more than 600 courses leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 100 majors and minors and these offerings continue to grow. Recent additions include the popular Business and Management program, a Digital Humanities minor, and a new Public Health major. Wheaton’s innovative academic opportunities included interdisciplinary learning, makerspaces, social entrepreneurship programs, and a curriculum centered on the Connections program, which links two or three courses across disciplines to explore a shared set of questions. Wheaton recently received a $10 million commitment from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation to expand its comprehensive social entrepreneurship program as well.
Wheaton’s full-time student-faculty ratio is approximately 10 to 1 and the average class size is 18 students. Collaborations with faculty and staff challenge and transform students into lifelong learners with skills to become problem solvers committed to social justice and the global community. The faculty are world-class researchers, scholars, artists, teachers and advisors, as well as involved and connected community members. They engage their students in original research and scholarship projects, and build relationships that sustain and last a lifetime. Faculty infuse consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and technology in courses across the curriculum, combining the breadth of the liberal arts with the opportunity to develop a fully dimensional view of the world.
Wheaton believes embracing diversity leads to personal growth, intellectual enrichment, freedom and social justice. Being a part of Wheaton means more than being tolerant of difference. It means appreciating and celebrating those differences. In its embrace of and engagement with conversations around diversity and inclusive excellence on campus, Wheaton College has created both formal and informal ways for all community members to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the campus’ diversity. In the fall of 2014, President Dennis Hanno formed the Council on Inclusion and Diversity (CID), a campus-wide leadership team with a mission of providing strategic leadership in the areas of inclusion and diversity and fostering increased diversity among faculty, staff, and students. The college’s Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning works to affirm unique identities, builds a community that draws from them, and cultivates leaders who value human diversity. The Center for Social Justice & Community Impact coordinates service opportunities, all-inclusive spirituality programs, and provides students an opportunity to engage in social responsibility. Part of becoming an informed global citizen is understanding the beliefs and practices that are a significant component of cultural identity for many of the world’s people. Nearly 40 of Wheaton’s 100+ student organizations focus on sharing racial, ethnic, religious, and other cultural traditions with the greater community as well.
Wheaton’s academic program is coupled with the Wheaton Edge, a four-year immersive personal and professional development experience designed to lead to graduates’ success. Launched in 2015, the program builds upon the college’s rich tradition of blending liberal arts and sciences with co-curricular leadership by guaranteeing that all students will have a funded internship, research position, or other experiential learning opportunity. The College invests over $1.2 million per year to support these internships, much of which is funded by donors. Connecting the deep alumni network of more than 19,000 with the dynamic students and committed faculty, the program has led to successful outcomes.
The college’s graduates are accomplishing great success upon completion of their degree requirements. Just six months after graduation, 98 percent of Wheaton alumni in the four most recent classes have secured full- or part-time employment. This mark outperforms the national average of 81% for the Class of 2016, according to data compiled by National Association of Colleges and Employers. Since 2000, Wheaton students have won more than 220 prestigious scholarship awards, including Rhodes Scholarships, U.S. Fulbright Fellowships and Watson Fellowships.