Claremont McKenna vs Caltech: A Comprehensive Overview

September 12, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Claremont McKenna vs Caltech: A Comprehensive Overview

When it comes to choosing a college, there are many factors to consider. From the location and campus culture to the academic programs and career opportunities, every detail can make a big difference in your college experience. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of Claremont McKenna vs Caltech to consider before making your final decision. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what each college has to offer and which one might be the best fit for you.

The History and Background: Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a private liberal arts college located in Claremont, California. Established in 1946, CMC is known for its strong emphasis on economics, political science, and public policy. The campus covers 69 acres and is located about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. On the other hand, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California. Founded in 1891, Caltech is recognized as one of the top STEM-focused institutions in the world. The campus spans 124 acres and is located about 11 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Despite their differences in focus, both CMC and Caltech have a strong commitment to undergraduate education. CMC has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 19, allowing for personalized attention and mentorship. Caltech has a similarly low student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1 and an average class size of 12, providing students with ample opportunities for research and collaboration with faculty. Both institutions also have a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, encouraging students to explore a variety of fields and perspectives.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates: Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

Both CMC and Caltech have highly competitive admission processes. CMC received over 7,000 applications and admitted only 10% of them. Caltech, on the other hand, received nearly 8,000 applications and admitted only 6% of them. The average SAT score for admitted students at CMC is 1420, while the average ACT score is 32. At Caltech, the average SAT score is 1530, and the average ACT score is 35. Both institutions require rigorous high school coursework, strong extracurricular activities, and standout essays for admission.

answer sheet with books about SAT

Aside from academic achievements, both CMC and Caltech also value leadership and community involvement. They look for students who have made a positive impact in their schools and communities through volunteer work, leadership positions, and other extracurricular activities. In addition, both institutions encourage students to pursue their passions and interests outside of the classroom, whether it be through research, internships, or creative projects.

Once admitted, students at CMC and Caltech are part of tight-knit communities that offer a wealth of resources and opportunities. CMC, for example, has a strong emphasis on leadership and entrepreneurship, with programs such as the Kravis Leadership Institute and the Roberts Environmental Center. Caltech, on the other hand, is known for its world-class research facilities and opportunities for undergraduate research. Both institutions also offer a wide range of clubs, organizations, and events that allow students to explore their interests and connect with like-minded peers.

Campus Life and Student Organizations: Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

When it comes to campus life and student organizations, CMC and Caltech have vastly different cultures. CMC is known for its vibrant student life, with more than 200 student clubs and organizations on campus. From political groups to sports teams to cultural organizations, students have plenty of options to get involved. Additionally, CMC is part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, which includes five undergraduate colleges and two graduate schools. This gives CMC students access to a wider range of academic and social resources.

Caltech, on the other hand, is primarily focused on research and academics. The campus is relatively small and has a low student-to-faculty ratio, allowing for close collaboration between students and professors. While there are fewer student organizations on campus, there are still opportunities for students to pursue their interests through organizations such as the Caltech Chess Club, Debate Club, and Robotics Club. Additionally, Caltech is known for its unique traditions, such as the annual inter-house banner competition and the Ditch Day pranks.

Despite the differences in campus culture, both CMC and Caltech offer a variety of resources and support for their students. CMC has a strong emphasis on career development, with resources such as the Career Services Center and the Kravis Leadership Institute. Caltech also offers career services, as well as resources for mental health and wellness through the Student Wellness Services Center.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is their location. CMC is located in Claremont, a small college town with a quaint downtown area and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. Caltech, on the other hand, is located in Pasadena, a larger city with a bustling downtown area and proximity to cultural attractions such as museums and theaters.

Academic Programs Offered: Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

As mentioned earlier, CMC is known for its strong emphasis on economics, political science, and public policy. However, the college also offers majors in fields such as computer science, biology, and mathematical economics. CMC students have the opportunity to take courses at the other colleges in the Claremont consortium, allowing them to pursue a wider range of academic interests. Additionally, CMC has several academic centers, including the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and the Berger Institute for Individual and Social Development.

Caltech is primarily focused on STEM fields, with majors in subjects such as physics, chemistry, engineering, and computer science. The college also has a strong emphasis on research, with many opportunities for students to engage in hands-on projects and collaborations with faculty. Caltech has several research centers, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute.

software engineer developing his skills

Furthermore, CMC offers a unique program called the Keck Science Program, which is a joint program with Pitzer and Scripps Colleges. This program allows students to major in interdisciplinary fields such as neuroscience, environmental analysis, and molecular biology. The program also provides students with access to state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment.

On the other hand, Caltech also offers majors in humanities and social sciences, such as history, philosophy, and economics. These programs are designed to provide students with a well-rounded education and to encourage interdisciplinary thinking. Caltech also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with programs and initiatives aimed at supporting underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Faculty and Research Opportunities: Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

Both CMC and Caltech have highly qualified faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. CMC has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, allowing students to work closely with their professors and receive personalized attention. Many CMC faculty members are actively engaged in research and have received numerous awards and accolades for their work.

Similarly, Caltech has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1, providing ample opportunities for students to work with professors on research projects. The faculty at Caltech is known for their pioneering research in various fields, including astronomy, neuroscience, and materials science. Caltech faculty members have won many prestigious awards, including Nobel Prizes and MacArthur Fellowships.

Both CMC and Caltech offer a wide range of research opportunities for students. At CMC, students can participate in research projects in fields such as economics, government, and psychology. The college also has several research institutes, including the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies. Similarly, Caltech offers research opportunities in areas such as physics, chemistry, and engineering. The university has several research centers, including the Kavli Nanoscience Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.

Student-Faculty Ratio Comparison between Claremont McKenna and Caltech

As mentioned earlier, CMC has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, while Caltech has a ratio of 3:1. This means that Caltech students have more opportunities to work closely with professors on research projects, while CMC students benefit from smaller class sizes and more personalized attention from faculty members.

A teacher talking to her students

However, it is important to note that the student-faculty ratio is not the only factor that determines the quality of education at a college or university. Other factors such as the qualifications and experience of the faculty, the resources available for research and learning, and the overall academic culture of the institution also play a significant role in shaping the educational experience of students.

Furthermore, while the student-faculty ratio at Caltech may be lower than that of CMC, it is worth noting that Caltech is a highly specialized institution that focuses primarily on science and engineering. In contrast, CMC offers a broader range of majors and programs, including social sciences, humanities, and economics, which may appeal to students with diverse academic interests.

Tuition Fees, Scholarships, and Financial Aid Options for Claremont McKenna and Caltech Students

Tuition fees at CMC and Caltech are both quite high, reflecting the high quality of education and resources provided by both institutions. For the academic year, tuition and fees at CMC total $60,715, and room and board fees are an additional $18,712. At Caltech, tuition and fees are $60,864, and room and board fees are an additional $18,606.

Both institutions provide generous financial aid packages to help students afford the cost of attendance. CMC offers need-blind admissions and meets the demonstrated need of all admitted students through a combination of grants, loans, and work-study. Similarly, Caltech has a need-blind admissions process and provides need-based aid to admitted students.

Holding a pile of money.

In addition to need-based aid, both CMC and Caltech offer merit-based scholarships to exceptional students. CMC offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the Presidential Scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees for four years. Caltech offers the Caltech Merit Scholarship, which provides up to full tuition coverage for four years. These scholarships are highly competitive and require outstanding academic achievement and extracurricular involvement.

Career Prospects for Graduates from Claremont McKenna and Caltech

Graduates from both CMC and Caltech have excellent career prospects, thanks in large part to the reputation and network of each institution. CMC graduates are highly sought after by top employers in fields such as finance, consulting, and government. According to the CMC website, 97% of graduates from the class of 2019 were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Caltech graduates are similarly in high demand by top employers in STEM fields. Many graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. According to a survey conducted by Caltech, 86% of graduates from the class of 2019 were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

However, the career prospects for graduates from CMC and Caltech extend beyond just their respective fields. Graduates from both institutions have gone on to successful careers in a variety of industries, including entertainment, healthcare, and technology. The interdisciplinary education and problem-solving skills developed at these institutions make their graduates highly adaptable and valuable in any workplace.

Furthermore, both CMC and Caltech offer extensive career resources and support to their graduates. From career fairs and networking events to alumni mentorship programs, graduates have access to a wide range of opportunities to help them launch and advance their careers. Additionally, both institutions have strong alumni networks, which can provide valuable connections and opportunities for graduates throughout their professional lives.

Alumni Networks of Claremont McKenna and Caltech: Who Has the Strongest Network?

Both CMC and Caltech have strong alumni networks, with graduates from each institution going on to successful careers in a wide range of fields. CMC alumni are a tight-knit community and are known for their strong loyalty to the college. Many CMC alumni go on to serve in leadership positions in government, business, and non-profit organizations.

Similarly, Caltech alumni are highly respected in the STEM community and often make significant contributions to the fields in which they work. According to a survey conducted by Caltech, 90% of alumni from the class of 2018 reported that their Caltech education had prepared them well for their careers.

Despite both institutions having strong alumni networks, there are some notable differences between the two. CMC’s alumni network is known for its focus on networking and mentorship opportunities, with alumni often reaching out to current students to offer guidance and support. On the other hand, Caltech’s alumni network is more focused on research and innovation, with many alumni collaborating on cutting-edge projects and startups.

Sports Teams and Athletic Facilities at Claremont McKenna and Caltech

While neither CMC nor Caltech is known for its sports programs, both institutions offer opportunities for students to participate in athletics. CMC is part of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and fields teams in sports such as soccer, basketball, and swimming. The college also has excellent athletic facilities, including a fitness center, a swimming pool, and an outdoor track.

Caltech is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III but does not offer scholarships for athletics. The college has teams in sports such as basketball, volleyball, and cross country. Caltech also has a state-of-the-art fitness center and several outdoor recreational areas.

Logo of NCAA on the screen of a spartphone.

Despite not being known for their sports programs, both CMC and Caltech have a strong emphasis on physical fitness and wellness. Both colleges offer a variety of fitness classes and programs, such as yoga, Pilates, and dance. Additionally, CMC and Caltech have resources available for students to learn about nutrition and healthy living, including workshops and counseling services.

Diversity on Campus: Comparing the Student Body at Claremont McKenna and Caltech

Both CMC and Caltech are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. CMC has a student body that is roughly 40% White, 15% Hispanic/Latino, 12% Asian, and 5% Black/African American. The college also has a strong LGBTQ community and actively promotes gender equity and social justice initiatives.

Caltech has a smaller student body and is relatively more diverse than other STEM-focused institutions. The student body is approximately 30% White, 41% Asian, 15% international, and 4% Black/African American. Caltech also has several programs and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, including the Center for Diversity and the Caltech-Occidental Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for underrepresented students in STEM fields.

Despite their efforts to promote diversity, both CMC and Caltech have faced criticism for their lack of representation of certain minority groups. For example, both institutions have relatively low percentages of Native American and Pacific Islander students. Additionally, some students have expressed concerns about the lack of socioeconomic diversity on campus, with many students coming from affluent backgrounds.

However, both CMC and Caltech have taken steps to address these issues. CMC has implemented need-blind admissions and meets 100% of the demonstrated financial needs of all admitted students. Caltech has also increased its outreach efforts to underrepresented communities and has established partnerships with community colleges to increase access to STEM education for low-income and first-generation students.

Location Comparison: Living in Claremont vs. Pasadena

The location of a college can have a big impact on the overall college experience. Claremont is a small suburban town located about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. The town has a quaint downtown area with many restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. The Claremont Colleges consortium also offers many events and resources, including a joint student health center, dining hall, and library system.

A bookworm smiling while holding a pile of books in the library.

Pasadena, on the other hand, is a larger city located in the San Gabriel Valley. It is home to many cultural attractions, including the Pasadena Playhouse and the Norton Simon Museum. The city also has many restaurants, shops, and outdoor recreational areas. Additionally, the proximity to Los Angeles allows for many opportunities for internships, networking, and entertainment.

However, living in Pasadena can also come with some downsides. The city is known for its heavy traffic, which can make commuting to and from school or work a challenge. Additionally, the cost of living in Pasadena is generally higher than in Claremont, which can be a concern for students on a tight budget. Despite these challenges, many students find that the benefits of living in Pasadena outweigh the drawbacks.

Graduate School Placement Rates for Students from Claremont McKenna vs. Caltech

Graduate school is a common next step for many graduates of CMC and Caltech. According to the CMC website, 34% of graduates from the class of 2019 went on to pursue advanced degrees immediately after graduation. A significant number of CMC graduates attend top law, business, and medical schools. Similarly, many Caltech graduates pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields at top universities around the world.

However, the graduate school placement rates for CMC and Caltech differ significantly. According to the latest data, 60% of Caltech graduates pursue advanced degrees immediately after graduation. The majority of these students continue their studies in STEM fields, with a significant number attending top engineering and computer science programs.

Furthermore, the type of graduate programs pursued by CMC and Caltech graduates also varies. While CMC graduates tend to pursue professional degrees in law, business, and medicine, Caltech graduates are more likely to pursue research-based graduate programs in fields such as physics, chemistry, and biology. This difference in graduate school focus reflects the unique strengths and academic priorities of each institution.

Conclusion: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing between Claremont McKenna and Caltech ultimately comes down to your individual priorities and goals. If you are interested in pursuing a broad liberal arts education and want the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of student organizations, then CMC might be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you have a strong interest in STEM fields and want to attend a school that is focused on research and innovation, then Caltech might be the better choice. Regardless of which institution you choose, both CMC and Caltech will provide you with a challenging and rewarding college experience that will prepare you for success in your future endeavors.

It is important to note that both CMC and Caltech have unique campus cultures and environments. CMC is known for its collaborative and social atmosphere, with a strong emphasis on leadership and community service. Caltech, on the other hand, has a more intense and competitive academic environment, with a focus on cutting-edge research and innovation. It is important to consider not only your academic and career goals but also the type of campus community and environment that will best support your personal growth and development.


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