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 as they chart a path for the future. Alma does not prescribe a formula for success; rather, it 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 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!
Get to know Alma College
- Campus Ministries
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Marching band
- Model UN
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- Student-run film society
- Symphony orchestra
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Common Intellectual Experiences
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Faculty Mentors
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Health Services
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Venture Program Guidance and Financing
- Student Success Initiative
- Peer Mentors
- Gender & Sexuality Center
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.
“Alma helped me get to my current position by providing excellent courses and opportunities for independent learning that made me competitive for Oxford and similarly-ranked universities. More generally, it developed within me a degree of resilience—an ability to stretch beyond what I thought were my boundaries, even when the odds may not have been in my favor.” – Will Allen ’09, Fellow in Political and Development Studies at Magdalen College, University of Oxford
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 rainforest, 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.
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. Sixty-three percent of students in Alma’s 2018 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.
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.
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.
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 3%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 4%
White, non-Hispanic: 81%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 2%
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.
“I transitioned from public health to digital analytics several years ago using my statistical background to analyze data to make strategic decisions for pharmaceutical companies. Alma helped me build a foundation to think critically, investigate problems holistically, and communicate articulately.” – Katelyn A. Inman ’10, Manager of Insights and Analytics at Elite SEM
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.
Alma College’s teacher preparation program is fully approved by the Michigan Department of Education and is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Alma offers programs in elementary, secondary, and special education, plus coursework in early childhood education and educational studies.
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.
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. A partnership with the local hospital provides early and frequent access to clinical experiences, simulation instruction, and patient care.
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.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
Teacher certification program
A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES
Students have many opportunities to participate in campus life outside of the classroom. No matter what activities students choose to get involved in, each one helps them explore new ideas and interests. Alma has a student organization for just about every passion someone 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.
“Being afforded multiple opportunities to take leadership positions in various sports, clubs, and Greek life has prepared me for becoming a leader at work and with my creative team. I currently work for a Fortune 500 company, but I’ve been able to move up and be promoted because I make sure to foster the relationships I form, a skill I learned at Alma.” – Shaina Nielson ’11, Design Manager for Midwest Creative Services at JLL
According to Break Away, the national organization that supports the development of alternative break experiences, Alma College ranks among the top three schools in the nation in the percentage of students who participate in alternative break service trips. During 2018-19, Alma students on alternative breaks participated in environmental stewardship activities and worked with various urban agencies responding to the hungry and the homeless.
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
Alma College is located in Alma, Michigan, about 60 miles north of Lansing in the middle of the Lower Peninsula.
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.
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 varsity sport addition is esports, which was launched in Fall 2019.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 95%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Special housing for international students
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.
“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. Having that kind of background helps me do my job each and every day.” – U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, class of 1980, one of Alma’s most noted alumni.
GRAD SCHOOL SUCCESS
Since 2003, Alma College students have been awarded 49 prestigious, nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships, including 27 Fulbright scholarships to study in amazing locations across the globe. Alma’s Nationally Competitive Scholarship Committee identifies and nurtures exceptional candidates for post-graduate awards.
DEVELOPING THE PERSON AND THE PROFESSIONAL
- Ninety-five percent of Alma College’s 2018 graduates reported working in full-time positions or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.
- The continued success of Alma College’s Model United Nations team spans more than two decades. Alma College students have captured the highest awards at the National Model UN conference in New York City for 23 consecutive years (1997-2019). Alma College teams have won 45 “outstanding delegation” awards—the most of any college or university in the conference’s 90-year history.
- 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.
Academic GPA | Application Essay
Rigor of secondary school record
Recommendation(s) | Interview | Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities | Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work | Work experience | Standardized test scores
Alma welcomes talented students from across the country and around the world. All applicants are encouraged to use the free online application at www.alma.edu/admissions/apply or www.commonapp.org 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:
- Official high school transcript
- Official ACT or SAT scores (optional as of 2020)
- Counselor Recommendation Form
- Official secondary school transcript
- Official ACT, SAT, TOEFL, or IELTS scores
- Counselor Recommendation Form
- International Student Declaration of Financial Support
- Official high school transcript
- Official college transcript(s) from all institutions attended
- Transfer Recommendation Form
Tuition & Cost
- Freshman merit awards of up to $25,000 annually are based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores
- Scholarships are available for transfer students who demonstrate academic achievement at their previous undergraduate institution or community college.
- 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.
ADDITIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS AND NEED-BASED AID
In addition to merit awards, students are encouraged to explore other scholarships that fit their interests. Please see the list at www.alma.edu/admissions/financial-aid/grants-scholarships for further details, deadlines, and applications.