Haverford vs Occidental: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a highschool student carrying his school stuff and posing for the camera

Haverford vs Occidental: Which College is Right for You?

Picking the right college is an important decision, and it can be hard to know where to start. Haverford and Occidental are two highly respected colleges, each with unique offerings and strengths. In this article, we’ll compare Haverford vs Occidental in multiple categories to help you make an informed decision about which college is the right fit for you.

Location and Campus Comparison: Haverford vs. Occidental

Location is an essential factor to consider when choosing a college. Haverford College is located in suburban Philadelphia, while Occidental College is located in the heart of Los Angeles. Both colleges offer excellent campus settings and opportunities to explore the surrounding areas. Haverford’s campus is a stunning blend of old brick buildings, sprawling lawns, and historic landmarks that date back to 1833. Occidental’s campus is equally impressive, with state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities surrounded by a park-like suburban setting.

One of the advantages of attending Haverford College is its proximity to other prestigious colleges and universities. Students can easily take advantage of cross-registration programs with nearby institutions such as Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. This allows students to take courses and participate in activities at other schools, expanding their academic and social opportunities.

College Academics

On the other hand, Occidental College’s location in Los Angeles provides students with access to a diverse range of cultural and entertainment options. Students can explore the city’s museums, theaters, and restaurants, as well as take advantage of internship and job opportunities in various industries. Additionally, Occidental’s location in Southern California provides students with easy access to beaches, mountains, and other outdoor recreational activities.

Academic Programs Offered: Haverford vs. Occidental

Both Haverford and Occidental are known for their rigorous academic programs. Haverford offers a liberal arts education with over 55 academic majors. Occidental is also a liberal arts college, offering over 40 majors, including options in sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Both colleges have small class sizes, and students have access to dedicated professors who are experts in their fields.

In addition to their academic programs, both Haverford and Occidental offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage in research and experiential learning. Haverford has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. Occidental offers a range of experiential learning opportunities, including internships, study abroad programs, and community-based learning projects. These programs allow students to apply their classroom learning to real-world situations and gain valuable skills and experience.

Admission Requirements: What You Need to Get into Haverford or Occidental

Haverford and Occidental are both highly selective colleges, and the admission process is competitive. To apply to Haverford, you will need to submit your transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. Occidental has a similar application process, where you will need to submit your transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. Both colleges are looking for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement.

a female student filling out an online college enrollment form

In addition to the standard application requirements, Haverford and Occidental also consider extracurricular activities and personal achievements when evaluating applicants. Haverford values students who have a passion for community service, while Occidental looks for students who have excelled in the arts or athletics. It is important to highlight your unique talents and accomplishments in your application to stand out from other applicants.

Furthermore, both colleges offer early decision and regular decision application options. Early decision is a binding agreement, meaning that if you are accepted, you must attend the college. The regular decision allows you to apply to multiple colleges and make a decision later. It is important to carefully consider which application option is best for you and to meet all application deadlines.

Student Life: Haverford vs. Occidental

Student life is an essential part of the college experience. Haverford and Occidental offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations to help students get involved and find their passion. Haverford has over 120 clubs and organizations, ranging from academic groups to cultural clubs to sports teams. Occidental has over 90 clubs and organizations, ranging from sustainability groups to political activism clubs to art clubs.

Aside from clubs and organizations, both Haverford and Occidental have a vibrant social scene. Haverford has a strong tradition of student-run parties and events, such as the annual Screw Your Roommate dance. Occidental also has a lively social scene, with events like the Springfest music festival and the weekly farmer’s market.

Furthermore, both colleges offer opportunities for students to engage in community service and social justice work. Haverford has a dedicated Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, which offers programs and resources for students interested in social justice and activism. Occidental has a similar center, the Center for Community-Based Learning, which connects students with local organizations and community service projects.

Housing Options: Haverford vs Occidental

Haverford and Occidental both offer exceptional on-campus housing options, including traditional dorm rooms, suites, and apartment-style living. At Haverford, all students are required to live on campus for all four years, while Occidental only requires first-year students to live on campus. Both colleges offer a range of housing options to meet the needs of their students. Haverford’s housing options are divided into fourteen residence halls, each with its community and personality. Occidental’s housing comprises ten larger residential halls that are grouped into three distinct “villages.”

Students packing their things to their dorm

Additionally, both Haverford and Occidental offer off-campus housing options for upperclassmen who wish to live independently. Haverford has a limited number of off-campus apartments available for juniors and seniors, while Occidental has a partnership with a nearby apartment complex that offers discounted rates for students. However, living off-campus at either college requires approval from the housing office and adherence to certain guidelines and regulations.

Extracurricular Activities Comparison: Haverford vs. Occidental

As mentioned earlier, both colleges offer an array of clubs and organizations for students to participate in. Haverford focuses on creating a close-knit community with many organized activities that unite the student body. In contrast, Occidental is located in the bustling city of Los Angeles, and the college’s extracurricular offerings reflect this. There are many off-campus opportunities to explore, such as participation in local political non-profit organizations or internships with entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

Additionally, Haverford offers a unique program called the Tri-Co (short for Tri-College) which allows students to take classes and participate in extracurricular activities at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore colleges. This program provides students with a wider range of opportunities and allows them to connect with students from other colleges in the area. Occidental, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on community service and offers many opportunities for students to get involved in volunteer work both on and off campus.

Sports Teams and Facilities: Haverford vs. Occidental

Athletics are an essential part of college life for many students. Haverford and Occidental are both members of the NCAA Division III and offer a range of varsity teams, intramural programs, and club sports. Haverford has an impressive athletic program, often ranking highly in the Centennial Conference’s yearly standings. However, Occidental has an advantage in terms of facilities, having an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a state-of-the-art track and field facility, and an expansive gymnasium complex.

Despite Haverford’s lack of top-of-the-line facilities, the college makes up for it with its strong emphasis on community and teamwork. Haverford’s athletic program is known for its close-knit teams and supportive coaches, creating a positive and inclusive environment for all athletes. Additionally, Haverford’s location in a suburban area allows for easy access to nearby parks and trails, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities and training.

Alumni Network Comparison: Haverford vs Occidental

Both Haverford and Occidental have impressive alumni networks, with graduates going on to achieve notable successes in their fields. Haverford offers an alumni mentor program, where students can connect with alumni in their career fields for advice and guidance. Occidental similarly offers alumni networking opportunities to current students and recent graduates.

However, Haverford’s alumni network is known for its strong emphasis on community and collaboration. Alumni often come back to campus to participate in events and engage with current students. This creates a sense of continuity and connection between current and former students, which can be invaluable for networking and career opportunities.

On the other hand, Occidental’s alumni network is known for its global reach and diversity. Graduates of Occidental can be found in a wide range of industries and locations around the world. This can be particularly beneficial for students who are interested in pursuing careers abroad or in fields with a global focus.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Haverford and Occidental

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for both Haverford and Occidental. Haverford has a dedicated Office of Multicultural Affairs that focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Occidental has a robust diversity and inclusion initiative that includes support for first-generation and low-income students. Both colleges are committed to creating an inclusive environment where all students can thrive.

students inside the campus

In addition to their institutional initiatives, both Haverford and Occidental have student-led organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. Haverford has a student group called the Alliance for Multicultural Community (AMC), which organizes events and discussions around issues of diversity and inclusion. Occidental has a student-led organization called the Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE), which advocates for marginalized communities on campus and works to create a more inclusive environment. These student-led organizations are an important part of the college’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

Career Services Offered at Haverford and Occidental

Preparing students for successful careers is an essential aspect of both Haverford and Occidental’s mission. Haverford has a robust career services center that offers career counseling, resume assistance, and interview preparation. Occidental has a similar career services center that supports students and recent graduates with job search resources, networking opportunities, and alumni engagement programs.

Additionally, both Haverford and Occidental offer internship programs that provide students with hands-on experience in their desired fields. Haverford’s Center for Career and Professional Advising partners with various organizations to offer internships in fields such as finance, healthcare, and education. Occidental’s Career Development Center also offers internship opportunities in a variety of industries, including entertainment, non-profit, and government.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Comparison: Haverford vs. Occidental

Haverford and Occidental’s tuition fees are comparable to other elite private colleges in the United States. Haverford’s tuition fees for the academic year are $68,020, while Occidental’s tuition fees are $63,446. Both colleges offer generous financial aid packages and scholarships to assist students with the cost of attendance. Haverford meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, while Occidental meets around 70% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.

It is important to note that while both colleges offer financial aid, the application process and requirements may differ. Haverford requires the CSS Profile and FAFSA for financial aid consideration, while Occidental only requires the FAFSA. Additionally, Haverford offers a no-loan policy for students with a family income below $60,000, meaning that these students will not have to take out loans to cover their tuition fees. Occidental does not have a no-loan policy, but they do offer work-study programs and student employment opportunities to help students cover their expenses.

Student Success Stories

Both Haverford and Occidental have a history of producing successful graduates who go on to excel in their chosen fields. Haverford alumni include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur Genius grant recipients. Occidental alumni include Academy Award-winners, best-selling authors, and political leaders. By attending either of these colleges, you’ll join an impressive group of alumni who have gone on to make a difference in their fields.

One notable Haverford alumnus has become a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci graduated from Haverford in 1962 with a degree in classics before pursuing a career in medicine and public health.

Occidental College has also produced successful entrepreneurs, such as the co-founder and CEO of Netflix. Hastings graduated from Occidental in 1983 with a degree in mathematics before going on to revolutionize the entertainment industry with his streaming platform.

Faculty Profiles

Dedicated faculty is an essential factor in a college’s academic success. Haverford and Occidental both boast expert faculty members who are passionate about their subjects and committed to teaching excellence. Haverford has a faculty-to-student ratio of 9:1, and 96% of faculty members hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree in their field. Occidental’s faculty-to-student ratio is slightly higher at 9:1, and 74% of faculty members hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree.

At Haverford, faculty members are not only dedicated to teaching but also to research and scholarship. Many faculty members have received prestigious awards and grants for their research, and they often involve students in their projects. Occidental’s faculty members are also active in research and scholarship, and they frequently publish articles and books in their respective fields.

student inside the classroom with their teacher

In addition to their academic achievements, faculty members at both Haverford and Occidental are known for their accessibility and mentorship. They are committed to helping students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom, and they often serve as advisors for student organizations and research projects. Many students form close relationships with their professors and continue to seek their guidance even after graduation.

Research Opportunities Available

Research opportunities are essential for students interested in pursuing academic or professional careers in their field. Haverford offers research opportunities in all academic departments, with potential funding sources including college-funded research fellowships, travel grants, and major fellowship winners. Occidental emphasizes hands-on research and experiential learning and offers research opportunities in all academic departments with options for summer research internships.

The Final Verdict: Which College is Right for You?

Ultimately, the choice between Haverford and Occidental boils down to your personal preferences and priorities. Both colleges offer exceptional academic programs, dedicated faculty, and a range of extracurricular opportunities. Haverford’s suburban setting and close-knit community may appeal to students who are looking for a tight-knit campus culture. In contrast, Occidental’s urban location and ample opportunities for internships and community engagement may attract students who want to immerse themselves in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. Consider all the factors we’ve discussed in this article as you make your decision, and choose the college that feels like the right fit for you.

It’s worth noting that both Haverford and Occidental have strong research partnerships with nearby institutions. Haverford has close ties with the University of Pennsylvania, which is just a short train ride away, and students have the opportunity to take classes and conduct research at Penn. Occidental has partnerships with a number of research institutions in the Los Angeles area, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology.

Additionally, both colleges offer opportunities for students to present their research at conferences and symposia. Haverford hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, where students can showcase their work to the campus community. Occidental students have the opportunity to present their research at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research, which brings together students from colleges and universities across the region.


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