Claremont McKenna vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

college student at campus

Claremont McKenna vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering which college to attend between Claremont McKenna and Barnard? This comprehensive guide will provide you with a detailed comparison of Claremont McKenna vs Barnard to help you make an informed decision. From their location to academic programs, faculty, student body, campus life, housing options, admission requirements, tuition and financial aid, career services, alumni network, rankings, and reputation, we’ve covered each point in exhaustive detail. Read on to find out which college might be the better fit for you based on your preferences.


Claremont McKenna is located in Claremont, California, while Barnard is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Both colleges offer a unique experience. Claremont McKenna is situated in a suburban town, with a warm climate throughout the year, while Barnard is located in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. If you prefer a calm and serene environment conducive to learning, Claremont McKenna is the right choice. On the other hand, if you’re interested in exploring different cultures, lifestyles, and career options, then Barnard may be the better option.

Additionally, Claremont McKenna is located in close proximity to other prestigious colleges in the Claremont Consortium, including Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, Scripps College, and Pitzer College. This allows for a diverse range of academic and social opportunities, as students can take classes and participate in activities at any of the five colleges. Barnard, on the other hand, is located in the heart of New York City, providing students with access to countless internship and job opportunities, as well as cultural events and attractions. The city serves as a classroom for Barnard students, allowing them to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations.

History: Claremont McKenna vs. Barnard

Claremont McKenna was founded in 1946 as Claremont Men’s College, but it became coeducational in 1976. Barnard College was founded in 1889 and has a rich history of educating women. It is one of the seven institutions that make up the Ivy League. The history of these colleges reflects their dedication to academic excellence and commitment to empowering students to make a positive impact on the world.

Both Claremont McKenna and Barnard College have a strong tradition of community service and social justice. Claremont McKenna’s Kravis Center for Leadership and the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children provides students with opportunities to engage in meaningful service projects and research. Similarly, Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Center for Research on Women offer students resources and support to become leaders in their communities and advocate for gender equality.

Gender equality for students

Mission Statement: Claremont McKenna vs. Barnard

The mission statement of Claremont McKenna is to educate leaders in business, government, and the professions. It emphasizes the development of character, leadership, and social responsibility. On the other hand, the mission statement of Barnard is to provide an exceptional liberal arts education to women, with an emphasis on the development of intellectual strength, creativity, and leadership skills.

Claremont McKenna College achieves its mission by offering a rigorous academic curriculum that combines the liberal arts with professional programs. The college also provides students with opportunities to engage in research, internships, and community service, which help them develop practical skills and gain real-world experience.

Barnard College, on the other hand, fosters a diverse and inclusive community that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. The college offers a wide range of academic programs, including majors in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Barnard also provides students with access to world-class resources, such as the Columbia University libraries and research centers.

Academics: Claremont McKenna vs. Barnard

Both colleges offer rigorous academic programs, but their approaches differ. Claremont McKenna focuses on economics, political science, and international relations, while Barnard is known for its humanities, social sciences, and arts programs. Claremont McKenna’s curriculum emphasizes research and practical experience, while Barnard’s curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and intellectual exploration. Ultimately, it depends on your academic interests and career goals.

A higher education

Additionally, both colleges offer a wide range of extracurricular activities that complement their academic programs. Claremont McKenna has a strong emphasis on leadership development and offers many opportunities for students to get involved in student government, community service, and entrepreneurship. Barnard, on the other hand, has a vibrant arts scene and offers many opportunities for students to participate in theater, music, and visual arts. Both colleges also have strong athletic programs and offer many opportunities for students to participate in sports and fitness activities.

Faculty: Claremont McKenna vs. Barnard

Both colleges boast highly qualified and experienced faculty members, including Fulbright scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, and prominent researchers. Claremont McKenna has an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, while Barnard has a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, allowing for personalized attention and mentoring.

Additionally, both colleges prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their faculty hiring practices. They actively seek out and hire professors from underrepresented backgrounds, ensuring that students are exposed to a wide range of perspectives and experiences. This commitment to diversity is reflected in the curriculum, with courses that explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, and social justice.

Student Body

The student body at Claremont McKenna is predominantly male, while the student body at Barnard is predominantly female. Claremont McKenna has a diverse student body, with students from over 40 states and 40 countries, while Barnard’s student body comprises women from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Additionally, both schools have a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on their campuses. Claremont McKenna has various student-led organizations and initiatives that aim to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their background. Similarly, Barnard has a dedicated Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that provides resources and support for students from underrepresented groups, and hosts events and workshops to promote dialogue and understanding among students with different perspectives.

Campus Life

Claremont McKenna has a vibrant campus life, with over 100 student organizations and events, including athletics, clubs, and cultural activities. Barnard offers a similar range of extracurricular activities, including theater, music, and dance performances. Both colleges have fantastic facilities, including libraries, dining halls, and sports centers.

A woman taking a book on the top shelf.

Additionally, both Claremont McKenna and Barnard have strong community service programs, providing students with opportunities to engage in meaningful volunteer work and make a positive impact on the surrounding areas. These programs range from tutoring and mentoring local youth to participating in environmental conservation efforts. Students at both colleges are encouraged to get involved in community service and make a difference in the world around them.

Housing Options

Both colleges guarantee on-campus housing for all four years of undergraduate studies. Claremont McKenna offers various housing options, including residence halls, apartments, and suites, while Barnard offers traditional residence halls and apartment-style living. Both colleges prioritize students’ safety and provide a conducive learning environment.

At Claremont McKenna, students have the option to live in themed housing communities, such as the International House or the Green Floor, which provide a unique living experience and foster a sense of community among residents. Additionally, the college offers a limited number of off-campus housing options for seniors who wish to live independently while still being connected to campus resources.

On the other hand, Barnard’s residence halls are known for their strong sense of community and inclusivity. The college also offers a variety of programming and events to help students feel at home, such as floor dinners and movie nights. Furthermore, Barnard’s apartment-style living options provide students with more independence and privacy, while still being located on campus and close to academic buildings.

Admission Requirements

Claremont McKenna and Barnard have rigorous admission requirements, including SAT/ACT scores, transcripts, essays, and recommendation letters. They look for well-rounded students with exceptional academic achievements and extracurricular activities. The admission process can be competitive, but it rewards applicants who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, and a passion for learning.

In addition to the standard admission requirements, both Claremont McKenna and Barnard also consider demonstrated interest in the school. This can include attending information sessions, visiting the campus, and reaching out to admissions counselors with questions. Demonstrating a genuine interest in the school can set an applicant apart from others with similar academic achievements.

It’s also important to note that both schools have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they consider the whole person and not just their academic achievements. This includes factors such as personal background, life experiences, and overcoming challenges. Applicants are encouraged to share their unique stories and perspectives in their essays and interviews.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The cost of attending Claremont McKenna and Barnard varies depending on the financial aid package available. Both colleges offer generous financial aid packages, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Bear in mind that the cost of living in California is higher than in New York City, so it’s essential to factor in such costs when making a decision.

It’s important to note that financial aid packages are not guaranteed for all four years of attendance. Students must reapply for financial aid each year and meet certain requirements to continue receiving aid. Additionally, some scholarships and grants may have specific eligibility criteria, such as maintaining a certain GPA or majoring in a particular field.

Both colleges also offer resources and support for students seeking outside scholarships and grants. The financial aid offices can provide guidance on where to search for these opportunities and how to apply. It’s worth exploring these options, as they can help offset the cost of attendance and reduce the need for loans.

Career Services

Both colleges provide dedicated career services programs, including internship opportunities, career advising, and mentorship programs. Claremont McKenna has an extensive alumni network, including notable political figures and successful business leaders, which can be a valuable resource for students looking to make an impact in their chosen field. Barnard’s Career Development team helps students find relevant job opportunities in various fields and prepare for post-graduate education.

internship opportunities for students

Additionally, Claremont McKenna offers a unique program called the Kravis Leadership Institute, which provides students with leadership training and opportunities to work on real-world projects with industry professionals. This program helps students develop the skills and experience necessary to become effective leaders in their future careers.

On the other hand, Barnard’s Beyond Barnard program offers students access to a wide range of career resources, including job and internship postings, career fairs, and networking events. The program also provides students with personalized career counseling and support, helping them navigate the job market and achieve their career goals.

Alumni Network

Claremont McKenna and Barnard have a robust and active alumni network. Claremont McKenna alumni hold prominent positions in business, government, and non-profit sectors, while Barnard’s alumni network comprises accomplished leaders in various fields, including education, politics, and media. Both colleges offer an alumni mentorship program that connects current students with successful alumni, providing a support system and valuable career guidance.

Additionally, both colleges host various alumni events throughout the year, including networking receptions, career fairs, and panel discussions. These events provide opportunities for alumni to connect with each other and with current students, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. Furthermore, the alumni networks offer resources such as job postings, resume reviews, and interview preparation to help students and recent graduates navigate the job market. Overall, the strong alumni networks at Claremont McKenna and Barnard are a valuable asset to students and graduates alike.

Rankings and Reputation

Both Claremont McKenna and Barnard have excellent reputations and rank highly in various college rankings. Claremont McKenna was ranked #9 among national liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report, while Barnard was ranked #11 among national liberal arts colleges. Both colleges have a track record of producing successful graduates who make significant contributions to society.

Additionally, both colleges have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Claremont McKenna has a student body that is 47% students of color and has implemented various initiatives to promote diversity on campus. Barnard has a long history of advocating for women’s education and empowerment and has a student body that is 40% of students of color. Both colleges offer resources and support for underrepresented students and strive to create a welcoming and inclusive community for all.


In conclusion, both Claremont McKenna and Barnard offer excellent academic programs, faculty members, student life experiences, and alumni networks. However, your choice depends on several factors, including location, academic interest, career goals, and personal preferences. We hope that this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable information to help you make an informed decision about your college education.

It is important to note that both Claremont McKenna and Barnard have unique campus cultures and traditions. Claremont McKenna is known for its emphasis on leadership and entrepreneurship, with many students pursuing careers in business and politics. On the other hand, Barnard has a strong commitment to women’s education and empowerment, with a focus on social justice and activism.

Additionally, both colleges offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Claremont McKenna has over 100 student organizations, including a student-run investment fund and a Model United Nations team. Barnard has a vibrant arts scene, with opportunities to participate in theater productions, dance performances, and literary publications.


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