College of the Ozarks is a private Christian college that focuses on liberal arts. Its campus is at Point Lookout, Missouri, near Branson and Springfield. With a 1,000-acre campus and a small student-to-teacher ratio, the college has a lot to recommend it, as well as some unique policies and standards. Here’s what you need to know before applying.
This is not a party school. It is a Christian college whose unofficial nickname is “Hard Work U.” Students and teachers are serious here, not only about getting a top quality education, but about building character.
With a 1,000-acre campus, this school is pretty isolated from the rest of the world. The town in which the college is located, Point Lookout, has little to offer besides fishing. Fortunately, Branson is only a few miles away, and is notorious for Midwest entertainment. Most of this entertainment, unfortunately, is targeted at the baby boomer demographic, who are into nostalgia, and at gamblers, neither one of which fits the student profile at this college. Still, Branson is a big enough town that it has shopping, restaurants, and movies, all things college students might enjoy when they’re not in class or studying.
Since the focus at this school is on education and character, there isn’t much to do on campus. There is no Greek life, although there are sports, and school spirit is encouraged. There are some annual on-campus activities that are meant to be wholesome, such as the open-mic coffee house where Christian music is encourages, the Springfest where a picnic is served and Christian bands play, the Sadie Hawkins dance, and a mandatory one-week Character Camp with fun activities for all incoming students.
All students are required to live on campus to better monitor their character and behavior. The only exceptions to this are students who are married or who are still living with their parents.
The strict code of conduct and lack of social activities on campus is frustrating for some students. Then again, most students who apply here know what kind of school it is and are actively seeking out this type of experience. Those who complain tend to transfer to more liberal universities.
This is a college for Christians, and students love the many opportunities the school gives them to grow in their faith and get closer to God. There are all sorts of on-campus ministries, chapel services, missionary trip opportunities, Christian counseling services, and camps in which students can participate.
Arguably the most famous former student of the school is actress April Scott. She has appeared on numerous TV shows such as Entourage, The Shield, and CSI: Miami.
Classes are challenging, and are focused on both learning and character development. In fact, character development is built into the curriculum of most classes at this school.
There are 42 majors covering a wide range of disciplines, from sciences to theater. The school also offers a major in Biblical and Theological Studies. There are 10 pre-professional programs for those with a specific career path in mind, such as pre-med, pre-law, and pre-veterinary science.
There are occasionally well-known Christian speakers on campus/ Nationally known Christian bands play each year at the school’s Springfest.
There are no particularly famous or infamous professors at the college. However, all professors are all well-educated in their fields of expertise and are known for providing challenging courses and quality education.
Men’s and women’s basketball are played here, as well as baseball and volleyball. This is not a Division 1 school, but the games are popular with students as a way to socialize. Games often make the local news, since the school represents athletics for the Ozarks area.
Warm to hot summers are followed by very cold winters with lots of snow. Spring and fall are chilly, but pleasant for getting outdoors and enjoying the beautiful Ozarks scenery.
Dating is not encouraged here, though neither it is not prohibited. Any dating is expected to be done in a Christian fashion. As you might expect from a conservative Christian school, there is no LGBT scene to speak of.
The school is nestled into beautiful Ozarks surroundings. It’s pretty gorgeous on campus, with 1,000 rolling acres of countryside. It can be very inspiring for many students. The other stand-out benefit is the fact that you will graduate without owing any student loan debt whatsoever. No other school in the United States can say this is true for all of its students.
\There is no tuition to attend this school. Instead, students work to earn their keep. There is a 15 hour weekly work requirement for students during each semester, with two 40-hour work weeks required during breaks. Work during the semesters is done on-campus. These work requirements, however, just cover tuition. To cover room and board (which is required for most students), the school hosts a summer-long work program for students whose parents can’t afford to pay for dorms and meals. This alternate tuition system has been a key part of the school’s program since its founding in 1906.
As you might expect from a conservative Christian establishment, this is a school with very few, if any, scandals. There’s not much to talk about here (well, nothing that would be considered gossipy, at least). However, during the 2003-2004 school year, Larry Cockrum, the college’s Dean, was revealed to have received his Ph.D. from a phony college run out of a scammer’s basement. Interestingly, the person who got in trouble for this at first was the professor who revealed the information to the school administration. The professor was suspended for the 2004 semester, and his contract was not renewed for future semesters. The college’s president initially defended the Dean; however, the Dean later voluntarily resigned from his position, as the scandal had become too much for him to continue with his work at the college.