First founded in 1852 as an “establishment of seminary learning” by the Ohio and Shenango Presbyteries, Westminster College was one of the nation’s first co-educational institutions. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, Westminster is now a top-tier private, non-profit, Christian liberal arts college with a $90 million endowment. Westminster College is located on a beautiful 350-acre rural campus in the small town of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh. Each year, Westminster enrolls approximately 1,550 undergraduate and post-graduate students. Westminster College has a high four-year graduation rate of 78 percent and average freshman retention rate of 85 percent.
According to the U.S. News and World Report, Westminster is ranked the 125th best national liberal arts college in the United States for 2015. In fact, high school counselors placed Westminster College as the 137th best school overall. With a financial grade of B, Westminster has been honored as the 136th best college in the Northeast by Forbes magazine. It was also named the #1 “Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).” The Princeton Review consistently lists Westminster among the “Best in the Northeast” schools. Washington Monthly magazine distinguished Westminster College as the third top liberal arts college nationwide for social mobility.
Westminster College Accreditation Details
Reaffirmed for 10 years in 2011, Westminster College is institutionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS). This regional accreditation is accepted by the U.S. Department of Education and Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). A few academic departments have gone the extra step to receive programmatic approvals, too. For instance, music degrees meet the standards of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Teaching degrees are also given the stamp of approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDOE).
Westminster College Application Requirements
Even though Westminster College accepts around 93 percent of applicants, the admissions process is still selective. First-year freshmen must be high school graduates with a diploma or have received equivalent GED credentials. It’s preferred that applicants have completed a rigorous college-prep curriculum with AP or IB classes. Specific grade requirements aren’t listed, but admitted students have an average high school GPA of 3.5. For the SAT, students should score between 460 and 590 on each section, including writing. Westminster typically also accepts freshmen with a composite ACT score over 19. An on-campus interview is encouraged, but not required.
Undergraduate transfers may be admitted based on their performance at another regionally accredited post-secondary institution. Students must have at least 12 college credits, but no more than 64 credits, that qualify for transfer. Westminster College requires that transfer students have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 2.0. For the Graduate School, applicants must have earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. Maintaining a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is mandatory. Certain education degrees will require graduate students to have valid Pennsylvania teaching certification. International students must score at least 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL test.
By the Early Action deadline on November 15th or Regular deadline on January 5th, students must submit the following materials to Westminster College:
• Completed online admissions form
• Official high school and/or college transcripts
• College entrance exam scores (SAT, ACT, or GRE)
• Two assessments of educational potential
• Current resume or CV (graduate students)
• Payment of the $35 application fee
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduate students at Westminster College will be charged $16,410 per semester or $32,820 each academic year, regardless of state residence. Students taking under 12 or over 19 hours must pay the flat-rate tuition of $1,055 per semester hour. Undergraduate students are charged an annual $885 student activity fee and $400 InfoTech fee. Total cost of attendance for Westminster undergraduates is generally $34,325 each year. Room and board can range from $5,590 to $7,620 annually based on living arrangements. On average, graduate students pay $9,360 in tuition and $225 in required fees annually.
Nearly 98 percent of matriculated Westminster students are awarded merit-based or need-based financial aid support. The college offers an interest-free monthly payment plan through Higher One’s Tuition Pay. Students can find financing through the Federal Stafford, Federal Perkins, Parent PLUS, or Grad PLUS loans. Credit-worthy students could qualify for private/alternative educational college loans. Free gift aid is accessible for some with the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, National SMART Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents may receive the Pennsylvania State Grant from the PHEAA. Selected Westminster Scholars will be granted at least $17,000 per year. Other programs include the Presidential Award, Lemmon Family Scholarship, Music Talent Award, and Titan Scholarship.
Westminster College prides itself on offering strong academics and individualized attention with a low student-faculty ratio of 12:1. Over 90 percent of the college’s 110 full-time faculty members hold terminal degrees. Students can select from 39 bachelor’s, 10 pre-professional, and six master’s programs. Some unique majors are available in Broadcasting and Media Production, Financial Economics, Engineering Physics, Neuroscience, and Sports Management. Pre-professional programs range from Dentistry and Medicine to Physical Therapy and Law. Westminster is particularly enticing for Pre-Med students who are accepted into medical school at nearly double the national average.
The pristine, tree-lined campus has 22 buildings, a 100-acre outdoor laboratory, 10 tennis courts, and sparkling Brittain Lake. Westminster’s campus runs on a two-semester academic year with off-campus study options during winter break. Affiliated study abroad programs have taken Westminster College students to England, France, Japan, South Korea, Ireland, and more. There are 10 residential halls, so housing is assured for students all four years. Students can tune into Titan Radio or the Westminster Cable Network on channel 183. Participating in annual events like Volley Rock, Greek Week, Lil Sibs Weekend, and Mock Convention is also exciting.
Living at Westminster College is never boring because there are more than 80 clubs and organizations keeping students busy. Students could write for “The Holcad,” explore the past with Westminster History Interest Group (WHIG), give back with Habitat for Humanity, or find spirituality with Chapel Retreats. There are also four national fraternities and five national sororities for those interested in Greek life. Varsity athletes can compete with the Titans in the NCAA Division III Presidents’ Athletic Conference on 21 sports teams. Hall of Fame players like Joe Fusco, Larry Pugh, and Harold Davis have played in Burry Stadium at Westminster College.