Occidental College is a small liberal arts school in an urban setting that allows students to explore internships and other employment opportunities and go on adventures to Hollywood and Venice Beach. Founded in 1887, the college currently has a student population of just under 2,100. The school is known for having a diverse student body and a picturesque setting. (The campus has been featured in many movies and TV shows.)
A total of 45 majors are offered at Occidental College. The most popular areas of study are: economics; international relations and affairs; biology/biological sciences; art/art studies; and sociology. Class sizes remain small with a student to faculty ratio of 9.5 to 1. About 63% of classes have less than 20 students.
All undergraduates must participate in the Core Program. The program includes: two first-year writing seminars called CSPs; a set number of courses in 3 of 6 geographical areas; a 102-level language course; a course concerning the pre-1800s and one on fine arts; three math and science classes with a science lab; and a senior-year exam within the student’s major.
Students can also take courses at the California Institute of Technology. There’s also the option of studying engineering at Occidental College for three years and finishing at Caltech or Columbia University to receive a Bachelor of Arts in the Combined Plan and a Bachelor of Science in engineering. Art majors can also take classes at the Art Center College of Design in nearby Pasadena.
Outside of the classroom, there are many opportunities for an active social life. There are more than 100 student-run organizations, including the “Occidental Weekly” newspaper, KOXY radio station and CatAList TV station. The school does have a Greek presence with 8 different societies; about 16% of men are in a fraternity and 22% of women are in a sorority. Occidental also competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and the NCAA Division III levels. There are 21 varsity sports teams and many intramural teams. About 25% of students participate in a sports program.
Students are required to live on campus during their first three years. There are 17 on-campus residences, and many of them are divided up into freshman, sophomore, or junior housing. All residences have computer labs, common rooms and lounges. There are also communities like the Multicultural Hall (aka Pauley), the Women’s Center and the Food Justice House. Occidental College is ideal for students looking for a diverse community filled with opportunities both in and outside the classroom.