A proud history with an international reputation for excellence
The College of Wooster is the nation’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research and the most internationalized campus in Ohio.
Located just 45 minutes from Cleveland, Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education in a spirited residential setting, culminating in every student creating new knowledge through a rigorous, in-depth project of inquiry or creative expression. Working in partnership with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize, and complete a significant project on a topic of the student’s own choosing, every Wooster graduate develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: initiative, collaboration, self-confidence, independent judgment, creative problem solving, and strong written and oral communication skills.
Wooster is a vibrant, diverse, unpretentious community of learners with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students can be themselves at Wooster, discover and pursue their passions, connect learning in the classroom to the real world through paid internships, research fellowships, and other experiential opportunities, and forge lifelong bonds with faculty, coaches, and staff.
New York Times columnist Ron Lieber praises Wooster for its exceptional combination of quality faculty, affordability, and undergraduate research in his new book, The Price You Pay for College. Lieber devotes an entire chapter to answering How the College of Wooster Puts It All Together, highlighting Wooster’s up-front attitude in helping prospective students understand the financial package they will receive and the satisfaction students get from faculty mentorship.
Founded by Presbyterians in 1866, it opened its doors as the University of Wooster on September 8, 1870, with a faculty of five and a student body of thirty men and four women. By 1915, the university had several graduate divisions, including a medical school. Ultimately, the board of trustees and a majority of the faculty voted against further expansion and in favor of closing down the existing graduate programs, in order to focus solely on undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences. With that sharpening of strategic focus came a new name, The College of Wooster, and an educational program framed in a residential setting where students learn in many venues and in many ways. In 1969, the Presbyterian Synod of Ohio relinquished its ownership of the College, and Wooster became an independent, private liberal arts college.
The City of Wooster, located approximately 50 miles from Cleveland and 35 miles from Akron, is a vibrant community of 26,000 with a strong, diversified economy, a downtown full of great restaurants and shops, and easy access to outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s a short drive to Ohio State’s Secrest Arboretum, the mountain biking trails at Vulture’s Knob, and the 1,000-acre Mohican State Park. Money Magazine ranked Wooster #37 out of 100 in its 2017 Best Places to Live.
In 2018, the College concluded the most successful comprehensive fund-raising campaign in its history. Wooster’s Promise: The Campaign for Our Future raised just over $190 million in cash and commitments to support five major priorities: student financial aid, academic strength, experiential education, the life sciences, and the Wooster Fund. Overall, the campaign exceeded its goal by $25 million.
More than 42 percent of Wooster’s alumni participated, including 5,790 first-time donors and 9,335 who gave in at least two of the campaign’s five years. In all, 1,471 individual donors gave more than $55 million to support student financial aid, including the creation of 71 new endowed scholarships. More than $19 million was raised to endow three new professorships and 34 new funds to support faculty scholarship, student Independent Study research, and individual academic department initiatives. Another 10 endowed funds were created to support APEX, the college’s integrated center for student academic and career advising, planning, and experiential learning, while the Wooster Fund, which provides operating support for every part of the college year in and year out, took in just over $17 million, from more than 14,000 individual donors. As of March 31, 2021, the endowment’s market value was $404M.
Perhaps nowhere is the College’s reputation for excellence more evident than in a fiercely competitive enrollment marketplace. Since 2007, applications for admission to Wooster have increased by 80%. The college consistently attracts over 5,000 applications for approximately 550 spots in the first-year class. Wooster enrolls approximately 2,000 students from 48 states and 68 countries. This past year, 17% of Wooster’s undergraduates were international students and 24% are domestic students of color. The students choose from more than 50 academic programs in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and the arts. The College has 171 full time faculty, 96% holding a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree.