Jim Tranquada

Applications for admission to Occidental College have topped 6,000 for the first time ever, setting a new record for the 11th time in 12 years.


Some 6,010 students submitted applications for one of 465 spaces in the Class of 2013, an increase of 4 percent over last year’s total. Overall, applications have risen a remarkable 222 percent over the past 12 years.

"In a year when a number of other top liberal arts colleges have experienced a decline in applications, it’s extremely gratifying to see record numbers," said Vince Cuseo, dean of admission. "What we find even more impressive than the sheer numbers is the quality of our applicants."

It’s difficult to know whether this year’s numbers were influenced by an "Obama effect," Cuseo said. President Barack Obama ’83 spent his first two years of college at Occidental, and has publicly acknowledged the role it played in steering him toward a career of public service.

U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and SmartMoney magazine all have named Occidental as one of the country's top values in higher education. More than three-quarters of Occidental students receive some form of financial aid.