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Claremont McKenna vs UCLA: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A woman thinking in front of her laptop

Claremont McKenna vs UCLA: Which College is Right for You?

If you’re looking to attend college in Southern California, two schools that should be on your radar are Claremont McKenna College and the University of California, Los Angeles. Both schools are well-respected institutions in the region, but they have distinct characteristics that make them unique from one another. In this article, we have a comprehensive look at Claremont McKenna vs UCLA, so you can make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

UCLA

Let’s start with UCLA. Founded in 1919, UCLA is a public university that’s part of the University of California system. With more than 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it’s one of the largest universities in the country. The campus is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, just a few miles from the beach. UCLA has a reputation for being a top-notch research university, and it’s consistently ranked as one of the best public universities in the country.

Students walking in front of the UCLA building.

UCLA offers a wide range of academic programs, including over 125 majors across five undergraduate colleges. The university is also home to several professional schools, including the highly regarded David Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA School of Law. In addition to its academic offerings, UCLA has a vibrant campus life with over 1,000 student organizations, NCAA Division I sports teams, and a thriving arts and culture scene. With its combination of academic excellence and a dynamic campus community, it’s no wonder that UCLA is a top choice for many students.

Academics: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

When it comes to academics, there are several differences between Claremont McKenna and UCLA. Claremont McKenna is a private liberal arts college that focuses on social sciences and economics. It has a small undergraduate enrollment of around 1,400 students, which means that classes are typically smaller and more discussion-based. Students at Claremont McKenna are required to take a broad range of classes across different disciplines, which gives them a well-rounded education.

UCLA, on the other hand, offers more than 125 majors and minors across a range of disciplines. Because it’s such a large university, classes can vary in size from a few dozen to a few hundred students. The university’s general education requirements are less rigid than Claremont McKenna’s, which allows students to take a wider range of classes within their area of interest.

Another difference between the two institutions is the level of academic rigor. Claremont McKenna is known for its challenging curriculum and high academic standards. Students are expected to engage in critical thinking and analysis, and the workload can be intense at times. UCLA, while still a highly respected institution, is generally considered to be less academically rigorous than Claremont McKenna.

Finally, the academic culture at each school is different. Claremont McKenna has a strong emphasis on leadership and community service, and many students are involved in extracurricular activities that reflect these values. UCLA, on the other hand, has a more diverse student body and a wider range of extracurricular activities, including sports, music, and theater. Both schools offer a rich academic experience, but the culture and values of each institution may appeal to different types of students.

Student Body: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

Both Claremont McKenna and UCLA attract students from a wide range of backgrounds, but there are some differences between the two campuses. Claremont McKenna has a smaller student body, which means that students tend to be more involved in campus activities and have more opportunities to form close relationships with faculty members. The campus is also known for its political activism and commitment to social justice issues.

social justice

UCLA, by contrast, has a more diverse student body, with a higher proportion of students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. It also has a large international student population, which gives the campus a global feel. With more than 1,000 student organizations on campus, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in clubs, sports teams, and other activities.

Another notable difference between the student bodies at Claremont McKenna and UCLA is the academic focus of the students. At Claremont McKenna, students tend to be more focused on the social sciences and humanities, with a strong emphasis on economics, government, and international relations. UCLA, on the other hand, has a wider range of academic programs, including strong programs in the sciences, engineering, and technology. This difference in academic focus can be seen in the types of research and extracurricular activities that students are involved in on each campus.

Admissions and Selectivity: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

Admissions criteria and selectivity are important factors to consider when choosing a college. Claremont McKenna has a highly selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of 11%. The college looks for applicants who are academically strong, but also have a demonstrated commitment to leadership and community service. The average GPA of admitted students is around 3.9, and the average SAT score is around 1420.

UCLA is also a selective university, with an acceptance rate of around 14%. The university looks for students who are academically strong, but also have a diverse range of experiences and interests. The average GPA of admitted students is around 3.8, and the average SAT score is around 1400. One thing to keep in mind is that because UCLA is a public university, it’s required to admit a certain number of in-state students each year. If you’re from out of state, your chances of being admitted may be slightly lower.

Another important factor to consider when comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA is the size of the student body. Claremont McKenna is a small liberal arts college with around 1,400 undergraduate students, while UCLA is a large public university with over 30,000 undergraduate students. This means that students at Claremont McKenna may have more opportunities for personalized attention from professors and a closer-knit community, while students at UCLA may have access to a wider range of resources and opportunities.

Cost of Attendance: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

Cost is an important factor to consider when choosing a college, and there are some significant differences between Claremont McKenna and UCLA when it comes to tuition and fees. Claremont McKenna is a private college, which means that it has higher tuition and fees than UCLA. For the academic year, tuition at Claremont McKenna is around $60,000, with room and board adding an additional $18,000. The college does offer need-based financial aid to those who qualify, however.

UCLA, by contrast, is a public university, which means that tuition and fees are much lower for in-state students. For the academic year, tuition at UCLA for in-state students is around $14,000, with room and board adding an additional $17,000. Out-of-state students, however, pay significantly more, with tuition and fees totaling around $44,000, plus room and board.

a focus of a book and a small graduation cap at top of coins

Aside from tuition and fees, there are other costs to consider when attending college. At Claremont McKenna, students can expect to pay around $1,000 for textbooks and supplies each year, as well as additional costs for transportation and personal expenses. UCLA estimates that students will spend around $1,200 on textbooks and supplies each year, with additional costs for transportation and personal expenses as well.

It’s important to note that both Claremont McKenna and UCLA offer various scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of attendance. Students should research and apply for these opportunities to help make college more affordable.

Campus Resources: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

Another important factor to consider when choosing a college is the resources that are available to students on campus. Claremont McKenna has a strong focus on undergraduate education, which means that there are plenty of resources available to help students succeed academically. The college has a writing center, a peer tutoring program, and a dedicated career services office.

UCLA, being a larger university, has a wider range of resources available to students. The university has a world-class research library, as well as dozens of research centers and institutes that cover a wide range of topics. UCLA also has a robust career center, with resources for everything from resume building to job searching.

Additionally, both Claremont McKenna and UCLA offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in. Claremont McKenna has over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, ranging from academic clubs to sports teams. UCLA has over 1,000 student organizations, including cultural clubs, service organizations, and academic clubs. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and make connections with other students on campus.

Extracurricular Activities: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

Extracurricular activities can play an important role in your college experience, and both Claremont McKenna and UCLA have plenty of options to choose from. Claremont McKenna has a strong focus on leadership and community service, with many student-led clubs and organizations that focus on social justice and environmental issues. The college also has a Division III athletics program, with varsity teams in sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

Athlete and his Coach

UCLA has an even wider range of extracurricular activities, with more than 1,000 student organizations to choose from. The university has a strong athletics program, with varsity teams in sports like football, basketball, and soccer. UCLA also has a vibrant arts scene, with student-run theater groups, musical ensembles, and dance troupes.

Aside from athletics and arts, both Claremont McKenna and UCLA offer unique extracurricular activities. Claremont McKenna has a strong debate team that competes nationally and internationally. The college also has a Model United Nations club that allows students to simulate the United Nations and debate global issues. On the other hand, UCLA has a student-run radio station that broadcasts music, news, and sports. The university also has a student-run newspaper that covers campus news and events.

Furthermore, both colleges offer opportunities for students to engage in community service. Claremont McKenna has a program called “Community Engagement” that connects students with local non-profit organizations. UCLA has a program called “Volunteer Day” where students participate in community service projects throughout Los Angeles. Both programs allow students to give back to their communities and make a positive impact.

Housing and Dorm Life: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

Where you live during college can have a big impact on your overall experience, so it’s important to consider the housing options at each school. Claremont McKenna guarantees housing for all four years, and all students must live on campus until their senior year. The college has a mix of traditional dorms and suite-style living arrangements, and dorms are organized by class year. Housing is generally considered to be comfortable and well-maintained.

UCLA guarantees housing for all first-year students, but after that, housing is not guaranteed. The university has a mix of traditional dorms, apartment-style living arrangements, and themed housing communities. Housing options can be competitive, especially for upperclassmen. However, most students say that housing is generally comfortable and convenient.

An unidentified girl holding a pile of books.

At Claremont McKenna, students have the option to live in special interest housing, which includes themed communities such as the International House and the Green Floor. These communities allow students with similar interests to live together and participate in activities related to their theme. Additionally, the college offers a variety of dining options, including a dining hall, a cafe, and a grill, all of which are conveniently located near the dorms.

At UCLA, students have the opportunity to participate in the Residential Life Program, which offers a variety of events and activities for students living on campus. The university also has a number of dining options, including a dining hall, food courts, and cafes, all of which offer a variety of cuisines. However, some students have reported that the dining options can be expensive and crowded during peak hours.

Career Opportunities after Graduation: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a college is how it will prepare you for life after graduation. Both Claremont McKenna and UCLA have strong track records when it comes to post-graduation outcomes. Claremont McKenna has a strong alumni network, with graduates going on to work in fields like finance, law, and consulting. The college has a dedicated career services office that helps students with everything from resume building to job searching.

UCLA’s location in Los Angeles means that there are plenty of opportunities for internships and career development. The university has a robust career center that offers a wide range of services, including job fairs, employer events, and career counseling. Graduates from UCLA go on to work in a wide variety of fields, including entertainment, technology, and public service.

Another factor to consider when comparing career opportunities after graduation between Claremont McKenna and UCLA is the size of the alumni network. Claremont McKenna has a smaller student body, which means that the alumni network is more tight-knit and supportive. This can be beneficial for students who are looking for mentorship and networking opportunities. On the other hand, UCLA has a much larger student body, which means that the alumni network is more expansive. This can be beneficial for students who are looking for a wider range of career opportunities and connections.

It’s also worth noting that both Claremont McKenna and UCLA offer strong graduate programs for students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees. Claremont McKenna has a number of graduate programs in fields like finance, economics, and public policy. UCLA has a wide range of graduate programs in fields like engineering, education, and social sciences. For students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees, both colleges offer excellent opportunities for further education and career advancement.

Faculty and Class Size: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

The quality of the faculty and the size of classes can have a big impact on your academic experience, and there are some differences between Claremont McKenna and UCLA in this regard. Claremont McKenna has a low student-to-faculty ratio of around 8:1, which means that classes are typically small and students have plenty of opportunities to interact with their professors. The college has a reputation for having a strong faculty, with many professors who are respected experts in their fields.

UCLA, being a larger university, has larger classes and a higher student-to-faculty ratio than Claremont McKenna. However, the university also has a strong faculty, with many professors who are leaders in their fields. One advantage of attending a larger university is that there are often more opportunities for research and internships, which can be valuable for students who are looking to gain practical experience in their field.

Another difference between Claremont McKenna and UCLA is the level of personal attention that students receive from their professors. At Claremont McKenna, professors are known for being accessible and willing to work closely with students to help them achieve their academic goals. This can be especially beneficial for students who are looking for guidance and mentorship as they navigate their college experience. At UCLA, while professors are still available to students, the larger class sizes can make it more challenging for students to build close relationships with their professors.

Study Abroad Programs: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

If you’re interested in studying abroad, both Claremont McKenna and UCLA have plenty of options to choose from. Claremont McKenna has a strong emphasis on study abroad, with more than 60 programs in 35 countries. The college has a dedicated study abroad office that helps students choose a program that’s right for them and provides support throughout the application process.

opportunities to participate in study abroad programs

UCLA also has a wide range of study abroad programs, with options in more than 40 countries. The university has a dedicated study abroad office that offers advising and support for students who are interested in studying abroad. UCLA also offers a range of scholarships and funding opportunities for students who want to study in another country.

Athletics Programs and Facilities: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

Both Claremont McKenna and UCLA have strong athletics programs, but there are some differences between the two schools. Claremont McKenna is part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, which means that students can participate in athletics programs at any of the other Claremont Colleges. The college has a Division III athletics program, with varsity teams in sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball. The campus also has a state-of-the-art fitness center for students to use.

UCLA, being a larger university, has a more robust athletics program. The university has a Division I athletics program, with varsity teams in sports like football, basketball, and soccer. The campus has several sports facilities, including the iconic Pauley Pavilion, which is home to the UCLA Bruins basketball team.

Diversity and Inclusion: Comparing Claremont McKenna and UCLA

Finally, it’s important to consider the diversity and inclusion policies at each school. Claremont McKenna has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the campus is known for being welcoming to students from all backgrounds. The college has a Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Office that works to create a more inclusive campus environment and hosts events and programs that promote understanding and dialogue.

UCLA also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a range of programs and initiatives aimed at creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. The university has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office that works to promote diversity and inclusion across campus, as well as other initiatives like the UCLA Diversity Requirement, which requires all students to take a course that focuses on diversity and inequality.

Alumni Networks: Claremont McKenna vs. UCLA

One final factor to consider when choosing a college is the strength of its alumni network. Both Claremont McKenna and UCLA have strong alumni networks, with graduates going on to successful careers in a variety of fields.

Claremont McKenna’s alumni network is known for being particularly strong in the fields of finance, law, and consulting. The college has a dedicated alumni association that hosts events and provides networking opportunities for graduates.

UCLA’s alumni network is large and diverse, with graduates going on to work in a wide range of fields, from entertainment to technology to public service. The university has a dedicated alumni association that hosts events and provides networking opportunities for graduates, as well as a range of online resources and career services.

Conclusion

So, which college is right for you? It depends on what you’re looking for in a college experience. If you want a small, intimate campus with a strong focus on undergraduate education, Claremont McKenna might be the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a larger university with a wide range of resources and extracurricular activities, as well as a strong commitment to research, UCLA might be the better option. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but hopefully, this comprehensive comparison has helped you make a more informed choice.

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