Oxy Gets Top Marks in College Guides
Occidental was named one of the country’s “Best Value” schools for the fifth consecutive year and was ranked 36th among the country’s top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings – unchanged from last year.
Occidental also was ranked among the most diverse - third among top-tier liberal arts colleges, after Wellesley and Swarthmore, according to the news magazine. The magazine’s economic diversity rankings (based on percentage of Pell Grant recipients) include only the top 25 schools in the overall rankings. Were they not limited to the top 25, Occidental would rank second, after Smith College.
Occidental once again was named one of the top liberal arts colleges by Washington Monthly in its September issue, based on three criteria: how well it performs as an engine of social mobility; how well it fosters scientific and humanistic research; and how well it promotes an ethic of service to country.
This year also marked Occidental’s debut in two popular guidebooks: Barron’s Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges, and ISI’s Guide to the Right Colleges, both of which rely heavily on interviews with current students and recent graduates.
“One of the strongest impressions Occidental College makes on a visitor is the deep love and loyalty of Oxy students for their school,” the ISI guide reports. “Occidental students are generally effusive in their praise. ‘I really love it here.’ ‘This is such an awesome place – the campus, the classes, the people.’ … The chief reasons students cite for their love of Occidental are the beauty of the campus, the extremely close camaraderie between students, and the genuine concern professors show for their charges. ‘The campus is really gorgeous, the way the light plays,’ says one. Another pointed to many family-like friendships with professors who ‘are accessible and willing to help.’”
“My freshman year I lived in a dorm at the top of campus, and in the morning a bunch of us would head down the hill together to our Core seminar, an art history course called “Reading and Writing About Visual Experience,” one student was quoted in the Barron’s guide. “That stroll, and lunch afterward in the Quad, was as much a part of the seminar as was our time in the classroom … as our intellectual and personal lives intertwined, conversation bridging the two realms began to feel natural and fluid.”
Occidental also fared well in the newest editions of other college guides, including Fiske, which gives Occidental a four-star academic rating (“Inside this urban oasis resides a thriving community of high achievers who don’t for a moment believe the liberal arts are dead”); Princeton Review (“Students say it is really easy to get independent study, internships and grants that would not be offered anywhere else to undergraduates”) and the Yale Daily News’ Insider’s Guide (“Occidental students praise not only their physically beautiful campus, but also the very diverse, active, and friendly student community.”)