At a Glance

Wells College is a nationally recognized, private liberal arts college located on the shores of beautiful Cayuga Lake. Founded in 1868, Wells provides a rigorous and relationship-based academic experience strengthened by the College's emphasis on community, residential atmosphere, and dedication to hands-on learning. The mission of Wells College is to teach students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives.


There are approximately 500 full-time students enrolled at Wells College (76% in-state, 21% out-of-state, 2% international). The male-to-female ratio is roughly 4:6. For Fall 2017, the majority of the student body is comprised of 13.3% Black (non-Hispanic), 13.6% Hispanic, and 60% White (non-Hispanic) students. See below for more racial/ethnic demographic details as well as graphic representations of these statistics. Click or tap on the images to enlarge.


Situated on more than 300 scenic acres overlooking Cayuga Lake in central New York, Wells College offers the simplicity and safety of village living and easy access to metropolitan and educational centers: ½ hour from Ithaca (home of Cornell University), 1 hour from Rochester and Syracuse, and 5 hours from New York City. The Finger Lakes are known for vast outdoor recreational opportunities and for a high concentration of outstanding colleges and universities.


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.


Jonathan Gibralter, Ph.D. Dr. Gibralter began serving  as President of Wells College in the summer of 2015. He comes from Frostburg State University in Maryland, which he turned around by leading efforts to improve student life, relationships with the community, enrollment and fundraising. Dr. Gibralter is a nationally-recognized leader on issues of sustainability and dangerous drinking on college campuses. See his welcome remarks here.



85% of Wells faculty members have doctorates or terminal degrees in their disciplines. Faculty members hold degrees from Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of California – Berkeley, Brown, Cornell and Stanford, among others. Approximately 86% are tenured or in tenure-track positions.


In 2015, Wells ranks among Forbes top U.S. colleges and universities, is included in the Princeton Review's list of best northeastern colleges, and is ranked as a National Liberal Arts College (#136) in U.S. News and World Report's listing of the best colleges in the country.

3/2 and 4+1 Articulation Programs

Through affiliations with Cornell University, the University of Rochester, Clarkson University and Columbia University, within five years students may earn both the B.A. from Wells and the professional degree (business, engineering, nursing, or teacher education) from the affiliated university.

Pre-Professional Degree Programs

The following degree programs are avialable as pre-professional tracks: Education (elementary and secondary certification), Engineering B.A./B.S., Pre-Law, Pre-Health.

Cross-Registration Programs

Wells and nearby Cornell University share a close academic and social relationship. Wells students may register for courses offered by any of the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell. The College also has cross-registration agreements with Ithaca College and Cayuga Community College. 

Hands-On Learning

Wells takes a unique approach to higher education that puts hands-on learning at the center of all we do. Classroom learning is directly connected to future careers in a global society. Our students have unique and diverse opportunities to conduct research with faculty members, hold internships, and study across the United States and abroad. 


The College is a Division III member of NCAA and the North Eastern Athletic Conference. Wells offers the following intercollegiate teams: women's field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, basketball, cross country and volleyball; and men's basketball, cross country, swimming, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and volleyball. In addition, the Intramural Association offers intramural and club sports activities.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Approximately 99% of Wells students receive financial aid, with about 98% eligible to receive need-based aid and 78% receiving merit-based aid.

Retention & Graduation

A wide range of information about Wells, including our retention and graduation rates, can be found on our profile on the National Center for Education Statistics website.


Wells College was established in 1868 by Henry Wells, who also founded the Wells Fargo and American Express Companies.

Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

170 Main Street, Aurora, NY 13026
Admissions: 800.952.9355
General Information: 315.364.3266
© 2018 Wells College
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