Colby vs Occidental: Which is the Right Choice for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a woman writing in her notebook.

Colby vs Occidental: Which is the Right Choice for You?

Choosing a college can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. When comparing Colby vs Occidental Colleges, you might need more information before making your final decision. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between the two, to help you make an informed decision about your future education.

Colby vs Occidental: Location and Campus Size

The location and campus size of a college can play a major role in your decision. Colby College is situated in Waterville, Maine, while Occidental College is in Los Angeles, California. These two locations are vastly different, both offering unique lifestyles for students.

Colby College’s campus spans over 714 acres, with a wide variety of buildings and facilities for student use. The campus is also located in a rural area, giving students the opportunity to connect with nature and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Occidental, on the other hand, is located in one of the largest cities in the world. The campus is much smaller, with 120 acres of green space, and a compact layout that makes it easy for students to get around.

Ultimately, the decision between the two colleges’ locations and campus sizes will depend on your personal preferences and goals.

It is important to consider the accessibility of each campus when making your decision. Colby College is located in a rural area, which may make it more difficult to access for students who do not have a car or reliable transportation. Occidental College, on the other hand, is located in a bustling city with public transportation options readily available.

Happy students walking in the campus.

Additionally, the location of each college may impact internship and job opportunities available to students. Colby College’s location in Maine may provide unique opportunities in fields such as environmental science or outdoor recreation, while Occidental’s location in Los Angeles may offer more opportunities in the entertainment industry or politics.

Academic Programs: Which College Offers Your Preferred Major?

When it comes to choosing a college, it’s essential to pick a school that offers academic programs in your area of interest. Colby College is best known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, with particular emphasis on the sciences and social sciences. Occidental College is well known for its programs in the arts, media and communications, and politics.

It’s worth researching the specific majors and programs offered by each school to ensure you are selecting the best fit for your academic goals.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the resources and opportunities available within each academic program. For example, Colby College offers research opportunities for students in the sciences, as well as study abroad programs for students interested in international relations. Occidental College has a strong internship program, providing students with hands-on experience in their field of study.

Faculty and Staff: Which College Has a Stronger Teaching Staff?

Another significant factor to consider when choosing a college is the quality of its faculty and staff. Colby College boasts a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, which allows for personalized attention and discussion in the classroom. Additionally, the school recruits its teachers from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Occidental College also has highly esteemed faculty, with a student-faculty ratio of 9:1.

Both schools have competitive faculty, providing a rigorous academic experience with top-notch professors.

However, Colby College has a unique program called the Faculty-Student Research Partnership, which allows students to work closely with professors on research projects. This program provides students with invaluable hands-on experience and the opportunity to build strong relationships with their professors.

On the other hand, Occidental College has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with faculty members who specialize in multiple fields. This approach allows students to explore a variety of subjects and gain a well-rounded education.

Student Life: Extracurricular Activities and Social Scene at Colby vs Occidental

College is more than just academics; it’s an opportunity to explore new interests, develop relationships, and gain important life experiences. Both Colby and Occidental offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, from sports teams to community service organizations.

The social scene at Colby College varies, with a variety of clubs and organizations for students to participate in, as well as on-campus social events such as concerts and festivals. Occidental College is situated in the heart of Los Angeles, which provides exciting opportunities for students to explore and socialize. The school also has a campus “village” where students can gather for social events, meals, or studying.

a group of students that are member of a school club practicing after class


It’s essential to research both schools’ social climate and extracurricular opportunities to determine which would be a better fit for your personality and interests.

Additionally, both Colby and Occidental offer opportunities for students to study abroad and gain international experiences. Colby has a robust study abroad program with partnerships in over 50 countries, while Occidental offers semester-long programs in locations such as Spain, Japan, and South Africa. These programs allow students to immerse themselves in different cultures, learn new languages, and gain a global perspective.

Colby vs Occidental: Housing Options

The quality of housing can affect your college experience, both socially and academically. Colby College offers on-campus dormitory-style housing for all four years, with upperclassmen having more off-campus housing options. Occidental College’s campus has a mix of traditional dorms and apartment-style buildings for housing.

It’s important to consider not only the quality of housing but also the location. Colby College’s campus housing is located near academic buildings, which makes it easy to get around and be close to resources. At Occidental, some residence halls are located closer to student activity centers and dining facilities.

Another factor to consider when comparing housing options is the cost. Colby College’s on-campus housing is included in the tuition and fees, while off-campus housing options may come with additional costs. Occidental College’s housing options vary in price, with apartment-style buildings generally being more expensive than traditional dorms.

Admission Requirements: What Do You Need to Get Accepted into Each College?

Both Colby and Occidental are selective institutions, with admission rates of 13% and 37%, respectively. Admission requirements for Colby College include standardized test scores, high school transcripts, teacher recommendations, and essays. Occidental College’s admission requirements include similar documents, in addition to interviews or supplementary essays where requested.

Be sure to review each college’s admission process and requirements carefully to ensure your application is as strong as possible.

It is important to note that both Colby and Occidental also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement when evaluating applicants. Colby College places a strong emphasis on community service and leadership, while Occidental College values diversity and social justice initiatives.

Additionally, both colleges offer early decision and early action options for applicants. Early decision is a binding agreement, meaning that if accepted, the student must attend the college. Early action is non-binding, allowing the student to apply to multiple colleges and make a decision later on.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Which College is More Affordable for You?

College education comes with a significant financial investment. Colby College and Occidental College have different approaches to tuition and financial aid. Colby College costs around $74,000 per year, with a generous financial aid program covering 100% of demonstrated financial need. Occidental College’s expenses are around $71,000, and the school also provides financial aid on a needs-based system.

It’s important to carefully consider the costs of each school and how they fit into your financial plan, as well as how much financial aid you may be eligible for at each school.

When comparing the two schools, it’s important to note that Colby College has a higher sticker price, but their financial aid program is more generous. This means that even though the initial cost may be higher, students who demonstrate financial need may end up paying less than they would at Occidental College.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the long-term financial benefits of attending each school. While both schools have strong academic programs, Colby College has a higher average starting salary for graduates. This may make the higher initial cost of attending Colby College worth it in the long run for some students.

Colby vs Occidental: Campus Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are important considerations for many students when selecting a college. Colby College has a diverse student population, with students from over 70 countries, 30% of whom are students of color. Occidental College also has a diverse student body, with over 20% identifying as members of underrepresented groups.

It’s crucial to research not only the demographics of each school but also the programs and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusivity on campus.

At Colby College, there are several programs and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusivity on campus. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers resources and support for students from underrepresented groups, including mentorship programs and cultural events. The college also has a Bias Incident Response Team that addresses incidents of bias and discrimination on campus.

View of people smiling at the camera.

Occidental College also has several programs and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusivity on campus. The Intercultural Community Center provides resources and support for students from diverse backgrounds, including counseling services and cultural events. The college also has a Diversity and Equity Board that works to promote diversity and inclusivity on campus through education and advocacy.

Sports and Athletics: What Are the Differences in Athletic Programs Between Both Colleges?

For some students, sports and athletics can play an essential role in their college experience. Colby College fields 32 varsity teams, including soccer, lacrosse, and ice hockey. Occidental College has 21 varsity teams, including cross country, water polo, and track & field.

Both schools have competitive athletic programs, providing opportunities for student-athletes to develop their skills and contribute to their school’s athletic reputation.

However, there are some differences in the athletic programs between the two colleges. Colby College has a strong focus on winter sports, with a nationally recognized skiing program and a state-of-the-art indoor ice arena. Occidental College, on the other hand, has a strong tradition in track & field, with several Olympic medalists among its alumni.

Additionally, both colleges offer a range of intramural and club sports for students who want to participate in athletics but may not be at the varsity level. Colby College has a popular ultimate frisbee club and a competitive dodgeball league, while Occidental College has a thriving quidditch team and a popular yoga club.


Choosing between Colby College and Occidental College is a personal decision that should consider your preferences and goals. Both schools offer top-tier academics, a range of extracurricular activities, and a commitment to student success. By carefully considering the factors outlined above, you can make an informed decision about which school is the best fit for you.

It is important to note that while both Colby College and Occidental College have similarities, they also have distinct differences. For example, Colby College is located in a small town in Maine, while Occidental College is located in the bustling city of Los Angeles.

Additionally, Colby College has a strong focus on environmental sustainability, while Occidental College has a strong emphasis on social justice and community engagement. These differences may be important factors to consider when making your decision.


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