Everything about Claremont McKenna College

Everything about Claremont McKenna College

Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,324

Institutional Type: Private

Curricular Flexibility: Very Flexible

Academic Rating: 5

Top Programs



Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)



International Relations

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Who Recruits

1. Cloudfare, Inc.

2. United Talent Agency

3. Whittier Trust Company

4. Boston Pharmaceuticals

5. Morgan Stanley

Notable Internships

1. BlackRock

2. Adidas

3. House of Representatives

Top Industries

1. Business

2. Education

3. Finance

4. Operations

5. Research

Top Employers

1. Deloitte

2. Google

3. Microsoft

4. EY

5. Accenture

Where Alumni Work

1. Los Angeles

2. San Francisco

3. New York City

4. Seattle

5. Orange County, CA

Median Earnings

College Scorecard (Early Career): $72,900

EOP (Early Career): $69,600

PayScale (Mid-Career): $125,400

Inside the Classroom

Start with your average elite liberal arts college in the Northeast, cut the size of the student body in half, replace stuffy Gothic edifices with a modern California feel, and physically connect the campus to four other elite schools whose premier offerings can all be shared communally. That’s the recipe for Claremont McKenna College (CMC), a liberal arts school that is home to 1,324 bright and motivated undergraduates and is a founding member of the Claremont Consortium that is comprised of four additional undergraduate institutions: Pomona, Pitzer, Scripps, and Harvey Mudd.

CMC offers thirty-two majors and eleven “sequences,” series of courses that can be completed across the neighboring schools in addition to one’s major. Registering for courses in one or more of the other Claremont Colleges is a staple of academic life at CMC; 99 percent of undergrads do so. An academically-focused group, 32 percent of the student population ends up completing a double major. No matter your academic pursuit, required courses will include a first-year writing seminar, a humanities seminar, multiple semesters of a foreign language, a laboratory science, a math or computer science course, physical education and—of most significance—a senior


The college boasts an average class size of eighteen, and 81 percent of course sections have fewer than twenty students. With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio and only one graduate program offered (an MA in finance), undergrads benefit from ample professor attention. In the last year, an incredible 79 percent of CMC students had the chance to conduct research with a faculty member, and the school has eleven partner research institutes and centers that provide graduate-level research experiences. Studying abroad is another popular pursuit as CMC offers approved programs on each of the world’s six populated continents. Forty-percent of undergrads spend time at one of the 115 approved programs in forty countries.

Economics, government, international relations, and psychology are the most popular majors, and among the strongest. Interdisciplinary majors such as Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) also carry outstanding reputations. Claremont graduates annually have representation of Fulbright, US Department of State Critical Language, and Luce Scholarships.

Outside the Classroom

Academically, students attending any of the Claremont Colleges are used to crossing campuses to take courses at one of the other schools. Those permeable borders apply to life outside the classroom as well. Pomona, Pitzer, Scripps, Harvey Mudd, and CMC are all located on the same 560-acre property, and many activities are joint efforts between members of the consortium. Even Claremont McKenna’s twenty-one NCAA athletic teams are combined squads with Harvey Mudd and Scripps student-athletes; it has won over 300 conference championships since its founding in 1958. Not everything is a shared-venture; there are seventy CMC- exclusive student- run organizations of the academic, identity-based, service, sports, or music/arts nature. The Model UN team has won the world championship four of the last five years. An endless flow of public speakers grace the stage at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum that presents guest lectures four nights per week. With 96 percent of CMC students electing to live on campus and no fraternities or sororities, campus life is an open and vibrant experience. Most facilities are shared among the members of the consortium, including the eight-lane pool; Roberts Pavilion, which includes a 2,200 seat arena and a state-of-the-art fitness center; and the Collins Dining Hall, which garners solid culinary reviews. Situated thirty-five miles east of Los Angeles, all of the culture and excitement you could want is never more than a relatively quick car ride away. The SoCal beaches are about an hour drive as are Disneyland and Joshua Tree National Park.

Career Services

The Claremont McKenna Career Services Office has eight full-time professional staff members working on grad school/career advising and employer relations and internship procurement. That equates to a 166:1 student-to-advisor ratio, which is superior to just about every college featured in our guide. The college aims to provide individualized career coaching to all of its students and begins that process in freshman year. It even has a counselor solely dedicated to the school’s 350 first-year students, and that counselor met with 93 percent of the class that entered last year. Annual fall career expos attract representatives from more than one hundred top employers. Events like company information sessions, two-to-five-day networking treks, and job shadowing experiences take place frequently

throughout the year.

Last year, employers recruiting at CMC included Google, Deloitte, Bain, the CIA, NASA, Goldman Sachs, and the National Football League. A phenomenal 90 percent of students participate in at least one internship. Many of those are financially supported by the Sponsored Internship Experiences Program that provided between $500 and $8,000 grants for 340 students. Also, in the last year, staff conducted 3,000 one-on-one counseling appointments, enticed forty-four employers into recruiting on campus, and facilitated 581 on-campus interviews, more than one per member of the senior class. Thanks to that focus on hands-on experience, strong employer relations, and ample resources (including personnel), Claremont McKenna’s career services easily earns the highest praise from us.

Professional Outcomes

Eighty percent of graduates have found employment within six months of graduation, and only 4 percent are still looking for work. Financial services/accounting, consulting, and technology are the most frequently entered sectors. Companies employing the highest number of graduates include Accenture, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Deloitte, and JP Morgan. The average starting salary for a Claremont grad is $68,200, a particularly impressive figure for a liberal arts college. The highest average starting salaries are traditionally earned by those majoring in computer science ($94k) and economics ($70k), but those studying the humanities ($65k) or social sciences ($57k) fare well too. Of last year's graduating classes, 12 percent elected to continue their education rather than immediately enter the working world. You name the prestigious graduate/professional program and, chances are, a recent CMC grad (or two or three) is presently studying there. In the last four years students have been accepted to medical schools at Stanford, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Penn. Students also have enjoyed law school acceptances at institutions including Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Yale. The list of MBA and other graduate programs attended by alumni is similarly eye-popping. Ten years out, 15 percent of the total alumni have earned a law degree, 5 percent a PhD, 4 percent a medical degree, and 10 percent have completed an MBA.

Students' Voice: Pros and Cons of Location

Pros of Claremont, CA

• “It’s pretty low-key. The city is quiet and safe.” [Claremont’s violent crime rate is 55% lower than the California average, but the property crime rate is 4% higher than the California average.]

• “There is a lot of nice nature nearby. You can go to Joshua Tree and there are nice hiking trails.”

• “I’m from California and I like California. I think it’s really cool for a lot of reasons. The weather is pretty unbeatable, it can get a little hot, but it’s pretty amazing.”

• “The proximity to L.A. Now that I’m older and I’ve done all the on-campus activities, being able to go to L.A. and go to concerts, football games, or whatever is really nice.”

Cons of Claremont, CA

• “L.A. can be pretty far. Depending on where you’re going in L.A., it can take 40-minutes to an hour and a half to get there with minimal traffic. If you don’t have the whole day or whole afternoon to go do something, you can’t do


• “Claremont is a bubble. It’s called ‘the City of Trees and PhDs,’ which is so cringe-worthy. It’s so inaccessible to low-income people, but then you drive a mile down the street and you’re in Pomona, CA which is low-income and not as safe. The disparity is kind of shocking.” [Median household income in Claremont, CA is about $94,000 and there is a 9.5% poverty rate. The median household income in Pomona, CA is about $50,000 and there is a poverty rate of


• “There’s not a lot to do. After you’ve been there for four years it feels like you’ve done everything in the town a million times.”

Students' Voice: Reasons to attend and not to attend

To Attend

• “It’s a small school and all the things that come along with that. You get close access to your professors and can build relationships with them. If you want to take that initiative, that’s there. You also get to meet people really easily. If you meet somebody, you’re definitely going to see them again pretty quickly because the campus is so


• “The academic culture is not competitive. It’s collaborative for sure. I don’t feel competition with my classmates.”

• “Amazing academics. The classes that I’ve taken are amazing and they’ve opened my eyes to so many different things and ways of thinking. I feel like after going to CMC I could do anything because the work is really hard. I’m prepared for writing work and I also am able to do quantitative work even though my background isn’t in that area.”

• “California is sick. That comes with the weather, the mountains, and the beaches. We get to experience the natural elements at CMC.”

To Not Attend

• “The campus is really small. It can feel restrictive because there’s no anonymity. Expect to be seen by people you know pretty much everywhere you go. It can feel like there’s very little space for yourself on campus.”

• “The level of socioeconomic diversity is pretty poor. People here, in general, are pretty wealthy and that can be striking to me because people who don’t come from that level of privilege can feel like they don’t fit in as well. Not being able to afford something your friends are going to can be sad.” [Socioeconomically, 20% of students come from the top 1%.]

• “If you’re worried about being in a pre-professional community and you think you might not like being in that community, it probably isn’t the place for you. People have professional aspirations and they’re not learning for the sake of learning, they’re learning a skill because they’re going to use that in a job in the future. A lot of people do

Economics and Computer Science because those are lucrative spaces even though it might not be their personal passion.”

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