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Ripon College


Ripon CollegeA campus of 250 lushly shaded acres, nestled in the heart of Wisconsin’s Green Lake region, with a prairie conservancy as its next door neighbor and a lake resort town a little down the road – this is home to the 800 or so undergraduate students at Ripon College. It’s small wonder that 92 percent of Ripon students choose to live on campus. Founded in 1851, this private liberal arts college is an outdoor enthusiast’s college dream come true. Activities like fishing and kayaking the lake, hiking the campus’s several miles of recreation trails, or even just relaxing outside between classes in one of Ripon’s famous Adirondack chairs provide welcome breaks from studying, but don’t be fooled – Ripon is as well known for its academics as for its beautiful location. It’s rated as a best college of the Midwest by the Princeton Review and a tier 1 national liberal arts school by the U.S. News and World Report. All of Ripon’s students benefit from its highly personalized approach to a liberal arts education, but naturally, outdoorsy students interested in environmental studies will especially love what Ripon has to offer.

Resource: 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest

Ripon College Accreditation Details

Ripon College has been fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the Associate Colleges of the Midwest. It is a baccalaureate-level institution.

Ripon College Application Requirements

Be sure to speak with a Ripon College admissions officer for answers to any questions that may arise during the application process. Remember that dates and deadlines may be changed from one academic year to the next. The following guidelines can help you to plan your college applications and get a sense of how you compare academically to accepted Ripon students:

  • In 2016, Ripon’s incoming freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.4, and 87 percent graduated in the top half of their high school class. Their average SAT score was 1149, and 75 percent scored above a 21 on the ACT exam.
  • Ripon College suggests that first-year applicants have completed a college preparatory high school curriculum that includes at least four units of English, three units each of social sciences and natural sciences, and mathematics up to the level of algebra II and geometry.
  • In addition to the required application form and official transcripts, optional materials a prospective student may wish to submit in support of his or her application include an essay, a personal statement and/or a school recommendation form.
  • Ripon’s admissions team begins reviewing applications September 15 of the preceding academic year. January 15 is the priority deadline for scholarship consideration. May 1 is the priority enrollment deposit date.
  • Transfer candidates should submit college transcripts, and if they have completed fewer than 18 transferable college credits, they should submit high school records as well.
  • Transfer students will be considered for admission if they have maintained a GPA of 2.0 out of 4.0 in all college coursework.
  • Ripon College’s admissions office reviews transfer applications on a rolling basis for both the fall and spring semesters.

Tuition and Financial Aid

As of the 2016-2017 academic year, the cost of tuition at Ripon College was $38,842. Room and board rates for a double occupancy room and standard meal plan amounted to $7,679 per year. All told, the annual costs of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses for a Ripon College student was estimated at $49,261.

Though it does seem like a hefty sum at first glance, would-be Ripon students should take heart in knowing that they likely won’t have to pay full price if accepted. According to Money Magazine, Ripon College is one of the most affordable private colleges in the nation, with 98 percent of accepted students receiving financial aid in the form of need-based grants, merit scholarships, educational loans and work-study opportunities.

Ripon College offers an extensive range of merit scholarships that aim to recognize students for a broad variety of talents and interests. These are granted on a rolling basis once the student has been officially accepted into Ripon College. Academic scholarships range in value from $14,000 to $18,000 a year and are awarded for academic achievement and leadership within the student’s high school community. Accepted applicants who meet certain GPA and standardized test score minimum requirements are also invited to compete for a Pickard Scholarship; to compete, newly admitted students visit campus, conduct interviews with faculty and write impromptu essays. A Pickard Scholarship is worth up to $30,000 per year. Students who excel in mathematics or sciences and who are judged to have the potential to make significant contributions to one of the science departments at RC may be considered for the four-year, full-tuition Knop Science Scholarship.

In addition to merit-based scholarships, Ripon College’s financial aid office staff also reviews each student’s FAFSA and, based on the student’s determined need, offers financial aid packages that may include federal loans, federal grants, work-study positions or any combination of the three.

Student Experience

It’s hard to imagine a better place than Ripon College to major in environmental studies. After all, the very campus itself is home to the 130-acre Ceresco Prairie Conservancy, a haven of prairie, oak savannah and wetland habits native to the Green Lake region. The Conservancy is a “town and gown” collaboration between Ripon and the local community, with the goal of restoring native prairie ecosystems that have often been endangered by society’s changes to the landscape. The Conservancy is now a home to native plants and wildlife as well as a living classroom for Ripon students and a place of peaceful recreation for the community.

When not volunteering or studying on the Conversancy, Environmental Studies majors at Ripon embark on a highly personalized, interdisciplinary course of study that may combine classes from anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics and history, politics and government or even philosophy. These classes are selected based on the student’s individual career goals, but are always built on a foundation of required environmental studies courses and a mandatory internship or field work experience that takes place off campus.

The off-campus opportunities are as varied as the classroom learning: Students can learn environmental policy and law in Washington D.C., explore anthropological and ecological sites in Tanzania, conduct field studies in Costa Rica or spend a semester at sea researching marine biology. And, while on campus, environmental studies majors can truly live their values, whether by volunteering with the EGOR (Environmental Group of Ripon) Club, working as EcoReps on campus, or taking part in the many sustainability initiatives that Ripon College has undertaken.