Earlier this week I spent a day at the five Claremont Colleges: Pomona, Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps. I enjoyed the red carpet treatment I received as part of a tour organized by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), of which I am a member. We had the time to tour the campuses and speak to students, and the directors of admission also answered our many questions.
Apparently, the Claremont Colleges have historically not been very welcoming of independent counselors, because they see us as overly preoccupied with helping our clients â€œget inâ€ to their top choice schools. I hope that they are beginning to understand that the overwhelming majority of independent counselors are primarily concerned with the welfare and happiness of the students with whom we work.
In future posts, I will write a bit about my experiences at each of the colleges. But for those who are not familiar with them, the set up is unique. Five different colleges (plus two graduate programs) share a large plot of land. The campuses are contiguous, but each college is a completely independent entity. Each has its own administration, its own library, its own dining halls. But there are resources that the colleges share. A central library serves all five. The five college are split into two Division III teams (Pitzer and Pomona make up one team, and the other three comprise the other team). Students can cross-enroll at any of the other colleges, and they doâ€¦all the time. They also can move from one school to another. Dining halls, for example, have their own specialties, and student know when to take advantage of the weekly menus.
One of the most pleasant aspects of the Claremonts is the townâ€”or â€œvillageâ€â€”of Claremont. The neighborhoods are quite high-class and comfortable (most professors canâ€™t live anywhere near Claremont, unless they can swing it with a mortgage subsidy offered by the colleges). The village is a nice 10-block area with boutiques, spas, restaurants, coffee shops, and specialty shops (for those from Denver, think Cherry Creek North). Thereâ€™s a cinema, a couple of drug stores, and places for students to stoke up on necessities (though I didnâ€™t see a full-service grocery store nearbyâ€¦maybe I missed it). It seems to be a weekend destination spot for folks from LA who seek a small town atmosphere.
All in all the Claremonts have a lot to offer students, and those with strong academic records and who are interested in life in southern California should take a good look at the Claremont Consortium.