- Class: Alum
- Major: Philosophy
- Gender: F
- High School: Crescent Valley High School
- Transfer Student: N
Best thing: the people. Super smart, very involved, if a little on the toolish side. The professors are excellent. The school is just right for me, but I'd only recommend it if you think you'll want a very small school. Some people have complained that it gets a little cramped after four years. Definitely "what college town," although the new Village expansion has more classy bars, some medium to expensive restaurants, and a movie theater. The president is very capable at some things, but is a very poor speaker and bad at relating to students. This didn't really impact my experience, though. I think the most unusual thing about CMC is its moderating tendency. Especially with respect to politics, you're almost guaranteed to come out more moderate than you were before. This may or may not be a good thing.
Professors absolutely know your name. After freshman year, I was never in a class above 25 students, and even freshman year I only had one class anywhere near 50. One professor I had freshman year became one of my closest friends. Favorite class: any of my major classes. Upper-division classes are excellent, as are many lower-division. Least favorite: freshman calculus. Because there are so few math majors, there are very few math profs, and some have taken advantage of tenure. To some extent, the same is true of science. Class participation is vital, and most students spend plenty of time discussing outside of class, although in a very relaxed kind of way. Students are competitive, but mostly within themselves: there is no grade-grubbing like at the Ivies. The philosophy department was very mediocre when I arrived, but by the time I left it was possibly the strongest at any of the Claremont Colleges, and new hires will ensure that it continues to stay strong. I spent quite a lot of time outside of class with profs. I've been to five or six of their houses for dinner; one prof ran a reading group for three of my four years at school; and I stayed over one summer to work on my senior thesis with my reader. CMC often feels very job-oriented, but if you pick the right classes and major, you can lessen that feeling. Summer internships are a must, though.
Although no one or almost no one is racist, sexist, heterosexist, etc, group identity is very much discouraged in favor of individual identity. If you're into area, gender, or class studies, you'll be derided by most of your peers (liberals and conservatives alike). This is actually probably the biggest warning sign you wouldn't fit in at CMC. Also, if you're the kind of person who needs to emphasize your differences by what you wear, you won't like CMC: everyone has pretty much the same average to preppy fashion sense. "Individuality" that is played up for effect may be in vogue at some liberal arts schools, but it looks forced at CMC. There's no music scene at all, so if music is vitally important to you, you may want to look elsewhere. Most CMC students are from a coast, a major city, or both, with very few from the Southeast. Many went to independent high schools. Students are extremely politically aware, even those who are not government majors. We're also obsessed with financial success, to the point that the president of the Alumni Association had to remind the class of 2008 at a recent class dinner that there are other ways to measure success in life.
The Best Things
If you're right for CMC, it's the most intellectually and socially stimulating place to spend four years. I didn't want to leave.
The Worst Things
If you're not right for the school, you can feel very left out, since it may seem like everyone else is exactly right.