College of the Ozarks (commonly referred to as C of O) is a private Christian liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri near the towns of Branson and Hollister and just 40 miles south of Springfield. Established in 1907, C of O’s founding mission and purpose is to provide a “quality, Christian education to those who are found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to obtain such training.” Through a unique the combination of scholarships, grants, and education work programs, students are charged no tuition whatsoever. Known as ‘Hard Work U’, all full-time students work campus jobs to defray the costs of education and the College guarantees to meet the entire cost of education for students, allowing them the opportunity of graduating debt-free. C of O strongly discourages debt and leads the way through example by having no institutional debt of any kind.
Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, C of O awards baccalaureate degrees. The College offers more than twenty-five majors and thirty-plus minors, including agriculture; biblical & theological studies; biology; business; communication arts; computer sciences; criminal justice; educating; engineering; family studies and social services; hotel and restaurant management; military science; nursing; psychology; and theatre.
C of O’s educational work program assigns students jobs in one of more than eighty diverse areas on the college campus. Students work a total of 15 hours per week at an assigned campus work station plus two additional 40-hour weeks that are scheduled during weeks when class is not in session. C of O’s unique work education program not only makes college affordable to students who would not otherwise be able to meet the cost of graduation, but many students also find that they are able to earn supplemental income through part-time employment with several local employers. C of O has been included in the Templeton Foundation Honor Roll for Character Building Colleges, an annual listing of schools which “encourage the development of strong moral character among students.”
More than 1,400 undergraduate students are enrolled at College of the Ozarks, and the school has one of the lowest admissions rate at approximately 8%. All students are required to live on-campus in one of C of O’s residence halls unless certain requirements and conditions are met in order to obtain off-campus housing status. Students at ‘Hard Work U’ certainly know how to work hard for their education, but it is no less true that they know how to play hard as well. A variety of student activities and programs create a fun atmosphere, while maintaining a distinctly Christian environment. A variety of leadership opportunities are available to students, designed to promote personal growth and the ability to make an impact in the campus community.
College of the Ozarks is home to several unique and cherished traditions, including Character Camp, a fun-filled week-long orientation for incoming students; annual Springfest; Mudfest, a C of O version of Tug-of-War; the Sadie Hawkins bluegrass dance; and many more.