How Hard is it to Get into Claremont McKenna?

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Claremont McKenna is a relatively young liberal arts college founded in 1946. Based in Claremont, California, CMC features programs in various sectors such as economics, government, etc. While CMC has attracted diverse students worldwide it isn’t the easiest college to get into.

This comprehensive guide will address how hard it is to get into Claremont McKenna. Also, you will learn about the requirements and how to increase your chance of getting accepted into the university.

What is Claremont McKenna Known For?What is Claremont McKenna Known For?

Is Claremont McKenna prestigious? This question is the first thing every applicant looking for a great college will often ask. Well, to summarize, Claremont McKenna is one of the renowned colleges you can apply to study in California. Claremont McKenna is renowned for its expertise in government and economics.

Eleven world-class research institutes distinguish it. The college strongly emphasizes developing leadership skills in its students through programs like the Roberts Environmental Center and the Kravis Leadership Institutes. Furthermore, the college is famous for its comprehensive and challenging academic programs, which include a wide range of minors and majors and a core curriculum in the liberal arts.

Unlike other colleges, CMC is known for its small class sizes. The average class size at CMC is 18, which ensures students receive individualized attention and can form close relationships with their professors. Also, CMC has an active student life with over 100 clubs and student organizations and a thriving athletic program that competes in the NCAA.

How Competitive is it to Get into Claremont McKenna?

How Competitive is it to Get into Claremont McKenna?

Undoubtedly, it is highly competitive to gain admission into Claremont McKenna. But while it is tough to get into CMC, it is not impossible! The college evaluates its applicants rigorously based on multiple criteria to decide who to deny or admit, which is why it is so difficult to get into.

Since 2013, an average of over 5000 students have sent applications to Claremont McKenna. On average, Claremont McKenna’s acceptance rate is about 10% of the total applicants. Applicants who get into the system must submit a solid academic record, including test scores (either ACT or SAT), transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

On average, 75% of applicants into CMC have GPAs in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 29 on the ACT or 1310 on the SAT. The admission officer at the college also lookout for students with the best evidence of leadership potential, commitment to community service, and extracurricular involvement.

What is Claremont McKenna's Acceptance Rate?

What is Claremont McKenna’s Acceptance Rate?

The acceptance range at Claremont McKenna is lower than many would expect. In 2021, CMC admitted only 11.2% of students who applied, which is approximately 633 students out of 5632 students that applied. Below are three essential admission factors Claremont McKenna looks into when admitting any student.

GPA Requirements

Getting admitted is essential to surpassing the average grade point average (GPA) requirements to get into Claremont McKenna. The admission officer assesses a student’s readiness by evaluating within the context of the institution the student attends, the GPA, and the curriculum that the student has taken.

The most successful applicants at CMC, whether fresh or transfer students, must have earned at least a 3.3 GPA or 3.5 or higher. To achieve Claremont McKenna GPA requirements, you must aim in those challenging classes to get all A’s. And if you can keep this record early in your high school journey, it will set you apart in the application procedure.

SAT Requirements

CMC admission processes are holistic, so students must take the SAT, ACT, or both, aside from the GPA. The SAT Essay, SAT Subject, and ACT writing tests are neither necessary nor required. Generally, you don’t have to freak out about taking the test if you are a transferring student from a two-year community college and did not take the test for admission to the community college.

While there are no Claremont McKenna SAT requirements, students who scored between 1420 and 1530 on their SAT got admission. Similarly, CMC accepts ACT standardized tests, and students who got between 32 and 35 in their ACT scores got admission.


Remember that CMC considers more than a student’s GPA and SAT scores. CMC also seeks students who are active in extracurricular life at their current campus. Students engaged in one or more extracurriculars can contribute to campus life at Claremont McKenna.

These extracurricular activities include sports, music, writing, etc. The extracurricular letter is preferably written by a non-family member who knows your social content. For example, your coach, employer, clergy member, or peer can help write a high-quality extracurricular letter.

How to Get Into Claremont McKenna: 9 Tips to Increase Your Chances

How to Get Into Claremont McKenna: 9 Tips to Increase Your Chances

First-year applicants who want to get into CMC must demonstrate excellency on many levels, which is why getting into CMC is difficult. However, a few pointers below can increase your chances of getting admitted into CMC.

Maintain a high GPA

The first thing you want to ensure you secure before seeking admission into Claremont McKenna is a high GPA. Admitting officers weigh the GPA of their applicants when admitting students. Students with higher GPAs are selected first. So, if you want to stand out, it helps to have a solid academic record. On a 4.0-point grading system, having a GPA of 3.5 will help you stand out from the crowd, as it has helped many students in the past.

Take challenging courses

Another thing you can do to increase your chances of getting into CMC is to take challenging courses. Note that you’re not only to take these difficult courses but to pass them as well is vital as it gives you an edge when applying to CMC. You can take several rigorous courses in high school that will be relevant to what you want to further at CMC. For example, taking International Baccalaureate (IB) courses or Advanced Placement (AP) courses and passing them will help you stand out when sending your application to CMC.

Demonstrating leadership

The admitting council at CMC holds high regard for a student’s ability to demonstrate leadership skills. So, having prior leadership skills or expressing your ability to be a leader in your field will give the admitting officer confidence in your potential. You can show your leadership skills by participating in leadership roles in extracurricular activities such as volunteer organizations or clubs. Also, consider taking academic leadership roles such as a Prefect, student council representative, etc.

Get involved in extracurricular activities.

If you have not been involved in extracurricular activities and plan on getting into CMC, it’s best to associate yourself with one. CMC is one of the schools that evaluate its students across 4 Tier extracurriculars. Tier 1 extracurriculars represent the most outstanding and specialized activities, while Tier 4 represents the least impressive and most common. So, cultivating at least one or more Tier 1 and 2 extracurricular activities will help you stand out on the admission board.

Apply Early Decision

When sending your application to Claremont McKenna, you can use one of three portals: Common Application, Questbridge, and Coalition Application. Also, CMC has three application deadlines: Early Decision 1, II, and Regular Decision. But it is better to send your application during Early Decision. From records, Claremont McKenna’s Eary Decision acceptance rate is higher than Regular Decision. So, sending your application during Early Decision increases your chance of admission.

Score well on standardized tests.

Standardized tests like SAT and ACT are essential when applying to Claremont McKenna. And when you take these tests, scoring well increases your chances of getting into the school. Although many students are applying for the same position in the school, outperforming the rest gives you an edge. If you score low in your first sitting for this standardized test, consider retaking them to achieve higher scores.

Write a compelling essay.

Writing an essay is part of the application process of getting into Claremont McKenna. Aside from the Coalition App or Common App essay, you must also write a unique essay for CMC. So, you can use the essay you submit to showcase your personality. In the letter, demonstrate why you are an excellent fit to study at Claremont McKenna and how you intend to use what you study to contribute to society.

While your essay should include your academic understanding of your desired course of study, it shouldn’t be too academic-centric. So, don’t consider the essay inconsequential when applying to study at CMC. If you are unsure how to write a compelling essay, feel free to reach out to your academic advisor.

Select recommenders wisely

You will need recommendations from reputable people during your application process for CMC. The people you use as your recommenders can influence your admission into the college. For example, asking someone who taught you in core academic areas such as English, science, mathematics, or social science, amongst others, speaks volumes in your application letter.

Moreover, according to CMC, the Admission Committee encourages a teacher’s recommendation. In your recommendation, it’s essential to include your strength and progress academically, collaboration with peers, engagement in classes, ability to manage rigorous classwork, and so on.

Show demonstrated interest

Finally, you must demonstrate your interest in studying at CMC by researching the college. If possible, attend information sessions organized by CMC, and reach out to the admission representatives to ask questions. Visiting the campus can also help you gain more insight into what to expect.

Also, request an interview, although they are not required as part of the application process, but recommended as they show your interest in getting admission. In the interview, the admission officer can better assess the applicant as well as the applicant can ask questions about concerns. So, requesting an interview goes a long way in the application process.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is it to Get into Claremont McKenna?

While it might be hard to gain admission to Claremont McKenna, don’t let that discourage you. Claremont McKenna ranking on the spectrum of colleges is at the top, considering it is one of the renowned colleges to attend. As such, the effort to get admitted into CMC is worthwhile. Accepting college is overwhelming, but you can get in on the first attempt with early planning.

As long as you maintain a good balance between your academics and extracurricular activities, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you. Also, applying on time and during Early Decision may give you an edge. If, during your application procedure, you need more clarification on a specific step, feel free to reach out to your academic advisor.

Explore our other guides on university admissions and learn how to increase your chances of getting accepted! Check them out below.

> How Hard Is It to Get Into Caltech?

> How Hard Is It to Get Into Dartmouth?

> How Hard is it to Get into MIT?

> How Hard Is It to Get into Oxford?

> How Hard Is It to Get into Rollins College?

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