What makes Wooster America’s premier liberal arts college for mentored research?

Each year since 2002, U.S. News has asked college presidents and deans which colleges provide the best undergraduate research opportunities and senior capstone programs.

Only two have made both lists every year: Wooster and Princeton University

Develop the skills employers and graduate schools seek

Participating in mentored research helps develop independent judgment, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, self-confidence, and strong written and oral communication skills: precisely the abilities prized by employers and graduate schools alike.

What’s more, in a national survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, 83% of business and non-profit leaders said that students who “develop research questions in their field and evidence-based analyses” are better prepared for success after graduation. Seventy-nine percent said completing a major project that demonstrates acquired knowledge and skills is good preparation for success in the workplace.

Wooster is doing “exactly what should be happening.”

The Gallup organization surveyed 30,000 college graduates to find out what elements of their college experience were most closely associated with feelings of engagement in their work, and satisfaction with their lives overall. Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, had this to say about the results:

“As it relates to those two measures – effectively what you would say is having a great job and a great life, the way we measure it – mentoring, whether you had a mentor during college who encouraged your goals and dreams, was the single most important thing linked to those long-term outcomes.

Start early

Take advantage of opportunities to work with faculty on research projects as early as the second semester of your first year.

Opportunities abound

The Sophomore Research Program offers a chance to work as paid research assistants to Wooster faculty, while summer research options include various grant funded research opportunities and the Applied Methods and Research Experience (AMRE).

Every year, scores of Wooster students make presentations on their research at academic conferences or co-publish papers with members of the faculty. (Geology professor Mark Wilson alone has published articles with more than 40 student co-authors.)

Everyone participates

Each Wooster senior works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize, and complete a significant piece of original research, scholarship, or creative expression. This Independent Study project, known to generations simply as I.S., is the centerpiece of Wooster’s commitment to mentored student research.

The results speak for themselves

Six months after graduation, 96% of Wooster graduates are employed or in graduate school, and 97% are accepted by their first-choice grad school. Wooster ranks 29th overall among liberal arts colleges for graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D., 6th in chemistry, 9th in the physical sciences, 15th in political science and public administration, and 18th in history.