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Alma College
Alma College prepares students to positively impact communities both near and far through critical...

Alma College

Alma, Michigan

Alma College: Where Plaid Works


Alma College is at its best when it’s working with students who don’t have all the answers, but love to ask the questions. A beautiful residential college located in the middle of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Alma College offers an individualized education through which each student is encouraged to identify personal and professional goals, charting a path for the future. Alma does not prescribe a formula for success; rather, Alma helps students discover their options and open the right doors. Perhaps the best thing about an Alma College education is its dedication to help students put the ideas and theories that they discuss in the classroom to work in real-world settings. Or maybe it’s the lifelong friendships and amazing memories that are made in the process.


Through the Alma Commitment, faculty work with students to plan a college experience that includes all the classes necessary to graduate on time. The Alma Commitment, the Alma Venture, and other college-sponsored grant programs provide up to $2,500 to every student to offset the cost of a personalized experience, such as study abroad, internships, hands-on research or clinical project, and service. Students have practical experiences that look great on their résumés, all while having the time and resources to include other campus opportunities that are important to them (performing arts, athletics, Greek life, etc.).


So what’s all this about plaid? Alma College is home to the Alma Scots. The college is proud of its Scottish heritage and enthusiastically welcomes students from all backgrounds. Driven students are invited to join in the fun of Alma’s Scottish traditions, including the Kiltie Marching Band (in kilts!), Highland dance troupe, and the drum and bagpipe band. Those who come to Alma are quick to love the sound of bagpipes. Go Scots!



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,414 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
84% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
99 full-time faculty
64 part-time faculty
11.7 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
98% of first year students live on campus
91% of all students live on campus

School Location

Alma College is located in Alma, Michigan, about 60 miles north of Lansing in the middle of the Lower Peninsula.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

79.8% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

67% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Black or African American 4%
White 78%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


Forty percent of Alma students participate in intercollegiate athletics, joining the winning NCAA Division III tradition of the Alma Scots.

Men’s varsity sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, wrestling
Women’s varsity sports: basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball.
The most recent addition, Alma’s 25th varsity sport, is competitive cheer/stunt.

Other Information

Founded in 1886, Alma College has provided a quality undergraduate education highlighting personal attention, social responsibility, leadership development, and extraordinary achievements for 131 years. Alma College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Academic Programs

Alma College offers the following undergraduate majors: Accounting, Anthropology, Art and Design, Athletic Training, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Dance, Economics, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, English, Environmental Studies, Finance, French, German, Health Care Administration, History, Integrative Physiology and Health Science, International Business Administration, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Music Education, New Media Studies, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Secondary Education, Special Education-Learning Disabilities, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre. Pre-professional programs at Alma prepare students for further study and careers in dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, ministry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician’s assistant and veterinary.

More Distinctions

  • The Alma Commitment is designed to help students reach their personal and professional goals. The Alma Commitment includes an on-time graduation promise and up to $2,500 for each student to fund an experiential learning opportunity, such as an internship, research fellowship, or study abroad. Alma helps design Alma Ventures that match students’ interests and gives every undergraduate great experiences for their lives after college.

  • The Center for Student Opportunity is a one-stop shop for students to make the most of their Alma education. The CSO provides a program of advising and activities both to help each student identify a path to graduation and to support his or her career or grad school goals. The CSO houses expanded services related to academic and career planning, service learning, leadership development, off-campus study, diversity services, and international student support.

  • Service is part of Alma’s culture. The Corporation for National and Community Service has named Alma College to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging students, faculty, and staff in meaningful service. Typically, more than 85 percent of Alma’s students participate in academic service learning during their time at Alma College.

  • Alma College’s nationally recognized Model United Nations program has won top honors at the national conference in New York City for 21 consecutive years (1997-2017)—the longest active winning streak of any college or university in the nation. Alma College’s 40 all-time “outstanding delegation” awards are the most of any college or university in the 90-year history of the conference.

  • The Princeton Review recognizes Alma College for its distinctive experiential learning opportunities in the second edition of the book Colleges that Create Futures: 50 Schools that Launch Careers by Going Beyond the Classroom. The book’s editors recognize Alma College for its funding of off-campus experiences, STEM education and research, faculty support for student success, and supportive alumni network.

Delve Deeper

Ask Alma students about the amount of personal attention they receive, and they’ll tell stories of professors who personally helped them delve deeper into their areas of interest, arranged special study sessions, or took personal time reviewing tests and papers with them. Alma’s small classes give students the opportunity to participate in class discussions, seek answers from their professors, and work closely with their peers—individuals who value the challenges of a liberal arts curriculum.

Spring Term

A highlight of Alma’s general-education requirements is the popular Spring Term, a one-month immersion on a single academic topic that offers learning experiences not typically available during the more traditional 15-week fall and winter terms. One might take an on-campus research course, or they could take a travel course that provides a more global perspective. With the help of the Alma Commitment’s Venture Grant, one might embark on a Spring-Term travel course to explore marine organisms in Hawaii, study social change in China, examine medicinal plants in the Ecuadorian rain forest, or practice documentary-style photography in Spain. The list of courses and travel experiences changes annually. Every student is sure to find one that excites them.

Global Education

Alma encourages its students to look beyond Michigan’s boundaries. The Posey Global Leadership Program, for example, provides funding and opportunities for Alma students to travel anywhere in the world and complete a self-designed project. Since 2006, more than 280 Posey Global awards have been granted to students for research and service projects in 47 countries. Thirty-two percent of students in Alma’s 2016 graduating class reported studying abroad during their time at Alma. In cooperation with colleges and universities overseas, Alma offers international study and research opportunities in Australia, Austria, Ecuador, England, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, and Scotland.

Undergraduate Research

Alma undergraduates often design and undertake original projects in their fields. Almost half of Alma’s students pursue an independent project under a professor’s guidance, and another 10 percent work alongside faculty members in shared projects. These student researchers aim to present their findings at regional and national scholarly meetings or Alma’s annual Honors Day. Other students personalize their education by taking advantage of cooperative arrangements with urban teaching centers in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington.

First-Year Seminar

All incoming students begin their Alma College experience by enrolling in a First Year Seminar that allows students to study a topic with their peers for an entire semester. The seminars, designed to be typical classes, illustrate the breadth of the liberal arts. Classes vary in topic; some are introductions to academic topics, while others give students a chance to develop study and time management skills.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band X
Model UN X
Music ensembles X
Musical theater  
Pep band  
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station  
Yearbook X

New Limits

All members of the Alma family—faculty, students, staff, and trustees—are committed to creating an institution of quality centered on the growth and development of undergraduate students. Here is Alma’s most important distinction: a superb faculty dedicated to mentoring students. Students’ years at Alma are times of high achievement, times when they rethink their limits and refashion their beliefs in ways that last a lifetime.

STEM Opportunities

An Alma College initiative funded by The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation addresses the national demand for more graduates trained in the STEM fields. The initiative, titled “e-STEM: Enhancing STEM Education and Practice,” provides opportunities for students to engage in real-world research and learning in the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A major component of the e-STEM initiative is the development of the Dow Digital Science Center, a place for the collection and storage of data acquired through remote sensing instrumentation. Linking environmental data from remote sensors in the field to the DDSC immerses students in STEM research.

Teacher Preparation

Alma College’s teacher preparation program is fully approved by the Michigan Department of Education. Ninety-six percent of Alma’s 2015 and 2016 teacher education graduates reported that they are employed in the field of education.

Summer Science

First-year science and mathematics students have the extraordinary opportunity to engage in research before they even step foot on campus. Prior to their freshman year, selected students are invited to begin their academic journey through the ASPIRE summer research opportunity alongside Alma faculty and other students. Amazing undergraduate research opportunities continue throughout their academic careers.

Programs of Emphasis

Alma students have the ability to work with a faculty advisor and design their own area of academic concentration to meet specific educational or career goals. In recent years, students have graduated with Programs of Emphasis majors in such fields as arts management; archaeology and anthropology; environmental policy and community advocacy; foreign service and international law; and music technology and digital media.

Hands-on Nursing

As the demand for nurses increases, so too does the requirement for more education and training. Alma’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)  degree program, launched in 2014, has achieved full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 22 students have already graduated from the program and are employed in health settings. A partnership with the local hospital provides early and frequent access to clinical experiences, simulation instruction, and patient care.

Pre-Professional Programs

Even if students are uncertain about the fields of health service they want to pursue, Alma’s pre-professional programs can prepare them for graduate training in medicine, dentistry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician’s assistantships, and veterinary sciences.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 96 172 83 31 5 4 0 391


Students have many opportunities to participate in campus life outside of the classroom. No matter what activities students choose to get involved with, each one helps them explore new ideas and interests. Alma has a student organization for just about every passion one may have. Greeks, geeks, and everything in between—more than 80 student organizations offer opportunities to lead, laugh, and learn. Chapel programming offers opportunities to develop students’ faiths. The popular Stone Recreation Center provides fitness and recreation opportunities. In addition to traditional residence halls and apartments, Alma has theme housing options devoted to varied interests.

Alternative Breaks

According to Break Away, the national organization that supports the development of alternative break experiences, Alma College ranks among the top 10 schools in the nation in the percentage of students who participate in alternative break service trips. During 2016-17, Alma students on alternative breaks provided disaster relief, participated in environmental stewardship activities, and worked with various urban agencies responding to the hungry and the homeless.

Adventure Recreation

Alma College is located in the middle of Michigan, which offers excellent outdoor recreational areas and the longest freshwater coastline in the United States. Alma’s Adventure Recreation program sponsors student weekend programming experiences that include camping, kayaking, snowboarding, and skiing to such locations as Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island, the Pictured Rocks, and Boyne and Caberfae mountains.

The Performing Arts

Twenty-seven percent of Alma students take part in at least one fine-arts performance each year. The college offers majors in theatre, dance, and music, but students of all majors may join in productions. The Remick Heritage Center for the Performing Arts is the region’s premier performing arts facility.

The Alma Community

Located in a community of 10,000, Alma College features a walkable campus with historic and contemporary buildings. The campus is a block from downtown Alma and within two hours of Michigan beaches and ski areas. Gratiot and adjacent counties feature plentiful parks, outdoor recreation opportunities, golf courses, and shops. The campus is bordered by the 41-mile Fred Meijer Heartland Bike Trail.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing X
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing X
Other housing options  

There is tremendous value to the Alma Experience. Students are prepared to meet the world’s challenges head-on, equipped with a depth of knowledge and experiences that prepare them to excel in their chosen fields. They have the advantage of being adaptable and flexible as new careers define the job market. Regardless of a student’s eventual profession, he or she will be inspired to impact communities both near and far through critical thinking, generous service, purposeful leadership, and responsible living.

Grad School Success

Since 2003, Alma College students have been awarded 47 prestigious, nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships, including 25 Fulbright scholarships to study in amazing locations across the globe. Alma’s Nationally Competitive Scholarship Committee identifies and nurtures exceptional candidates for postgraduate awards.


  • Ninety-two percent of Alma College’s 2016 graduates reported working in full-time positions or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.

  • Alma’s 4-year graduation rate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors (88%) is higher than the rates reported at 4-year doctoral institutions (52%), non-doctoral institutions (34%), or at other 4-yr small, private colleges (80%) as reported in the March 2014 Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) report, Strengthening the STEM Pipeline: The Contributions of Small and Mid-Sized Independent Colleges.

  • Students have the opportunity to present their research at the annual Honors Day. Highlighted by student presentations, performances, and art exhibits, Honors Day is a “distinctly Alma” tradition. Classes are suspended for the entire day so students, faculty, and staff can attend the various sessions, revealing one of the best features of the Alma community: support for and pride in exceptional student accomplishment.

  • Alma College’s membership in Phi Beta Kappa is an indication of excellence within the liberal arts. Only 10 percent of colleges and universities in the United States share this distinction. The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organization.

  • Among Alma’s most noted alumni is U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, class of 1980. “Being in the U.S. Congress is like the ultimate liberal arts job because every day is different, and you are dealing with a whole range of subjects,” he says. “Having that kind of background helps me do my job each and every day.”


Admissions Fall 2016

4,695 Total Applicants 
3,184 Total Admissions 
447 Total Freshmen Enrollment

67.82% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores
Application Essay

Rigor of secondary school record
Character/personal qualities

Class rank
Extracurricular activities
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 420 590
SAT Math 460 593
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 21 26
ACT Math 20 26
ACT English 21 26
ACT Writing    

Application Requirements

Alma welcomes talented students from across the country and around the world. All applicants are encouraged to use the free online application at or and submit a personal statement. Paper applications are available for download or by request, but include a $25 application fee.

Specific additional requirements are as follows:

Freshman applicants

  • Official high school transcript
  • Official ACT or SAT scores
  • Counselor Recommendation Form


International applicants

  • Official secondary school transcript
  • Official ACT, SAT, TOEFL or IELTS scores
  • Counselor Recommendation Form
  • International Student Declaration of Financial Support (available on our Web site)


Transfer applicants

  • Official high school transcript
  • Official college transcript(s) from all institutions attended
  • Transfer Recommendation Form (available on our Web site)


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $38,348
Fees $420
Total $38,768
Room and Board (on campus) $10,642
Estimated Total On Campus $49,410


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-17 estimated

$29,312 First year students
$25,234 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-17 estimated

68% on average, the percentage of need that was met
12% of financial need students that had need fully met

$25,234 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,571 Average need-based loan

Scholarships and Need-Based Aid


  • Freshmen merit awards of up to $21,500 annually are based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores
  • Transfer student merit awards of up to $19,500 annually are based on college GPA.
  • Top scholars are invited to interview for additional scholarship funds.
  • National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic scholars also are invited to interview for additional scholarship funds that rage up to full tuition.



  • In addition to merit awards, students are encouraged to explore other scholarships that fit their interests. Please see the list at for further details, deadlines, and applications.