Just because a college isn’t the most well-known does not mean they have to accept any applicant. While colleges like the Columbia School of Nursing have a high acceptance rate, despite its private and small status, the College of the Ozarks is a highly selective school that picks its students wisely.
If you are interested in joining the College of the Ozarks, you are likely curious why it has such a low acceptance rate, high standards for applicants, and a dire selection process. Why is the College of the Ozarks so selective? This article will teach you everything that makes the College of the Ozarks hard to get into and how to make those chances for yourself a little higher.
What is College of the Ozarks Known For?
The College of the Ozarks is known for two things above all else: its unique name (based on the Ozark Mountains visible from Missouri) and its status as a religious institution. The last detail is crucial, as while it is unlikely—and certainly illegal—for a college to reject a student simply for their religious practices and beliefs alone, the College of the Ozarks is also very clear about how important being a Christian and following the word of Christ is for students who join the college. Instead, the College of the Ozarks will choose its students based on their “character,” based on the five character goals the college wants them to emulate: Academic, Vocational, Christian, Patriotic, and Cultural.
The religiosity of the college is very important for describing why the college is so selective, but do note that additional aspects of the college are worth noting.
The College of the Ozarks is a four-year college with an enrollment of over one thousand students and over thirty majors for students who want to become a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. College of the Ozarks is a primarily liberal arts school that strongly focuses on building character, education, and hard work.
Despite its small student body, the College of the Ozarks’ campus is large at one thousand and four hundred acres. This is credited to the fact that the college campus is rural, which means that a lot of the campus also serves as housing for students and staff and has a hospital, a museum, and perhaps most naturally, chapels and churches for students to perform prayer. The campus overlooks the White River, a landmark of Point Lookout. Other important landmarks on the campus include:
- The Ralph Foster Museum, named after a radio voice who was quite prominent in the area,
- The Edwards Mill, which the students power to produce meal, flour, and other products through its water wheel.
- The Keeter Center, an astounding 100,000-square-foot building that holds a restaurant and lodging,
- The Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen, where students produce the college’s famous apple butter,
- and finally, Lake Honor, the small lake that houses the college’s swans.
Another unique aspect of the College of the Ozarks is that it does not charge tuition for its full-time students. This is because, on top of managing its funds based on donations from various churches and Christian groups, College of the Ozarks’ student work program requires that full-time students work at least 15 hours a week on campus and two 40-hour work weeks when on break. There is an additional summer work program to help students pay for room and board. Otherwise, part-time students pay tuition, though they will find that most of their financial needs are met through federal grants, scholarships, loans, or simply working in the student work program.
We must be clear that College of the Ozarks has dealt with a negative reputation over its century of existence; in particular, the college’s treatment of LGBT and African American students, as well as the college’s patriotism and military focus, has invited much controversy.
In 2017, the Princeton Review published a survey concluding that the College of the Ozarks is the most hostile and unfriendly to LGBT students among 137,000 students from 382 universities. Students and investigations allege that LGBT students would be pressured, though not forced, to undergo conversion therapy. However, this conclusion has been refuted and argued by the staff of the college, who say they have bear no ill will towards any potential LGBT students, nor does it impact who they choose to enroll in their school.
As the College of the Ozarks has a poor reputation, it is highly recommended that students who already follow strong Christian and military values enroll. For students still interested in attending this college, one thing may be on your mind: how difficult is it to get into College of the Ozarks? We shall start by defining its surprisingly low acceptance rate.
What is the Acceptance Rate for the College of the Ozarks?
The College of the Ozarks has an acceptance rate of 20%. The national average acceptance rate for a college or university is 68%. On their own website, they put the acceptance rate as low as 8% to 12%. These astonishingly low rates make the College of the Ozarks exceptionally competitive.
According to the College of the Ozarks, out of over 4,000 applicants, only 400 students gain an acceptance letter to attend their starting fall semester. That percentage alone—10%—is quite daunting, and it does not improve for the spring semester either.
How can the College of the Ozarks be so selective, even for a premier college with a strong bent toward student character and religious beliefs? They are very proud of their high barrier to entry, but what exactly is the reason for it?
What Makes College of Ozarks Selective?
College of the Ozarks is very selective because it takes what they want in a student very seriously. The student base is small, which means it is pretty competitive. But most importantly, the staff of College of the Ozarks fully exercise their right to choose which kind of student is allowed to enroll, as their state mission is to provide a Christian education for students, male or female, but particularly those they find worthy and without the means to gain such an education.
College of the Ozarks enrolls students in a work program. They are expected to work for hours a week on top of attending classes and additional activities around the Christian faith, such as prayer. They want very specific students, even when not accounting for grades and test scores.
We have already discussed many aspects of the College of the Ozarks that make this a daunting task. But how hard is it to get into College of the Ozarks exactly? What are the academic requirements and standards that students are expected to reach? This last piece may finally solve the puzzle of this college.
How Hard Is it to Get Into the College of the Ozarks?
If the previous sections have not clarified enough, getting into the College of the Ozarks is very difficult. Its acceptance rate and academic requirements are on par with equally or more difficult colleges such as Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or West Point, New York’s United States Military Academy.
So, in this section, we will discuss what the College of the Ozarks want in terms of academic achievement, which reflects what students are expected to learn and excel at. It would be good to mention that the College of the Ozarks’ graduation rate is 66%, below the nation’s average graduation rate of 85%.
First, we shall start with the GPA. The average GPA is 3.76 at the College of the Ozarks, according to PrepScholar. This score is what PrepScholar puts as “strongly competitive:” it requires that a student has above average grades when they have graduated from high school or have attended advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate (IB) classes. Students can make a difference in their grade point average by attaining high SAT and ACT scores. While those are easier to achieve than a 3.76 GPA, the College of the Ozarks also has competitive standards for those additional test scores.
Specifically, the average SAT score for the College of the Ozarks is 1250. While certainly not as “strongly competitive” as their GPA scores, 1250 is still quite competitive, and coupled with the high GPA average, students who apply tend to have SAT or ACT scores also have high GPA scores. Thankfully, the College of the Ozarks takes the SAT score from the “Highest Section,” where only the highest scores are considered. The average ACT score—a 23—is moderately competitive, which according to PrepScholar, is a greater tier than just competitive. Still, as the SAT and ACT can be retaken, these requirements are not as harsh as one may think.
In terms of other academic requirements, a student must have completed the following:
- four years in English,
- three years in Math and History each,
- and two years in Science.
Additionally, an interview with the application staff is required; students whom College of the Ozarks interviews are expected to demonstrate a desire to reach the above goals to attend the university.
Finally, we shall reiterate what College of the Ozarks seeks in a student. There are five goals that the College of the Ozarks wants its students to meet:
- Academic Goal: “to provide a sound education,”
- Vocational Goal: “to promote a strong work ethic,”
- Christian Goal: “to foster the Christian faith,”
- Patriotic Goal: “to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it,”
- and Cultural Goal: “to cultivate an appreciation of the fine arts, an understanding of the world, and adherence to high personal standards.”
Also, and this is needless to say, residence in and around the campus in Point Lookout, Missouri, should be considered, though College of the Ozarks also offers room and board for students at an additional cost.
Wrapping Things Up: Why is College of the Ozarks so Selective?
Why is the College of the Ozarks so selective? College of the Ozarks is strongly dedicated to creating an environment for the hard-working Christian students it deems worthy. They care a lot about character as well as academic requirements. Students should absolutely be expected to dedicate themselves fully to what the college wants. But if you feel like that, despite all odds, you have a shot at getting in there, you should definitely go for it!