PSEO Questions? Get Answers Feb. 8 at Ridgewater College

Students anAsk Admissions about PSEOd parents can have sooooo many questions about Post-Secondary Enrollment Options.

What is it? How does it work? Can I handle it? Will I miss fun times at my high school? Will I fit in? Can I still be in high school band? Can I do PSEO just part time? Will college class times conflict with my high school class times? What if I don’t know any other students? Can I take technical courses or just general education?

See? LOTS of questions. You’re not alone.

Rather than let your head keep spinning with all your questions, let Ridgewater College staff and students treat you to some answers. Visit with admissions staff who have seen all kinds of students succeed and sometimes struggle in PSEO. Discover from current PSEO students what helps them succeed and hear their stories.

If you or someone you know is thinking about a possible PSEO experience, let us help you answer the most important question of all: Is PSEO right for you?

Hutchinson and Willmar Campuses: Monday, February 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Go to to learn more or to register for the campus you are interested in visiting.

Pickles’ Place at Ridgewater is hopping with fun student videos for young children


Reaching out to children in fun, educatPickles Place 12 Haleyional ways is a common goal for students in Ridgewater College’s Early Childhood Education program. How awesome that they get to put it into practice in so many hands-on ways!

Last week students hosted preschoolers for a fun day of singing songs, doing Pickles-flyer-for-TV-timesactivities, playing with puppets such as Pickles, and sharing treats.

If only they could have that much fun every day!

In fact, many of them do at their daycare centers or at home with Mom or Dad, but they can also tune in to see kid-lovin’ Ridgewater students in 24 new videos called “Pickles’ Place”. Pickles has been popular at Ridgewater since 2010 and shown on Hutchinson Community Video Network (HCVN), but it was time for new students, new stories, and new activities. And now they’re available on Ridgewater’s own website!

Videos feature readings and activities of such children’s stories as:
– “Froggy Bakes a Cake”
– “Go Away, Big Green Monster!”
– “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”
– “Snow Dance”
– “Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs”

Check them out to see what fun you could have as an Early Childhood Ed student or what fun your own children can have as they see Ridgewater students and Pickles have fun!

“People of all ages love to tell and listen to stories,” explained Ridgewater faculty Cindy Salfer. “Students in the Early Childhood Education program love to share what they know about engaging children in stories and relating them to activities to make the stories memorable. It has been so fun to watch our students grow and to hear the positive feedback from community Pickles lovers.” or HCVN Channel 10

Once Upon at Time at Ridgewater…


Ridgewater College has so many stories to tell.

Did you know Veterinary Technology students help find homes for pets? Did you know Multimedia Design Technology students design many projects for community organizations? Did you know students and staff participate in collections to support community assistance programs?

Read more in our first of a series of publications that shares some of our many stories about programs, student experiences, and collegiate life at Ridgewater.

Get to know the Ridge! Click here.

$15,000 donated for 2016-17 Ridgewater Machine Tool students

2U5A1677csIf you’ve ever considered training for a career that’s in high demand but you weren’t sure if you could afford it, now’s a great time to explore Ridgewater College’s Machine Tool Technology. The program is the proud recipient of a $15,000 grant that will directly benefit program students through scholarships for the 2016-17 school year.

Now that’s an industry investing in its future!

“With today’s high demand for skilled CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinists, it is always wonderful to have dollars awarded to us that we can use to recruit and retain new talent,” said Tammy Jablonski, one of Ridgewater’s Machine Tool Technology instructors.

“The scholarship donation comes from the Gene Haas Foundation in support of technical education scholarships in machining,” explained Ridgewater Machine Tool alumni Al Wessels from Productivity, Inc.  Gene Haas also owns Haas Automation, a California-based builder of CNC machine tools worldwide which is represented locally by Productivity Inc., through its Haas Factory Outlet. “Mr. Haas is dedicated to helping students across the United States get an excellent education and practical training and avoid student debt.”

“Thanks first to the Gene Haas Foundation and second to faculty member Tammy Jablonski for pursuing the grant in an effort to better serve students,” said Ridgewater College President Dr. Douglas Allen. “This is another support for students interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing.”

Top 5 Benefits to Pursuing a Career in Machine Tool

  1. Numerous job openings for traditional and nontraditional workers
  2. Excellent pay
  3. Great benefits
  4. Fast-paced environment
  5. Mentally challenging and satisfying work

To learn more about Machine Tool Technology, click here.

Planning Beats Panicking : 4 Keys to Academic Success

keytosuccessWhew!  The first two weeks of the semester are in the books… only fourteen more to go!

While the first week can be overwhelming, it is usually the easiest!  All your instructors ask of you is to show up, buy your textbooks and supplies, and get started.  It is a few weeks later when your world might feel shaky.

The fifth week of classes is usually when your first paper might be due, your first large tests take place, or when major projects might be assigned or due.  All this… AT THE SAME TIME.  We teachers see major panic starting to occur as “the rubber hits the road”.  Students who were successful before they came to college are cool, calm, and collected.  Those who struggled in the past, or are not used to being completely responsible for their own success, are freaking out!  So what can you do to keep from freaking out under the weight of tests, projects, and papers, plus possible jobs and family responsibilities?

4 Tips for Success All Semester Long!

  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. That’s right.  Sometimes simply doing the work assigned can help you be more successful!  Think about something: we instructors love our subject matter and want to share our knowledge, but first, you need some background information.  If you read the chapters you are assigned, the class will be more interesting because you will not simply be reviewing the book material, but you will be going deeper into the subject matter with an instructor who has extensive knowledge and experience in his or her field!
  2. SHOW UP. Not only in class, but also in your instructors’ offices.  I know.  It seems crazy, but coming to class can go a long way to being successful.  When you skip class, you miss important information and activities.  When you come to class, but you still don’t understand the material, show up in our offices.  We are here to help.  We want to help.  We are cheering for you.  Let us help you.  Come in and talk.  See us when you are confused about an assignment, a lecture, a reading, or a class discussion.
  3. PARTICIPATE. Be a part of the class discussion.  Actually, those who participate wholly in the class activities or discussions usually fare better on their assignments and tests.  Why?  Because they are interacting with the material, and they begin to feel more comfortable working with that material.  They are sharing ideas with each other and with their instructors.  These students are more likely to ask questions when they are confused, and to having conversations with the material.  That is right.  Students who participate are figuring out how they connect to the class material to predict where it is leading them, and to translate the material to their other classes.  That is a WIN, WIN for everyone!!
  4. KNOW YOUR RESOURCES. I know, I know.  I just said to show up in our offices, but where else can you show up?  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  There are many services at Ridgewater dedicated to helping students who “show up.”

Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Make Costa Rica Your Spring Classroom

Costa Rica 2016 graphicIf nice days make you wish your instructor would move learning outdoors, study abroad in Costa Rica during spring semester 2016 might be the ticket for you!

Ridgewater College is a partner with Education for Global Learning (EGL) and the Instituto de Culturo y Lengua Costarricense (ICLC). Together, they are broadening experiences and perspectives for students seeking a larger view of the world.

Ridgewater’s own science instructor Lori Anderson took the Costa Rica plunge and narrowed down her top reasons she’d recommend the experience to others.

  1. Beautiful beaches, lush cloud forests, sunshine and warm weather are the norm!
  2. The families students stay with are generous, loving and supportive. They take care of all of your room and board needs and become your second family.
  3. Being immersed in the Spanish culture and speaking the language in daily life is the best way to learn a second language.
  4. Former students enjoyed the experience so much they keep in contact with their Costa Rican friends and family.
  5. The food is fantastic!! There are fresh fruit stands everywhere you travel and farmers’ markets that have the best of the local foods for you to sample.
  6. Weekend adventure opportunities are numerous, such as: zip-lining in the cloud forest canopy, ATV trails, rock climbing, white-water rafting, deep-sea fishing, and many more!
  7. You will see amazing wildlife like crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys (a big favorite with everyone!) and a wide variety of beautiful birds.
  8. Costa Rica has eight national parks with a wide variety of beautiful ecosystems: beaches, volcanos, lowland dry forests, rainforests, and cloud forests. Their love of the environment and their desire to protect biodiversity is something that will surely be passed on to you!
  9. ICLC’s classrooms are all outside so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as you learn.
  10. ICLC’s Spanish instructors are native to Costa Rica and are able to share their love for their country and their traditions along with teaching students to become more fluent Spanish speakers.

Learn more at www.ridgewater/edu/costarica .
IMG_0096 IMG_0301 pura vida

Earn a Business Degree at Ridgewater – What Are You Waiting For?

business partnership graphic
You could be among the first to earn a Bachelor of Arts Business degree at Ridgewater College, thanks a new partnership with Concordia University, St. Paul. (Did I read that right? A bachelor’s degree at Ridgewater College in Willmar and Hutchinson?)

That’s right. Get your four-year Business degree at Ridgewater College. How’s that for convenient? But how do you know if it’s for you? If you connect with one of these scenarios, take advantage of this new partnership and degree:

  1. You’re a Ridgewater student or alumni with credits you’d like to work for you as you build upon your two-year liberal arts OR technical degree – $2,000 scholarships are available for you!
  2. You’re an employed worker who wasn’t ready for the academic challenges of a bachelor’s degree when you were younger, but the strings to your dream of earning a BA degree cling to you daily – opportunity is knocking at the RIGHT time this time for you!
  3. You’re a parent with children at home so you don’t see commuting to a university as feasible, but you could commit to one night a week at nearby Ridgewater College – the door to your future is just outside your back door!
  4. You’re a high school senior and you have academic dreams that involve more than two years of college – great things come in small packages, you just have to open them!
  5. You’re simply someone who is curious – lucky you, because information open houses are set for 4:30-7:00 p.m. June 10 on the Willmar campus and June 11 on the Hutchinson campus.

Ready to launch your future with a business degree at Ridgewater College? Let’s find out!

For more info:


Student Show-and-Tell at Ridgewater Today

Show-and-Tell for students at Ridgewater’s Hutchinson Campus won’t include bunnies or lizards, but it will include computer-generated animations, Pickles the local cable TV star, electronic designer portfolios, 3D drafted and machined projects, mobile apps, marketing plans, art projects, strategies for raising great kids, and other cool stuff.

Meet students who are changing their lives at Ridgewater in the Hutchinson Commons between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Race you to the refreshments! #RidgewaterColl


4 Steps to Apply for College Financial Aid – Without Pulling Out Your Hair!

FAFSANights2015Yay! You’ve decided to go to college! Now it’s time to figure out how to pay for it without eating just cheesy noodles day and night. Maybe your mom or dad saved some money for you. Maybe you worked summer jobs and saved just enough for the newest phone. Or maybe you’re working…a lot… but all your money goes for grownup bills for you and your family.

Regardless of your age or situation, the majority of college students could benefit from financial aid for college. Four simple tips can get on the right track without losing all your hair!

  1. Regardless of what college you plan to attend, come to Ridgewater’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshop. Pick your session! Both help sessions will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. (come-and-go format).
    1. Willmar on Wed., April 22
    2. Hutchinson on Thurs., April 23
  2. Then register for that free help session by contacting Megan Field at
    320-222-5264 or .
  3. Bring the following with you:
    Note: Students will need their parents’ information unless they are 24 years or older OR married OR have been legally emancipated from their guardians.
    I. Parents’ and student’s W2 forms
    II. Parents’ and student’s 2014 tax returns
    III. Social Security cards or Alien ID#
    IV. Student that are reapplying should bring their and their parents’ 4-digit FAFSA PIN
  4. Show up and let us help you complete – then click submit!

“Colleges have many students who wait until the last minute to complete their FAFSA, causing additional struggles when it’s time to pay tuition and buy textbooks,” said Megan Field, Ridgewater Student Success Coordinator and FAFSA event organizer. A late FAFSA submission may also cause students to miss out on opportunities to work on campus through the Federal Work-Study program. Campus supervisors can be so flexible and the jobs provide great work experience. “It is my hope that we can help students (and/or parents) by getting FAFSAs done with them ASAP.”

If you have more questions or want more information regarding financial aid, contact the Financial Aid Office at .

College Visits 101: Plan Ahead


Deciding what college to attend can be the most important decision a person will make that can affect an entire life. It can determine potential majors, professional connections, BFFs, and perspectives on education, careers and life.

It’s not just about whether you’ll be a Warrior, Dragon, Gopher or other spirited fan –     this is a BIG, exciting decision about cool, life-changing experiences ahead!

Web sites make it easy for prospective students to research colleges, but many will agree: setting foot on a campus is the best way to determine a good fit.

So what makes a college visit SUCCESSFUL? “Plan ahead,” says Jill Traut, Ridgewater College admissions representative. “Start thinking about college before you are a senior.”
– Research possibilities.
– Visit with college representatives who visit your high school.
– Visit with your school counselor.
– Narrow the list of colleges you will visit.

Or if you are an adult, think about college months in advance of reinvesting in yourself. Many colleges have special event days for group visits. Knowing dates early for your top college choices helps families schedule visits around school or work days off and activities. Like this Wednesday, March 25, the Hutchinson campus will host a Discover Ridgewater visit day. Then on Thursday, March 26, the Willmar campus will do that same.
– Meet faculty and students
– See program areas
– Learn about financial aid and the admissions process
– Experience student life with lunch and a comedian

A great experience can create pitter-pats of excitement for a more directed future!

Want a more informal experience? Call the college admissions office about two weeks prior to your anticipated visit day. Share your visit goals and interests. Then staff can make arrangements with faculty, coaches or activity advisors.

Tips for Students
+ Visit more than one college. It’s about perspective.
+ Avoid scheduling two visits in the same day. Can you say information overload?
+ Decide who will join you. Parents? Great. Friends? Possibly distracting.
+ If you bring friends truly interested in the college, consider scheduling separate tours if your majors differ.
+ Ask lots of questions – tuition, housing, activities, part-time jobs and placement.
+ Explore the community –  your potential new “home”. Continue reading