In 1937, the Bible Missionary Institute was founded by Ruth Kerr and fellow education-minded people in an effort to provide liberal arts higher education committed to the historic Christian faith. The school met initially in the First Fundamental Church on Alvardo Street in Los Angeles. The first president of the college, Wallace Emerson, hoped to create an institution that would rival colleges deemed the best throughout the country and he developed a standard for academic excellence that still exists at the school today.
In 1939, the school was renamed Western Bible College and, in the fall of that year, the school relocated to Westmoreland Street, Los Angeles. The following year, the school was renamed Westmont College. The school quickly out grew the Westmoreland Street facilities and moved to the former Dwight Murphy estate in Santa Barbara. The property, known as El Tejada, was purchased from Charles and Eva Holland. Murphy, the heir to a lucrative railroad equipment company, supported many local landmarks, including Mission, Franceschi and Pershing Park. The school then acquired the Deane School for Boys added to the beauty of the estate which featured stone bridges and gardens.
Nine buildings were added to the campus after 1960 and enrollment rose steadily. By 1976, the college was approved to enroll 1,200 students. Today, the school offers 26 liberal arts undergraduate degrees and there are approximately 1,300 students enrolled. It is ranked in the Top 100 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News and World report. It is also ranked as one of the Top 200 Best Value Colleges by the Princeton Review. The Princeton Review has also named Westmont as one of the Best Colleges in the West.
Westmont College Accreditation Details
Westmont College is accredited by the Senior College Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, the teaching programs at Westmont are accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing while the National Association of Schools of Music accredit the music program.
Westmont College Application Requirements
Freshmen who wish to attend Westmont College can apply with either the online Westmont College application or with the Common App. Students must provide official high school transcripts as well as ACT or SAT scores. Students must also provide a reference letter from a high school teacher. There is no minimum number of transfer credits required for students who have attended other colleges or universities. Students must submit either the Westmont or Common App and must supply official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Students with less than 24 credits must provide ACT or SAT scores. Students must submit a reference letter from a college professor at a previous school and may choose to send an additional reference letter from a pastor or character reference. It is recommended that transfer students submit to an interview with an admissions counselor.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time tuition at Westmont College is $41,850 per year, although the school reports that actual costs are much less than published tuition fees. Wesmont commits more than $21 million each year to financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants with 59 percent of all gift aid provided to students, compared to 19 percent nationwide. Only 23 percent of aid to students is in the form of federal loans, compared to 37 percent nationally. The average financial aid award in 2014 was $28,681. Approximately 95 percent of first-year and transfer students receive academic and/or talent-based scholarships. Financial aid is in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for financial aid.
Degree Programs Available
One of the most popular degree programs at Westmont College is the Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. Kinesiology is the study of human movement and is designed for students who wish to work in allied health professions. Coursework includes human physiology, human anatomy, human nutrition, biomechanics, motor behavior, sport psychology and special populations. Students may choose electives that include clinical or sport nutrition, public health and gerontology. Students also have the opportunity for internships, providing them with hands-on experience for their classroom learning. There are also research opportunities and study abroad programs to further enhance the program.
Economics and Business
The Economics and Business programs at Westmont provide strong practicum-leadership opportunities with many Fortune 500 companies. There are even international business opportunities through the Westmont in China program or by spending semesters in London or Paris. Students are provided the tools and knowledge necessary to become leaders in the business world. Students receive instruction that combines quantitative analysis and theory with practical application. Students are engaged both inside and outside the classroom, gaining information that will make them better contributors and communicators.
Students enrolled in the biology program at Westmont study cellular and molecular makeups of plants and other living creatures as well as the environment and natural history. The campus is uniquely located to provide studies of marine life and terrestrial biology through trips to the Elephant Seal Rookery, Anacapa/Santa Cruz Islands and local beaches. The mission of the biology program is to cultivate a student’s appreciation and care of the living world. Students gain extensive experience in laboratory techniques and field methods by conducting independent research projects as well as advanced summer projects. Graduates are equipped for positions in laboratory, environmental, biotech and health fields.
The European Studies program at Westmont is designed for students with an interest in modern languages with an interdisciplinary exploration of culture and history. Students choose from either French, German or Spanish foundation, undertaking coursework in the humanities and social sciences of the region. This allows them to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the culture, nation and region the student chooses to study. The program is a partnership between the Art History, Language, Political Science and the Economics and Business Departments.
Westmont College is a liberal arts institute of higher education with a focus on providing undergraduate degrees that will prepare students for a new career or help them advance in a current career. Students are also prepared for success in graduate studies at other institutes of higher learning.