Criteria for First-year Admission
Seeking to enroll an intellectually talented, dynamic, diverse, and active first-year class every fall term, the CMC Admission Committee closely evaluates every facet of the application for admission, academic as well as non-academic. CMC is a highly selective college and in recent years had an admit rate between 9% and 13%.
What We Look For
Secondary School Preparation
A critical part of the application is the candidate’s high school record. Committee members consider strength of school, courses taken, grades earned, rank in class (if available), and counselor and teacher recommendations in evaluating each student. Competitive candidates for admission pursue the most demanding course work possible, receive strong grades, and are highly regarded by their teachers and counselors.
The recommended requirements are:
- English: Four years.
- Mathematics: Three years, preferably four and at least through pre-calculus. Candidates should recognize that mathematical skill is as important for professionals in government and economics as it is in engineering and the physical sciences.
- Foreign Language: At least three years or completion up to level three
- History: At least one year.
- Science: At least two years required, three strongly preferred. Science majors, including the Economics and Engineering major, should have had one year of physics and chemistry.
The Admission Committee recognizes Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and honors courses as more demanding than conventional courses, and considers those courses in the admission process.
Standardized Test Scores
For the 2023-2024 application cycle, CMC is test optional. Therefore, students are not required to submit standardized test scores for admission. If a student submits scores, they will be used in the evaluation of their application. The writing sections of the ACT and SAT will not be considered should they be submitted. This policy applies to all students applying for admission in the 2023-2024 academic year.
The Admission Committee considers extracurricular involvement very carefully. As a small residential college, the Committee looks for students who are talented and active, both inside and outside the classroom. Evidence of leadership and initiative is particularly important.
The world into which CMC graduates will move is a diverse, complex community. To prepare our students to succeed in that world, CMC seeks an academically motivated and highly diverse student body. The College gives special consideration to candidates who have had disadvantaged backgrounds or unusual experiences, or who bring special talents to the campus community.
First-year Admission Process
First-year applicants can apply as soon as the applications are available, generally on August 1. CMC accepts The Common Application for Undergraduate College Admission (Common App), The Coalition Application for Access, Affordability, and Success, and the QuestBridge Application for first-year candidates. Please refer to the Office of Admission website to learn more about who is eligible to submit the QuestBridge application. Acceptance to CMC is, of course, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the final term of secondary school, or college (for transfer applicants). Specific information on CMC’s required application components is available on the Admission website (cmc.edu/admission/apply).
Other First-year Admission Information
Interviews are evaluative and recommended, but not required. Only students who have completed their junior year of high school will be able to schedule an admission interview. To schedule an interview, candidates must make appointments in advance by scheduling one on the Admission website. Interviews are not available to first-year candidates after mid-December or to transfer candidates after late March. Interviews with CMC alumni can be scheduled in many areas outside of southern California from September through December.
Tours and Information Sessions
Information sessions and student-guided tours are available throughout the year in-person and online. Interested students can register and see availability on the Admission website.
If CMC is a student’s clear first choice, they may apply under one of CMC’s two Early Decision options. The Early Decision option is a binding agreement. If accepted, the student is expected to withdraw all other applications and not initiate any new applications at other institutions. The advantage of applying Early Decision is that candidates learn of an admission decision early in their senior year, possibly reducing the additional effort and cost of applying to other colleges. The only difference between the Early Decision I (November 1) and Early Decision II (January 10) options is the application submission deadline. Students who are not sure that CMC is their first choice should apply under the Regular Decision program.
First-year candidates who apply under Early Decision may be admitted, denied, or postponed to Regular Decision. Those who are admitted must understand that failure to comply with the Early Decision guidelines may result in rescission of the offer of admission. Candidates who are postponed are considered, without prejudice, with Regular Decision candidates later in the spring. These candidates are encouraged to submit applications elsewhere. Candidates who are denied are not reconsidered with the Regular Decision pool and should apply elsewhere; there is no appeal process for denial. There is no Early Decision program for transfer candidates.
McKenna Achievement Award
The McKenna Achievement Award is a renewable $15,000 scholarship given to approximately 25 incoming first-year students each year. Recipients have provided evidence of academic excellence, strong extracurricular achievements, and leadership. For more information, see Scholarships.
The Frank Seaver Leadership Scholarship
The Frank Seaver Leadership Scholarship is a renewable full-tuition scholarship given to approximately three entering first-year students every year. This scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional promise to become leaders intent on making a positive impact on the world. For more information, see Scholarships.
Students who are citizens of foreign countries (international applicants) must complete the same admission requirements as domestic first-year or transfer applicants using the Common Application or the Coalition Application. However, international students must also submit evidence that they are sufficiently fluent in English to be able to successfully complete all coursework without undue handicap. International applicants, regardless of their country of citizenship, whose first language is not English or who do not attend a school in which English is the primary language of instruction for a minimum of three years, must submit official scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Duolingo English Test (DET), or Cambridge English (CEA).
A limited amount of need-based financial aid is available for international students. To be considered for need-based financial aid, students must submit the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE (available from the College Board) and the CMC-specific Financial Aid Supplement for International Students form (available to applicants in their CMC applicant portal).
CMC welcomes applications from home-schooled students. Because home-schooled students may have chosen a non-traditional path to obtain a high school education, the Admission Office works very closely with these applicants. Interviews with Admission Office staff members or with alumni in cities throughout the country or the world are required.
All home-schooled applicants are required to follow regular application procedures, including submission of the Common Application or the Coalition Application. To assist the Admission Office in understanding their educational journey, including the philosophical reasons for home-schooling and approaches to education, home-schooled students are also asked to submit the following documentation:
- A home school transcript organized by a parent, teacher, or educational agency, including course work information and/or an explanation of curricular approach.
- Three letters of recommendation, including:
- A counselor letter, preferably from an educational supervisor, but it may be written by a parent.
- One teacher letter, preferably from a teacher who taught an academic subject.
- Extracurricular letter from a non-family member familiar with social or extracurricular activities (peer, clergy, employer, coach, etc.).
All candidates who have taken academic coursework at a community college or another academic institution must ask the appropriate registrars to send official copies of all transcripts to the CMC Admission Office. The standard rules on transfer credit for college work completed by incoming first-years may not apply to home-schooled students; CMC is likely to consider some of their college courses as substitutes for junior or senior high school courses.
Candidates who are veterans of the armed services should submit a copy of their honorable separation papers with their credentials. Veterans who have served at least two years may be eligible for elective credit towards graduation. For further information, see Transfer Credit and Veterans or contact the Admission Office or the Registrar.
First-year candidates accepted for admission who send a commitment deposit may delay entrance for one academic year. They must write the Admission Office to describe their plans and request the deferment Detailed instructions on the steps to request a deferment are provided to admitted students upon admission.
Transfer applicants can submit their application as soon as it is available, generally on August 1 for spring and fall admission. CMC accepts The Common Application for Undergraduate College Admission (Common App) for transfer candidates. All students wishing to transfer from another college or university must submit transcripts of all college work and their final high school transcripts. If the college transcript does not list courses in which the student is currently registered, that list must be submitted to facilitate preliminary credit evaluation. Transfer applications must also submit the College Report completed by an official at their current or most recent institution. The College Report confirms that the student is leaving or has left their institution in good standing. The fall transfer application deadline is March 15 with decisions released by May 15, and the spring transfer application deadline is November 1 with decisions released by December 15. Transfer applicants may register for an admission interview prior to the deadline in which they are applying. Interviews are evaluative and recommended, but not required.
CMC is test-optional for all transfer applicants and there is no application fee to apply.
Students should have a GPA of at least 3.3 for serious consideration. All transfer students are expected to complete two years of full-time study at CMC, and at least 16 courses must be taken and passed while attending the College. Advanced standing for more than two years is never granted regardless of the number of college courses completed prior to enrollment at CMC.
Non-Degree-Seeking Undergraduate Admission
Non-Degree Student Application Process
Individuals who wish to take courses at Claremont McKenna College, but who do not otherwise intend to pursue a degree, may apply for admission as non-degree students. To complete your application, you must submit the following items to the CMC Office of Admission at least two weeks prior to the first day of the semester in which you hope to enroll in courses:
- A completed non-degree application form
- Verification of Good Standing Form completed by a school official from your current or most recent college or university
- A $70 non-refundable application fee, payable in cash or check.
- An official transcript from your current or most recent college/university attended
Non-Degree Student Policies
- CMC will only accept non-degree students who have an academic record at another regionally accredited college or university and who are in good academic and disciplinary standing with their current or most recent school. Non-degree applicants must submit an official transcript and a verification of good standing from an official at their previous institution as part of the application process.
- Non-degree students may enroll for either part-time or full-time status for up to two consecutive semesters at CMC. These students may not exceed four CMC course units in a single semester or eight total units in two semesters. Students must remain in good academic and disciplinary standing at CMC in order to return for a second semester as a non-degree student.
- Tuition for part-time non-degree students is charged on a per-course basis. For 2023-24, the estimated tuition charge per class is $10,633.33.
- Non-degree students must take all of their courses at Claremont McKenna College or in one of its joint and cooperative programs.
- During the regular academic year, non-degree students may register for courses starting on the first day of the semester with written approval of the appropriate instructor. At the time of registration, non-degree students must submit a $500 non-refundable tuition deposit. This deposit will be applied toward each student’s tuition for the semester. Non-degree students register for their courses in person at the Office of the Registrar.
- On-campus housing is not available for non-degree students during the regular academic year, but students may still opt to purchase a meal plan and/or a parking permit, as needed.
- Non-degree students receive a CMC ID card and may have full access to the library system, fitness center, and intramural programs while enrolled. They may not participate in intercollegiate athletics or club sports.
- Enrolled non-degree students are subject to all academic and disciplinary policies that apply to degree-seeking students, as outlined in the Statement of Academic Policy and Student Code of Conduct.
- In the event that a non-degree student subsequently matriculates to CMC as degree-seeking student, credits from the non-degree program will be applied toward the degree. However, grade points from the non-degree coursework will not.
- Non-degree-seeking visitors must formally request transcripts of their CMC coursework to be sent to their home institutions, or to other third parties, through CMC’s online transcript ordering service. CMC will not automatically issue those transcripts without your formal request. Information on requesting transcripts is available on the Registrar’s website.
Important Dates for All Undergraduate Applicants
August 1: CMC begins accepting applications for admission for the upcoming spring and fall semesters (first-year and transfer applicants)
November 1: Application deadline for spring semester transfer candidates
November 1: Early Decision (ED) I application deadline for first-year candidates
November 8: Financial aid deadline for ED I first-year and spring transfer applicants
December 1: Application deadline for merit scholarship priority consideration (first-year candidates only)
December 15: Notification date for spring semester transfer applicants and ED I applicants
January 10: ED II and Regular Decision application deadline for first-year candidates
January 15: First-year candidates admitted Early Decision I reply date and due date for tuition deposit
January 17: Financial aid deadline for ED II and Regular Decision first-year applicants
February 15: Notification date for ED II first-year candidates
March 2: Cal Grant materials deadline for all California residents
March 15: Fall semester transfer candidates application deadline
April 1: Notification date for Regular Decision first-year candidates
May 1: First-year candidates admitted Regular Decision reply date and due date for tuition deposit
May 15: Notification date for fall semester transfer candidates
June 1: Transfer candidates admitted for fall semester reply date and due date for tuition deposit
College Credit and Placement
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams
CMC encourages students to take challenging academic courses in high school, including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and to take the appropriate exams. The maximum amount of credit students may receive for AP and/or IB exams is the equivalent of four (4) CMC courses. For details on CMC’s policies on credit and/or placement for AP and IB exams, see AP and IB Credit and Placement.
Other College Credit
Students entering CMC as first-years may receive transfer credit for a maximum of four (4) CMC courses for college coursework completed prior to their enrollment at CMC. Such credit may be granted in addition to any college credit for AP or IB examinations.
To be eligible for transfer credit, all college courses must be part of the standard college curriculum. College courses taken to satisfy high school graduation requirements cannot be used for college credit at CMC. Students in dual enrollment programs (high school-college) or home-schooled students who are taking college courses prior to their enrollment at CMC should contact the Admission Office to discuss transfer credit questions. See Transfer Credit and First-year Students for further information.
Students entering CMC as first-years may not complete more than four (4) general education requirements off-campus before entering CMC or while enrolled at CMC (in summer school, through Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate, study abroad, etc.).
There is no limit to the number of college courses transfer students may take before enrolling at CMC, but only the equivalent of 16 CMC course credits, including credit for AP and IB exams, will be accepted toward graduation. No transfer credit will be granted for courses awarded by examination at other institutions, or for special courses or exams for which other academic institutions may have granted credit, including CLEP, etc.
New transfer students must provide the registrar with official final transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Course descriptions, syllabi, translations, and other documentation may be required before the college work can be evaluated for credit.
A transfer entrant may be given credit for any course completed with a grade of C (2.00 if A=4 grade points) or better at another accredited college or university, if the course is comparable to courses offered at The Claremont Colleges during the academic year. For transfer credit calculation purposes, a course credit at CMC is considered the equivalent of four (4) semester units or six (6) quarter units. For further information, see Transfer Credit Policies.
Transfer students who, after enrolling at CMC, wish to bring in additional summer school credits must consult with the registrar to determine if they are eligible for additional transfer or general education credits.
Students seeking to transfer from unaccredited institutions may petition for credit after completion of at least one semester of full-time academic work at CMC with a grade point average of B (3.00) or better. Department chairs also may require that these students take any appropriate substantiating examinations.
A commitment deposit of $500 is required of all accepted applicants at the time they notify CMC that they plan to enter. Confirmation of final admission is contingent upon receipt of this deposit. The deposit will be credited directly to the student’s account and is not refundable if the student withdraws from the entering class before registration.
Receipt of this deposit and the student’s signature constitutes a decision to attend CMC; therefore, students must withdraw applications from all other colleges to which they have been admitted. Should CMC learn that a student has made a commitment to attend more than one college, CMC’s offer of admission may be rescinded.
The commitment deposit is used to cover any charges or fees not paid at the time of graduation or withdrawal from the College. Any charges or damages to College property or unpaid student account balances will be withheld from the commitment deposit.
Incoming first-year students must submit an official final high school transcript showing final grades and a notation of graduation upon completion of their last term. Incoming transfer applicants must submit an official final college transcript upon completion of their last term. To be considered for admission transfer applicants are required to submit a final high school transcript with notation of graduation or documentation of high school completion. First-year students with missing high school transcripts and transfer students with missing final college transcripts will not be allowed to participate in pre-registration for the following semester.
Both first-year and transfer candidates who are admitted are expected to continue to excel in their program prior to enrollment at CMC. Failure to complete courses in progress at a satisfactory level may result in rescission of admission. If a student is in danger of failing to complete senior-year work at a satisfactory level, they must consult the Admission Office prior to the receipt of their final transcript.
The medical certificate, required of all students prior to entrance, must include a physical examination, tuberculin test, chest X-ray of anyone with a positive tuberculin test within the past six months, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) immunization, Meningococcal Tetravalent immunization, Tetanus/Diphtheria booster within the last ten years, and active immunization against tetanus.
Master’s Program in Finance
The Robert Day School and Robert Day Scholars Program offer Claremont College students and graduating students nominated by partner schools a one-year graduate program and Master of Arts in Finance degree. Claremont McKenna College students may also apply during fall of their sophomore year to earn this degree in the BA/MA accelerated degree program.