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Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student holding her books in the school yard.

Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing the right college can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In this comprehensive article, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna.

Many factors come into play when deciding where to attend, from academics to campus life, location, and more. It’s essential to weigh your options and compare schools before deciding. By the end, you’ll better understand which college is the right fit for you.

A Brief Introduction to Harvard and Claremont McKenna

Harvard and Claremont McKenna are two of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Both offer top-notch education, unique campus experiences, and productive alumni networks. While Harvard is an Ivy League school and ranks among the top universities in the world, Claremont McKenna is a liberal arts college that focuses on social sciences, economics, and government.

Academics at Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna

Academics are a crucial aspect of any college experience. At Harvard, students can choose from over 50 concentrations, ranging from Computer Science to Philosophy. The student-faculty ratio is 7:1, and the average class size is around 12 students. Professors are renowned for their expertise and research in their respective fields, making for an intellectually stimulating education.

Claremont McKenna’s curriculum emphasizes social sciences, economics, and government. Students can choose from 32 majors and minors, focusing on interdisciplinary studies. The student-faculty ratio is also 7:1, and the average class size is around 19 students. Its faculty is known for its focus on practical applications of knowledge and making an impact in the world.

One notable difference between the two schools is their approach to undergraduate research. At Harvard, research opportunities are abundant, with students having access to cutting-edge facilities and resources.

Many students participate in research projects alongside faculty members, contributing to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in their fields. At Claremont McKenna, research opportunities are also available, but the focus is more on applying knowledge to real-world problems and making a tangible impact on society.

Another difference between the two schools is their approach to general education requirements. At Harvard, students are required to take courses in a variety of disciplines, including science, math, humanities, and social sciences.

This ensures that students receive a well-rounded education and are exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives. At Claremont McKenna, the general education requirements are more flexible, allowing students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

Campus Life: A Look into Dorms, Dining, and Activities

View of group of students sitting near a bench.

College is not only about learning but also about having new experiences and building lifelong friendships. Both Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer robust extracurricular activities, top-notch dining options, and comfortable dorms.

Harvard’s 12 undergraduate residential houses offer a diverse student experience, from River Houses overlooking the Charles River to the historic Lowell House. Harvard’s dining halls serve fresh, local, and organic food, with many vegetarian and vegan options.

In terms of activities, Harvard’s 400+ student organizations cater to a wide range of interests, from the Harvard Crimson newspaper to the Harvard College Opera.

At Claremont McKenna, all students are guaranteed on-campus housing for all four years. The campus is divided into five residence halls, housing approximately 200 students.

To provide an intimate community experience, all first-year students are housed in the same residence hall and share common areas, including lounges and study rooms. The college boasts of a student-to-faculty ratio that supports personalized engagement outside the classroom.

Claremont McKenna also offers a variety of dining options, including a dining hall, a café, and a grill. The dining hall serves a variety of cuisines, including vegetarian and vegan options, and offers a salad bar and a deli station.

The café and grill offer quick bites and snacks for students on the go. Additionally, the college has a strong focus on sustainability and sources its food locally whenever possible.

Regarding extracurricular activities, Claremont McKenna has over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, ranging from academic clubs to cultural and social groups. The college also has a strong athletic program, with 21 varsity sports teams and state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including a fitness center, a pool, and tennis courts.

Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Student Body

The student body at each school might influence your decision about where to attend. Harvard boasts of a robust diversity profile, including 51% of undergraduates identifying as students of color, 17% international students, and 14% of students being first-generation students.

On the other hand, Claremont McKenna has a diverse student body, with over 26% of students identifying as students of color, 11% as international students, and privileged access to interdisciplinary programs.

Additionally, Claremont McKenna is a smaller school with a total undergraduate enrollment of around 1,300 students. The size provides a tight-knit community allowing for easier access and stronger relationships to be built with other students and the faculties.

Another factor to consider when looking at the student body is the culture of the school. Some schools may have a more competitive or cutthroat atmosphere, while others may prioritize collaboration and community. This culture is reflected in the student body, which is known for being supportive and collaborative.

Finally, it’s important to consider the size of the student body and how that might impact your experience. Larger schools may offer more resources and opportunities, but they can also feel overwhelming or impersonal.

Smaller schools, on the other hand, may offer a more intimate and personalized experience but may have fewer resources or opportunities. It’s important to think about what kind of environment you thrive in and what kind of experience you want to have when making your decision.

Location Matters: Comparing Cambridge and Claremont

The location of the college impacts students’ experiences, from weather to opportunities outside the campus. Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 5 miles from the bustling city of Boston.

Students can easily access world-class museums, art galleries, and sports arenas. Cambridge is a bustling, vibrant city with a focus on technology and innovation, which fosters many career opportunities for students.

Back view of students walking in the campus.

On the other hand, Claremont McKenna is located in Claremont, California, a small and vibrant town in Southern California, characterized by sunny weather year-round. Students can access nearby beaches, hiking trails, and major cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, for internships and career opportunities.

Despite the location differences, Cambridge and Claremont offer unique opportunities for students. Harvard’s location in Cambridge provides students with access to a diverse and intellectual community, with many opportunities for cultural and social events. The city also has many historical landmarks, including Harvard Square and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Similarly, Claremont offers a tight-knit community with a focus on academic excellence. The town is home to the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which provides students access to a wide range of academic and extracurricular opportunities.

The consortium also offers a unique opportunity for students to take classes at any of the five undergraduate colleges, allowing for a diverse and interdisciplinary education.

Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Admission Process

The admission processes at Harvard and Claremont McKenna vary slightly, but both are highly selective and competitive. Applicants to Harvard must submit a Common Application with transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, essays, and recommendation letters.

Claremont McKenna also requires the Common Application with transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. Both universities offer coaching and guidance on how to present oneself during an application process.

Harvard and Claremont McKenna also consider extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service when evaluating applicants. Harvard values students who have demonstrated exceptional talent in a particular area, while Claremont McKenna looks for students who have a strong interest in the liberal arts and a commitment to social responsibility.

It is important to note that both universities have a need-blind admission policy, which means that they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when making admission decisions. However, both universities have high tuition fees, and financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Financial Aid and Scholarships at Harvard and Claremont McKenna

Both Harvard and Claremont McKenna are committed to making education accessible to all students regardless of their financial situation. They offer a need-blind policy, meaning admission decisions are made without consideration of a student’s financial ability to attend.

Both universities also offer generous financial aid packages to meet the demonstrated need of each admitted student without incurring loan debts.

In addition to need-based financial aid, both Harvard and Claremont McKenna also offer merit-based scholarships to exceptional students. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and other criteria.

Unidentified person signing up for a scholarship.

Students who receive these scholarships are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and are given additional resources to help them succeed academically and professionally. Furthermore, both universities have dedicated offices and resources to help students navigate the financial aid process and find additional funding opportunities.

These offices provide guidance on filling out financial aid applications, understanding loan options, and finding external scholarships and grants. They also offer workshops and events to educate students and families on financial literacy and planning for the future.

Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Career Opportunities for Graduates

Graduates of Harvard and Claremont McKenna are highly sought after by employers. Over 95% of Harvard graduates are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduating, with many being recruited by leading companies worldwide.

Similarly, Claremont McKenna boasts a 97% student outcomes rate within six months of graduation, with alumni having a high employment opportunity for completing internships, study abroad opportunities, and successful networking.

Furthermore, Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer their students and alumni extensive career services. These services include career counseling, job search assistance, resume and cover letter reviews, and networking events. The career centers at both institutions also provide access to job and internship postings and on-campus recruiting events with top employers.

Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: Alumni Network

Both universities maintain robust alumni networks, which can be advantageous for job hunting and career development over time. The Harvard Alumni Association has over 372,000 members worldwide, providing a vast network of potential connections and opportunities after graduation.

Similarly, Claremont McKenna’s curated alumni network allows for tighter connections and more focused career-building opportunities with renowned professionals in various industries.

One of the best ways to make the most of your college connections is to attend alumni events. These events provide a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow alumni, as well as to learn about new job opportunities and career paths.

Many alumni associations also offer career services, such as resume reviews and job search assistance, which can be incredibly helpful in today’s competitive job market.

Another way to leverage your college connections is to join alumni groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. These groups can be a great way to stay connected with fellow alumni, share job opportunities, and learn about industry trends and news.

By actively participating in these groups, you can build relationships with other alumni and potentially open doors to new career opportunities.

Extracurricular Activities at Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna

Both Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer a diverse range of extracurricular activities, from clubs and sports to student organizations.

At Harvard, students can participate in over 400 student clubs and organizations, including the Harvard Crimson newspaper, the Harvard College Opera, and the Harvard Model United Nations. Sports teams are also popular at Harvard, with over 40 Division I teams competing in the Ivy League and NCAA.

At Claremont McKenna, students can choose from over 100 student clubs and organizations, including those related to diversity, social justice, politics, and the arts. The college also offers 30 Division III sports teams competing in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Additionally, both Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer opportunities for students to engage in community service and volunteer work. Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association is one of the largest student-run public service organizations in the country, offering over 80 programs that serve the local community.

Claremont McKenna’s Kravis Leadership Institute also emphasizes community service and offers programs that allow students to engage in service projects both locally and globally.

Furthermore, both schools have a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation. Harvard’s Innovation Lab provides resources and support for students looking to start their own businesses, while Claremont McKenna’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers courses, workshops, and mentorship programs to help students develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Faculty: A Comparison of Professors at Both Colleges

Faculty and their research activities are essential in shaping a student’s college experience. At Harvard, the faculty comprises renowned scholars and Nobel laureates, world-renowned for their expertise and research activities.

Two students talking while reading a book.

At Claremont McKenna, the faculty is dedicated to providing students with interactive classrooms and practical learning experiences. They bring their expertise from high-ranking positions, teaching students practical skills and knowledge to face the dynamic challenges in their fields.

Harvard’s faculty is known for its groundbreaking research in various fields, including medicine, law, and economics. They have published numerous papers and books that have contributed significantly to their respective fields. Students at Harvard have the opportunity to work alongside these scholars and learn from their research firsthand.

On the other hand, Claremont McKenna’s faculty is known for its commitment to teaching and mentoring students. They prioritize creating a supportive learning environment where students can ask questions and engage in discussions. The faculty members at Claremont McKenna are also known for their accessibility, making themselves available to students outside of class hours.

Overall, both colleges have exceptional faculty members who are dedicated to providing students with a quality education. Whether it’s through groundbreaking research or practical learning experiences, students at both colleges have the opportunity to learn from some of the best scholars in their respective fields.

Athletics at Harvard vs. Claremont McKenna: A Look into Sports Programs

Both Harvard and Claremont McKenna have strong athletics programs with a wide range of sports available for students. At Harvard, athletes compete in the Ivy League and NCAA Division I. Harvard is especially known for its men’s ice hockey and rowing teams, which have enjoyed national championship success.

Meanwhile, at Claremont McKenna, athletics are an essential part of student life, competing in 21 different varsity sports, including baseball, basketball, and women’s volleyball. The community also places a high value on team spirit and fosters a supportive atmosphere for athletes.

In addition to varsity sports, both Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. At Harvard, students can join clubs for sports such as ultimate frisbee, rugby, and fencing. Claremont McKenna offers intramural sports such as flag football, dodgeball, and soccer.

Furthermore, both schools prioritize the academic success of their student-athletes. Harvard has a dedicated academic support program for athletes, providing tutoring and study resources. Claremont McKenna has a high graduation rate for its student-athletes and offers academic advising specifically for athletes to help balance their academic and athletic commitments.

Campus Safety & Security: A Priority for Students and Administrators

Ensuring the safety of students is a top priority at both Harvard and Claremont McKenna. The campuses have comprehensive safety plans and protocols in place, including emergency notifications, security staff, and campus-wide initiatives to promote a safe and secure living and learning environment for all students.

Additionally, both universities offer resources and support for students who may experience safety concerns or incidents. This includes counseling services, victim advocacy programs, and confidential reporting options. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these resources and to report any safety concerns to campus authorities.

Student Support Services: Resources Available for Academic Success

Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer various student support services to ensure academic success and personal fulfillment. Resources include tutoring and academic advising, mental health and wellness services, and career services to guide students to appropriate fields.

International Students: A Comparison of the Experiences at Both Colleges

Both colleges offer a robust community for international students, with dedicated support services, resources, and opportunities to connect with domestic and international students. Harvard regularly welcomes students from over 100 countries, promoting global cooperation and diversity, making the experience unique and picturesque.

Smiling woman opening the door of a building.

Similarly, Claremont McKenna has a global community with a considerable international student population, contributing in significant ways to the school’s rigorous academic environment and vibrant campus life.

In conclusion, both Harvard and Claremont McKenna offer world-class education, unique campus experiences, and strong alumni networks. Choosing between them ultimately depends on individual preferences, priorities, and values. We hope this detailed comparison helps you make an informed and confident decision about which college is the right fit for you.

One notable difference between the two colleges is the location. Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a bustling city with a rich history and culture. In contrast, Claremont McKenna is situated in Claremont, California, a small town with a warm and sunny climate.

This difference in location can greatly impact the overall experience for international students, depending on their preferences for city or suburban living.

Another difference is the size of the international student population. While both colleges have a significant number of international students, Harvard has a larger population, making it easier for international students to find a community and connect with others from their home country.

However, Claremont McKenna’s smaller international student population may provide a more intimate and tight-knit community for international students.

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