UC Davis vs Wesleyan: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Happy students walking together.

UC Davis vs Wesleyan: A Comprehensive Analysis

When it comes to deciding which university to attend, there are numerous factors to consider, such as location, academic programs offered, faculty and staff quality, research opportunities, campus facilities, student life and activities, tuition fees, financial aid, campus safety and security, athletic programs and more. In this comprehensive analysis, we will compare UC Davis vs Wesleyan University and examine all of these factors in detail to help prospective students make an informed choice.

Location and Campus Facilities: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both UC Davis and Wesleyan have beautiful campuses with state-of-the-art facilities. UC Davis is located in Davis, California, and is known for its laid-back atmosphere, bike-friendly culture, and proximity to California’s capital city, Sacramento. Davis is home to many parks, bike trails, and restaurants that cater to a student’s budget.

In comparison, Wesleyan University is situated in Middletown, Connecticut, a quaint town known for its historic architecture and small-town charm. Wesleyan’s campus spans 316 acres and is known for its beautiful landscaping and unique architecture.

Both universities have exceptional facilities for students, including libraries, student centers, and recreational facilities. UC Davis boasts one of the largest student unions in the country, with a bowling alley, movie theater, and several eateries. Wesleyan also offers numerous recreational activities for students, including a state-of-the-art athletic center, theater and dance facilities, and art galleries.

Additionally, UC Davis has a world-renowned veterinary school and medical center, providing students with unique opportunities to study and work alongside experts in the field. Wesleyan, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on the arts, with a prestigious film studies program and a renowned music department.

Both universities offer a diverse range of academic programs and extracurricular activities, ensuring that students can pursue their passions and interests while receiving a top-notch education.

Academic Programs: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis offers a diverse range of academic programs, with over 104 undergraduate majors and 96 graduate programs. Some of the university’s most popular undergraduate majors include biological sciences, psychology, manager economics, and political science.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

In comparison, Wesleyan University is more selective, offering 45 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate programs. Wesleyan is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, with many students majoring in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Additionally, UC Davis is home to several prestigious professional schools, including the School of Law, School of Medicine, and Graduate School of Management. These schools offer specialized programs and degrees in fields such as law, medicine, and business.

Wesleyan University, on the other hand, does not have any professional schools but does offer a unique College of the Environment, which focuses on interdisciplinary studies related to environmental issues.

Admission Requirements and Process: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

The admission process for both universities is rigorous, with both UC Davis and Wesleyan requiring high standardized test scores, excellent grades, and a well-rounded extracurricular profile. However, Wesleyan is more selective, with a 19 percent acceptance rate compared to UC Davis’s 49 percent acceptance rate.

In addition to these requirements, both universities also consider essays, letters of recommendation, and personal statements as part of the application process. UC Davis places a strong emphasis on community service and leadership experience, while Wesleyan values creativity and intellectual curiosity. It is important for applicants to carefully review the specific requirements and values of each university before applying.

Student Life and Activities: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities offer a vibrant student life, with plenty of clubs, organizations, and events for students to participate in. UC Davis has over 800 clubs and organizations, including the Davis College Republicans, Cal Aggie Marching Band, and the International Student Association.

Wesleyan offers numerous student organizations, including The Wesleyan Argus student newspaper, The Wesleyan Film Series, and a student-run radio station. In both universities, students can participate in traditional collegiate activities, such as participating in intramural sports, attending cultural events, and engaging in community service projects.

Additionally, both universities have a strong emphasis on promoting mental health and wellness among their students. UC Davis offers a variety of resources, including counseling services, stress management workshops, and mindfulness meditation classes.

Wesleyan has a dedicated counseling center that provides individual and group therapy, as well as workshops on topics such as anxiety and depression. Both universities also have wellness centers that offer fitness classes, nutrition counseling, and other resources to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Faculty and Staff Quality: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities have highly qualified and experienced teaching faculty. UC Davis is known for its prestigious faculty appointments, which include Nobel laureates, National Academy of Sciences members, and MacArthur Foundation fellows. Wesleyan also has excellent faculty, with 87 percent holding Ph.D. degrees or the highest degree in their field.

Young teacher talking to a group of students.

In addition to their highly qualified faculty, both universities also have dedicated and supportive staff members. UC Davis has a large staff of over 10,000 employees, including administrative, technical, and support staff, who work tirelessly to ensure the smooth functioning of the university. Wesleyan also has a committed staff with a focus on providing personalized attention to students and faculty.

Furthermore, both universities have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion among their faculty and staff. UC Davis has been recognized for its efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, with initiatives such as the ADVANCE program, which supports the career advancement of women in STEM fields. Wesleyan also prioritizes diversity, with a focus on hiring faculty and staff from underrepresented groups and creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.

Research Opportunities and Funding Availability: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Research opportunities are abundant in both universities, with students able to take on research projects with leading professors. UC Davis is home to several research centers, including the Center for Health and the Environment, the Center for Neuroscience, and the UC Davis Genome Center. Funding is also available for research projects, with UC Davis receiving over $730 million in sponsored research funding in 2019.

Wesleyan also offers several research programs, including the College for Social Innovation, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and the McNair Scholars Program. Wesleyan also offers funding for research projects through its endowment funds.

Additionally, both universities have partnerships with various organizations and institutions that provide research opportunities for students. UC Davis has partnerships with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the California National Primate Research Center, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, among others.

Wesleyan has partnerships with the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, and the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, among others. These partnerships provide students with unique research opportunities and access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources.

Career Services and Alumni Network: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities offer robust career services to help students prepare for their future careers. UC Davis has several career centers which offer resources such as career counseling, career fairs, and job shadowing opportunities. Wesleyan also has a dedicated career center, which offers services such as resume writing workshops, interview preparation, and career mentoring.

Both universities have strong alumni networks, with UC Davis having over 215,000 alumni worldwide and Wesleyan having over 35,792 alumni.

However, there are some differences in the career services offered by these universities. UC Davis has a strong focus on connecting students with industry professionals through its Aggie Job Link program, which provides access to job and internship postings from over 10,000 employers.

Wesleyan, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of experiential learning and offers opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience through internships, research projects, and community service.

When it comes to alumni networks, both universities have active alumni associations that provide networking opportunities, career advice, and social events. However, UC Davis has a larger alumni network, which includes notable alumni such as astronaut Stephen Robinson and former California Governor Jerry Brown.

Wesleyan’s alumni network is smaller but includes prominent figures such as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis’s tuition fees are $14,495 for California residents and $44,249 for non-residents. Wesleyan’s tuition fees are $59,778, with room and board costing an additional $17,100. Both universities offer financial aid for students, with UC Davis offering both need-based and merit-based scholarships and Wesleyan offering need-based financial aid.

unidentified person filling out a scholarship form

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at a university goes beyond just tuition and room and board. Additional expenses such as textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses can add up quickly. UC Davis estimates these additional expenses to be around $4,000 per year, while Wesleyan estimates them to be around $2,000 per year.

It is important for students and families to consider all of these costs when making a decision about which university to attend and to explore all available financial aid options.

Diversity and Inclusion Efforts at Both Universities

Both universities are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. UC Davis has several diversity initiatives, including the Centers for Educational Effectiveness, the Chicano/a Studies Program, and the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center. Wesleyan also has several initiatives, including the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the Center for the Americas, and the Women’s Resource Center.

In addition to these initiatives, UC Davis has a Multicultural Greek Council that promotes diversity and inclusion within the Greek community. Wesleyan also has a similar organization, the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, which works to promote diversity and inclusion within the Greek community.

Both universities also offer cultural events and celebrations throughout the year, such as UC Davis’ annual Whole Earth Festival and Wesleyan’s International Festival.

Campus Safety and Security Measures in Place: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities have robust campus safety measures in place to ensure the safety of all students, faculty, and staff. UC Davis has a campus-wide emergency notification system, the Aggie Guardian app, and a police department that operates 24/7. Wesleyan has a similar emergency notification system and a team of public safety officials that patrol campus 24/7.

In addition to these measures, both universities also offer self-defense classes and safety workshops for students, faculty, and staff. These classes teach basic self-defense techniques and provide information on how to stay safe on and off campus.

Athletic Programs Offered and Their Success Rates: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis competes in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference and is known for its strong athletic programs, including football, basketball, and volleyball. Wesleyan competes in the NCAA Division III and is known for its women’s swimming and diving program and its men’s and women’s lacrosse program.

Both universities have had success in their respective athletic programs, with UC Davis winning multiple conference championships and Wesleyan winning several Little Three Championships.

View of sports equipments stacked together.

In addition to these programs, both universities offer a variety of other athletic programs for students to participate in, including soccer, track and field, and tennis. UC Davis has also had success in their women’s soccer program, winning multiple conference championships and making appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Wesleyan’s men’s soccer program has also had success, winning multiple NESCAC championships. Both universities prioritize the importance of athletics in their students’ lives and offer a range of opportunities for students to get involved and succeed in their chosen sport.

Student Housing Options: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both UC Davis and Wesleyan offer on-campus housing options for students. UC Davis offers a variety of housing options, including residence halls, apartments, and suites. There are also several off-campus housing options available near the university. Wesleyan also offers several on-campus housing options, including traditional residence halls and apartments.

However, there are some differences between the two universities’ housing options. UC Davis has a larger number of on-campus housing options available, with a total of 29 residence halls and apartment complexes. In contrast, Wesleyan has a smaller number of on-campus housing options, with a total of 16 residence halls and apartments.

Additionally, UC Davis offers themed housing options, such as the Global Village, which is a community for students interested in international issues and cultures. Wesleyan does not currently offer themed housing options, but they do have a program called the “Wesleyan Housing Guarantee,” which ensures that all students who apply for on-campus housing will be accommodated.

Graduation Rates and Retention Rates: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis has a high graduation rate, with 85 percent of students graduating within six years of enrollment. Wesleyan also has a high graduation rate, with 93 percent of students graduating within six years of enrollment.

In terms of retention, 94 percent of students return for their second year at UC Davis, while 97 percent return for their second year at Wesleyan.

It is worth noting that while UC Davis and Wesleyan have similar graduation rates, their student bodies differ in size and composition. UC Davis is a large public university with over 38,000 undergraduate students, while Wesleyan is a small private liberal arts college with just over 3,000 undergraduate students.

Additionally, UC Davis has a more diverse student body, with a higher percentage of underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students compared to Wesleyan.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio Analysis: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1, while Wesleyan has a much lower ratio of 8:1. The lower student-to-faculty ratio at Wesleyan allows for more individualized attention and more opportunities for students to engage with their professors outside of the classroom.

Female teacher teaching something to a male student.

However, it is important to note that a lower student-to-faculty ratio does not always guarantee a better educational experience. Some larger universities with higher ratios have implemented programs and resources to ensure that students still have access to personalized attention and support from their professors.

Additionally, the student-to-faculty ratio can vary depending on the specific department or program within a university. For example, a university may have a high overall ratio but a lower ratio within its engineering department due to a higher number of faculty members in that field.

Distance Learning Opportunities at UC Davis vs Wesleyan

UC Davis offers several distance learning opportunities, including online courses and hybrid classes. Wesleyan also offers hybrid classes and online courses through its Continuing Studies Program. However, the majority of Wesleyan’s courses are offered on-campus.

It is important to note that UC Davis has a larger selection of fully online degree programs compared to Wesleyan. UC Davis offers online degrees in fields such as nursing, education, and business, while Wesleyan only offers a few online courses in various subjects. Additionally, UC Davis has a dedicated online learning platform, while Wesleyan uses a combination of platforms for its online courses.

Campus Sustainability Initiatives in Place: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities have implemented numerous sustainability initiatives to reduce their environmental impact. UC Davis has several sustainability programs, including the Student Farm, the UC Davis Green Building Program, and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. Wesleyan has several initiatives, including a solar array field, a carbon footprint reduction program, and the Wesleyan Eco-Action program.

In addition to these programs, both universities have also implemented sustainable transportation options. UC Davis has a bike-sharing program and a bike-friendly campus with over 20,000 bike parking spots. Wesleyan has a bike rental program and encourages students to use public transportation or carpooling to reduce their carbon footprint.

International Student Support Available at Both Universities

Both universities have dedicated offices for international student support and offer resources to help international students adjust to campus life. UC Davis has several international programs and services, including the Global Ambassador Program, the International Student and Scholar Services, and the Study Abroad Center.

Wesleyan also offers support for international students, including the International Student Services and the Freeman Asian Scholars Program, which provides financial support for Asian students.

Students walking around the campus of a school.

Additionally, both universities have cultural clubs and organizations that welcome international students and provide opportunities to connect with other students who share similar backgrounds and interests. UC Davis has a variety of cultural clubs, such as the Chinese Student Association and the Indian Student Association.

Wesleyan also has a diverse range of cultural organizations, including the Caribbean Student Association and the South Asian Student Association. These clubs and organizations offer a sense of community and support for international students who may be far from home.

Internship Opportunities Available for Students: UC Davis vs Wesleyan

Both universities offer numerous internship opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study. UC Davis has several programs, including the Internship and Career Center and the Washington D.C. Center Program, which provide students with a unique opportunity to intern in the nation’s capital.

Wesleyan also offers several internship programs, including The Wesleyan Connection, which connects students with alumni in their field of interest, and the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, which offers summer fellowships for underrepresented students.

In addition to these programs, UC Davis also partners with local businesses and organizations to provide students with internship opportunities in the surrounding community. This allows students to gain experience in their field while also making connections and contributing to the local economy.

Wesleyan offers a unique internship program called the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which provides students with resources and support to launch their own social ventures. This program allows students to apply their skills and knowledge to create positive change in their communities and beyond.

Post-Graduation Employment Statistics for UC Davis vs Wesleyan Graduates

Both universities boast high post-graduation employment rates for their graduates. According to UC Davis’s 2020 Career Center Survey, 74 percent of graduates secured employment six months after graduation, while 20 percent enrolled in further education.

Wesleyan’s Office of Career Services also reported that 90 percent of graduates were employed or enrolled in further education within six months of graduation.


Overall, both UC Davis and Wesleyan offer excellent academic programs, numerous opportunities for research, a vibrant student life, and strong alumni networks. Choosing between the two universities ultimately depends on a student’s individual preferences and priorities. UC Davis offers a diverse array of academic programs, while Wesleyan is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum.

Young man smiling while on a hallway.

UC Davis offers more distance learning opportunities, while Wesleyan offers a lower student-to-faculty ratio. Regardless of which university a student chooses, both UC Davis and Wesleyan offer a wealth of opportunities to grow and succeed academically and personally.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.

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