Rocky Mountain College

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Rocky Mountain College was initially opened in 1878 in Deer Lodge as the Montana Collegiate Institute. Over a half century later, the institute incorporated Wesleyan College and moved to Billings as the city’s first post-secondary institution. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church, RMC has evolved into a premier regional private, nonprofit liberal arts college. Carrying an endowment of $16.58 million, Rocky enrolls over 1,050 Battlin’ Bears with a 69 percent freshman retention rate. Rocky Mountain College’s courses take place upon 60 suburban acres in Montana’s largest city within the rugged Continental Divide.

According to the U.S. News, RMC is the West’s 9th best regional college, fifth most veteran-friendly school, and fourth top value. In particular, the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) was distinguished as the country’s 141st best. Graded C+ financially, Rocky was ranked America’s 216th top liberal arts university by Forbes magazine. On Niche, Rocky Mountain College was deemed the 155th “Best Christian College” and 216th “Best College for Environmental Science” nationwide. Great Value Colleges placed RMC as the 11th most affordable school west of the Mississippi River. In Washington Monthly, Rocky placed 152nd among the United States’ top baccalaureate colleges.

Rocky Mountain College Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed in 2015, Rocky Mountain College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This third-party agency is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit Montana schools. Certain departments have earned specialized approval from:

• Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)
• Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI)
• Office of Public Instruction for the State of Montana

Rocky Mountain College Application Requirements

Getting an acceptance letter from Rocky Mountain College can be difficult with the “selective” admission rate of 67 percent. First-time college applicants must have graduated from a high school in the last five years or earned the GED equivalent. Finishing a college-prep curriculum with four years of English and at least three years of math and science each is suggested. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher is preferred, but the average accepted GPA is 3.29. Students should also achieve a minimum SAT score of 1060 or ACT score of 21.

Undergrad transfers to RMC must have attempted 27+ college-level credits at regionally accredited institutions. Students should not have been dismissed or placed on probation for a cumulative GPA under 2.0. Up to 94 semester hours graded “C-” or better can transfer. Non-native English speakers from global nations need to certify their fluency with a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 72 or IELTS score of 5.5. The Graduate Studies Division requires completing a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and satisfactory GRE score over 290. The MPAS program specifically requires 1,500 paid hours of hands-on patient care.

Rocky Mountain College has waived the fee for its web-based application, which can be submitted on a rolling basis. Mailing the paper application to Billings will require paying $35 by check or money order though. Don’t forget to also submit the following:

• Official academic records
• Standardized testing reports
• Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
• A maximum 1,000-word personal goals essay
• Two letters of recommendation
• Resume of healthcare experience (MPAS only)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Regardless of Montana residency, full-time undergraduates at RMC are charged $13,518 per semester or $27,036 yearly for tuition. Mandatory fees add approximately $265 every term. Living on-campus is estimated to cost $3,898 for housing and $4,312 for carte blanche meal plans each year. Rocky Mountain College suggests budgeting $1,300 for books and $3,200 for personal supplies annually. Total annual cost of attendance is roughly $40,276 for full-time students. Specialized degrees may have different price tags though. For example, the Aviation Program bills $14,500 extra for pilot flight labs. The MPAS curriculum costs $38,931 yearly.

Approximately 93 percent of full-time Rocky students receive assistance. The NCES reports that the average financial aid package gifts $16,468 annually. Based in Prescott Hall, the Financial Aid Office offers institutional funding, such as the Trustee Scholarship, Dean’s Award, Transfer Merit Scholarship, Music Scholarship, and Montana Valedictorian Scholarship. Federally, students could obtain the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. “Big Sky State” residents may benefit from the Montana Higher Education Grant or Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP). Federal Work-Study offers campus jobs for up to $7,000 per academic year. Students also take out Stafford, Perkins, PLUS, and private/alternative loans. Some graduates can pardon their debt with the Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program though.

Student Experience

Rocky Mountain College offers engaging, inspiring education from a liberal arts core with only PhD-level professors. The 12:1 student-faculty ratio ensures students have a front row seat whether they’re in Eaton Hall or flying a Beechcraft. Undergraduates select from 52 well-defined majors, including Aeronautical Science, Creative Writing, Equine Business, Geology, Petroleum Systems, and Small Business Management. Three graduate programs are available for a Master of Accountancy, Master of Educational Leadership, or Master of Physician Assistant Studies. Each freshmen completes the First-Year Experience and its Common Read. Extra challenge is offered in the Honors Program for upperclassmen with a minimum 3.4 GPA.

Learning at RMC isn’t confined to lecture hall walls. Its ideal location in Billings places students near Pictograph Cave, The Rimrocks, Yellowstone Art Museum, Dehler Park, and more. Outdoor enthusiasts can easily take day trips to Bighorn Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and even the Grand Tetons. Biology students conduct labs in the nearby Pryor Mountains. Therapeutic riding majors saddle up thoroughbreds in the Intermountain Equestrian Center’s 75 box stalls. Aspiring actors perform regularly at the Alberta Bair Theater and Rimrock Opera. Rocky Mountain College also partners with organizations like St. Vincent Healthcare and First Interstate Bank for internships.

Campus life is active with 51 percent of Rocky Battlin’ Bears residing on-site. There are currently 28 chartered, student-led organizations, such as Lunch Out Loud, Veterans Club, IHSA Equestrian Team, Fencing Club, and Rocky Gay-Straight Alliance. Between treks to Tyler Hall and bites to eat at the Bear’s Den, students have fun through the Rocktivities program. Annual events include the Hogwarts Banquet, Yule Log Dinner, Homecoming Pep Rally, and International Week. Students also proudly cheer on the 15 NAIA Division I varsity teams in the Frontier Conference. Rocky Mountain College is particularly known for its men’s skiing team, which has won four national championships.