Oxy Named "Best Value" College
Occidental is a 2012 "Best Value College" based on the quality of academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid, according to the Princeton Review.
The list of 75 private colleges, released today, was also based on the percentage of graduating seniors who borrowed from any loan program and the average dollar amount of debt those students had at graduation. Last November, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine also named Occidental one of the country's 50 best values among liberal arts colleges.
The "best value" rankings come on the heels of recognition in the latest editions of several major college guides, including U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review's The Best 376 Colleges, the Fiske Guide to Colleges, The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, Forbes' "America's Best Colleges," Washington Monthly, andThe Ultimate Guide to America's Best Colleges.
Oxy's ranking varies depending on the source being consulted: high school counselors polled by U.S. News rank Occidental No. 36 among the country's top liberal arts colleges, while U.S. News itself places Oxy in a three-way tie at No. 37 and Washington Monthly slots it in at No. 19, based on its contributions to social mobility, research, and service.
But regardless of the number assigned, Oxy is a ubiquitous presence. Occidental is again recognized by the Insider's Guide as one of a handful of colleges and universities with the strongest undergraduate focus. Fiske bestows four-star academic and quality-of-life ratings on Oxy, and Princeton Review gives Oxy's Financial Aid Office a score of 97 out of 100.
U.S. News ranks Occidental fourth in diversity among nationally ranked liberal arts colleges, behind Wellesley, Amherst, and Swarthmore. Occidental's diversity is multifaceted, the Insider's Guide points out: "Oxy provides diversity not only in the student body, but also in the breadth of academic options, the expansive extracurricular opportunities, and the great resources of Los Angeles that make the school unique."
The Newsweek/Daily Beast rankings list Oxy as one of the country's "happiest" and as a top school for "artistic students," while Fiske singles out Occidental among "Small Colleges and Universities Strong in International Studies," "Strong in Drama," and "Strong in Film/Television."
Even the avowedly conservative college guide produced by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Choosing the Right College, finds much to admire.
It notes, for example, that "every department goes out of its way to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to collaborate with professors," that Oxy has "an exceptionally good program in mathematics and the physical sciences," and that recent conservative and libertarian alumni generally praise Oxy. "I would tell any high school student to consider Oxy if they were looking at a small liberal arts college in a big city," it quotes one as saying.
While methodologies vary widely, Occidental's unique mix of the liberal arts in an urban setting scores high marks. Or as the Insider's Guide puts it, "it's no surprise that people love Oxy."