Claremont McKenna College was highlighted on the Today Show this morning because Newsweek named it one of America’s Hottest 25 Schools, specifically "Hottest Place to Be During an Election Year". 2 in 5 students major in Government. It has the largest and wisest government department of any liberal arts college in the country.
And while it sometimes attracts the label as a conservative school (thanks to the Claremont Institute or the Claremont Review of Books), it in fact is "conservative" because it’s balanced: the faculty and student body are 50/50 liberal/conservative. Compared to its peers in American higher ed, this statistic is astounding. Last year, both conservative supreme court justice Justice Antonin Scalia and President Bill Clinton spoke on campus.
If CMC were on its own — like Middlebury, Williams, Macalester, Swarthmore, Kenyon, or any other liberal arts college that operates independently — such a politically intense atmosphere might be overwhelming. Fortunately, it is nestled within the Claremont Consortia of colleges (Pomona, Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, CGU), offering students access to all the curricula, faculty, and students of the sister colleges. Unlike the Seven Sisters colleges back east, though, these colleges are literally across the street from one another.
If you’re a high school student (or parent) thinking about college admissions, and you’re interested in liberal arts education in a Southern California climate that draws students who are at once talented and driven but also laid back in a California kind of way, check out the Claremont Colleges. With CMC’s admission rate at 16%, it is highly selective but well worth an application.
Naturally, I’ll have more to report once I’m down there in less than three weeks!