Wells College Experiential Learning: Experience of a Lifetime
Not just liberal arts, at Wells College, you’ll also find Experiential Learning! This hands-on program is definitely unusual and out of the ordinary. Of course, My College Guide got in touch with Jaclyn Freehand, admissions counselor, alumni volunteer and marketing coordinator, at Wells College so we could tell you all about it!
What does the liberal arts foundation look like at Wells College?
Wells College is a traditional liberal arts college located on beautiful Lake Cayuga in Aurora, New York. At Wells, we offer a highly individualized experience that gives each student access to a wide array of opportunities and resources that support intellectual and personal development.
The mission of Wells College is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. Through Wells’ academic program, residential atmosphere, and community activities, students learn and practice the ideals of the liberal arts. The Wells experience prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, to embrace new ways of knowing, to be creative, and to respond ethically to the interdependent worlds to which they belong. Committed to excellence in all areas of its reach, Wells College equips students for lifelong learning and for sharing the privileges of education with others.
Experiential Learning is an unusual college program – can you tell us about it?
Wells College is committed to programs and activities that encourage students to connect their classroom studies with hands-on, real world experiences. To this end, the College approved an experiential learning requirement for all students (four year and transfer) as part of the distribution requirements.
Because these experiences may take place off campus and at times other than during fall and spring semesters, it is important that students plan their academic schedules accordingly and not postpone meeting the requirement. If a student chooses an internship to meet the requirement, the first internship may be completed as soon as January intersession of the first year. Other options for meeting the requirement such as additional internships, Off-Campus Study, and Student Teaching will take place after the first, second or third years.
What are some of the exciting projects that students have completed in order to finish off the Experiential Learning requirement?
Faculty-led courses, Topics in Experiential Learning, which include hands-on work during January Intersession will also meet this requirement. These short courses will introduce students to areas of interest both aligned with and outside the faculty’s normal course offerings. The topics, which change annually, have included genealogy research in Salt Lake City taught by a professor of chemistry, anthropology studies in Hawaii taught by a professor of anthropology, tutoring on a Navajo reservation led by a professor of education, and study of theatre in London led by a professor of performing arts.
What’s the academic experience look like at Wells?
At Wells, we offer a highly individualized experience that gives each student access to a wide array of opportunities and resources that support intellectual and personal development. Our approach is unique in the landscape of higher education. Our small class sizes, dedication to faculty/student collaboration, and an outstanding study abroad program, students have experiential learning opportunities both on-and off-campus that simply are not possible at most other colleges and universities.
How can a college bound student prepare themselves for the college experience and this style of liberal arts learning at Wells College?
With that being said students can prepare themselves for the Wells experience by taking responsibility for their own education. Grades are important, but learning should be the priority. Wells College faculty has high expectations for their students in terms of their academics. Reading and writing are key skills at Wells, no matter what subject you plan to major in. As a liberal arts college we want a well rounded student who can communicate effectively. Also, through the development of positive relationships with teachers, coaches and other influential adults and peers in their life students can gain the social networking skills that will prepare them for working closely with faculty members and professionals through student internships and off campus study. Lastly, become passionate and involved in your community, school, athletics, student government, or anything else of interest. These experiences will give students insight on taking initiative and enriching a community like Wells.
What are some options that students have when it comes to fulfilling the required Experiential Learning Requirement?
Options that can be used to fulfill the Experiential Learning Requirement:
Credit-bearing internships (domestic or international), including WLLS 190, 290, and
390 will satisfy one or more of the experiential learning requirements.
Off-campus study abroad will satisfy one experiential learning requirement per
Off-campus study in the U.S. will satisfy one experiential learning requirement when
fieldwork or an internship is associated with the off-campus study.
Topics in Experiential Learning will satisfy one or more of the experiential learning
A bit of the backstory:
Wells College was founded in 1868 as one of the first all women’s colleges in the United States. With such deep history, and many changes along the way Wells has maintained a strong foundation of traditions that continue to this day. Through these traditions students develop life-long friendships and beautiful memories of their alma mater.