Wentworth Military Academy and College got its start back in 1880, when it was known as Hobson’s Select School for Boys. A year after its establishment, benefactor Stephen G. Wentworth renamed the school Wentworth Male Academy in memorial to his son, William. The name stuck, as did the mission of preparing graduates to move onto college and the working world. But, the school itself went through a few changes over the years.
Students began to use broomsticks to conduct drills and maneuvers as an extracurricular activity, and this new hobby prompted the school’s gradual metamorphosis into a military academy. By the 1884-85 school year, the switch was complete, with the school catalog proclaiming, “Students learn more with military training than without it.”
For the next several decades, Wentworth Male Academy remained simply a military high school for boys. In 1923, Wentworth College evolved from the institution, and the main campus in Lexington, Missouri, is now a private, coeducational two year college. The institution now includes three satellite campuses. Students can take some college classes at Cameron High School in Cameron, Missouri, or at Hermitage High School in Hermitage, Missouri. A partnership between Wentworth College and the Lamar Area Vo-Tech Center has also led to some college classes being available at that facility in Lamar, Missouri.
Additionally, the college features a noted United States Army ROTC Cadet program in which select students may enroll. Wentworth College is one of only five military junior colleges in the country that provides this opportunity.
In fall 2010, enrollment at Wentworth College numbered more than 900 students, nearly 60 percent of them female.
Wentworth prides itself on the personal attention provided by its small class sizes and personal interaction with faculty and administration, including 1st Sgt. Gary Willis, who was recently named Wentworth’s new commandant. The college has a reputation as a premier military academy, with several alumni rising to high levels in the U.S. army. One of those alumni, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), returned to Wentworth to deliver the commencement address in 2010.
One of the oldest two year colleges west of the Mississippi River, Wentworth College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as the American Association of Community Colleges and the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education, among several others.
The college offers associate of arts and associate of science degrees, as well as associate of applied science degrees in two areas: business management and paralegal studies. The associate of arts program allows students to take a wide range of humanities and fine arts courses, from music appreciation and any of several languages to philosophy, ethics, or religious studies. The associate of science degree offers course choices ranging from personal finance and marketing to family law and criminal justice.
In addition to studying at any of Wentworth’s four physical campuses, students may take courses online using Blackboard, an internet system through which teachers post course information and class assignments, and students log in to retrieve it. Schedules and grades, as well as unofficial transcripts, can be obtained through NetClassroom.
Students are required to declare a degree program when they apply to Wentworth College. Those enrolled in the school’s ROTC program have additional academic obligations upon graduation from Wentworth. Cadets in the two year Early Commissioning Program must complete their bachelor’s degree at a four year school upon receiving their commissions while also serving in a National Guard or a U.S. Army Reserve unit. Students in the four year commission program must transfer to Missouri Valley College or the University of Central Missouri to finish their bachelor’s degree and the final two years of the commissioning program. Upon completion of one of the commissioning programs, cadets will receive commissions as U.S. Army second lieutenants.
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Admission requirements for Wentworth depend on whether applicants intend to be boarding ROTC cadets, boarding non-ROTC cadets, or non-boarding students. Boarding ROTC cadets are students who want to be in the military and take military science courses and training. They have usually contracted with the U.S. Army Cadet Command, and they live on campus. These students may enroll in either a two year early commissioning program or a four year commission program. To be eligible for the two year program, applicants must have already completed basic training, at least three years of Junior ROTC, or a Leaders Training Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Applicants must also be between the ages of 17 and 27, passed army physical fitness standards, and have passed a Department of Defense medical exam. They must have maintained at least a 2.0 grade point average while in high school and achieved a score of at least 850 on the SAT or a 17 on the ACT.
Applicants to the four year commission program must be U.S. citizens with either high school diplomas or GED certificates. They must have maintained at least a 2.5 GPA and achieved a minimum SAT score of 920 or a minimum ACT score of 19. Applicants need to have passed an army physical test prior to contracting, and they must be able to finish the program by the age of 31.
Boarding non-ROTC cadets are students who live on campus and wear uniforms but are not part of the ROTC training program. Admission requirements for these students, as well as commuter students, are simple. Wentworth College has an open admission policy, meaning that all applicants will be accepted provided they have earned a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, certain classes and programs may carry additional admissions requirement.
Wentworth College also encourages dual enrollment, offering a dual enrollment program through which high school juniors and seniors can earn college credits while simultaneously filling their requirements for high school graduation. Many Wentworth Military Academy students take advantage of this opportunity. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be recommended for the program by their high school principals.
More than 80 percent of students at Wentworth Military Academy and College receive financial aid, whether in the form of grants, loans, or scholarships. The first step any applicant for financial assistance must do is fill out the FAFSA form, which will help determine whether the student is eligible for federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, which provide as much as $5,550 in monetary help, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, which can give students with financial need as much as $4,000 in aid. Financial aid may also be available through state grants.
Scholarships are another source of funding, and like grants, they are monetary gifts which do not need to be reimbursed. Scholarships may be awarded based on need, academic merit, affiliation with a specific group, or some combination of these criteria, and they may be given by the college, the state, or private corporations and foundations. The Charles Gallagher Student Financial Assistance Scholarship, for example, is awarded to a Missouri resident who demonstrates financial need and is working toward his or her first undergraduate degree at an approved Missouri institution.
A third financial aid option is student loans. They may come from public or private sources, and they may be taken out by a student or a parent. Unlike grants and scholarships, loans do need to be paid back. Repayment, with interest, generally begins six months after a student is no longer enrolled in college at least part time.
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Wentworth College offers students the chance to compete in several sports, many of which are new for the 2011 or 2012 seasons. The teams are known as the Red Dragons, and they compete in Region 16 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Most teams play their home games at the Wikoff Athletic Center, a newly renovated complex which features three indoor basketball courts, two volleyball courts, an indoor swimming pool, a wrestling room, an indoor track, a weight room, a training facility, and locker rooms.
- Cross Country (2011)
- Golf (2012)
- Soccer (2011)
- Tennis (2012)
- Volleyball (2011)
Wentworth’s basketball teams met with success in the 1980s and 1990s under coach Tom Hughes, who has returned to serve once again as head coach and also as the college’s athletic director.
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Along with its military high school program and its various college degree programs, Wentworth Military Academy and College offers a summer camp called Camp LEAD. The co-ed boarding camp is open to students in grades 8 through 12 and is designed to introduce attendees to such concepts as teamwork, integrity, self-discipline, and accountability. A course called Invention & Innovation allows students to explore both the electronics lab and the computer lab, and students can become certified in SCUBA during the marine biology course.
A variety of other activities are held at the camp as well, including rope skills and knot-tying, paintball, canoeing, survival training, and caving. The camp is offered in two sessions, one lasting six weeks and a second lasting three weeks.
- Koetting, Latisha. “Willis named commandant of Wentworth Academy.” Sedalia Democrat. Sedalia, MO. 4 May 2011. Print.
- Press Office of U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton. Skelton Speaks at Wentworth Military Academy Graduation on Saturday. St. Robert, MO: Pulaski County Daily News, 2010. Print.
- Wentworth Military Academy and College, Lexington, MO. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://wma.edu/>.
- “Wentworth Military Academy Financial Aid, Scholarships, Tuition | College Stats.org.” College Stats.org: University & College Data, Statistics, Facts, Maps. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://collegestats.org/college/wentworth-military-academy/financial-aid>.
- “Wentworth Military Academy and College Rankings & Scholarships | InsideCollege.com.” College Rankings & Scholarships | InsideCollege.com. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.insidecollege.com/reno/Wentworth-Military-Academy-and-College/3301514/school.do?itemId=24292>.