Application Instructions for First-Year Applicants

Please use the links below to learn more about CMC's application process. The Office of Admission looks forward to reviewing your application. 

Application Checklist
  • Common Application or Coalition Application

  • $70 application fee or fee waiver

  • Additional academic credentials:

    • School report and counselor recommendation

    • Two teacher recommendations

    • Official high school transcript(s) from all secondary schools attended

    • Official SAT with Essay or ACT with Writing scores (sent directly from the testing agency)

  • FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (if applying for financial aid)

  • Early Decision Agreement (required for ED1 and ED2 applicants only)

Common Application and Coalition Application

CMC accepts the Common Application and the Coalition Application for first-year admission, without preference for one over the other. Applications can be submitted online at or

If you are applying as a Questbridge National Match applicant, please visit for more information.

Application Review

The CMC Admission Committee conducts a holistic review and seeks to consider the whole person during the application review. There is no formula. While your high school record is the most important aspect of your application, very strong consideration is also given to your extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation and standardized test scores. The Admission Committee utilizes every aspect of your application to better understand your personal and academic background strengths and accomplishments, and your likelihood for success at CMC.

School Report, Transcript and Counselor Recommendation

Please have your school’s college counselor send the school report, a counselor recommendation, and official high school transcript reflecting work completed through your junior year. If you attended multiple high schools, please submit all secondary school transcripts.

The school report and counselor recommendation provide the Admission Committee with important context about your high school. Understanding the context of your high school helps us best assess your academic preparation for CMC.

While there is no minimum GPA requirement, competitive candidates for admission pursue the most demanding coursework possible and receive strong grades. We strongly recommend taking advantage of honors and advanced placement coursework when available. Many competitive applicants often go beyond the minimum recommended program listed below.

Minimum Recommended High School Program
  1. Four years of English

  2. Three (preferably four) years of mathematics

  3. At least three years of a foreign language (this can be three total years or up to the third level)

  4. At least one year of history

  5. At least two years of science (Management Engineering candidates and prospective science majors should have taken physics and chemistry)

Two Teacher Recommendations

Recommendations should be completed by teachers who have instructed you in core academic areas (English, mathematics, foreign language, science, or social sciences).

Teacher recommendations are important in giving the Admission Committee insight into your engagement in classes, collaboration with peers and ability to manage rigorous classwork. We recommend asking teachers who can speak to your strengths and progress academically and personally throughout high school.

Mid-Year High School Transcript

Please have your school’s college counselor submit an official transcript when seventh-semester or tenth-trimester grades are available.

Standardized Tests

CMC requires the SAT with Essay or the ACT with Writing for first-year admission and does not prefer one test over the other. Standardized test scores must be submitted directly to CMC by the appropriate testing agency. Scores received via any other means (i.e., fax or high school transcript) will not be considered official.

ACT with Writing

The Admission Committee will take the highest score from the individual subsections of the ACT to give you the highest ACT Composite score.

ACT middle 50% range: 31-33

SAT with Essay

For Fall 2017 applicants, CMC will accept both the revised SAT and the old SAT. We will compare your scores using concordance tables to determine your highest scores on either the revised SAT or the old SAT. We will not superscore across the revised SAT and the old SAT.

For Fall 2018 applicants, we will only accept the revised SAT with Essay and ACT with Writing. We will superscore both tests.

The middle 50% ranges listed below are reflective of the old SAT.

SAT Critical Reading middle 50% range: 650-740

SAT Math middle 50% range: 670-750

SAT Writing middle 50% range: 670-750

The middle 50% ranges listed above are reflective of the old SAT. To see where your new scores fall within the range for the old SAT you can use the online score converter found at

SAT Subject Tests

The Admission Committee does not require that you take the SAT Subject Tests. Homeschooled students, however, are required to submit scores from two exams. One of the scores submitted must be from a math Subject Test.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Students whose native language is not English must also submit official results from the TOEFL or IELTS. A minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam or a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL exam is required. For the IELTS, a minimum band score of 7 is required.

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 the CMC community.


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

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.

Submission of this video is optional and you will be provided with a prompt.

First-year applicants for whom CMC is clearly their first choice may apply under an Early Decision (ED) option. The applicant, parent, and college counselor must electronically sign this form. Candidates who are admitted under Early Decision are expected to enroll at CMC, to withdraw all other college applications, and not to initiate new ones. The admission decision is binding. Students for whom CMC is not a clear first choice should apply under the Regular Decision option.

Merit-based scholarships are available for first-year applicants and are determined by the Office of Admission through the application review process. If you would like to be considered, your application for admission and all supporting credentials must be submitted by December 1. There is no separate application process for CMC scholarships.

For more information about merit-based scholarships please visit For more information about need-based financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid Office.

Deadlines for First-Year Admission

To be considered for Regular Decision admission, you must submit your application and all supporting credentials by January 1. You will be notified of our admission decision by April 1.

Admission Deadlines

Application due Nov. 1
Merit application due Nov. 1
Decision notification Dec. 15
Candidate's reply due early January

Application due Jan. 1
Merit application due Dec. 1
Decision notification Feb. 15
Candidate's reply due early March

Application due Jan. 1
Merit application due Dec. 1
Decision notification April 1
Candidate's reply due May 1

Financial Aid Deadlines

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Nov. 1
FAFSA due Nov. 1
Award notification Dec. 15

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Jan. 1
FAFSA due Jan. 1
Award notification Feb. 15

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE due Jan. 1
FAFSA due Jan. 1
Award notification April 1


Office of Admission and Financial Aid

Claremont McKenna College
888 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 621-8088
Fax: (909) 621-8516

Campus Location

Kravis Center
888 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711