Occidental College (nicknamed Oxy by students and alumni) is a small, selective liberal arts college in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1887 by the Presbyterian church, the now-secular college enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in 31 of majors in the arts and sciences. The college prioritizes individual faculty attention, with a 10:1 student-instructor ratio and an average class size of only 19. Notable alumni include Oscar-winning actor and director Ben Affleck and former NFL quarterback and vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp.
Occidental’s stated mission is “to provide a gifted and diverse group of students with a total educational experience of the highest quality — one that prepares them for leadership in an increasingly complex, interdependent and pluralistic world.” This goal is reflected in the interdisciplinary and multicultural focus of Oxy’s curriculum, which emphasizes leadership skills as well as four cornerstones of “excellence, equity, community and service.”
Occidental’s campus, whose first buildings were designed by famed architect Myron Hunt, sits in the historic Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock. Despite its urban setting, students are required to live on campus for their first three years, which includes a year in one of four specially-designed “First-Year Experience” residence halls meant to foster close-knit communities.
Occidental offers 31 majors in 40 departments and programs in the liberal arts and sciences. In addition to discipline-specific coursework, all majors are required to participate in Oxy’s “Common Core” curriculum, which consists of first-year cultural studies seminars and subsequent distribution requirements in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
The college also offers exclusive opportunities in certain areas of study. Art majors have the option of taking courses at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and pre-law students with qualifying LSAT scores can be admitted into Columbia University’s Accelerated Interdisciplinary Program in Legal Education in their junior year.
The Occidental Tigers compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at the Division III level. Oxy has 10 men’s and 11 women’s varsity teams, as well as a variety of club sports. More information on the athletic program can be found here.
Tuition & Financial Aid
Tuition at Occidental was $45,190 for the 2013-2014 academic year. Room and board on campus costs $12,940 annually, and additional fees totaled $1,462 in 2013-14. The college offers several forms of financial aid, including grants and scholarships, work study, and subsidized loans. Awards are made based on both financial need and academic merit.
Occidental is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Admission to Occidental is very competitive. In 2013, Oxy admitted only 42% of over 6,000 applicants. The incoming class of 2017 had a median weighted GPA of 3.65 and median SAT and ACT scores of 1970 and 29, respectively.
Applications are accepted in November for early decision and in January for regular admission. Applying requires a $60 fee, completed online application, writing supplement, SAT or ACT scores, high school transcripts, and letters of recommendation from counselors and teachers.
For more information, please contact Occidental’s Admissions Office directly at:
Office of Admission
1600 Campus Road M-18
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: (800) 825-5262
Fax: (323) 341-4875