Take the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, a community of 1800 students who
take learning much more seriously than they take themselves. The college’s
mascot is the “Fighting Scot.” The marching band wears kilts and plays
bagpipes. Seniors are each given a Tootsie Roll when they hand in their senior
projects, and the head football coach conducts the Scot Marching Band during
its Fall Concert. Stan Hales, Wooster’s
President, sums up the importance of
Wooster’s tradition this way.
"Tradition animates Wooster. We can treat it seriously or tongue in cheek,
which is indicative of the institution’s willingness to do things a bit funky
or quirky. There’s less peer pressure here, and a wider range of student
behavior and dress. We have a lighthearted view toward personal expression.
We’re very unpretentious."
college list is not built on kilts and bagpipes alone, and neither is Wooster.
Wooster is nationally recognized for “I.S.”(Independent Study), its signature
academic program in which every graduate completes three semesters of research
in his or her major. In the senior year, the student spends two semesters
working on a major investigative or creative project which culminates in the
writing of a thesis or the production of a substantial creative work. True to
form, the project ends with another Wooster tradition – the I.S. March, which
kicks off at 5 p.m. on the day the projects are due. Graduating seniors turn in
their projects and march together through the campus to Kittredge Dining Hall
where a dinner and awards ceremony take place. Among the honors given are
prizes for the longest and shortest I.S. titles.
Shopping for a college can be like shopping for a car. While every automaker
claims their model has “the largest trunk in its class,” every college seems to
promise “top professors” and “world-class facilities.” Wooster has these
qualities too (and a nine hole golf course on campus!). But even more
importantly, they offer a distinct sense of tradition that can enhance a
Wooster isn’t for everybody, but we certainly love their honesty, their I.S.
program, and their kilts. Find out more at www.wooster.edu