Oxy Welcomes Class of 2016
After three months of evaluating a record-breaking 6,136 applications, the wait is over for the Oxy Class of 2016. Last week, the College's admission office mailed oversize envelopes--their bulk a clear sign that the packages contained great news for the 39 percent of applicants admitted.
In what continues to be a trend, this year was the most competitive admission cycle in Occidental's history. The applicant pool was academically impressive, with admitted students having an average unweighted grade point average of 3.77 and a median combined SAT score of 2040 and a median ACT score of 31.
Students' academic prowess is just one component of Oxy's admission process. In an attempt to gauge each student's potential contributions--academic, extracurricular and personal--to the Oxy community, much attention is given to the curriculum students pursued, recommendation letters, special talents and writing ability. Occidental also requires a writing supplement that tries to tap the genuine voice of each student. Among other questions, the supplement asks about a meaningful book a student has read and asks him or her to identify a definitive habit or idiosyncrasy.
This year, admitted students reported that F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.K. Rowling, Shel Silverstein, Orson Scott Card, Jane Austen, J.D. Salinger and Dr. Seuss were among their favorite authors. Habits ranged from making lists and bursting into song to superstitious athletic regimens. Among the most memorable replies were from an avid recycler with a penchant for turning used soda cans into furniture, and from a student who turns any penny she finds on the ground to the heads-up position so it will bring the next person who finds it good luck!
Idiosyncrasies aside, the admitted group is a diverse and global bunch. Students hail from 52 countries, 48 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. International students and dual citizens comprise 10 percent of the admitted class, and 40 percent of students are of African American, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American or Native Hawaiian descent. Further, 11 percent of students are the first generation in their families to attend college.
The decision deadline for admitted students is May 1, so the Office of Admission and Financial Aid is gearing up to host prospective students and their families for an assortment of on- and off-campus events, including two Experience Oxy! open houses and admitted student receptions across the country. April is a busy time, with many visitors eager to sit in on classes, talk to current students and professors, and sample campus events and activities.