Claremont McKenna vs UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

September 14, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Claremont McKenna vs UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing a university, there are a lot of factors to consider. Two popular options on the West Coast are Claremont McKenna and UC Davis. These two universities represent different philosophies and offer distinct academic and social experiences. In this article, we’ve researched and compared Claremont McKenna vs UC Davis to help you make the best decision for your future.

UC Davis

Among public universities in the United States, UC Davis is known for its research-oriented approach and world-renowned faculty. Founded in 1905, the university has grown into an institution of over 31,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UC Davis offers a variety of academic programs in fields like the sciences, engineering, business, and humanities.

In addition to its academic programs, UC Davis is also recognized for its commitment to sustainability and environmentalism. The university has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and promote eco-friendly practices, including the installation of solar panels, the use of electric buses, and the implementation of a campus-wide composting program. UC Davis is also home to the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, which features over 100 acres of gardens and natural areas for students and community members to enjoy.

Academic Programs Offered: Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

One of the biggest differences between the two universities is the range of academic programs offered. Claremont McKenna is known for its rigorous programs in political science, economics, and international relations. UC Davis, on the other hand, has a broader selection of programs, with particularly strong programs in the natural and environmental sciences.

If you’re seeking a focused and intense academic experience, Claremont McKenna may be a better fit. If you’re looking for more variety in academic programs, UC Davis is a great choice.

It’s worth noting that both universities offer unique opportunities for students to engage in research and hands-on learning experiences. Claremont McKenna has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with opportunities for students to participate in internships, research projects, and community service. UC Davis, on the other hand, has a world-renowned research program, with state-of-the-art facilities and resources available to students in a variety of fields.

Admission Requirements: How to Get into Claremont McKenna or UC Davis

As with any university, getting accepted to either Claremont McKenna or UC Davis requires a strong academic record, strong test scores, and extracurricular accomplishments. Claremont McKenna is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 11%. UC Davis is somewhat less selective, with an acceptance rate of 49%.

Unidentified person taking an exam

When it comes to admission requirements, both universities have similar expectations. Claremont McKenna puts more emphasis on personal statements and interviews, while UC Davis looks for leadership qualities and community involvement. Be sure to research each university’s application requirements thoroughly.

It’s important to note that both universities also consider factors beyond academic and extracurricular achievements. For example, Claremont McKenna’s values demonstrated interest in the school, such as attending information sessions or reaching out to admissions counselors. UC Davis also takes into account an applicant’s personal background and experiences, including any challenges they may have faced or unique perspectives they can bring to the campus community.

Student Life at Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis: Social Scene, Dorms, and Clubs

When it comes to student life, Claremont McKenna and UC Davis have distinct social scenes. Claremont McKenna’s small size creates a tight-knit community where students are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular activities and attend social events. UC Davis is a larger and more diverse university, with a thriving campus culture centered around clubs and organizations.

Both universities offer a variety of residential options, from traditional dorms to campus apartments. Claremont McKenna’s residential halls have a reputation for being some of the best in the country, thanks to their spacious and updated amenities. UC Davis has a mix of older and newer residence halls, but there is a focus on environmentally sustainable living.

One major difference between the two universities is the location. Claremont McKenna is located in Southern California, which means students have access to beaches, mountains, and other outdoor activities. UC Davis, on the other hand, is located in Northern California and offers a different set of outdoor activities, such as hiking and skiing.

Another difference is the academic focus. Claremont McKenna is a liberal arts college with a strong emphasis on economics, government, and international relations. UC Davis is a research university with a wide range of academic programs, including agriculture, engineering, and veterinary medicine.

Cost of Attendance: Affordability of Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

Cost is always a factor when it comes to choosing a university. Claremont McKenna is a private university, so tuition is higher compared to UC Davis, a public university. However, Claremont McKenna also has more financial aid opportunities, including merit-based scholarships and need-based grants.

Be sure to research the cost of attendance for both universities and weigh your financial aid options. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of living in each location.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance at both universities can vary depending on your major and program of study. Some majors may require additional fees or materials, such as lab equipment or textbooks, which can add to the overall cost of attendance.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the potential return on investment for your education. While Claremont McKenna may have a higher tuition cost, its graduates often have higher earning potential and job placement rates compared to UC Davis graduates. This could ultimately make the higher cost of attendance worth it in the long run.

Career Prospects for Graduates: Which University Offers Better Job Opportunities?

Both Claremont McKenna and UC Davis have strong alumni networks and career centers to assist graduates in their job search. Claremont McKenna graduates tend to go into consulting, finance, and government, while UC Davis alumni have success in sectors like agriculture, healthcare, and technology.

concept about education, knowledge and science

Researching each university’s career center and networking opportunities can give you a better idea of which university is a better fit for your career goals.

It’s important to note that while the career prospects for graduates are important, they are not the only factor to consider when choosing a university. Factors such as location, campus culture, and academic programs should also be taken into account. Additionally, internships and extracurricular activities can play a significant role in building a strong resume and gaining valuable experience in your desired field.

Faculty and Teaching Quality at Claremont McKenna and UC Davis: A Comparison

Both universities have distinguished faculty members with impressive backgrounds. Claremont McKenna’s faculty is known for its research and scholarly accomplishments, while UC Davis’ professors are experts in their respective fields. Class sizes tend to be smaller at Claremont McKenna, allowing for more individual attention from professors.

If you’re looking for a more personal learning experience, Claremont McKenna’s smaller class sizes may be a better option. If you want to learn from experts in a range of fields, UC Davis may be the way to go.

Another factor to consider when comparing the faculty and teaching quality at Claremont McKenna and UC Davis is the availability of research opportunities for undergraduate students. At Claremont McKenna, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on research projects, which can be a valuable experience for those interested in pursuing graduate studies or careers in academia. UC Davis also offers research opportunities for undergraduate students, but the larger size of the university may make it more competitive to secure these opportunities.

Research Opportunities Available: Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

Both universities offer research opportunities for students, but UC Davis is known for its emphasis on scientific research. The university has a large number of research centers and institutes dedicated to a range of scientific fields, including biotechnology, agriculture, and environmental science.

Student connecting online with a laptop

Claremont McKenna has opportunities for undergraduate research as well and is particularly strong in the political science and economics fields.

Additionally, UC Davis has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with many opportunities for students to collaborate across different fields of study. Claremont McKenna also offers interdisciplinary research opportunities, but on a smaller scale compared to UC Davis.

Campus Diversity Comparison: Which University Offers a More Diverse Community?

UC Davis is a more diverse university than Claremont McKenna, with a larger percentage of international students and students of color. UC Davis also has a larger LGBTQ+ community and actively promotes diversity through programs and events.

Claremont McKenna is known for its commitment to promoting diversity on campus and has implemented several initiatives to promote inclusion. However, the university is still predominantly white and Asian.

It is important to note that both UC Davis and Claremont McKenna have made efforts to increase diversity on their campuses. UC Davis has implemented programs such as the African American and African Studies Program and the Chicanx and Latinx Studies Program, while Claremont McKenna has established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Queer Resource Center. Both universities also offer resources and support for underrepresented students, including mentorship programs and scholarships.

Sports, Athletics, and Recreation Facilities: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UC Davis

UC Davis has a strong Division I athletics program, with 23 varsity sports teams. In addition to traditional sports, UC Davis also has a strong competitive e-sports scene. In terms of recreational facilities, UC Davis has state-of-the-art fitness centers and a large recreation center.

Claremont McKenna has a smaller Division III athletics program, with a focus on individual sports like track and field, swimming, and tennis. The university recently renovated its athletic facilities, including a new swimming complex and athletic training center.

Player holding a ball in his right hand.

Despite the smaller athletics program, Claremont McKenna offers a variety of intramural sports and fitness classes for students. The college also has a strong outdoor recreation program, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and rock climbing in nearby mountains.

UC Davis has a strong commitment to sustainability in its athletics and recreation facilities. The recreation center is LEED Platinum certified, and the university has implemented a bike share program to encourage alternative transportation to and from the facilities.

Alumni Network Comparison: Which University has the Stronger Alumni Network?

Both universities have active alumni networks, with Claremont McKenna’s alumni network focusing on industries like finance, politics, and law. UC Davis alumni are prominent in fields like science, healthcare, and technology. Both universities offer networking events and resources to help alumni succeed.

However, when it comes to the size of the alumni network, UC Davis has a larger alumni base compared to Claremont McKenna. This means that UC Davis alumni have a wider reach and more opportunities for networking. Additionally, UC Davis has a strong presence in the agricultural industry, which is a major contributor to the economy of California. This provides unique opportunities for UC Davis alumni to connect and collaborate in this field.

Extracurricular Activities Offered at Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

Both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including clubs, organizations, and volunteer opportunities. Claremont McKenna’s student body is known for being politically active, and the university has several political clubs and organizations.

UC Davis has hundreds of student-run clubs and organizations, ranging from sports clubs to cultural organizations. The university also has a strong emphasis on sustainability and has several environmental organizations.

In addition to political clubs and organizations, Claremont McKenna also offers a variety of performing arts groups, including Cappella groups, theater productions, and dance teams. The university also has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with several clubs and organizations dedicated to helping students start their own businesses.

UC Davis offers unique extracurricular opportunities, such as the Arboretum Ambassadors program, where students can learn about and care for the university’s extensive collection of plants and trees. The university also has a strong emphasis on community service, with several volunteer organizations focused on helping the local community.

Campus Safety and Security Comparison: Which University is Safer?

Both Claremont McKenna and UC Davis have safe campuses, with security measures in place to ensure the safety of students. Claremont McKenna is located in a suburban area, while UC Davis is located in a rural area. Crime rates are low at both universities.

Campus Safety


However, it is important to note that while both universities have low crime rates, they do face different safety concerns. Claremont McKenna has a larger student population and is located in a more densely populated area, which can lead to issues such as theft and assault. On the other hand, UC Davis has a larger campus and is located in a more isolated area, which can lead to concerns such as wildlife encounters and accidents on rural roads. It is important for students to be aware of these potential safety concerns and take appropriate precautions to ensure their own safety.

Sustainability Practices Adopted: Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

UC Davis is known for its sustainability efforts, with a focus on reducing emissions and promoting sustainable practices. The university has several LEED-certified buildings and encourages recycling and composting. Claremont McKenna has also implemented several sustainability initiatives, including a focus on renewable energy.

One of the ways UC Davis promotes sustainability is through its transportation system. The university offers a bike-sharing program and has electric buses that run on renewable energy. Additionally, UC Davis has a student-run farm that promotes sustainable agriculture practices.

Claremont McKenna has also taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The college has installed solar panels on several buildings and has implemented a green purchasing policy to reduce waste. In addition, Claremont McKenna has a sustainability committee made up of students, faculty, and staff who work to promote sustainable practices on campus.

Ranking Analysis: Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

Claremont McKenna is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the United States, while UC Davis is consistently ranked among the top public universities. Rankings can be an important factor to consider but remember to weigh other factors as well.

One important factor to consider when comparing Claremont McKenna and UC Davis is the size of the student body. Claremont McKenna has a much smaller student body, with just over 1,400 undergraduate students, while UC Davis has over 31,000 undergraduate students. This can have an impact on the overall campus culture and the level of individual attention students receive from faculty and staff.

Another factor to consider is the location of the two schools. Claremont McKenna is located in Southern California, just outside of Los Angeles, while UC Davis is located in Northern California, near Sacramento. The two locations offer different opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences. It’s important to consider which location would be the best fit for your personal and professional goals.

Financial Aid Options Available for Students: Claremont McKenna vs. UC Davis

Financial aid options vary between Claremont McKenna and UC Davis. Claremont McKenna offers both merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid, while UC Davis primarily offers need-based financial aid. Be sure to research each university’s financial aid offerings and application deadlines.

free application for federal student aid

It is important to note that both universities require students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for any type of financial aid. Additionally, students may also be eligible for outside scholarships and grants, which can further supplement their financial aid package. It is recommended that students explore all possible options and speak with a financial aid advisor at their respective universities to ensure they are receiving the maximum amount of aid possible.

Student Reviews of Both Universities; What They Say About Them?

Reading student reviews can provide valuable insights into a university’s strengths and weaknesses. Students at Claremont McKenna often praise the small class sizes and personal attention from professors, while students at UC Davis appreciate the diversity and strong research opportunities.

However, some students at Claremont McKenna have expressed concerns about the lack of diversity on campus and the pressure to succeed in a highly competitive environment. On the other hand, some students at UC Davis have mentioned the large class sizes and difficulty in getting individual attention from professors.

Selecting the Right University for Your Specific Needs; Factors to Consider.

Ultimately, the right university for you depends on your specific needs and goals. Consider factors like academic programs, social scene, cost, career opportunities, and location. Do extensive research and visit each university before making a decision.

Another important factor to consider when selecting a university is the size of the campus and student body. Some students thrive in smaller, more intimate settings, while others prefer larger, more diverse environments. Additionally, it’s important to consider the resources and support services available to students, such as tutoring, counseling, and career services. These can greatly impact your academic and personal success during your time at university.

Conclusion – Which University Should You Choose?

Choosing between Claremont McKenna and UC Davis can be a difficult decision. Both universities offer unique academic and social experiences. Think carefully about your goals and needs. If you’re looking for a more personalized academic experience with strong programs in political science and economics, Claremont McKenna may be the way to go. If you’re seeking a broader range of academic programs and strong research opportunities, UC Davis is a great option. Remember to tour both universities and talk to current students and faculty before making a decision.

It’s also important to consider the location and campus environment when making your decision. Claremont McKenna is located in a small, suburban town with a tight-knit community feel. On the other hand, UC Davis is situated in a larger city with more diverse opportunities and a bustling campus atmosphere. Think about what kind of environment you thrive in and what kind of community you want to be a part of.

Lastly, don’t forget to factor in the financial aspect of attending each university. Claremont McKenna is a private institution with a higher tuition cost, while UC Davis is a public university with lower tuition for in-state students. Consider your financial situation and whether the cost of attending each university is feasible for you and your family.


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