President’s Week Southern California College Tour
February 17-21 (Juniors and Sophomores)
BCA hosts two overnight college tours per year. Our second tour this year features the return of our popular Southern California Tour. We will visit the following colleges during President’s Week Break: USC, UCLA, Occidental, Caltech, UC Irvine, and the Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer). At each college we will meet with admissions for an information session, have an official campus tour, and have lunch or dinner in the dining hall. In the evenings we will explore the greater LA area and see many famous sights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier, Westwood Village, and more!
Here's the re-cap! Read what our BCA students had to say about the SoCal colleges they recently visited:
- ACAHA Junior on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
UC Irvine did not fall short of our expectations. It is one out of the 8 UCal schools, and in many of our opinions, one of the most unique. UC Irvine's campus is laid out in a perfect circle, so our tour started in one spot, and we just kept walking until we came back to our starting point. It has over 100,000 trees that help give the campus a natural look and feel, despite its modern buildings and assets.
Of course, it's easy to love the school when it's in sunny California. However, many of the students enjoy the school for its study abroad opportunities, unique clubs, and nationally ranked E-Sports team that actually practices from 4-6pm every day.
Even more, it's really easy to get involved in campus life like student government, work-study jobs, and going to campus-wide events. When students want to get off off campus, the beach is an easy 10 minute drive away, and Irvine was voted #1 safest big city in the country for nightlife. The University students really have the ability to stay and study, go surfing, kayaking, hiking, or skiing all in the same day.
However, UC-Irvine is a very selective school at a 37.8% acceptance rate. It generally admits 7,000 people per year, and has a 86.5% graduation rate.
Honestly, my favorite part about the school is that its mascot is an Anteater and the campus chant is "ZOT ZOT" because no one knows what an Anteater sounds like. It's newest dining hall (where we ate) is called the "Anteatery" that has a mix of health conscious choices and the usual burgers and fries. It's very new, clean, modern, and spacious.
It unfortunately does not have a football team, so some may miss the Friday night lights, but they can make up for it in different club and intramural sports as well as going to some of the other UCal schools sports games. Overall, I would recommend checking out UC-Irvine for yourself to find out if it's the right fit for you.
- AAST Junior on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
Pomona is a great college overall. It has a very diverse study body, including the ethnicities of the students, where they come from, their interests and much more. It had a heavy stress on intellectual curiosity and students wanting to learn and explore their passions. The school has a very close and small community. The school itself was a very small size. The class sizes were generally around 15 students. The professors had very close relationships with most of their students and were open to questions or help they needed at any time. The campus was very aesthetically pleasing overall. Most of the buildings and dorms were new and were very spacious. A wide array of majors are offered and it seems like it was strong in all majors. Extracurriculars and social life at this school seemed average or even below average compared to other colleges. The location of the college in California was a big plus and was major component of the school.
- AEDT Junior on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
Claremont McKenna is one of the five Claremont colleges, with its most popular majors being economics, government/politics, and international affairs. The campus is beautiful, with a picturesque view of snow capped Mount Baldi in the distance and sleek, boxy buildings set up on grid-like streets (like in New York City). While many students walk around campus, a notable number of them ride bikes, skateboards, or even scooters around.
Everyone I talked to was very nice and didn't mind pausing their day to give directions or advice to confused high schoolers. The average class size is under 20 people, making it a good place for discussion-based learning. Though each Claremont College is its own individual entity, as a McKenna student you can still take classes at the other colleges. The students said that they maintained close relationships with their professors even after they graduated, and they were caring mentors who went above and beyond to help them with their goals. 1/3 of their curriculum fulfills their own general education requirement - meaning that 1 in 3 classes is part of the common core, which is a bit more demanding compared to other schools, but still reasonable. It includes specific categories of classes, such as a philosophy class (a big department at McKenna).
McKenna is a liberal arts college, and the general education requirement will ensure that you still study the arts. If you're interested in a major they don't offer, but you like their campus and resources, for example I asked about engineering, they told me that they have a five year graduation plan for that: you spend three years at McKenna for your Bachelor of Arts, and then transfer to another school for two years for an engineering or science degree (common transfers: Harvey Mudd, NYU, Colombia, RPI, USC, WashU...)
A few good facts to know: they don't have any official minors, but offer a variety of subjects via their classes offerings, you need 32 credits (about 4 classes per semester) to graduate, you can apply for funds for any opportunity you want to pursue whether it be for actual research or the airfare, there are 11 research institutes on campus (undergrad only school) and about 20% of research opportunities on campus are reserved for freshmen. They also have a cool program where you can move to Washington DC or Silicon Valley for a semester to pursue a full internship, and take your college classes at night or on the weekends to keep up with your graduation scholarship. Something specific to McKenna is that they find four speakers a week (Monday through Thursday) who are all accomplished in their fields at a business casual venue on campus. There, the students, professors, and speaker all eat dinner together and listen to a speech. If you reserve early enough, you can even sit at the head table and speak directly with the speaker. If it's someone you admire, this could be an unforgettable experience.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit. If you're interested in economics or politics and like California, this college could be a good fit for you.
- AEDT Sophomore on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
Before I begin it is important to note that this school is not for everyone. This school places heavy emphasis on STEM courses, seeing that it is the only Claremont school where you would graduate with a Bachelor in science. As for the dorm life, the dorms themselves were not very colorful and almost everyone lives in the same dorm for all four years. They are for people who enjoy being in a close knit community. You get placed in a certain dorm based on a survey that you fill out.
In order to enjoy the courses at the school, you need to enjoy learning all the sciences, computer science, and engineering, no matter your major. The school itself has very small population of around 200 per grade. The campus resembles a rectangle where one half is dorms and the other half classes.
The college also consists of an underground portion that is used as a space to conduct research.
- AVPA Junior on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
Pitzer is the newest of the 5 claremont colleges. It is known for its social justice. It has its five core values: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. We enjoyed its beautiful campus featuring new innovative architecture and drought sustainable plants. The faculty to student ratio is 10:1 and the class sizes are typically between 10-25 students. Housing is co-ed with only outdoor entryways, no hallways. The first year housing surrounds a pool. Additionally, some sites were the bicycle graveyard, the yes wall, and a chicken coop.
Fine art is one of the top ten majors, so the campus is covered in murals and other artwork done by students. 53% of students study abroad and can do so up to 3 times. 46% of the 1,100 students are people of color. There are 6 social justice theory class requirements but can be altered to fit one's preferences. A create your own major is also in place for those who feel it is necessary.
All food served is organic and comes from within a 150 mile radius, including the campus itself.
Finally, activities are plentiful including sports, outdoor socials, hiking, a music festival, and it is only a 45 min train ride from LA.
- AVPA Junior on the SoCal College Tour of 2019
UCLA is a 4-year public university in Los Angeles, California. It is a very large school with around 40,000 students. In addition to having a lot of people, the campus is huge with a lot of hills. There are a lot of research opportunities at UCLA as well. There is a very good balance between school work and free time and there is no shortage of things to do. Many students go to hang out in Los Angeles or the beach, both of which are very close. There is no ED or EA for UCLA so you only apply at one deadline. In addition to this, there is no aid given to students outside of California which can be upsetting because UCLA is very expensive.
Overall, UCLA is a great school with a beautiful campus and many opportunities for students during and after school.