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Brandeis vs Occidental: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Brandeis University in Waltham, USA

Brandeis vs Occidental: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing the right school for your undergraduate studies can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. With so many options available, it can be tough to differentiate between schools that all seem to offer similar academic and social opportunities. In this article, we’ll compare Brandeis vs Occidental to help you decide which school is right for you.

Location and Campus Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

One way to consider the two schools is by the location and campus environment. Both schools are located in different parts of the United States, with Brandeis being situated in the suburbs of Boston, and Occidental in the heart of Los Angeles. Brandeis offers a spacious and green campus with modern facilities, while Occidental’s campus is known for its Spanish-style architecture and historic buildings.

The weather is also a significant factor to consider. Occidental has a warm climate all year round, which can be a perk if you enjoy spending time outside. However, the hot weather can be tough to bear for some students. Boston, on the other hand, has four distinct seasons, which can be appealing if you enjoy experiencing different weather conditions. The size of the school is also worth mentioning, with Brandeis being the larger of the two schools.

Happy students walking together.

Another aspect to consider when comparing the location and campus environment of Brandeis and Occidental is the surrounding community. Brandeis is located in Waltham, a small town with a tight-knit community and a variety of local shops and restaurants. Occidental, on the other hand, is situated in the bustling city of Los Angeles, offering students access to a diverse range of cultural experiences and entertainment options. While both locations have their unique advantages, it ultimately depends on the individual’s preferences and priorities when it comes to choosing a college campus.

Academic Programs and Curriculum Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

The curriculum and academic programs offered are crucial aspects to consider when choosing a university. Brandeis offers a wide range of majors, with over 40 options for undergraduates, including interdisciplinary programs that combine various fields of study. Occidental, although more limited in the number of majors available, is known for its extensive research opportunities in various fields, such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

The classroom environment is also worth considering as it affects how students learn. Brandeis prides itself on small class sizes, which means students have greater access to their professors and peers. Occidental has a similar approach, with an average class size of around 18 students.

Another important factor to consider is the availability of study abroad programs. Brandeis offers over 200 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries, allowing students to gain a global perspective and expand their cultural horizons. Occidental also offers study abroad opportunities, with programs in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, among others.

Furthermore, both universities have strong internship and career development programs. Brandeis has a dedicated career center that offers resources such as resume and cover letter reviews, job and internship search assistance, and career fairs. Occidental also has a career center that provides similar services, as well as networking events and alumni connections to help students launch their careers after graduation.

Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates: Brandeis vs. Occidental

The admission process can be stressful, but understanding the requirements and acceptance rates can help you prepare better. Brandeis has an acceptance rate of around 33%, with a typical GPA of 3.8, and an average SAT score of 1455. Occidental has a slightly lower acceptance rate of around 30%, with an average GPA of 3.7, and an average SAT score of 1350. However, these statistics don’t indicate which school is better suited for you, as both schools look for different things in their applicants.

When it comes to admissions requirements, Brandeis and Occidental have some similarities and differences. Both schools require applicants to submit their high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. However, Brandeis also requires applicants to submit a personal essay, while Occidental requires a writing supplement. Additionally, Brandeis offers an optional interview for applicants, while Occidental does not.

It’s important to note that acceptance rates and admissions requirements are just one aspect to consider when choosing a college. Other factors such as location, campus culture, and available majors should also be taken into account. It’s recommended that prospective students visit both campuses, speak with current students and faculty, and research the programs and resources offered by each school before making a decision.

Cheerful Indian asian young group of college students or friends laughing together in campus

Student Life Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

College life is more than just academics. Both schools offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to explore their interests outside the classroom. Brandeis has a vibrant arts scene, with many musical and theatrical performances each semester. Occidental has a wide range of clubs and organizations, from community service to outdoor recreation.

The campus atmosphere is also worth mentioning. Brandeis is known for its inclusive and diverse community, with a large number of international students and a welcoming environment for all ethnicities and cultures. Occidental, with its liberal-leaning student body, is known for its active political activism scene.

Another aspect to consider is the location of the campuses. Brandeis is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. This provides students with easy access to the city’s cultural and historical attractions, as well as internship and job opportunities. Occidental, on the other hand, is located in Los Angeles, California, which offers students access to the entertainment industry and a diverse range of cultural experiences.

Finally, it’s important to note the academic programs offered at each school. Brandeis is known for its strong programs in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with a particular emphasis on research and critical thinking. Occidental has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with programs that combine multiple fields of study to provide a well-rounded education. Both schools offer a variety of majors and minors to choose from, allowing students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals.

Cost of Attendance Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

College expenses can add up quickly, and the comparison of costs is an important factor to consider. The cost of attendance at Brandeis is around $72,000 per year, which includes tuition, room, and board. Occidental’s cost of attendance is slightly lower, around $70,000 per year. However, both universities offer extensive financial aid programs and scholarship opportunities for students who need them.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance can vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances, such as their major, housing choices, and personal expenses. Additionally, students should consider the location of each university and the cost of living in the surrounding area when making their decision.

Another factor to consider is the potential return on investment. While the cost of attendance may be high, both Brandeis and Occidental have strong reputations and offer valuable resources and opportunities for their students, which can lead to successful careers and higher salaries in the long run.

Alumni Network and Career Services Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

The strength of the alumni network and the career services offered by a university can impact your future opportunities. Brandeis has a widespread network of alumni in various fields, including politics, the arts, and technology. The university also offers career services for students through its Career Center and internship opportunities through its Hiatt Career Center. Occidental has a similarly robust alumni network, with notable alumni in film, journalism, and activism. The college also has an active Career Center that provides a wide range of services, including career counseling, job and internship search assistance, and networking resources.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to their alumni networks and career services. Brandeis has a larger alumni network, with over 50,000 alumni worldwide, while Occidental has a smaller network of around 18,000 alumni. On the other hand, Occidental has a higher percentage of alumni who go on to earn graduate degrees, which can be beneficial for students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees.

Low angle view of four university students on campus

Additionally, Brandeis has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with resources such as the Brandeis Innovation Center and the Brandeis Entrepreneurship Club. These resources can be helpful for students who are interested in starting their own businesses or pursuing careers in the startup world. Occidental, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on community engagement and social justice, with resources such as the Center for Community Based Learning and the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute. These resources can be beneficial for students who are interested in careers in the non-profit sector or in working for social change.

Faculty and Class Sizes Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

The quality of faculty and class size matters when it comes to learning successfully. Brandeis hires experienced professors, many of whom hold Ph.D. degrees, and most classes are taught directly by these professors. Occidental also prides itself on high-quality faculty members, and most courses are taught by professors with extensive experience in their respective fields.

The class size is another aspect worth mentioning. Brandeis offers small classes, with an average size of around 20 students, which promotes active learning and engagement. Occidental has a similar approach, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, which means that students can access their professors easily.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to faculty and class sizes. Brandeis has a higher percentage of full-time faculty members, which means that students have more opportunities to build relationships with their professors and receive personalized attention. On the other hand, Occidental has a larger number of part-time faculty members, which allows for a wider range of course offerings and flexibility in scheduling.

Another factor to consider is the diversity of the faculty. Brandeis has made a commitment to increasing diversity among its faculty members, with a goal of having at least 25% of its faculty come from underrepresented groups. Occidental has also taken steps to increase diversity among its faculty, but the percentage of underrepresented groups is currently lower than at Brandeis.

Research Opportunities Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

Research opportunities during college can be a significant advantage, allowing students to gain practical experience and prepare for their future careers. Brandeis offers extensive research opportunities, with various centers and institutes dedicated to different fields, such as neuroscience and environmental studies. Occidental also offers multiple research opportunities, including hands-on research in various fields, such as sustainability and social justice.

Moreover, Brandeis has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, encouraging students to collaborate across different fields and departments. This approach allows students to gain a broader perspective and develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Occidental, on the other hand, has a unique research program that allows students to conduct research abroad, providing them with a global perspective and cross-cultural experience.

Both universities also offer opportunities for students to present their research at conferences and publish their findings in academic journals. These experiences can be invaluable for students who plan to pursue graduate studies or careers in research. Overall, both Brandeis and Occidental provide excellent research opportunities for students, allowing them to develop critical thinking skills, gain practical experience, and make meaningful contributions to their fields of study.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

Athletics and extracurricular activities can enrich your college experience and allow you to explore different interests. Brandeis has a comprehensive athletics program, with over 20 varsity sports teams and several recreational activities. Occidental also has an extensive athletics program, with a range of sports teams, including basketball, football, and soccer.

In terms of extracurricular activities, Brandeis offers a range of clubs and organizations, from a capella groups to student government. Occidental also has an extensive range of student clubs, such as robotics and entrepreneurship clubs.

Additionally, Brandeis has a strong emphasis on community service and social justice, with many clubs and organizations dedicated to these causes. Students can participate in programs such as the Waltham Group, which provides volunteer opportunities in the local community. Occidental also has a focus on community service, with a variety of service-oriented clubs and organizations, such as the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute.

Furthermore, both Brandeis and Occidental offer opportunities for students to study abroad and participate in international programs. Brandeis has partnerships with universities in over 70 countries, and students can choose from a variety of study abroad programs. Occidental also has a range of study abroad options, with programs in Europe, Asia, and South America.

a group of foreign students carrying the flag of the country they are from

Student Diversity and Inclusion Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

Student diversity and inclusion policies are critical factors to consider when choosing a university. Brandeis is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community and has various programs in place to support underrepresented groups, such as the Posse Scholarship Program. Occidental has a similar approach, with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, including the Multicultural Summer Institute.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to student diversity. Brandeis has a higher percentage of international students, with over 20% of the student body coming from outside the United States. Occidental, on the other hand, has a higher percentage of students who identify as Hispanic or Latino, making up 22% of the student population.

Additionally, both universities have taken steps to address issues of inclusion and equity on their campuses. Brandeis has implemented a Bias Incident Response Team to address incidents of bias and discrimination, while Occidental has established a Center for Equity and Justice to promote social justice and inclusion. These initiatives demonstrate the universities’ commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students.

Campus Safety Comparison: Brandeis vs. Occidental

Campus safety is crucial for students’ well-being and peace of mind. Brandeis has a well-trained campus police force and several security programs in place, such as a 24/7 escort service and safety patrols. Occidental also has a well-equipped campus safety team that provides safety education programs and crime prevention measures for students.

However, it is important to note that Brandeis has a lower crime rate compared to Occidental. According to the latest campus safety report, Brandeis had only 5 reported incidents of burglary, theft, and assault, while Occidental had 12 reported incidents of the same nature. This indicates that Brandeis has a safer campus environment for its students.

Conclusion: Which University is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing the right university involves weighing various factors, including location, academics, extracurricular activities, and campus diversity. Brandeis and Occidental have their unique strengths, and the final decision depends on your priorities and interests. We hope this article provided useful insights into the similarities and differences between the two universities and helped you make an informed decision.

It is important to note that while location and academics are important factors to consider, the campus culture and community can also greatly impact your college experience. Both Brandeis and Occidental have active student organizations and a strong sense of community, but they differ in their campus traditions and values. Brandeis is known for its commitment to social justice and activism, while Occidental has a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmentalism.

Ultimately, the best way to determine which university is the best fit for you is to visit the campuses and talk to current students and faculty. This will give you a firsthand experience of the campus culture and community, and help you make an informed decision. Remember, the decision of where to attend college is a personal one, and what works for one person may not work for another. Trust your instincts and choose the university that aligns with your values and goals.

a line of graduates wearing their graduation gowns

How AdmissionSight Can Help You With College Admissions

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Overall, AdmissionSight can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the college admissions process to help you maximize your chances of getting accepted into the college of your choice.

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