Occidental College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Occidental College
Known as 'the little giant' for its academic prowess and size, Occidental is a...

Occidental College

Los Angeles, California

Known as ‘the little giant’ for its academic prowess and size, Occidental is a four year, undergraduate-focused institution with a unique core program developed by faculty to unify and enhance the liberal arts education offered.


Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
2,040 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
44% male — 56% female
47% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
173 full-time faculty
73 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

80 percent of the students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2014

93% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

85% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Black or African American 4%
White 51%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 13%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 9%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


Colors Black and Orange
Affiliation Division III
Conference SCIAC

Cross Country
Swimming & Diving
Track & Field
Water Polo

Cross Country
Swimming & Diving
Track & Field
Water Polo

Academic Programs

American Studies, Art History & Visual Arts, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Classical Studies*, Cognitive Science, Computer Science*, Critical Theory & Social Justice, Diplomacy & World Affairs, East Asian Cultures, Economics, Education*, English & Comparative Literary Studies, French, Geology, German, Group Language, History, Japanese, Kinesiology, Latino/a and Latin American Studies, Linguistics*, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Russian, Sociology, Spanish, Theater, Urban & Environmental Policy, Writing & Rhetoric

* Minor only

Occidental students develop their personal and academic potentials, while supporting the endeavors of their peers. Students have access to 31 majors, as well as supplementary learning opportunities like research and experiential learning. Occidental motivates its students to push through their boundaries, elevating their college experiences to extend beyond the classroom.

Liberal Arts and Joint Academics
Occidental is a liberal arts institution, offering its students a well-rounded education that spans multiple disciplines. Students are given the option to take classes at Caltech or the Art Center, and some students go on to earn joint degrees from Columbia University, Keck Graduate Institute, and Caltech.

International Programs
Occidental offers several international programs in an effort to increase multi-cultural awareness and respect for the global society. An international experience, like study or research abroad, is a great way for students to develop valuable skills like cross-cultural communication and independence.

Occidental faculty are genuinely interested in their students. They gently, but firmly, encourage them to explore concepts outside of their comfort zones. Add to this a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, which translates into a more individualized and intimate learning experience for every student.

Professors and their Roles
Occidental faculty work tirelessly, fulfilling roles outside of being professors. Faculty serve as mentors, advisors, and guides to students. This done, relationships between faculty and students are much stronger, creating a more meaningful educational experience for both parties.

Occidental is committed to diversity. Every member of the campus community is reminded to keep the College’s commitment to inclusion at heart. Diversity changes all the time, and Occidental makes it a mission to stay abreast of these changes so as to better serve the needs of the community. At the forefront of this effort are the faculty members who set a positive example for the students.

Occidental offers several clubs and organizations from media and entertainment to sustainability initiatives. Students are also given the option to create their own club if they discover a passion not yet established. Occidental also has a lively Greek life, giving students the option to rush and enjoy the bonds of a sorority or fraternity.

Los Angeles
Occidental is located in the city of Los Angeles, affording students access to the amenities and attractions of the city. L.A.’s warm climate gives students the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. What’s more, the proximity to the city gives students the ability to intern for and work at major institutions and businesses. 

Community Engagement
Occidental has three offices that are wholly dedicated to community engagement and service initiatives. The Center for Community Based Learning brings together groups from the campus community to focus on social justice issues. The Office of Community Engagement hooks students up with service initiatives where they can apply Occidental’s values to the greater community. The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute links social initiatives with environmental needs, helping students to bring about change with regards to sustainability.  

Occidental is committed to preparing students for success after college. The College is dedicated to developing the whole student though multiple disciplines and concentrations. Students will graduate with experience in sciences and arts. They will be well-read, outspoken, and intelligent individuals. When it is time to receive their diplomas, they will be ready.

Job Shadowing
Occidental offers a job shadowing program to its students called “Walk In My Shoes” (WIMS). The program connects students with alumni and community members. Students gain experience in their chosen fields of study, while learning from a professional. A host works with students in order to place them in the proper shadowing program. Before students embark on their shadowing experience, they will complete a series of preparatory tasks like pre-site training and reflective essays.

The Career Development Center
The Career Development Center is great for guiding student uncertainty to bright ideas. The center works with students to help create a link between college life and the real world. Students can use the center to seek out internship and job shadowing opportunities.

Internships are a great way for students to implement academic theories into a professional setting. Students will gain valuable skills as they experience what it feels like to work in a professional environment. Occidental’s relationship to Los Angeles brings numerous opportunities to students seeking internships. The city provides several options for gaining industry experience.


Admissions Fall 2014

6,071 Total Applicants
2,552 Total Admissions
546 Total Freshmen Enrollment

42.04% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 600 690
SAT Math 610 700
SAT Writing 610 700
ACT Composite 27 31
ACT Math 26 31
ACT English 28 33
ACT Writing 8 9





Tuition $46,952
Fees $570
Total $47,522
Room and Board (on campus) $13,750
Room Only $7,650
Board Only $6,100
Estimated Total On Campus $61,272


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

71% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
56% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$30,617 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$6,882 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

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