Get a sneak peek at the Short Answer Questions for first-year applicants applying for Fall 2023 entry

In the Short Answers section of the Common App, we ask you to respond to the following three prompts:

  1. Why are you applying to Occidental? What are your academic interests and why do you think Occidental is the right place for you to pursue them? (150 - 200 words)
  2. Please answer one of the following questions—your choice (200 - 300 words):
    • Research is an integral part of an Oxy education. Completing a senior comprehensive is a requirement of every Oxy student and there are a myriad of opportunities for research throughout your four years. Imagine you were just awarded one of our research grants for a project of your choice. What are you researching and why?
    • Briefly describe a current event or social movement that is affecting a place that is important to you. Describe its significance to you and the future implications for that community. How do you anticipate an Oxy education helping you better understand and respond to that event/movement?
    • Oxy’s central mission emphasizes the value of community amidst diversity. What do you value in a community and how do you see your perspectives and life experiences enhancing it?
  3. What is the first song you would play for your Oxy roommate on move-in day? (20 words)


Attention transfer students: please visit your required short answer questions in the Transfer Student Application Requirements section.

Contact Admission & Aid
Collins House

1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041