The Claremont Colleges: Claremont McKenna College

The Claremont Colleges: Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1946 and it is a highly regarded liberal arts college. Claremont McKenna College offers a personalized and intimate educational experience. The college is known for its 11 research institutes and rigorous academic programs. It also boasts a vibrant student life, with over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, as well as a strong athletics program. The Claremont McKenna College has a top NCAA Division III program. CMS has won six national championships since 2015: two in women’s tennis (‘18, ‘22), and one in men’s tennis (‘15), men’s golf (‘16), women’s volleyball (‘17), and women’s golf (‘18). CMS won over half of the SCIAC Championships (27 of 53) from 2018-22. Students also regularly compete for prestigious fellowships and scholarship opportunities, including the Fulbright, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall, Luce, Boren, Schwarzman, Goldwater, Udall, and Gates-Cambridge awards. Claremont McKenna College is committed to providing its students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for successful careers and engaged citizenship.


Claremont McKenna College is located in California. It is a residential campus 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

Student Cohort Size

The Claremont McKenna College has 1,383 undergraduate students. The admitted students represent 46 states and 45 countries. 49% of students are men and 51% are women.

Faculty/Students Ratio

The student-to-faculty ratio is 8 to 1 and the average class size is 18 students. The smaller class size encourages students to engage and collaborate with renowned professors.

Four-Year Completion Rate

The graduation rate is among the most important factors when selecting a college. Claremont McKenna College’s first-year retention rate is 96%. This means that 96% of first-year students continue their education for their sophomore year and beyond. The 6-year graduation rate is 91%. This implies that 93% of students were able to graduate after 6 years. The extra semesters or years you take to graduate increases the cost of your degree.


Acceptance Rate

Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective liberal arts college with a 10% acceptance rate. There were 5,709 applicants and 591 students were admitted.

Acceptance GPA

Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective college and most of the accepted students have a high school GPA higher than 3.97. Many students are among the top 10% of their class and have completed AP or IB courses to show academic rigor.

Types of Admission

The students can enroll through Early Decision I and II. Students applying to Claremont McKenna College for Early Decision are free to simultaneously apply to other colleges through non-binding, unrestricted admission plans (including Early Action). If the students are admitted to Claremont McKenna through Early Decision, they have to unconditionally agree to attend Claremont McKenna College if they are accepted, and agree to withdraw all other applications. Students can also apply through Quest Bridge. They also have the option of the Regular Decision.

Application Components:

Complete the Common App
School Report
Counselor Recommendation
Official High School Transcript:
This should include your midyear Report after your first term of senior year.
Standardized Test Scores: Claremont McKenna College is test optional. However, the accepted students had an SAT score of more than 1500 and an ACT score of more than 34.
One Letter of Recommendation: The letter should be written by teachers of core academic subject areas like English, foreign languages, math, science, or social sciences.

Prompt 1: Why do you want to attend CMC? (150-250 words)

Prompt 2: One of the hallmarks of a CMC education is the first-year humanities program that all students take in their first year at the College. The program has two components: the Freshman Humanities Seminar (FHS) and the Freshman Writing Seminar (FWS). While each FHS and FWS seminar has a distinctive approach in terms of texts and topics, their pairing gives first-year students a shared academic experience in small, writing-intensive courses that foster critical thinking about a wide range of important issues.

FHS introduces first-year students to some of the crucial questions that human beings face with relation to society and the world. Individual sections are taught by faculty from a range of departments. Past and current topics include:

  1. Democracy and Leadership

  2. Women in Science

  3. Unconventional Thinking

FWS, taught by faculty from the literature department, develops students’ abilities in written and oral communication at the college level. Past and current topics include:

  1. Art of the Personal Essay

  2. Blackness in American Cinema

  3. Post-Apocalyptic Humanity

 For the purpose of this essay prompt, pick one FHS or FWS seminar to study at CMC. What part of your personal experience—or your desire to know more about an area outside of your experience—best explains your seminar choice? (150-250 words)

Interviews: The interview is optional but it is highly recommended. You should take the opportunity and sign up for an interview in September with an admission officer.

Video Response: The video responses are also optional but highly recommended.

Video response prompts for all first-year applicants:

  1. Claremont McKenna College is a special community because it is composed of talented people who individually and collectively contribute to improving the life of the College.  How do you hope to contribute to the CMC community?

  2. The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum represents the intellectual mantelpiece of the Claremont McKenna College community, bringing students, faculty, and staff closer together through active engagement and discussion on a daily basis. Knowing that diversity of thought and respectful dialogue are vital elements to the Athenaeum’s mission, who is someone you would want to hear speak at the Athenaeum in order to better understand a diverse perspective or experience from that of your own?

  3. Developing a personal narrative is key to understand one’s own values and unique voice. Instances of personal adversity are key markers when determining an individual’s character, resoluteness, and sources of inspiration. When was the last time you were moved to great emotion and how did you positively respond from that moment in time?

  4. People support each other and their communities in various ways.  How do you support those around you and how has this shaped your unique perspective?


Claremont McKenna College offers 33 majors and 11 sequences. The undergraduate students have the option to subsequently complete a ‘sequence’ or a series of courses while completing their selected major. They can select courses from other disciplines.

The most popular majors are:

Computer Science
International Relations
Politics, & Economics (PPE)

Sequences Offered:

Ancient and Medieval Studies
Asian American Studies
Computer Science
Data Science
Financial Economics
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Human Rights, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies
Jewish Studies
Leadership Studies
Legal Studies
Scientific Modeling

Special Academic Programs

5-College Majors: Students get the opportunity to pursue a major offered by another Claremont College.
Some of the courses that the students could take at other colleges are:
African Studies
Chicanx-Latinx Studies
Media Studies

3+2 Engineering Program: The Economics and Engineering program allows students to earn two undergraduate degrees within five years.

Master of Arts in Finance: The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College offers a one-year Master of Arts in Finance degree program for graduates of the Claremont Colleges. This rigorous 10-month unique program of study provides a premier postgraduate education in financial economics that builds on the fundamental elements of a liberal arts education.

Robert Day School BA/MA Combined Degree Program: The Robert Day School offers a combined BA/MA program that allows students to complete both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Finance within four years.

Accelerated Degree Programs With Claremont Graduate Universities:

M.A. Program in Economics: CMC students interested in graduate economics training for business, government, or non-profit enterprise are encouraged to consider the accelerated BA/MA program in economics at Claremont Graduate University (CGU).

M.B.A. – Robert A. Day 4+1 BA/MBA Program: The Robert A. Day 4+1 BA/MBA Program provides an opportunity for CMC students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from CMC and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in just five years.

M.A. Program in Political Science: Government majors who are interested in pursuing a Master of Arts degree at Claremont Graduate University may begin work on a master’s degree in political science at the Center for Politics and Economics at The Claremont Graduate University (CGU) during their senior year at CMC.

M.A. Program in Psychology: CMC and The Claremont Graduate University (CGU) offer psychology and neuroscience majors the opportunity to obtain an accelerated M.A. degree in psychology from CGU one year after receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree from CMC.


Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS): Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is an NCAA Division III athletic program comprised of student-athletes from three of the Claremont Colleges: Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps Colleges. CMS sponsors 10 men’s (Stags) and 11 women’s (Athenas) sports.

Athenaeum: The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition $64,150
Housing and Meals $19,650
Books & Supplies $1,200
Misc. $1,500

Average COA $86,500

Fun Fact

Ponding: Ponding is a CMC tradition. Get ready to be thrown into the fountain by your friends on your birthday.

In conclusion, Claremont McKenna College is a unique and prestigious institution that offers a top-notch liberal arts education to its students. With its small class sizes, personalized attention, and rigorous academic programs, the college is well-suited for students who are seeking a challenging and rewarding college experience. In addition to its academic excellence, Claremont McKenna College also offers a diverse range of extracurricular activities, including athletics, student clubs, and community service opportunities. Graduates of Claremont McKenna College are well-prepared to pursue successful careers and make a positive impact in their communities. Overall, Claremont McKenna College is an exceptional choice for students who are seeking a well-rounded and challenging education.

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