Insider's Guide says "Claremont McKenna College offers the best of both coasts." How does this manifest? Sounds intriguing.

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Alex Bargmann, CMC Alum, '11

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CMC is definitely a California schools (~30% of the student body is from CA), but it's got a unique culture that's decidedly a mix of your typical liberal arts school - that's probably rooted in north eastern culture - combined with, for lack of a better word, newer California take on the liberal arts.

The school is academic, relatively conservative, focused on business and public affairs. Yet, it's, at it's core, dedicated to the liberal arts - and can be in many ways thanks to the consortium. There's a small number of departments, a strong, but not overwhelming list of pre-requisites that is built around the traditional liberal arts, math, science, language, history, philosophy, social sciences, not random freshman seminars. I think this, coupled with it's sort of old boys club feel (this schools persona is definitely masculine) makes it have the elements of the east coast educational heritage.

Except instead of croquet, students sit out in the fountains or on Green Beach in tank tops and flip flops. Instead of any Greek Life, the school is not fragmented. Each of the colleges on the consortium has it's own personality and stereotypes, but together they compliment each other in an academic, social, and cultural way that Greek Life, in my opinion, on east coast schools can't even come close to touching.

So yes, it definitely manifests in the personality of the school - it feels very "American:" traditional values and business and public affairs oriented, but combined with a completely Californian take on the oxford model of education, 5 schools all sharing the same resources pulling kids from around the country to learn.

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