Admission Sets New Record -- Again
A record-breaking number of applications for the seventh consecutive year has moved Occidental College’s admit rate to a new low and made it possible to offer admission to one of the most impressive group of students in recent memory.
Some 5,120 students submitted applications to Occidental, up 6 percent over last year’s record tally and 175 percent from eight years ago. Of those who applied, 2,057, or 40 percent, were offered admission, the lowest admit rate in more than half a century.
Occidental now receives more applications than three-quarters of U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 liberal arts colleges, as reported in last year’s rankings. With just 430 spaces available this fall, Occidental received almost 12 applications for every opening in its Class of 2009.
“Occidental once was referred to as a hidden gem, but clearly that’s no longer the case,” said Vince Cuseo, dean of admission. “What we’re experiencing is not the result of any major changes at Occidental. Instead, I think what we’re seeing is a growing recognition of the enduring value of an Occidental education.”
Two-thirds of students admitted to Occidental ranked in the top 10 percent of their class. The median SAT score is 1340, up from 1310 last year. Admitted students represent 45 states and 30 countries; international students (including those with dual citizenships) account for 5.4 percent of the total.
Of those domestic students who self-identified, 43 percent are students of color; 23 percent are from underrepresented groups (African-Americans, Latino/as, and Native Americans.) Counting those who did not identify their background, students of color make up 35 percent of the group, with 19 percent from underrepresented groups. Forty-two percent of admitted students are men.
SAT scores and senior class rankings are only two of the factors considered in the holistic process Occidental uses to assess student applicants. Others include the rigor of the student’s academic program, grades in academic solids, trends in academic performance, letters of recommendation, and essays.