Ridgewater College is a comprehensive community and technical college that offers transfer education and technical programs to the residents of Willmar and Hutchinson communities. It is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The school was established in 1996 with the merger of Willmar Community College and Hutchinson-Willmar Regional Technical College.
Ridgewater College offers more than 100 educational programs and has an enrollment of approximately 5,500 students. The college has two campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson and is one of the largest two-year colleges in Minnesota.
Ridgewater College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ridgewater College offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The most popular majors offered include Liberal Arts and Sciences, Health and Allied Health fields, Agriculture, Business fields, and Veterinary Technology.
Ridgewater College offers Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degree programs for students that plan to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree after they finish their coursework at Ridgewater. Associate of Arts degrees are available in areas such as Accounting, Art, Business, Economics, Education, English, Human Services, Law Enforcement, Liberal Arts, Mass Communications, and Mathematics. Associate of Science candidates can also opt for numerous areas of specialization including Agricultural Education, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing.
Ridgewater College also offers the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree for students who want to enter a profession directly after completing their coursework. Students opting for the AAS degree can major in areas such as Activity Director, Administrative Assistant, Auto Body Collision Repair, Automotive Service Technology, Carpentry, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Dairy Management, and Electronics Technology.
Diploma and Certificate Programs
In addition to associate’s degrees, Ridgewater College offers various career-oriented diplomas and certificates for students who want to prepare for specific occupations or upgrade their skills. Diploma programs are 30-72 semester credits in length whereas certificate programs are 9-30 semester credits in length. Certificates and diplomas are offered in Accounting Technician, Activity Director, Agronomy Technology, Computer Programmer, Computer Support Technician, and Healthcare Administrative Assistant.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Ridgewater College has an open-door admissions policy and any student who has graduated from high school or has a GED certificate can apply for admission. Students who do not meet these criteria can still apply for admission and their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
All degree and certificate applicants must submit a completed admissions application along with their official high school/college transcripts or GED scores. Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or a GED certificate are required to pass a federally-approved Ability to Benefit test.
Some programs in which students come in direct contact with patients and residents in healthcare environments require students to submit background check forms to the Department of Human Services. These programs include Activity Director/Assistant, Educational Assistant, Health Information Technician, Human Services transfer program, Massage Therapy, Medical Assistant, and Nursing Assistant.
International applicants seeking admission in Ridgewater College are required to submit the international student application form, transcripts from any previously attended colleges if applicable, and two letters of recommendation from teachers, public officials, or friends. International students also need to provide a certificate of finances to demonstrate availability of funds to finance their educational expenses for one year. They are also required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English by submitting their TOEFL/IELTS scores.
Ridgewater College participates in a variety of financial aid programs to help students meet their educational expenses. Different types of financial aid available include scholarships, grants, loans and Federal work-study programs.
Scholarships, Grants, and Loans
Merit-based scholarships for eligible students include the Acuren/Rockwood Service Corp Scholarship, Danielson Nursing Scholarship, Claire Houchens Memorial Scholarship, Lake Lillian Elevator Ag Scholarship, and the Larry Wepplo Memorial Scholarship. Need-based grants include the federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, ALLISS Grants, and the Minnesota State Grant Program. Students may also be eligible for various loans such as federal subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans, federal Perkins loans, the Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF), and the Federal PLUS Loan.
Students can apply for work-study programs in which they can seek both on-campus and off-campus work-study positions. Participating students are only allowed to work 20 hours per week while classes are in session.
To apply for financial aid from Ridgewater College, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education. To be eligible for financial aid, students must be U.S citizens or eligible non-citizens.
Student Financial Aid Details
Student Clubs and Organizations
Ridgewater College students are involved in a number of extracurricular activities and there are many resources on campus to ensure a well-rounded development of students. The numerous clubs, which enable students to pursue their interests, include the Auto Body club, Business Professionals of America club, Carpentry club, Computer Art & Publishing club, Multicultural club, Photography club, and the Medical Assistant club.
The Student Senate represents the voice of the students in college governance.
Academic support outside the classroom is easily accessible to students who are keen on raising their grades. Professional and peer tutoring services are also available. Various career services, such as mock job interviews and personal assistance, are provided to the students.
Ridgewater College does not have dormitory facilities, but affordable apartment living is available both directly adjacent to campus and further away from campus. Ridgewater College Student Services personnel and apartment landlords/managers can provide more information about student housing opportunities.
The on-campus bookstore stocks new and used textbooks, imprinted items, clothing, and school and office supplies.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Ridgewater College athletic teams are known as the Warriors. The teams compete in the Minnesota Community College Conference, Region 13 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The intercollegiate athletic teams include men’s baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling. The women’s teams include basketball, softball, and volleyball.
Additionally, various intramural sports are offered at the college. These include bowling, tennis, basketball, volleyball, golf, touch football, and softball.
- Ridgewater College. About Ridgewater. Web. 29 September 2011.
- Ridgewater College. Athletics. Web. 29 September 2011.
- Ridgewater College. Ridgewater College Student Handbook. 2010. Print.