College of the Week: College of Wooster

Each week, Mrs. Nilsen will provide insight into unique college options for learners and families. The source is the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2019, an annual comprehensive catalog of diverse universities here in California and nationwide, Colleges That Change Lives, and 50 Colleges that Create Futures.

THIS WEEK: Alfred University in Alfred, NY

(CTCL and Fiske Guide)

Click here for Admissions Info

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Enrollment: 2,016

Acceptance Rate: 55%

DETAILS: Instead of teaching students what to think, The College of Wooster focuses on teaching students how to do it. From the first freshman seminar to the final day when seniors hand in their theses, the college paves each student’s path to independence. The emphasis here is on global perspectives, mentored research, and the heritage that stems from its origin as a college founded by Scottish Presbyterians. The one-on-one attention from faculty makes Wooster an intellectual refuge in the rural countryside of Ohio. “Mentorship and collaboration are pervasive across campus,” says a history major. “Students are constantly interacting with their peers, faculty advisors, and other community members in an effort to gather diverse perspectives and motivate their learning.”

What goes on behind the facades of Wooster’s attractive buildings is more impressive than the structures themselves. The required First-Year Seminar in Critical Inquiry, limited to 15 students per section, introduces students to intensive writing, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary study. Recent section topics include The Drugs We Drink: Biological and Societal Perspectives; Heating Up the Planet: Response to a Catastrophe; and The History of the Future. In addition to the first-year seminar, three semesters of Independent Study, and six cross-discipline courses, Wooster mandates courses in writing, global and cultural perspectives, religious perspectives, and quantitative reasoning, foreign language proficiency, and seven to nine courses in the student’s major.

The College of Wooster is nationally recognized for its commitment to mentored research and its international focus. Wooster students are proud to be Fighting Scots and independent thinkers. And as a political science major explains, the college’s distinctive Independent Study requirement actively shapes both the individual student experience and the campus atmosphere: “Having that big project on the horizon from the day you enroll changes the way you engage with your education, and I think that brings an element of intensity, dedication, and commitment to the academics at Wooster.”

College of Wooster Student Perspective: “Classes frequently require collaborative work to complete assignments, and students often work together in a relaxed environment that focuses simultaneously on building connections as well as growing academically.”