Occidental College Reviews
Occidental College is a very small school in a very big city, which brings both pros and cons. Its a completely different college experience than UCLA or USC for example because of its size and liberal arts emphasis. The campus can feel kind of sequestered, located in a residential area and often referred to as the Oxy bubble. Not being from LA originally, I found it a little difficult to get off campus and experience the city, mostly because I didnt have access to a car for much of my time as a student. Relying on public transport in LA can get complicated and/or expensive pretty quickly. However, having such a small campus meant smaller class sizes and more one-on-one attention from professors, which I really appreciated. I felt like I really had the opportunity to get to know my professors, and I know I got more out of my classes because of it. Most of my classes were discussion based, which highlighted many different voices and opinions and lent itself to a deeper understanding of material. I also had a great experience with Oxy professors. There are some really amazing people who teach at Oxy, and I feel lucky to have been taught by them. Personally, I found the social scene to be fairly cliquey, especially freshman year. Due to the schools small size, I recognized most people I walked past on campus, but I felt like people would fall into social groups and not try to branch out. This got better my junior year when I started taking more classes specific to my major, and spending time with people I had more in common with. Also as a side note, junior year is when a lot of students study abroad. Oxy has a great study abroad program with many many options. Overall, I was satisfied with my time as an Oxy student and I would recommend the school to anyone who is looking to attend college in a city and also has interest in the liberal arts model. I was completely undecided on what I wanted to study when I first started college, and Oxy was a good place for me to try different things before choosing a major.
I think that this school provided me with exactly what I needed. The class sizes were small and I was able to form really great mentorships with professors. The rigor of the courses matched my expectations and I feel really prepared to continue on at the graduate level of study this coming fall.
Firstly as a biology major, I would like to comment on Occidental's biology track. Oxy's biology program has excellent professors and curriculum. I would highly recommend students interested in molecular biology and immunology to attend. Professors have interesting and diverse research projects available for undergrads to participate in and gain valuable research experience. All of the classes are small and intimate, allowing you to have attention from the professors in class and during office hours. Oxy's professors are very open to supporting the students in excelling at their studies. The school has also various peer-supported tutoring programs to allow you to get the help that you need from chemistry problem sets to essay writing advice. The student body may not be very diverse, but as it is a liberal campus, it strives to make everyone feel welcome and safe. The campus is small but beautiful and the food is pretty amazing. If you are looking to major in a specific program, be warned that Occidental, as a liberal arts college, is a bit more limited in its class offerings. However, since it is a smaller campus, you will enjoy the perks of free food and massages during exams or be able to walk into the financial aid office for help without having to wait in line for an hour.
I was trained by some highly intelligent professors. The class sizes were small. I did not live on campus so that left me somewhat disconnected and I would recommend staying on campus if you can afford it. Many of the alumni have good careers. I would suggest making sure that the field you are pursuing is one of the focused degrees for this school or you may end up paying more than you should for a degree that doesn't pay off.
My college was small; all of my professors knew me by name. This made me work hard and always attend class. I knew most people in my school at least by face, and this created a very close knit community on campus. There were 4 music majors the year I graduated, so we all became very close and helped each other with our senior projects. I learned a lot about myself through going to college, and I would recommend it.
Oxy is a great place! I transferred to Oxy my sophomore year after attending a much larger state school closer to where I grew up. I realized right away that I wanted a smaller campus with smaller classes and a closer-knit community. I loved Oxy from the second I got there. I had incredible professors who inspired and motivated me, became friends with intelligent, interesting, passionate people from all over the country, and got involved in many different types of activities on clubs and on campus, many of which I never would have tried if it weren't for the small campus feel. Living in Los Angeles was fun, but I don't think I took enough advantage of it while I was a student. I still live there and realize there were so many places I never went to or knew about as a student. I am so glad I took a chance and transferred!