Ranked 34th in US News and World Report under the category of top public schools is the public liberal arts institution known as Western Oregon University (WOU). A rather small liberal arts university with an estimated 6,000 undergraduates and about 400 graduate students, Western Oregon University boasts a population where women outnumber the men. With a female student population of 57 percent, Western Oregon has an abundance of student activities that will surely appeal to both sexes. Because it’s a rather small college, class sizes are relatively small as well and there is a student to teacher ratio close to 17:1 which means a chance for personal connection between student and teacher, a rarity in many university settings.
WOU is located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, not very far from the state’s capital, Salem. Willamette Valley is known as the agricultural and wine country of Oregon. While attending WOU, you will have a daily jaw-dropping view of this valley’s awe-inspiring landscape. Not to mention if one likes to hike, ski, whale-watch, bike or fish there are excellent recreation areas miles from the university itself. So imagine this: after studying hard for a midterm exam, you treat yourself to a view of the breathtaking waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park 10. Or if adrenaline is what you need to relax after an all-night study session, relax by climbing Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the coast range.
Founded in 1896, WOU is the oldest university in the Oregon University system. Two-thirds of the students that attend are liberal arts majors and the final third are in the School of Education. WOU is an ideal spot if the realm of education is your career path, being nationally recognized for its excellent teaching programs which are accredited by several renowned organizations, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), and the Oregon State Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).
WOU has two colleges, the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in which about 40 bachelor’s degrees are offered. In the College of Education, degrees in special education, American sign language/English interpreting, school health education, and early childhood education are offered.
There are also special licensing and endorsements that can be attached to initial teaching licenses such as autism and reading endorsements. Because WOU is a nationally recognized school for teacher preparation the Teaching Institute has two centers that students are welcome to utilize during their studies, the Child Development Center and the Education Evaluation Center.
The Child Development Center caters to children 30 months to 6 years old. The center provides daycare services and early childhood education classes to faculty, staff, students and those in the surrounding community. The Education Evaluation Center concentrates on individuals with disabilities. The center works with individuals from age 3 to adults.
The center focuses on learning disabilities, dyslexia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and multicultural assessment. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences degrees in business, criminal justice, nursing, theater and dance are offered. WOU also offers graduate degrees. Two main master degree programs offering degrees in rehabilitation counseling and teaching is ranked 45th by the U.S. News and World Report.
Most Popular Fields of Study
There are quite a few requirements for admissions into WOU. Freshman are required to have at least a 2.75 cumulative grade average. If graduating high school seniors have only a 2.5-2.7 GPA, then they must have a score of 21 on the ACT or a combined score of 1000 on the SAT.
All incoming students are also required to have 2 years of foreign language credits. WOU accepts applicants on a rolling admissions basis; however, test scores are generally required by early September. WOU is not incredibly selective, as the school generally admits about 80% or more of students that apply.
Graduate admissions vary by program; however each program requires admission to the college itself prior to admission to the program. To be admitted as a graduate student at WOU one must have their official transcripts from all previous colleges attended submitted to WOU. In terms of GPA requirements, prospective students must have a GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of their undergraduate degree. If they do not meet this requirement then they must meet certain scores on the MAT and/or GRE tests to be eligible for admissions.
For international students the process is primarily the same except international students that are non-native English speakers must take an English test such as TOEFL or IELTS. They must also send “financial obligation” documentation stating that they have the ability to pay for school. International students coming to WOU as an undergraduate will need to have their official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores sent. If they are graduate students they need to send college transcripts and any information regarding international credits received elsewhere.
WOU offers what is known as tuition promise. This means that students for four calendar years will have a locked in tuition rate that will not increase within the four years at WOU. This promise is made available to all new students and some transfer students, however it should be noted that fees such as housing, miscellaneous course fees, student health services among others are not locked in and may increase throughout the four years.
Besides the tuition promise, like other colleges and universities WOU offers only a handful of scholarships (many students should also consider looking into private scholarships for funding means) and the typical federal grants and loans. WOU has a special program called the Student Enrichment Program (SEP). This program allows first generation college students with disabilities (physical or learning) that meet need based financial aid requirements a greater opportunity to achieve high standards in college. The students admitted into SEP are given the chance to have individualized instruction in core subjects and borrow certain technologies or resources such as computers that can be otherwise unaffordable.
Student Financial Aid Details
Student life at WOU is a combination of clubs and organizations, there are no sororities or fraternities but, there are two society clubs Sigma Alpha Pi and Phi Alpha Theta. Other student activities to consider around WOU include the student radio station or the student’s activities board that coordinates fun hip events around the campus.
There are many helpful resources for students to make sure the best educational experience is offered. The learning center which is paired with the academic advising department offers sessions in study skills, time management, listening and note taking, test taking skills and reading skills such as the SQ3R Method. They also provide tutoring for specific areas of need and a writing center that helps students prepare class essays.
And if you may have a tough time transitioning into college life or just find yourself a little stressed, then WOU offers a peer mentoring program, so you can have someone to talk to who understands your concerns and can share common experiences and give you advice as to how to cope.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Owwwwooooo. Yes, that’s right. If you attend WOU you will be howling at the moon during sporting events because let’s face it,once you are bitten by a wolf (WOU’s mascot) there is no turning back. If competitive sports are an important factor in your college experience, then WOU is definitely for you. WOU is in the NCAA Division II football category and the baseball team just won their 10th consecutive conference championship. WOU offers women’s softball, soccer and a volleyball team that just won their first GNAC championship. WOU also offers cross-country track and field and basketball teams for both men and women. If you want to be competitive but not at a national college level, there are several intramural sports such as dodge ball, Frisbee, and racquetball.
Additional School Information
Housing and Other Student Facilities
Incoming freshman have a choice of four different housing units. Heritage Hall and Lander Hall are the traditional college dorms offering double occupancy community bathrooms and public areas. Barnum Hall is composed of suite like dorms with bunk beds, they don’t have the traditional community bathrooms but “Jack” and “Jill” bathrooms instead. Ackerman Hall also has suite like rooms that are either single or double occupancy. The Ackerman is unique in that it also houses space for classes and meetings, as well as the campus dining offices. Each resident hall has wireless capability or hard wire hook-ups, there is no need to bring any other network devices.
If you don’t have your own computer there are computer labs around the university in such places as Lander residence hall, the Werner University Center, and the main computer lab in APSC with over 55 computers to use. Upperclassmen have the choice of staying in dorms that offer kitchenettes or apartments in which there are up to four private bedrooms and one living room space for its occupants. The wellness center had a recent remodeling of its old aquatic center that was dedicated as a memorial in 1955. The pool now includes a therapy section for sports injuries.
US News and World Report LP. “Western Oregon University:Overview.” Web. 18 April 2011. <http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/>
Western Oregon University. Web. 18 April 2011.
Parade’s College A-List. “Western Oregon University”. Web. 18 April 2011.