Claremont McKenna vs Harvard: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Elite Universities

September 11, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Claremont McKenna vs Harvard: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Elite Universities

Choosing the right college or university can be a daunting decision for students. With so many options available, it’s important to carefully consider each institution’s offerings, opportunities, and campus culture. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive comparison of Claremont McKenna vs Harvard. From their history and admissions process to academics, athletics, and everything in between, we’ll give you an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between these two esteemed institutions. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in.

The History and Origins of Claremont McKenna and Harvard

Let us start with a brief history of the two universities. Harvard University was founded in 1636 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Over the centuries, Harvard has become one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with a long list of accomplished alumni including eight United States presidents. Claremont McKenna College, on the other hand, was founded in 1946 in Claremont, California, with a mission to provide a liberal arts education with an emphasis on economics, government, and public affairs. Over the years, CMC has earned a reputation for its rigorous academics and excellent undergraduate programs in the social sciences.

social science for college students

Despite their differences in age and location, both Harvard and Claremont McKenna have played significant roles in shaping the academic landscape of the United States. Harvard has been a pioneer in many fields, including law, medicine, and business, and has produced numerous Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Claremont McKenna, on the other hand, has been recognized for its commitment to undergraduate education and has produced many successful graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions in their respective fields.

Today, both universities continue to attract top students and faculty from around the world and remain leaders in their respective areas of focus. Harvard continues to expand its research and academic programs, while Claremont McKenna has recently launched new initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among its students. As the academic landscape continues to evolve, it is clear that both Harvard and Claremont McKenna will continue to play important roles in shaping the future of higher education in the United States and beyond.

Admission Requirements: Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

The admission policies of Claremont McKenna and Harvard are both highly competitive. For admission to Harvard, prospective students will need to submit standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation, along with an admissions interview. Claremont McKenna, similarly, requires standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation, but does not require the admissions interview. Both institutions look for evidence of academic achievement, leadership potential, community involvement, and a demonstrated interest in the field of study. Harvard is more selective, admitting only about 4.9% of applicants, while Claremont McKenna admits around 9% of applicants.

In addition to the standard admission requirements, both Claremont McKenna and Harvard offer opportunities for students to showcase their unique talents and experiences. For example, Harvard encourages students to submit a supplementary portfolio of their artwork, music, or writing, while Claremont McKenna offers an optional interview for students to further highlight their strengths and interests. These additional components can help set applicants apart from the thousands of other highly qualified candidates.

It is also important to note that both institutions have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning that they consider each applicant as a whole person, rather than just a set of test scores and grades. This means that factors such as personal background, overcoming adversity, and unique life experiences can also play a role in the admissions decision. Therefore, it is important for applicants to present themselves authentically and showcase their individuality throughout the application process.

Campus Life: A Comparison of Student Housing, Dining Options, and Extracurricular Activities

Both Claremont McKenna and Harvard provide a comprehensive campus experience, with a range of options for student housing, dining, and extracurricular activities. At Harvard, undergraduate students are required to live on campus for their first year, and housing is available throughout all four years of study. The university has a range of dining options, from casual cafes to formal dining halls. Students can also participate in over 400 student organizations, including athletic teams, cultural groups, and academic clubs. Similarly, at Claremont McKenna, students are required to live on campus for their first two years, with the option to live off-campus in their junior and senior years. The Athenaeum, the college’s dining hall, provides award-winning cuisine, and there are over 100 student organizations on campus.

Dining hall for college students

However, there are some differences between the two campuses when it comes to campus life. At Harvard, there is a strong emphasis on residential life, with each house having its own unique culture and traditions. This creates a tight-knit community within the larger university. In contrast, Claremont McKenna has a more decentralized approach to student life, with each of the five undergraduate colleges having its own distinct personality and social scene.

Another difference is the availability of resources for students. Harvard has a larger budget and more resources, which allows for more extensive programming and events. For example, the university hosts an annual arts festival that brings in renowned performers and artists from around the world. Claremont McKenna, on the other hand, has a smaller budget but still manages to provide a wide range of opportunities for students, such as guest speakers, career fairs, and community service projects.

Academics: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Majors, Minors, and Programs Offered at CMC and Harvard

The academic offerings at Claremont McKenna and Harvard are both highly regarded and diverse. At Harvard, students can choose from over 50 concentrations, ranging from social sciences to humanities to physical sciences. The university also offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs, including environmental science and public policy, as well as research opportunities with renowned faculty. CMC, on the other hand, offers 32 majors and 12 sequences in fields such as government, economics, and psychology, along with several off-campus study programs and research opportunities. While both institutions offer a well-rounded liberal arts education, CMC’s curriculum has a more specialized focus on social sciences, while Harvard provides more breadth in the student’s field of study.

Educational concept about College Majors with phrase on the piece of paper.

Additionally, both CMC and Harvard offer a wide range of extracurricular activities that complement their academic programs. At CMC, students can participate in various clubs and organizations, including Model United Nations, Investment Banking Club, and Entrepreneurship Club. Harvard, on the other hand, has over 400 student organizations, including the Harvard Crimson newspaper, the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine, and the Harvard College Debating Union. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, pursue their interests, and build a strong sense of community on campus.

Faculty: A Closer Look at the Professors and Instructors Teaching at Claremont McKenna and Harvard

The faculty is at the heart of any educational institution, and both Claremont McKenna and Harvard have an impressive roster of renowned professors and academics. At Harvard, students will have the opportunity to study with leading scholars, including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients. Claremont McKenna, similarly, is home to distinguished faculty, including former U.S. ambassadors, Fulbright scholars, and renowned economists. Both institutions prioritize teaching, with smaller class sizes and personalized attention from faculty members.

However, there are some differences in the faculty makeup between the two institutions. Harvard has a larger faculty, with over 2,400 professors and instructors, while Claremont McKenna has a smaller faculty of around 200. This means that at Harvard, students may have a wider range of courses and research opportunities available to them, but at Claremont McKenna, students may have more opportunities for one-on-one mentorship and collaboration with faculty members. Additionally, both institutions have a diverse faculty, with a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education.

Research Opportunities: How CMC and Harvard Support Student Research Projects

Research is an important aspect of academic life, and both Claremont McKenna and Harvard offer a range of opportunities for students to get involved in research projects with faculty members. At Harvard, students can participate in research programs in fields such as life sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Claremont McKenna also emphasizes research opportunities for students, with specialized programs in fields such as economics, international relations, and public affairs, along with funding opportunities and a dedicated institute for research on politics and policies.

Students doing their research projects

Moreover, both CMC and Harvard provide students with access to state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment, enabling them to conduct cutting-edge research in their respective fields. Harvard, for instance, has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Harvard Global Health Institute. Similarly, CMC has a range of research centers, including the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, and the Lowe Institute of Political Economy.

Furthermore, both institutions encourage students to present their research findings at conferences and publish their work in academic journals. Harvard, for example, has a dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships that provides students with guidance on how to present their research and apply for research grants. Similarly, CMC has a number of programs and resources to help students disseminate their research, including the Student Symposium on Research, Scholarship, and Creativity, and the Research Opportunities Program, which provides funding for students to present their research at conferences and publish their work in academic journals.

Student Body Diversity: Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

Both Claremont McKenna and Harvard strive to create diverse and inclusive campus communities, with students from a variety of backgrounds and identities. At Harvard, approximately 50% of the undergraduate student body are students of color, and more than 15% are international students. Claremont McKenna, similarly, has a diverse student body, with students from over 40 states and 50 countries, as well as a focus on increasing diversity in its faculty and staff.

View of students with diverse race leaning on the wall.

However, there are some differences in the demographics of the two schools. While Harvard has a larger overall student body, Claremont McKenna has a higher percentage of students who identify as LGBTQ+. In fact, Claremont McKenna has been recognized as one of the top LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the country, with resources and support for LGBTQ+ students.

Additionally, both schools have made efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity on their campuses. Harvard has implemented a policy of need-blind admissions, meaning that a student’s ability to pay for tuition is not a factor in the admissions decision. Claremont McKenna has also taken steps to increase access for low-income students, including offering full-tuition scholarships to students from families with incomes under $75,000.

Athletics: Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

For those students interested in athletics, both Claremont McKenna and Harvard offer comprehensive athletic programs and facilities. Harvard is a Division I school and has 42 varsity sports teams, including the well-known Harvard Crimson football team. Claremont McKenna, on the other hand, is a Division III school but also has competitive athletic programs in sports such as volleyball, basketball, and baseball. The college also offers a combination of recreational and competitive sports, with state-of-the-art athletic facilities such as the Roberts Pavilion.

Student playing volleyball

However, the student-athlete experience at CMC and Harvard differs in some ways. At CMC, student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in a close-knit community, where they can form strong bonds with their teammates and coaches. The smaller size of the athletic programs allows for more individualized attention and support from coaches. In contrast, Harvard’s larger athletic programs may offer more resources and opportunities for student-athletes, but it can also be more challenging to form close relationships with coaches and teammates. Additionally, the academic demands at Harvard may be more rigorous for student-athletes, as they balance their athletic commitments with their coursework.

Career Opportunities: An In-Depth Look at the Career Services Provided by CMC and Harvard

For many students, the ultimate goal of a college education is to secure a successful and fulfilling career. Both Claremont McKenna and Harvard offer comprehensive career services, including career counseling, resume and cover letter assistance, job and internship search tools, and networking opportunities. Harvard’s Office of Career Services provides personalized assistance to help students explore career paths and achieve their goals, while CMC’s Career Services Center offers a variety of resources and events, including a job and internship fair and mentorship programs.

One unique aspect of CMC’s Career Services Center is its focus on connecting students with alumni who are working in their desired fields. This mentorship program allows students to gain valuable insights and advice from professionals who have already established successful careers. Additionally, CMC offers a program called “Career Treks,” which are organized trips to major cities where students can visit companies and organizations in their field of interest.

Harvard’s Office of Career Services also offers a range of specialized programs, such as the “Public Interested Career Conference” for students interested in non-profit and public service careers, and the “Tech and Entrepreneurship Career Fair” for students interested in the tech industry. Harvard also has a strong alumni network, with many graduates who are leaders in their respective fields, providing valuable networking opportunities for current students.

Alumni Networks: How CMC and Harvard Support Their Graduates After Graduation

The relationship between a university and its alumni is essential in cultivating a strong and supportive academic community. Harvard boasts an extensive alumni network, with over 400,000 alumni living across the globe and active alumni chapters in major cities. The university’s Harvard Alumni Association offers a variety of resources and opportunities for alumni to stay connected with each other and with the university. Similarly, CMC values its alumni community and offers a range of services and programs, including networking events, mentorship programs, and a robust alumni directory.

One unique aspect of CMC’s alumni network is its emphasis on career development. The college’s Career Services Center offers a variety of resources for alumni, including job postings, career counseling, and access to industry-specific events. Additionally, CMC’s alumni network includes a number of successful professionals who are eager to mentor recent graduates and offer guidance as they navigate their careers. This emphasis on career development sets CMC’s alumni network apart and underscores the college’s commitment to supporting its graduates long after they leave campus.

Cost of Attendance: Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

For most students and families, the cost of attendance is a critical factor in the decision-making process. Harvard’s tuition and fees for the academic year are $57,261, with additional expenses such as room and board, books, and personal expenses. Claremont McKenna’s tuition and fees for the same academic year are $60,715. However, both institutions offer need-based financial aid programs and scholarships to eligible students to make higher education accessible to all students.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance can vary depending on individual circumstances, such as residency status and family income. Additionally, while the sticker price of attending Harvard may seem higher than that of Claremont McKenna, Harvard has a significantly larger endowment and may be able to offer more generous financial aid packages to eligible students. It is important for prospective students to research and compare the financial aid options available at each institution to make an informed decision about which school is the best fit for them.

Campus Safety: A Comparison of the Security Measures in Place at Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

Ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for any academic institution. At Harvard, the university’s police department works in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community. The university also has a comprehensive system for emergency notifications and response. Likewise, Claremont McKenna has an established campus police department with a focus on community policing, along with nationally recognized safety programs such as the “Green Dot” program, which provides bystander intervention training for students and staff.

However, there are some differences in the security measures in place at these two institutions. For example, Harvard has a larger campus and therefore has more security personnel on duty at any given time. Additionally, Harvard has implemented a system of security cameras throughout the campus, which allows for constant monitoring of activity and quick response to any potential threats.

On the other hand, Claremont McKenna has a smaller campus and therefore has a more tight-knit community. This allows for a greater sense of personal responsibility among students and staff for their own safety and the safety of others. The campus also has a system of emergency call boxes located throughout the campus, which can be used to quickly summon help in case of an emergency.

Location and Surrounding Area: Claremont McKenna vs. Harvard

The surrounding area can greatly impact the campus experience, both academically and socially. Harvard, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is situated in the heart of an urban center, with access to a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The city also provides ample opportunities for internships and job prospects. Similarly, Claremont, California, where CMC is situated, provides a suburban atmosphere with easy access to hiking and outdoor activities in the San Gabriel Mountains. The college is also within driving distance of Los Angeles, providing an easy escape to the urban center.

However, the differences between the two locations extend beyond just the urban versus suburban divide. Claremont is a small, tight-knit community, where students often know each other and the faculty on a personal level. This creates a more intimate and supportive environment for learning and personal growth. In contrast, Harvard’s location in Cambridge means that students are part of a larger, more diverse community, with access to a wider range of perspectives and experiences.

Another factor to consider is the weather. Claremont enjoys a warm, sunny climate year-round, which allows for outdoor activities and a more relaxed lifestyle. On the other hand, Harvard experiences cold winters and hot summers, which can impact the campus culture and social life. Students at Harvard may be more likely to spend time indoors during the winter months, while students at CMC can take advantage of the outdoors all year long.

Conclusion: Which School is Right for You?

So, which school is right for you? Ultimately, the answer will depend on your individual preferences, academic goals, and professional aspirations. Both Claremont McKenna and Harvard offer excellent academic programs, athletics, and campus life experiences, with a commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s important to research and visit each institution, talk to current students and faculty, and consider not just academics, but also the surrounding area and campus culture. Whatever your decision, attending an elite university like Claremont McKenna or Harvard can open doors and provide an unparalleled college experience.


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