Dear Class of 2022 Parents,


I can hardly believe that we are only weeks away from the end of the Fall 2019 semester. Here in New England, we enjoyed the display of a vibrant fall foliage and now the cool temperature and reduced daylight hours are preparing us for the inevitable snowfall that is soon to come.


I am glad that so many families were able to get to campus for Homecoming/Family Weekend in early November and to experience a New England fall, which has been kind to us so far (=no snow!). Ironically enough, this change from fall to winter signifies for the Wes community a turn toward the spring semester and the planning phase of course Pre-Registration - the period when students identify a set of courses and backup courses to be reviewed by their pre-major advisors. After the Registrar's automated scheduling process is complete, students are able view the courses in which they were assigned and remove or add additional courses as available. The entire process of course Pre-Registration runs November 5-26, but students will again have the opportunity to make minor adjustments to their course schedule during the Drop/Add period at the start of the Spring semester. Ideally, course selection for sophomore spring should be made with the upcoming major declaration process in mind. All students must have a declared major by the end of sophomore year. Most sophomores will complete the major declaration task through their WesPortal between February 5 and March 31, 2020. Students who are already second-semester sophomores should have declared their major by now.


Some students know exactly what they want to pursue, others are torn between several options, and others are still finding their way. Regardless of their current state of mind about their major (which they may change several times before they graduate), questions about possible majors raise questions about jobs and careers post-Wes, which often raise more questions about how to make meaningful contributions to a better world. We encourage this kind of critical self-reflection and future planning. But that can be a lot to handle at the same time one is mastering course material in four academic courses, working at an on-campus job, and participating in two or three (sometimes more) co-curricular activities. (Ask them about the “Rule of 7!”) It is okay to let your student know that they can take a deep breath, that there are many, many different kinds of jobs and positions available (some not even created yet) regardless of their major, and that there are myriad opportunities to better the world.


As you think about next semester, you might ask what courses are being considered—what have they enjoyed and what has been a challenge in both a positive and negative sense? What major is of interest? Summer internships can help in that discovery, so refer your student to the Gordon Career Center as well as to faculty advisors, professors, and me to talk about plans, questions, and concerns. It is important to keep in mind that students take many different paths to find out about what it is they are most passionate.


From large life questions to majors, sophomores are dealing with the more immediate task at hand of completing assignments and taking exams in anticipation of Thanksgiving Break (November 26-29), with a return to classes at 8 am on December 2. Your student will be glad to have the downtime that this break provides. They come back to one week of classes, which end on December 6, followed by four days of a reading period and final exams from December 10-14. Residential halls close at noon on December 15.


Housing for returning students opens on January 20. Some students will be returning early, either because of their participation in winter athletics or because they will be enrolling in Wesleyan’s Winter Session. This session will offer intensive courses for credit, which run from January 7-20.


Please encourage your student to take advantage of the numerous opportunities and resources available at Wesleyan and tell your student to stop in to see me to say hi or discuss anything. You may call my office or write to me at if you or your students have any questions or concerns. When writing to me, please do not use the “reply” option. Instead please address your email directly to me at



Renee Johnson Thornton, Ph.D.
Dean for the Class of 2022