You’ve got questions—we’ve got the answers (or can at least connect you with the offices that do)!
- What is the deposit deadline?
- What if I want to defer my admission or take a gap year?
- Does Occidental award AP/IB/A-Level credits?
- Can I request more financial aid? Can I appeal my financial aid award?
- Can I request additional merit awards? Will Occidental match my merit awards from another school?
- Now that I am committed to Oxy, what's next?
- When is Orientation? What should I expect during Orientation?
- When should I plan to arrive to campus?
- How long should my family stay? What events can they attend?
- I am a new Oxy family member. What should I know?
- How do you match roommate(s)? When will I find out who my roommate(s) are?
- What will my room be like? What should I bring with me? What should I leave at home?
- What are the residence hall rules?
- Where can I purchase the summer reading program book?
- How and when do I register?
- What if I don't get the classes I want?
- Do I need to take any tests before starting at Oxy?
- Who is my faculty adviser? How are they assigned?
- Do I need to prepare for my advising appointment?
- When do I buy textbooks for my classes? Where and how do I find the ones I need?
- How do I pay for textbooks in the Occidental Bookstore?
- When do I choose my major?
- How many classes do I have to take each semester?
- How do I see which courses are being offered in the fall?
- What is the Core Program?
- What is a FYS?
- How many credits will be awarded for my AP or IB tests? What AP/IB scores do you accept?
- How do I get credit for courses taken at another institution?
- Can I take courses during the summer?
- Where can I find resources for students with disabilities?
Billing and Student Accounts
- When will I learn my financial aid award?
- When will I get my bill for the first semester?
- Someone other than me will pay my tuition bill. How do I add them as an authorized user to my account?
- What is tuition insurance?
- My first bill shows a charge for a double room. Does that mean I've definitely been assigned to a double?
- What is student health insurance?
- How do I complete the health insurance waiver?
- I want to bring my car to campus. Is this allowed?
- I'm not going to have a car. How can I get around?
- How can I get to Oxy from the airport (and vice versa)? Is there a campus shuttle?
- What is there to do on campus?
- Where do I go if I'm not feeling well? How do I make an appointment with the Wellness Center?
- I have dietary restrictions. Will there be enough food options in the cafeteria?
- How important is my ID card?
- How do I ship my belongings to school? Where will I get my mail?
- What paperwork do I need to bring if I want to work on campus?
- Is there an ATM on campus? What banks are in the area?
- What cellphone carrier should I use?
- Where can I find information about campus events? The academic calendar?
The deadline to secure a spot at Occidental for Regular Decision applicants is May 1.
Students who are still working with the Office of Financial Aid on need-based assistance may request additional time by submitting an Admitted Student Reply Deadline Extension Request. These extension requests are only granted for 2-3 days beyond the deposit deadline. Students must submit all required financial aid documents and need-based appeals prior to requesting an extension request, otherwise extension requests will be denied.
To request to defer your admission, fill out the Gap Year Request Form. Deferral requests must be granted by the Office of Admission, who will review the requests and notify students in writing.
Deferrals are granted for one year only. Two years may be granted in special circumstances, such as national military or religious service. First-year students are required to reconfirm their intention to enroll for Fall 2023 by February 15, 2023. Instructions on how to reconfirm will be sent via email.
First-year students may be granted credit for subjects in which they have completed College Board Advanced Placement examinations with scores of 4 or 5, or International Baccalaureate scores of 6 or 7 in Higher Level (HL) courses. Credit for GCE A-level exams is awarded by department petition.
Occidental College is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of its students. Due to this commitment, the majority of Occidental’s financial aid budget is allocated to need-based grants. When family financial situations change, families can submit an appeal letter to the Director of Financial Aid and, upon review, may be eligible for more need-based grants.
Families can submit their appeal letters here. Please note that appeals are only granted to families who have documented changes in their financial status from what was reported in the FAFSA and CSS/Profile. You typically must provide supporting documentation for your appeal letter. Additional information about what kind of supporting documentation is necessary for your appeal, and what types of appeals are honored, is available on our Special Circumstances page.
This appeals process is exclusively for families whose information has changed in regard to their need-based financial aid award. Students are considered for merit-based awards at the time of admission. Decisions regarding merit-based scholarships are final and there is no appeals process for merit-based awards.
There is no appeals process for merit-based awards. Occidental's merit-based awards are made independently of merit scholarships awarded at other institutions. Students are considered for merit-based awards at the time of admission. All decisions regarding merit-based scholarships are final.
Between committing and July 1, you need to submit your final transcript to the Admission Office. In June, you’ll receive additional information regarding required forms and important deadlines. At that time, it will be important to begin taking care of items on the to-do list in a timely manner; these forms should be completed by you (the student). The new student website will walk you through your full list of to-do items. Otherwise, be sure to make the most of your last few months at home by spending time with family and friends.
Visit the Orientation website to find the program dates, when available. Orientation is designed to help make your transition to Occidental frictionless. During the program, you will meet new and current students as well as faculty and staff, register for classes and learn about the many resources and programs available to you at Oxy. We create a schedule that balances required activities with free time so you can get settled and begin to feel at home before starting classes. A full schedule will be made available during the summer.
*Note that international students will receive more information from the International Programs Office (IPO) about this program.
More information regarding move-in dates will be provided during the summer.
Traditionally, a concurrent and separate orientation program is offered for family members. More information about family orientation will be communicated in during the summer. Stay tuned!
Welcome! We are glad to have you. As a family member, you probably have different types of questions. We encourage you to check out the Parents and Families page for information specific to you.
After you submit the incoming student Housing Application (available online during the summer), Residential Education and Housing Services (REHS) will match you with a roommate(s) based on your responses and preferences. To get the best match, be sure to complete this form on your own and to be completely open and honest. This process takes some time, so please be patient. Housing assignments will be sent out to your Oxy e-mail in August. Once you have received this info, be sure to reach out to your roommate(s) to talk about who will bring what, etc.
Each room comes equipped with one bed frame, extra-long mattress, desk, desk chair and dresser per roommate. Rooms are also equipped with a shared microfridge and microwave, one large window (minimum) and shared closet space. Consult the “What to Bring List" for suggestions and talk with your roommate(s) so you don't have duplicates of items; for example, you don't need multiple clothing irons!
Though you will have more independence in college, there are still “res hall" policies in place to promote safe and respectful living environments for all students. For instance, all first-year res halls are substance-free. You can review the full list of res-hall policies here. These policies should answer a wide variety of questions, from whether you can have guests (or pets), to what to do if you are locked out and how to request a room change.
Once the summer reading program book has been selected, all students will be provided with a code they can use to access the eBook version at no cost.
Registration for the fall First Year Seminars (FYS) happens online in late June. Information about this will be e-mailed to you. Detailed instructions for this registration process will also be outlined on the New Student website. First-year students will register for their remaining classes during Orientation in August after meeting with their faculty adviser. There are also a few courses in math, chemistry, French, Spanish and German that you can register for during the summer after taking the relevant online placement test.
We try to keep class sizes small to allow for high-quality in-class discussions and lots of interaction between students and professors. This means that occasionally a class that you want to take will be fully enrolled. When you're planning your schedule, be sure to find several back-up classes in case you don't get into all of your first choices. Most classes have a waiting list you can join in case a seat opens up, but you'll want to make sure you enroll in another class so that you have a full course load. (During the first week of classes you can easily drop a course if a seat becomes available in another course you would rather take.) Keep in mind that you'll have more opportunities to take these classes in future semesters throughout your Oxy career. Furthermore, the liberal arts curriculum is designed so that you can explore a wide variety of classes; keep an open mind and take a course from a department you've never really considered before—who knows, you might just love it.
Online placement tests are available for math, chemistry, music theory, and several languages, including Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
We strongly encourage students to take the relevant placement exam during the summer if they think they may take a course in any of those subjects at any time during their college career. Students considering a major in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, geology, kinesiology or physics should take both the math and chemistry placement exams. Students considering a major in economics or math should take the math placement exam.
In June you'll fill out an advising form that asks questions about your academic interests. Based on the information you provide, you'll be assigned a faculty adviser who will help you select your classes for the fall and answer any questions you have about Occidental's academic programs. You'll meet with your faculty adviser during Orientation as well as periodically throughout the school year. You can change your faculty adviser at any time by filling out an adviser change form, getting a signature from your new faculty adviser and submitting it to the Registrar's Office. Many faculty members are away from campus during the summer conducting research or working on projects, so it is not usually possible for new students to contact their advisers before Orientation begins. If you have questions related to the College's academic program during the summer months, please contact the Advising Center and an on-call adviser will be happy to help you.
To get the most out of your meeting with your adviser during Orientation, you should come prepared with some general ideas of what classes you want to take and how you will fulfill your Core requirements. This summer you will be asked to fill out an Advising Information form, and you will receive a Schedule-Planning Worksheet to assist you with this process.
Once you've registered for classes at Orientation, you'll have time to visit the Bookstore to buy the books you need for the classes on your schedule.
If you'd like to buy your books online in advance for your FYS course, or any classes you know you've already been placed into through a placement exam, you can do so online and pick up the books when you arrive by visiting the Oxy Bookstore website. To do this, click on Buy/Rent, then choose "Will Call - Textbooks" to have them available at the Bookstore and avoid shipping costs. If you prefer digital books, some titles are available in digital format both in-store and on our digital book website. In rare cases a book may be of stock; if this happens, let our Bookstore staff know, and we can check on the status for you. If the book sold out, just ask the Bookstore staff and it can be ordered for you quickly without shipping charges.
The Occidental College Bookstore is conveniently located on the first floor of the Johnson Student Center. The Occidental College Bookstore is a non-profit; when you purchase from the Oxy Bookstore and sell your books back there, you are helping your fellow students by keeping used books on campus and helping to keep the Bookstore prices down. One of the perks of buying from the Bookstore is an easy resell process during finals week when the Oxy Bookstore hosts a textbook buyback. Any books adopted by the professor for the following semester will be bought back for up to 50% of the price paid.
The Occidental College Bookstore accepts cash, check, debit/credit card, Voucher or Bengal Bucks.
When you purchase on the Oxy Bookstore website or in-store you may choose to use your Student Account Voucher. This allows you to quickly and easily charge purchases to your student account to pay later. Your student account is only charged for the amount of money you spend in the Bookstore. The maximum you can spend is $600. You need your Oxy ID to access your Voucher.
If you need to purchase items in the Bookstore and want to charge it to your Student Account when the Voucher is unavailable, or if your books exceed $600, there is another fund called Bengal Bucks.
Bengal Bucks must be loaded to your account by adding funds prior to use. You may deposit funds in the Bookstore using cash, check or debit/credit card. You may also go to myOxy and choose to add money to Bengal Bucks and have the money charged to your student account to pay back later. Please allow 48 hours for funds to appear in your Bengal Bucks account. Don't forget to follow up and check that the funds have been added. You can check your balance on the "GET" website. Bengal Bucks do not expire and do roll over from semester to semester. When you leave school you may ask for leftover funds to be returned to your student account.
You may charge any items in the Bookstore to your Voucher or Bengal Bucks.
All first-year students enter Occidental “undeclared” and have until the end of their sophomore year to formally declare a major. We encourage students to explore different areas during their first year prior to settling on a major. Some majors require at least three years to complete, so it is important to review requirements and plan ahead with the guidance of your adviser. When a student declares a major, they must switch to an adviser in their major department (unless their existing adviser is already in the relevant department).
Most courses earn 4 units of credit. There are also courses that meet less frequently and earn either 1 or 2 units. A typical full-time enrollment is 16 units (generally four 4-unit courses), with a maximum of 18 units per semester allowed during your first year. Students need to average 16 units per semester over eight semesters in order to reach the 128 units needed to graduate.
To see what courses are being offered during a given semester, visit Course Counts.
All Occidental students must complete a Core program of required courses in order to ensure a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences. Visit the Core program website for more information about these requirements.
In First Year Seminar (FYS) courses, students engage in shared intellectual experiences that develop effective college-level writing and enhance critical thinking. FYS courses will also assist students with the transition to college and include an introduction to scholarly inquiry. The registration process for first-year students begins in June with online registration for your First Year Seminar (FYS).
Students are typically awarded 4 units of credit for subjects in which they have completed Advanced Placement examinations with scores of 4 or 5, or International Baccalaureate scores of 6 or 7 in Higher Level (HL) courses only. In some cases an exam score will allow a student to enroll in a more advanced class (e.g. math and chemistry). Earning an Advanced Placement test score of 4 or above on a foreign language exam will satisfy the college's foreign language requirement. Students must have exam scores sent directly to the College in order to receive credit or to use their test scores for placement.
The Registrar's Office oversees all transfer credits. Students who have completed coursework at a previous institution should have their official transcripts sent directly to the Registrar's Office from the institution where the course was taken. We will accept hard copies and/or electronic copies of official transcripts, but cannot accept personally delivered transcripts from the student. A minimum grade of “C" or better is required to transfer credit to your academic record. The Registrar's Office evaluates each submitted transcript based on Occidental's curricular standards, and in some cases specific courses may not receive transfer credit. Occidental will accept credits from a regionally accredited college or university only. For more questions about transfer credit, please contact the Registrar's Office.
For continuing students, Occidental offers a limited number of courses during the summer, as well as the opportunity to participate in internships, independent studies and faculty-guided research projects. Additionally, students can take courses in the summer from other regionally accredited colleges and universities in order to earn credit and fulfill some requirements. (Note: Using summer transfer courses to fulfill college requirements requires approval in advance.)
Work taken elsewhere during the summer may be accepted for credit toward a degree from Occidental, subject to advance approval from the chair of the department with which the course would be identified, the student's adviser and the Registrar. A minimum grade of "C" is required for credits to transfer. Occidental will accept credits from a regionally accredited college or university only.
Should you need academic or housing accommodations, you can begin the process by completing the Request for Accommodations form, found in myOxy. This form will be available in early summer and you'll need your myOxy login to access it. Once you have completed it, the Dean of Students Office will send you an email during the summer. If you did not attach your documentation to the online form, please e-mail, fax or mail the documentation to the Dean of Students Office. For addresses and contact info, visit the Disability Services webpage.
If you applied for financial aid, your award letter should be included with your admit packet. If you received an incomplete letter, please submit the required document(s) as soon as possible so we may review your financial aid application and determine your tentative financial aid award.
The College will send your first bill mid-summer and it will typically be due August 1. Your bill will be issued through electronic billing (eBills). If you are receiving financial aid and have completed your financial aid paperwork, your financial aid award will appear on your bill as a credit.
Someone other than me will pay my tuition bill. How do I add them as an authorized user to my account?
If you would like to authorize someone else to view your account and pay your student account balance, you can add an authorized user, but not until you get your account info in the summer. Authorized users may be added and deleted as necessary, but only by the student. It is the student's responsibility to set up authorized users for their student account.
To add an authorized user to your student account, log in to your Student Account, click the Authorized Users Tab and follow the prompts. The authorized user you have specified will receive an email notification which contains an initial eBill password and login instructions. An email notification will be sent to each address provided when a new eBill becomes available.
Occidental offers an optional Tuition Refund Plan, administered by GradGuard, which protects your educational investment by reimbursing tuition, room and board charges should you need to withdraw from school due to a personal illness or accident. This plan extends and enhances the College's published refund policy. This plan is optional, but if you wish to participate in the plan, you need to submit an application with payment directly to GradGuard before the first day of classes. Please click here to learn more about tuition insurance.
My first bill shows a charge for a double room. Does that mean I've definitely been assigned to a double?
The "double room" charge on your bill is only a holding charge, and does not guarantee that you will be placed in a double. Your bill will be updated accordingly when final room assignments are made in August. Questions about housing assignments or this charge on your bill can be directed to Residential Education and Housing Services.
All enrolled students must have healthcare insurance that covers primary care services in Los Angeles County. Occidental offers a student health insurance plan through United HealthCare Insurance that covers primary, urgent, emergency, pharmaceutical and behavioral health care locally, nationally and internationally. There are no breaks in coverage, so you will be covered while on winter and summer breaks. Full details on Oxy's student health insurance plan through United HealthCare are available on the Emmons Wellness Center website. The Occidental Student Health Insurance Program (OSHIP) may be waived for students who are covered under a parent's policy or have other health care coverage. If you do not waive the student health insurance, you will be automatically enrolled in the student health plan and the full amount will be billed to your student account. You can view the Emmons billing and insurance frequently asked questions or contact email@example.com for more information.
A student may waive the student health insurance plan by filling out an online waiver and providing proof of active health insurance that covers primary care services in Los Angeles County. A plan that only provides urgent and emergency care is insufficient to waive the student health insurance. Typically, plans that meet the minimums for the waiver are most PPO and POS plans, California-based HMO plans and Kaiser plans. Depending on your individual plan's rules, you may need to secure Away From Home coverage to qualify for the waiver. Insurances that usually do not meet the minimum requirement of the waiver include out-of-state HMO plans, Medi-Cal plans and state-sponsored Medicaid plans.
The deadline to waive will be announced this summer, but is generally in mid-August. Students who waive in the fall will be automatically waived in the spring. Students may also waive in the spring or add the student health insurance if their insurance needs change. The waiver can be found at jcbins.com.
If you are not planning on waiving health insurance, please visit the waiver website to “opt-in" to the health insurance plan. By doing this, you will be able to access and print your health insurance card. If you do not waive the student health insurance, you will be automatically enrolled in the student health plan and the full amount will be billed to your student account.
New students are able to bring a car with them to campus. For more information about parking permits, rules and regulations, visit Campus Safety.
While you may have heard the stereotypes about L.A. traffic, do not fear—there are several ways to explore the city without a vehicle, including the options below.
On foot: Oxy is located in between two highly walkable neighborhoods (Highland Park and Eagle Rock), so it is easy to get a feel for the city through York, Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevards.
Public transit: You can access public transit buses from the main boulevards, which will take you to the Gold Line station, Downtown, Glendale and Pasadena. Plan a trip on the metro here.
Bengal Bus & Bike Share: In addition to public transit, you can take advantage of the Bengal Bus to run local errands, or rent a bike from BikeShare.
ZipCar: You may want to consider a ZipCar membership.
Ride Shares: Uber & Lyft are popular choices in the local area.
Asking a fellow resident of your hall for a ride to Target is also a great way to make friends!
Traditionally, the Bengal Bus offers airport shuttles at the beginning and end of fall break (roundtrip), Thanksgiving break (roundtrip), winter break (roundtrip), spring break (roundtrip) and the beginning of summer (to airport only). As space and schedules are limited, you may also want to checkout the SuperShuttle (discount code: OXYED) and Prime Time websites, or consider a rideshare service at your discretion.
Tons! Whether it be one of the many events hosted by our 150+ active student organizations or campus departments, there is always something happening on campus. If you are looking to get more involved in campus life, check out the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement to see a list of all active clubs and learn about the free campus events they host regularly. Additionally, once classes start, stay up-to-date about what is going on by reading the daily campus e-mail digest that includes information about events, field trips, job opportunities, etc. In addition to campus activities, many students choose to use the weekends to explore L.A.
The staff of Emmons Wellness Center provides Oxy students with easily accessible, high-quality medical care and psychological counseling services. Should you need to take advantage of the offered services, call (323) 259-2657 to make an appointment or check out their walk-in hours.
The Marketplace (Oxy's cafeteria) is allergen, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free conscious. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free offerings are available at every meal. Standard labeling at meal stations includes the following: vl: vegetarian lacto/ovo, a vegetarian offering that contains dairy or egg products; v: vegan, a vegetarian offering that contains no dairy or egg products; gf: gluten-free. Should you have other dietary restrictions, check out the Campus Dining resources guide or contact campus dining.
Very. Your ID card serves multiple functions, including your res hall/room key, your student ID and your debit card for your meal plan and vending, just to name a few. It will also provide you access to campus events and some buildings after hours. Therefore, it is very important that you treat it just as you would your driver's license or bank card. Your first ID is free, but each replacement is incrementally more expensive, which can eventually add up.
Have your mail arrive in a timely manner is much more likely when mail is addressed correctly, once your'e assigned a box number.
Your box number can be found by accessing your MyOxy account, then selecting "Update Addresses and Phones" under Student Services tab. Please be sure you share this box number with your family and friends who may wish to write to you.
All students receive mail at the Postal Operations Center (aka "the mailroom"), located on the first floor of the Johnson Student Center.
Mail throughout the year
Below is an example of how your mail (including packages, magazine subscriptions, express items and general correspondence) should be addressed. If having items shipped by UPS or FedEx, use the word "Unit" instead of "Box" to ensure it will be delivered.
Your first and last name
1600 Campus Rd
Box # (put your box number here)
Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314
Please address your packages as follows:
Your first and last name
Class of 202_
1600 Campus Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314
During Orientation, the mailroom will be open so you can begin to pick up mail; oversized packages will be available for pick up at the Facilities Stockroom.
There are several employment opportunities available to students on campus through the work-study program. You can see all job postings here. Should you plan to work on campus, you will need to bring original approved government-issued identification with you to campus so that you can complete the I-9 and W-4 forms in the Human Resources Department. You must bring original documents—copies will not be accepted.
An ATM is located on the first floor of Johnson Student Center, near the Postal Operations Center, and is available when the building is unlocked (daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Within the neighborhood there are also Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Bank branches. Many students also frequently use the cashback feature at local retailers when making purchases in place of having a local bank branch.
Being a major metropolitan area, most U.S. carriers service Los Angeles. Given the unique geography of L.A., however, some offer spottier reception than others. We find most of our students have the best experience with Verizon or AT&T.
Oxy's social media accounts are another great place to keep up with the latest Oxy happenings.