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What Are the Claremont Colleges?

If you are interested in a liberal arts education, you’ve probably heard of the Claremont Colleges. The Claremont Colleges are a consortium of seven small schools (five undergraduate and two graduate) located outside of Los Angeles. 

But what exactly does it mean to attend a college that is a member of a consortium? In this article, we’ll go over all you need to know about the Claremont Colleges. We’ll discuss the focus of each individual school, how the consortium interacts, and how to maximize your chances of admission. Let’s get into it!

What schools comprise the Claremont Colleges?

To begin, let’s go over each of the individual Claremont Colleges. We’ll give you the basic information on each, including their academic focus, their enrollment, and their acceptance rate.

Claremont McKenna

  • Academic focus: Economics and government
  • 2022 Total enrollment: About 1,300
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: 11%

Harvey Mudd

  • Academic focus: STEM (Physical and biological sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science)
  • 2022 Total enrollment: 905
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: 11%


  • Academic focus: Humanities, social sciences, focus on social justice
  • 2022 Total enrollment: About 920
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: 17%


  • Academic focus: Interdisciplinary studies across the arts and sciences
  • 2022 Total enrollment: 1,747
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: 8%


  • Academic focus: All-women’s school with a holistic liberal arts curriculum
  • 2022 Total enrollment: 1,082
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: 35%

Claremont Graduate University

  • Academic focus: Graduate school with a focus on firsthand education
  • 2022 Total enrollment: 1,882
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: Not available

Keck Graduate Institute

  • Academic focus: Graduate school with a focus on life sciences
  • 2022 Total enrollment: About 600
  • 2022 Acceptance rate: Not available

Claremont’s location

Claremont is a suburb to the east of Los Angeles with a 2020 population of 37,266. The city is primarily residential and the Claremont Colleges have a huge impact on life in Claremont. There is a commuter train running between Claremont and Los Angeles, so students have easy access to the amenities of the city.

Being situated near Los Angeles, Claremont students have the advantages of a nearby metropolis combined with the mountains and deserts that can be driven to in less than a day. Students also live in a small city among many other Claremont students, so they are surrounded by peers.

Related: How to choose a college

How does the Claremont Consortium work?

The Claremont Colleges are all separate entities, but they collaborate to make a superior college experience for their students. This includes a few different perks, the biggest of which being that students can take classes at any of the Claremont Colleges. 

This opens up the opportunities to take high-level courses in a wide variety of subjects while specializing within your college. It also opens up a student’s social life and allows them to meet new students and professors who they would not have met were they attending a tiny, isolated college.

In addition to cross-enrollment, the consortium shares resources such as a library, health services, safety services, and even athletic facilities. This can serve as another way to allow students from different schools to meet one another.

So, while you’ll still earn a degree from your specific school, and you’ll take most of your classes from within that college, you’ll have the resources of all the Claremont Colleges at your fingertips.

Don’t miss: How to respond to the Claremont McKenna supplemental essays

Student-to-faculty ratio

One of the main selling points of the Claremont Colleges is their incredibly low student-to-faculty ratio. Their colleges range from 10:1 to 8:1 ratios, which means that each student gets much more attention directly from professors and faculty members. They also tend to have smaller class sizes than other colleges, meaning students get ample opportunities to participate in discussion and engage with their peers.

Also see: How many schools should I apply to?

How to improve your chances of admission at the Claremont Colleges

If all of this sounds like a good fit to you, you may be wondering, “How do I get into the Claremont Colleges?” Here are a few pointers to help you craft an application that is especially appealing to the Claremont Colleges’ admission staff.

  • Research the school you’re applying to and tailor your application to it. If you are applying to Pitzer, describe what made you take an interest in social justice. If you’re applying to Pomona, discuss why interdisciplinary and holistic approaches to education resonate with you so deeply.
  • Emphasize why you’d succeed in intimate classes and tight-knit communities. These colleges are remarkably small, and they come with the advantage of encouraging bonds between students, and between professors and their students. Discuss why this is important to your learning experience, and if you have already formed close bonds with your high school teachers, use this as a demonstrable example.
  • Describe how you’d take advantage of the consortium’s resources. As described above, the Claremont Colleges come with many of the advantages of a larger university. Describe projects or potential fields of research that would involve tapping the other Claremont Colleges.
  • Discuss what your proximity to both nature and Los Angeles would mean to you. A sociologist may discuss conducting studies in the city, whereas a biologist may discuss conducting studies in the desert. A multidisciplinary student may be interested in doing both! Bring up actionable goals that you have that involve the physical location of Claremont.

Related: 10 tips for successful college applications

Frequently asked questions

Can I take classes at the other Claremont Colleges?

Yes! If you are enrolled at one of the Claremont Colleges, you have the option of taking classes at any of the other Claremont Colleges for credit. You’ll just have to make sure that you are fulfilling the graduation requirements for your specific school.

Can I apply to each Claremont College individually?

Yes – students apply to each Claremont College individually. You have the option of applying to just one or multiple if you’d like. If you are rejected from one, you might still be accepted to another, and vice-versa.

Are the Claremont Colleges need-blind?

Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Pomona are need-blind, whereas Pitzer and Scripps are need-aware. This means that high financial need could work against your chances of admission at Pitzer and Scripps, but not at Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, or Pomona.

Are the Claremont Colleges test-optional?

Claremont McKenna, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps are all test-optional as of 2022, and Pitzer is test-blind, which means it will not look at the test scores of any students, even if they send them in.

Are the Claremont Colleges test-blind?

Pitzer is the only one of the Claremont Colleges that is test-blind, but the others are test-optional, which means you don’t have to send in your tests if you don’t want to.

Related: How to respond to the Harvey Mudd supplemental essays

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