UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: A Comprehensive Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three students walking in front of a school building.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re considering attending a liberal arts college in the United States, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll compare UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna across various metrics to help you make an informed decision.

With so many great options available, it’s hard to know which one is the best fit for you. The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Claremont McKenna (CMC) are two of the most reputable institutions.

Introduction to UPenn and Claremont McKenna

Let’s start with some basic introductions. UPenn is located in Philadelphia and is part of the Ivy League, while Claremont McKenna is located in Claremont, California. Both schools are known for providing a top-notch education to their students, but they certainly have their differences.

One major difference between UPenn and CMC is their size. UPenn has a much larger student body, with over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, while CMC has a much smaller student body of around 1,300 students.

This difference in size can impact the overall campus culture and the types of opportunities available to students. Additionally, UPenn has a strong focus on research, with numerous research centers and institutes, while CMC has a strong focus on undergraduate education and emphasizes a liberal arts curriculum.

History and Background of UPenn and Claremont McKenna

UPenn was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and has since grown into one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with over 21,000 students across its undergraduate and graduate programs. CMC is significantly younger, having been founded in 1946 as a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium. As of 2021, CMC enrolls approximately 1,300 students.

Despite their differences in age and size, both UPenn and CMC share a commitment to academic excellence and a dedication to providing students with a well-rounded education.

UPenn is known for its strong programs in business, law, and medicine, while CMC is renowned for its focus on economics, government, and international relations. Both institutions also offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports teams, student clubs, and community service opportunities.

Location and Campus Environment Comparison

Students walking in the halls of a university.

One of the biggest differences between UPenn and CMC is their location. UPenn is situated in a bustling urban environment in Philadelphia, while CMC is located in suburban California. While both areas have their perks, it’s up to you to decide which type of environment you’d rather be in for four years.

Another factor to consider when comparing the campus environments of UPenn and CMC is the size of the campuses. UPenn’s campus is spread out over a large area, with many buildings and facilities located throughout the city.

In contrast, CMC’s campus is relatively small and compact, with all of the academic buildings and student housing located within a few blocks of each other. This can make it easier to navigate and get around on foot, but it may also mean that there are fewer opportunities for exploration and variety in your daily routine.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: Admission Requirements and Application Process Comparison

When it comes to applications, UPenn and CMC both have rigorous requirements. To apply to UPenn, you must submit the Common Application or the Coalition Application, along with transcripts, test scores, essays, and recommendation letters.

CMC has a similar application process, which includes the Common Application or Coalition Application, transcripts, test scores, essays, and recommendation letters.

However, there are some differences in the admission requirements between the two universities. UPenn requires applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, while CMC allows applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores. Additionally, UPenn requires applicants to submit two SAT Subject Test scores, while CMC does not have this requirement.

Another difference between the two universities is their acceptance rates. UPenn has an acceptance rate of around 8%, while CMC has an acceptance rate of around 10%. This means that UPenn is more selective in its admissions process, and it may be more difficult to gain acceptance to UPenn than to CMC.

Cost of Attendance Comparison (Tuition, Room & Board, Fees)

College is expensive, and both UPenn and CMC are no exception. As of the 2020-2021 academic year, the cost of attendance for UPenn was $78,556, while the cost of attendance for CMC was $75,030. Keep in mind that these costs are subject to change and that financial aid can greatly offset these expenses.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance for both UPenn and CMC includes not only tuition and fees but also room and board. This means that students are paying for not only their education but also their living expenses while on campus.

Additionally, it is worth considering the location of each school when comparing the cost of attendance. UPenn is located in Philadelphia, which is a major city with a higher cost of living, while CMC is located in Claremont, a smaller town with a lower cost of living. This can impact the overall cost of attendance for students attending each school.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: Financial Aid Offerings Comparison (Scholarships, Grants, Loans)

If you’re worried about paying for college, both UPenn and CMC have robust financial aid packages. UPenn offers need-based financial aid, as well as merit scholarships for outstanding students.

CMC also offers need-based financial aid, and they have a program called the Leadership Scholarship, which awards scholarships to students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills.

It’s important to note that both schools also offer work-study programs, which allow students to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. UPenn’s work-study program offers a variety of on-campus and off-campus jobs, while CMC’s program focuses on providing students with opportunities to work in their field of study.

Additionally, both schools have loan programs available for students who need to borrow money to pay for college. UPenn offers a variety of federal and private loan options, while CMC partners with a private lender to offer student loans with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options.

Student Body Demographics Comparison

Group of students involve in a club raising their hands.

Student body demographics can be an important factor when choosing a college. UPenn and CMC both have relatively diverse student populations. According to data from 2019, UPenn’s undergraduate student population was 48% female and 52% male.

In terms of racial and ethnic diversity, UPenn’s student body was 47% white, 20% Asian, 12% Hispanic, 7% Black, and 2% two or more races. At CMC, the undergraduate student population was 47% female and 53% male. In terms of racial and ethnic diversity, CMC’s student body was 40% white, 16% Asian, 20% Hispanic, 5% Black, and 5% two or more races.

It’s worth noting that UPenn and CMC have tried to increase diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. UPenn has implemented various initiatives, such as the Penn First Plus program, which supports first-generation and low-income students, and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, which aims to improve educational opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

Similarly, CMC has established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which provides resources and support for students from diverse backgrounds and has implemented a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan to promote a more inclusive campus culture.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: Academic Programs Offered Comparison

At UPenn, students can access more than 100 undergraduate majors across multiple schools, including arts and sciences, engineering, nursing, and business. CMC, on the other hand, is primarily focused on social sciences and economics.

They offer ten majors, including economics, government, and philosophy. If you’re looking for a broader array of academic options, UPenn might be your better choice.

However, CMC’s focus on social sciences and economics allows for more specialized and in-depth education. The small size of the college also means that students have more personalized attention from professors and a tight-knit community.

Additionally, UPenn and CMC offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs and opportunities for students to explore multiple fields of study. UPenn has a dual-degree program with the Wharton School of Business and a joint program with the Curtis Institute of Music.

CMC has a joint program with the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences and a partnership with the Claremont Graduate University.

Faculty Quality and Availability Comparison

Both UPenn and CMC have top-notch faculty, but the availability of professors can differ between the two schools. UPenn is a larger institution, so it’s possible that professors may not be as accessible as they are at CMC. However, both schools prioritize personalized instruction and offer small class sizes to facilitate connections between students and faculty members.

Another factor to consider when comparing faculty quality and availability is the research opportunities available to students. At UPenn, students have access to a wide range of research facilities and resources, which can provide valuable hands-on experience and exposure to cutting-edge research.

CMC, on the other hand, emphasizes a more interdisciplinary approach to learning, with faculty members from a variety of fields collaborating on research projects and encouraging students to explore multiple areas of study.

It’s also worth noting that both schools have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion among their faculty members. UPenn has made significant strides in recent years to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its faculty.

At the same time, CMC has a long-standing commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of campus life. This means that students at both schools can expect to learn from a diverse group of faculty members with a wide range of perspectives and experiences.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: Research Opportunities and Facilities Comparison

Research opportunities and facilities can be critical aspects of undergraduate education, especially for students planning on pursuing graduate education.

At UPenn, research is a significant part of the academic experience, and students can access cutting-edge research facilities. CMC also offers research opportunities, but they might not be as extensive as the ones available at UPenn.

An open laptop placed on top of a table near a window.

However, CMC has a unique advantage in its small class sizes and close relationships between students and faculty. This allows for more personalized research opportunities and mentorship, which can be invaluable for students looking to gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

Additionally, CMC has partnerships with nearby research institutions, such as the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which provides students with access to a wider range of research facilities and resources.

Extracurricular Activities and Student Life Comparison

Both UPenn and CMC offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and student organizations. UPenn has more than 450 student organizations, including cultural clubs, sports teams, and community service groups.

CMC has over 100 student organizations, including academic clubs, performance groups, and political organizations. If you’re looking for more options, UPenn might be the right choice for you.

However, it’s important to note that while UPenn has more student organizations, CMC offers a more tight-knit community with smaller class sizes and a focus on leadership development. CMC also has a unique program called the “Athletic Engagement Program,” which allows students to participate in varsity sports while still having time for other extracurricular activities.

So, if you’re looking for a more personalized and well-rounded experience, CMC might be the better fit for you.

UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna: Career Services and Professional Development Opportunities Comparison

Career services and professional development opportunities are crucial when it comes to preparing for life after college. UPenn and CMC both have excellent career services centers and offer a variety of career-preparation programs and resources. UPenn’s career center even has a comprehensive alumni network that can be helpful to students after they graduate.

However, while both universities offer similar services, CMC has a unique program called the Kravis Leadership Institute, which provides students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills through workshops, seminars, and internships. This program is highly regarded by employers and can give CMC students a competitive edge in the job market.

Alumni Networks and Success Stories Comparison

UPenn and CMC both have impressive alumni networks, and graduates from these schools have gone on to do great things in many fields. UPenn alumni include Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Noam Chomsky, among many others. CMC alumni include several Fortune 500 CEOs and a number of successful politicians and pundits.

However, there are some differences between the two schools’ alumni networks. UPenn’s network is larger and more diverse, with graduates spread out across a wider range of industries and professions. CMC’s network, on the other hand, is more tightly knit and focused on business and politics.

Despite these differences, both schools have produced a number of notable success stories. UPenn alumni have founded companies like Warby Parker and LinkedIn, while CMC alumni have held top positions at companies like Disney and Goldman Sachs.

Ultimately, the strength of an alumni network depends on the individual connections and relationships that graduates build over time, regardless of the size or focus of the network itself.

Overall Pros and Cons of UPenn vs. Claremont McKenna

After assessing both schools across multiple metrics, it’s clear that both UPenn and CMC offer a lot to students. However, there are also some downsides. UPenn’s cost of attendance is very high, and it might be difficult to find research opportunities as an undergraduate student. Meanwhile, at CMC, the limited number of majors might not fit the academic interests of all applicants.

Female student writing in front of her laptop

One of the major advantages of attending UPenn is its location in Philadelphia, which offers a vibrant and diverse city experience. Students can take advantage of the city’s cultural offerings, such as museums, theaters, and restaurants. Additionally, UPenn has a strong alumni network, which can provide valuable connections and opportunities for students after graduation.

On the other hand, one of the benefits of attending CMC is its small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty. This can lead to a more intimate and collaborative learning environment. Additionally, CMC has a strong focus on leadership development, with opportunities for students to participate in leadership programs and internships.

Conclusion: Which College is Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision to attend UPenn or CMC will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re interested in a broader range of majors and a bustling urban environment, UPenn might be the right choice for you.

If you’re interested in social sciences and economics and prefer a more suburban setting, CMC might be the better fit. Regardless of which school you choose, rest assured that both UPenn and CMC offer excellent education and many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

It’s important to consider factors beyond academics when making your decision. Take into account the campus culture, extracurricular activities, and overall atmosphere of each school. Visit both campuses if possible and talk to current students to get a better sense of what life is like at each institution.

Remember, college is not just about getting a degree but also about finding a community where you can thrive and grow as a person.


Are you feeling overwhelmed by the college admission process? Look no further! AdmissionSight is here to guide you toward success. With our specialized college admission consultation service, we offer personalized assistance tailored to your unique goals and aspirations.

Our experienced consultants will provide expert advice on crafting a standout application, selecting the right colleges, and navigating the complex admissions world. Don’t let stress hold you back—let AdmissionSight be your trusted partner on your journey to higher education. Contact us today to take the first step toward a brighter future.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.