William Woods University (WWU) is simply referred to as “The Woods” and has a history stretching back to 1870. Around this time, Missouri was a desperate place for many and especially for young girls who had been orphaned by the civil war. To address the plight of these girls, Christian churches in Missouri decided to establish a school for the girls and so was born the Female Orphan School of the Christian Church of Missouri which was established at Camden Point.
From its inception, the orphan school had serious financial troubles and was almost permanently in debt. To encourage paying student to enroll, the school’s board of directors decided to drop the name orphan from the school’s name and renamed it the Daughters College in 1899.
The name change did not bring the financial miracle it was hoped it would and the college continued to struggle. Throughout the school’s history, there was one man, Dr. William Woods, who continuously came to its financial aid and he did so again in 1900, giving the school almost $40,000 to keep off creditors. Later in the year, Daughters College was renamed William Woods College in honor of the famous benefactor.
The college became a university in 1993 and in 1996 the university’s board of trustees voted to make it a co-educational institution. The first male students were enrolled in 1997.
Today, WWU is co-ed institution with a student population of slightly over 1,000 and sits on a 170-acre campus in the town of Fulton, Missouri.
WWU has seven academic departments offering both majors and minors in a wide variety of disciplines. Under the Art Department, the university offers majors in art education, communication, graphic design, speech and theater education, studio art and theater. The department offers minors in art, communication, music and theater. A major in communications, for example, will comprise of a foundation course in communication which is complemented by specialization in various fields of communication such as public relations, digital filmmaking, journalism and broadcasting.
Students seeking majors in the social sciences are served by the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department which offers majors in social work, legal studies, history, interpreting and political and legal studies. This department offers minors in criminal justice, social work, history and American Sign Language among others.
Other departments at WWU include the department of education (offering majors in elementary, middle school and secondary education), the department of business and economics (offering majors in accounting, business administration and management information systems) and the department of science and humanities (offering majors in biology, mathematics and English).
WWU has a well-regarded department of equestrian studies which offers majors and minors in equestrian science and equestrian administration.
The university offers various special programs to complement the student’s core course. Incoming freshmen are required to take a course known as Connections which is aimed at helping them understand how colleges are structured, the things they need to do to be successful and how to improve connections with faculty and peers. There are also opportunities to study abroad enabling the student to take some classes in many parts of the world including Europe, Africa and Asia.
Under a special program known as Woods Around the World (WATW) students take classroom lessons about a place and then make a trip there to obtain first hand experience.
The university has a student-teacher ratio of about 13:1.
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WWU operates what it calls a “rolling admissions” policy which allows students to apply for admission at any time of the year. To be admitted as a freshman, the university requires that the applicant submit high school transcripts showing a minimum grade point average of 2.5, a minimum score of 19 in the ACT or a score of 890 in the SAT. Moreover, applying freshmen are required to have graduated in the top 50% of their class.
Students transferring to WWU from other institutions are required to submit transcripts issued by those institutions. To be successful, the applicant is required to have a minimum of 12 college credit hours and to have a minimum grade point average of 2.5. The university only accepts transfers from accredited institutions.
International students seeking admission to WWU have to satisfy all the requirements above but in addition, they will have to demonstrate their ability to speak, read and write fluently in English. The university accepts a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 as proof of proficiency for the paper-based test. Applicants taking the computer and internet-based tests should obtain minimum scores of 213 and 80 respectively.
International students are also required to submit a leaving certificate issued by the last institution they attended. Where documents presented are not in English, they have to be evaluated by an accredited evaluating agency. Additionally, such applicants must present an official statement of financial support showing that they have enough funds to cater for tuition, room and board.
Financial aid for students attending WWU is available in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study programs and student loans. Most of the grants and scholarships available are tied to academic performance requiring that applicants meet and maintain certain academic grades to qualify.
The Missouri Boys/Girls State Participant Award is available for students who are residents of Missouri who have obtained admission to the university with a minimum ACT score of 23 or a SAT score of 1050. Applicants must also be registered full-time. The award is available for one academic year and is valued at $1,000.
An award that has similar qualification requirements is the Missouri Boys/Girls Leadership Award which is available for any student who has served as a governor or governess of Missouri Boys/Girls State. It is valued at $2,000 for residential students and $1,000 for commuter students.
A host of scholarships is also available. The Amy Shelton McNutt Scholarship (which covers 75% of the tuition, room and board expenses of the recipient) is awarded to an incoming freshman who demonstrates high standards of leadership and scholarship. The applicant must have a GPA of 3.5 and an ACT of 31 or SAT of 1360.
The Distinguished Scholar Scholarship provides an unlimited number of awards to students with a GPA of 3.5, a SAT of 1330 or an ACT of 30 and amounts awarded per year could be as high as $17,000 per winner.
Other scholarships include the Presidential Scholar (over $10,000) and the Honors Scholar (up to $12,500).
WWU has always had close ties with the church and one of the awards available at the university is the Disciples of Christ Grant which provides money to cover 50% of the tuition expenses of the children of the church’s ministers.
The Callaway County Alumni Association Scholarship is awarded to applicants who are sons or daughters of WWU alumni who live in Callaway County. Other awards include the Fulton College Board of Associates Scholarship, the Lowry Aid Fund Scholarship and the Ovid Bell Scholarship.
Life at WWU is a fine blend of serious academic pursuits and absorbing student activities. Student activities at the university are coordinated by the Center for Student Involvement under which close to 40 clubs and organizations operate. The center encourages students to join existing clubs and organizations and to create new ones.
In line with the philosophy of the founders of the institution, the university is home to some religious/faith-based organizations, the most visible of which is the Campus Crusade for Christ. This organization organizes weekly meetings and its activities include prayer, public speaking and praise and worship. Students who are members of the Catholic faith also meet weekly under the banner of St. Peter’s Posse. Both religious organizations preach tolerance and students from either organization are welcome to attend the other group’s meetings.
The university is also home to various academic, social and special interest clubs and organizations. The Biology Club provides a forum for students to get more involved in biological sciences. The diversity at the university is celebrated through the activities of the Multicultural Affairs Club whose members work to foster acceptance and understanding of racial ethnic, gender and other differences.
Other clubs and organizations include the Jesters Club for students pursuing theater studies, the psychology club, the pre-medicine club and the Hands Up sign language club. Students also produce a campus newsletter known as the Talon.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
WWU students take part in various athletic activities which include basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball and truck and field. The university’s athletic teams are known as the Owls and compete in the American Midwest Conference. The university has seven women’s team and six men’s team competing in various sports.
The Owls are known for sportsmanship, integrity, respect and responsibility and have severally been awarded for these qualities by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In 2010, 204 universities and colleges nationwide were awarded the Champions of Character Institution and WWU made the list. The university’s softball and volleyball teams also received the Buffalo Five Star Champions of Character Team Award for the year 2010.
“About the Woods”. William Woods University. 14th May 2011
“William Woods University”. HorseSchools.com. 14th May 2011
“William Woods University”. US News & World Report. 14th May 2011