Beyond Academic Promise
CMC actively recruits a diverse group of students from around the world. In the application process it is important to provide information that helps us understand your personal background as well as your academic preparation. As a selective college, we are interested in knowing who you are, what is important to you, and what you have accomplished outside of the classroom. Your essay, extracurricular activities, short answer response, interview and/or video response are perfect opportunities to highlight these aspects and show us how you can contribute to and benefit from the CMC community and mission.
Online interviews will be offered in summer and fall 2020. You may register for an online interview here, or reach out to one of our alumni for a virtual alumni interview. Please continue to check cmc.edu/admission/visit and join our mailing list to receive the most updated information.
While interviews are not required, they are highly recommended. All homeschooled applicants are required to interview. Interviews for CMC are evaluative and are a part of your application. The interview allows you to tell us more about your personal background, as well as your accomplishments, talents, and goals. The interview process also provides you with a valuable opportunity to understand the CMC experience through a one-on-one interview with an Admission Officer, Senior Interviewer or Alumni Interviewer. If possible, we recommend scheduling an interview on- or off-campus. Interviews typically last about 30 minutes. To schedule an interview, please visit cmc.edu/admission/visit or reach out to an alumni interviewer.
Interviews for first-year applicants are offered May through mid-December and can be completed before you submit your application for admission. Early Decision I applicants should plan to interview by mid-November.
If you are unable to schedule an interview by mid-December, we strongly encourage that you consider submitting the option video response. Applicants who interview may submit the video response as well.
First-year international applicants may have additional interview requirements to complete an application for admission to CMC. Please review the Application Instructions for First-year International Applicants.
Supplemental Essay Prompt
The CMC admission office would like to know a bit more about you and how you see yourself connecting with our campus as a student. The following are required supplemental essay prompts found in both the Common Application and the Coalition Application:
- Why do you want to attend Claremont McKenna College?
- One of the hallmarks of a CMC education is the first-year humanities program that all students take in their first year at the College. The program has two components: the Freshman Humanities Seminar (FHS) and the Freshman Writing Seminar (FWS). While each FHS and FWS seminar has a distinctive approach in terms of texts and topics, their pairing gives first-year students a shared academic experience in small, writing-intensive courses that foster critical thinking about a wide range of important issues.
FHS introduces first-year students to some of the crucial questions that human beings face with relation to society and the world. Individual sections are taught by faculty from a range of departments. Past and current topics include:
- Democracy and Leadership
- Women in Science
- Unconventional Thinking
FWS, taught by faculty from the literature department, develops students’ abilities in written and oral communication at the college level. Past and current topics include:
- Art of the Personal Essay
- Blackness in American Cinema
- Post-Apocalyptic Humanity
For the purpose of this essay prompt, pick one FHS or FWS seminar to study at CMC. What part of your personal experience—or your desire to know more about an area outside of your experience—best explains your seminar choice? View the full list of FHS and FWS topics.
Optional Video Response
After submitting your application, you will receive instructions by email from the CMC Admission Office on how to submit an optional two-minute video. Similar to interviews, the optional video response gives you an opportunity to tell us more about yourself beyond the information you provided in your application. The most compelling video responses have a genuine voice and highlight your thoughtfulness and authenticity.
While the video response is not required, if you were unable to schedule an interview, the video response is a great opportunity for you to tell us about yourself beyond what you provided in your application.
Video response prompts for all first-year applicants:
1. Claremont McKenna College is a special community because it is composed of talented people who individually and collectively contribute to improving the life of the College. How do you hope to contribute to the CMC community?
2. The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum represents the intellectual mantelpiece of the Claremont McKenna College community, bringing students, faculty, and staff closer together through active engagement and discussion on a daily basis. Knowing that diversity of thought and respectful dialogue are vital elements to the Athenaeum’s mission, who is someone you would want to hear speak at the Athenaeum in order to better understand a diverse perspective or experience from that of your own?
3. Developing a personal narrative is key to understand one’s own values and unique voice. Instances of personal adversity are key markers when determining an individual’s character, resoluteness, and sources of inspiration. When was the last time you were moved to great emotion and how did you positively respond from that moment in time?
4. People support each other and their communities in various ways. How do you support those around you and how has this shaped your unique perspective?