Occidental Named One of the Country's Most Interesting Colleges
For the second consecutive year, Occidental College has been included in Kaplan’s The Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges, a group based on selectivity, unique programs, academic strengths, student body composition, and what the compilers call “the buzz factor.”
According to authors Trent Anderson and Seppy Basili, the information included in the Guide is drawn from a wide assortment of insiders: current students, recent graduates, college officials, and a nationwide survey of high school guidance counselors. Also taken into consideration are standard institutional data and current events at each college.
Occidental’s inclusion in the 2004 edition of the Kaplan Guide comes on the heels of the College’s No. 8 ranking among a group of 100 outstanding but underappreciated colleges in Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews’ new college guide, Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best For You.
Here’s a sample of what Anderson and Basili have to say about Occidental:
“Occidental College is still a ‘treasure,’ but it’s no longer ‘hidden’ – the number of applicants has increased 140 percent over the last six years.”
“Occidental is proud of its commitment to what it calls a ‘total education,’ combining strong liberal arts programs and interdisciplinary studies with an unwavering dedication to diversity. One guidance counselor recommends Oxy as ‘one of the most diverse small schools with great merit scholarships and lots of individualized attention.’ Another guidance counselor thinks Oxy is special because of its ‘students who really care about the classes, professors, and real learning.’”
“With a small yet highly dynamic student body, Occidental has the atmosphere of an intimate and vibrant academic community. … While the workload is heavy, there is an environment of cooperation, not competition. The low student/professor ratio ensures that courses are kept relatively small, and virtually all courses emphasize discussion and writing.”
“The tree-laden, 120-acre campus, with its Spanish-style architecture, is situated around a central Quad, ideal for basking in the California sunshine. In fact, the campus has been used in more than 50 feature films.”
“Located just eight miles north of downtown L.A., Occidental combines the close-knit community of a residential, scenic campus with all the resources of a world-class city. … Oxy offers not only the personal attention typical of small liberal arts colleges, but also the cultural diversity and dynamic urban environment usually found only at large universities. … No student leaves Occidental without some substantial interaction with Los Angeles, be it through coursework, an internship, or community service.”
“Many students told us they chose to attend Occidental specifically for the great cultural diversity of Oxy’s student body. A junior explains that even in the admissions process, ‘Oxy wants to see the whole person, and the school tries to assemble a cross-section of different students to enrich campus life.’”
“The school has a long tradition of community outreach: Oxy’s Upward Bound program, one of the largest in California, was established as one of the country’s first pilot programs in 1964. The following year, Project Amigos was established to make annual trips to Tijuana to build homes for low-income families; the ongoing project now includes alumni trips.”