Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College is a unique school.  It is nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in one of the most breath-taking settings of any college in the US.  Warren Wilson has the charming feel and smell of summer camp in the mountains. Nine-hundred undergraduate and 100 graduate students, pursuing Masters of Fine Arts, attend.  Warren Wilson is an environmentally conscious and socially aware school.

Warren Wilson’s philosophy is defined by what is known as the Triad.  Each student’s experience is centered around the three components: Academics, Work, and Service.  There is a liberal arts framework wherein students must take at least 1 class in each of 8 liberal arts areas. Students learn do not only learn in the classroom; they also learn by doing.  One chemistry student continued his learning in a lab analyzing the Swannanoa River water quality for a local non-profit’s watershed management plan.  Another student started a literary magazine along side a professor. Another taught science enrichment to over 1000 students in the Ashville area. With these experiential and classroom opportunities, a rich academic base is formed. The second leg of the Triad is work.  All students work 15 hours/week on an assigned work crew. There are over 100 crews essential to the day-to-day running of the college.  Some examples of work crews are library support, computer repair, dorm maintenance, dining services, design publications, cataloging archeological finds, or plowing the fields.  Each student gets a tuition credit for over $3400 towards attendance for his or her work.  Service is the third point on the triad. The service requirement is 100 hours of service work during the 4 years of college. Because of Warren Wilson’s singular approach to full student engagement, they are consistently ranked high in various college rankings in categories such as “coolest schools,” “greenest schools,” and “schools with the best service engagement.”  Warren Wilson sends a large percentage of graduates to the Peace Corps.

The students at Warren Wilson learn a lot about community and the value of collaborative work. Every student is a member of the Student Caucus.  There are weekly meetings.  Students become voting members if they attend 3 consecutive meetings and sign a written document that they will uphold the responsibilities of voting membership. The caucus addresses all matters of campus life from housing, discipline, school philosophy, and the academic calendar to student activities and the service and work programs.

Twenty percent of students come from North Carolina.  Forty-five states and 20 countries are represented in the small student body.

There are 40 majors and 27 minors available.  The most popular majors are Environmental Sciences, English, and Outdoor Leadership. There is a dual degree program in forestry with Duke University.

Ninety-three percent of the faculty has PhD’s.  The average class size is 17.  Ninety percent of all students live on campus in 15 small residence halls that house between 17 and 125 students.

The first year retention rate is 67%.


The 4-year graduation rate is 30.5%.  Whoops.

The 5-year graduation rate is 41.9%.

The 6-year graduation rate is 44.7%.


72% of all applicants are accepted.

mid-range scores:

SATr:                          500-650

SATm:                        480-590
SATw:                        510-620

ACT:                           23-28

Average GPA:          3.5







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