how to get into claremont mckenna; collegeadvisor.com image: an image of cmc campus

How to Get Into Claremont McKenna College—General Information 

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a small liberal arts college located in Claremont, California. Claremont McKenna was founded in 1946 and is home to 1,400 undergraduate students. As a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium, the college shares its location and classes with four other undergraduate colleges including Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College. This makes Claremont McKenna college a part of an incredible college community!

What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into Claremont McKenna guide: 

  • Estimated Claremont McKenna average GPA
  • Average Claremont McKenna SAT and ACT
  • Claremont McKenna acceptance rate
  • Claremont McKenna rankings
  • Acing the Claremont McKenna interview
  • Tips for Claremont McKenna supplemental essays, and more.

If you’re wondering how to get into Claremont McKenna, it’s important to start planning your strategy as early as possible. Build the foundation to exceed the estimated Claremont McKenna average GPA and attain solid Claremont McKenna SAT and ACT scores early on. That way, when the Claremont McKenna admissions deadline approaches, you can focus on putting your best foot forward. 

Figuring out how to get into Claremont McKenna College takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from the country’s top schools. Want to maximize your Claremont McKenna admissions odds?  Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272. 

How do I get into Claremont McKenna College?

Curious about how to get into Claremont McKenna College? The first step to succeeding in the Claremont McKenna admissions process is research. The more familiar you are with Claremont McKenna admissions before you apply, the higher your chances of an enrollment offer, despite the lowClaremont McKenna acceptance rate.

To optimize your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy, you should understand the following aspects of Claremont McKenna admissions:

  • How to write the Claremont McKenna supplemental essays
  • The importance of the Claremont McKenna average GPA
  • The significance of Claremont McKenna SAT and ACT scores
  • How to master the Claremont McKenna interview
  • Claremont McKenna admissions statistics, including the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate and Claremont McKenna ranking

In addition to these Claremont McKenna admissions details, you should also have a clear sense of the school’s culture and offerings. If you can express why the school meets your needs, you’ll increase your chances against the low Claremont McKenna acceptance rate

If all of this sounds like a lot, don’t worry! We’ll break down all of it in this “How to Get Into Claremont McKenna” guide.

Is Claremont McKenna College hard to get into?

For the student wondering how to get into Claremont McKenna, the most pressing question is: how hard is it to get into this school? CMC is a prestigious and selective college. Given the low Claremont McKenna acceptance rate and the high Claremont McKenna ranking,  Claremont McKenna admissions are competitive.

In the last Claremont McKenna admissions cycle, the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate was just 11.2%. Out of 5,632 applicants, only 633 were admitted. In addition, the median Claremont McKenna SAT score was 1470 and the median ACT score was 33. Although the school does not publish its average GPA, given the school’s prestige, we estimate the Claremont McKenna average GPA is 3.9.

All of this to say that Claremont McKenna admissions is no breeze. The institution is among the hardest to get into and is a “reach” school for even the strongest applicants. So, as you plan your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy, remember that getting in won’t be easy. Make sure everything—from your optional Claremont McKenna interview to your Claremont McKenna supplemental essays—is as strong as possible before you hit submit. This is how to get into Claremont McKenna successfully!

What is the average GPA for Claremont McKenna College?

Surpassing the average Claremont McKenna average GPA is an essential part of your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy. It is the primary tool Claremont McKenna admissions uses to assess your readiness for college-level classes. Because the Claremont McKenna ranking is so high, exceeding the Claremont McKenna average GPA shows that you can handle the rigor of this top-tier school. 

If you’re wondering how to get into Claremont McKenna, you’re probably curious about the Claremont McKenna average GPA. Although the school doesn’t publish a Claremont McKenna average GPA, we estimate that it is 3.9. 

To meet this Claremont McKenna average GPA, aim to achieve all A’s in challenging classes, starting as early as possible in your high school career. 

It’s important to note that the Claremont McKenna average GPA is not a threshold. Claremont McKenna admissions are holistic, meaning grades below the estimated Claremont McKenna average GPA will not automatically eliminate you from consideration. Admissions will consider other parts of your application such as your Claremont McKenna supplemental essays, your Claremont Mckenna interview, and your Claremont McKenna SAT or ACT scores. However, to optimize your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy, we advise meeting or exceeding the Claremont McKenna average GPA if you can.  

What does the Claremont McKenna College application look like?

Claremont McKenna admissions allows students to apply using any one of three portals: Common Application, Coalition Application, or Questbridge. One you have selected your portal, you will need to submit the following components:

  • $70 application fee or fee waiver
  • School report and counselor recommendation
  • One teacher recommendation
  • High school transcript
  • Claremont McKenna supplemental essays
  • SAT or ACT scores (optional for Fall 2021 applicants)

Claremont McKenna admissions offers three application deadlines: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Choosing a Claremont McKenna admissions deadline is an  important part of your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy. Once you have selected a deadline, give yourself time to talk to your recommending teacher and guidance counselor. 

If you are sending Claremont McKenna SAT or ACT scores, familiarize yourself with the process ahead of the deadline. Submitting your Claremont McKenna SATs early will save you last-minute stress.

Learn more about the ideal timeline for your Claremont McKenna admissions process here

What is the acceptance rate at Claremont McKenna College?

Students thinking about how to get into Claremont McKenna often fixate on one number: the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate. Indeed, at 11.2%, the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate is low. Remember that in 2021, CMC received 5,632 applicants and just 633 were admitted. The Claremont McKenna acceptance rate rises to 28.8% when we consider Early Decision applications, which remains competitive. 

The discrepancy in the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate for ED versus RD applicants indicates that CMC values a student’s demonstrated interest. Therefore, applying to Early Decision can be a powerful strategy for the student planning how to get into Claremont McKenna. However, Early Decision often attracts high-achieving students. So, despite the higher Early Decision Claremont McKenna acceptance rate, the competition can be fierce.

How prestigious is Claremont McKenna College?

Now that we’ve looked at the estimated Claremont McKenna average GPA and the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate, you might be wondering, just how prestigious is CMC? 

In 2022, the Claremont McKenna ranking was fourth in the U.S. out of hundreds of liberal arts institutions. The Claremont McKenna ranking for its economics program has consistently been top five amongst comparable programs in the U.S. According to College Consensus, it also ranks third in the Best Universities of California.  

Therefore, if you’re wondering how to get into Claremont McKenna, be aware that the Claremont McKenna ranking makes it one of the most prestigious schools in the country. We suggest you plan your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy with the high Claremont McKenna ranking in mind. 

What extracurriculars does Claremont McKenna College like?

While the estimated Claremont McKenna average GPA and average Claremont McKenna SAT may be intimidating, they do provide students with a concrete goal. By contrast, extracurriculars are subjective, and that makes them tougher to crack.

Firstly, it’s important to be clear that Claremont McKenna admissions does not look for one particular set of extracurriculars. Claremont McKenna admissions officers are looking for originality and authenticity. Putting yourself into a box based on what you think admissions wants to see is not how to get into Claremont McKenna or any other top school.

Rather, you should spend your early high school years pursuing the activities that you feel most passionate about. Start to carve your own path based on these passions. In your later high school career, focus on taking these passions to the next level and challenging yourself to leave a mark on your community and beyond. 

If Claremont McKenna is the right school for you, the passions you choose to pursue should naturally be a fit for the institution. This is what Claremont McKenna admissions officers look for. 

Does Claremont McKenna offer interviews?

Claremont McKenna offers two optional interview components to applicants. While both Claremont McKenna interviews are optional, we highly recommend you take them as they are evaluative. This means that the Claremont McKenna admissions team will use them to review your application. 

The first Claremont McKenna interview is conducted by an alumnus. The Claremont McKenna interview is an opportunity to showcase your personality and accomplishments in a more extended format. 

The other Claremont Mckenna interview opportunity comes in the form of an optional video response. The college provides four prompts, and the student records a two-minute video in response. Like the Claremont McKenna interview and the Claremont McKenna SAT, the video response is optional but highly recommended. 

The Claremont McKenna admissions team values demonstrated interest. Therefore, if you are serious about optimizing your “how to get into Claremont McKenna” approach, take every chance available to show the school how much you want to attend. We suggest you complete the Claremont McKenna interview and submit a video response. 

For advice about how to ace the Claremont McKenna interview, check out this video

How to write the Claremont McKenna College supplementals

The Claremont McKenna supplemental essays are often overlooked when students make their “how to get into Claremont McKenna” plan, but they are essential nonetheless. Because it is a small school, Claremont McKenna admissions want to ensure you’ll be a good fit for their campus, both academically and personally. They assess “fit” through the Claremont McKenna interview and the Claremont McKenna supplemental essays. 

The Claremont McKenna supplemental essays consist of two prompts which ask the student to speak to their interest in the school. It is vital that you do your research on the college. Take time to brainstorm, so your response will go beyond superficial things like the Claremont McKenna ranking and prestige. To impress Claremont McKenna admissions with your Claremont McKenna supplemental essays, your responses should be as specific to CMC as possible. 

How does Claremont McKenna review applications?

For the student wondering how to get into Claremont McKenna, Claremont McKenna admissions can sometimes seem mysterious. What really happens after you’ve completed your Claremont McKenna interview, and sent your Claremont McKenna SAT scores andClaremont McKenna supplemental essays?

The school has a team of Claremont Mckenna admissions officers who are assigned applications based on geographic region. Your assigned officer will read your application holistically. This means that no part of your application—the Claremont McKenna interview, Claremont Mckenna supplemental essays or anything elset—will be the deciding factor in your Claremont McKenna admissions decision. Instead, all factors will be weighed and evaluated as a whole.

Will Claremont McKenna College consider my social media?

Students sometimes worry that their social media accounts will be a factor in how to get into Claremont McKenna. Especially given the high Claremont McKenna ranking, the reality is that the Claremont McKenna admissions team will be too overwhelmed with applicants to spend time Googling each student. 

So, when considering how to get into Claremont McKenna, should you worry about setting all of your accounts to private and clearing the internet of your presence? Probably not. However, you should always use good judgment when deciding what to post on the internet. Students have had offers of admission rescinded for posts that have demonstrated poor character, so the risk is always there. Moreover, even if Claremont McKenna admissions officers don’t see your social media accounts, future employers probably will. Therefore, to beat that low Claremont McKenna acceptance rate, be sensible on social media. 

Is Claremont McKenna a good school for me?

Some students are so concerned with how to get into Claremont McKenna that they don’t stop to ask whether the school is really a good fit. Others simply see the Claremont McKenna ranking and assume the school would be great for any student. While Claremont McKenna is a fantastic school, it’s still important to take a step back and make sure it’s a match for your academic and personal goals. 

With only 1,400 undergraduates, CMC offers an intimate academic environment, boasting an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. For the student excited to immerse themselves in discussion with familiar faces for four years, this is a great opportunity. By contrast, for the student who seeks diversity of experience, this environment may feel limiting. 

In addition, Claremont McKenna is built on the foundation of learning for the sake of doing. This creates a pre-professional, pragmatic feel to the academics on campus. Students flock to Claremont McKenna for its renowned economics, political science, and computer science programs. Therefore, if one of these programs sparks your interest, CMC might be a great choice for you.

Need more information about figuring out what your dream school looks like? Check out our guide to dream schools, including information about “target”, “reach”, and “match” schools as you build your school list.

Additional tips to get into Claremont McKenna College

In this “how to get into Claremont McKenna” guide, we’ve talked about all of the pillars of a successful “how to get into Claremont McKenna” strategy, from the Claremont McKenna SAT and ACT scores to the Claremont McKenna supplemental essays, and more. 

So is there anything else you can do to optimize your chances?

Demonstrate interest

We’ve looked at the Claremont McKenna ranking and how it affects the Claremont McKenna acceptance rate. As a top-ranked school, CMC gets a lot of applicants. The way to stand out from the pack is to make it clear that Claremont McKenna is your top choice. Complete the Claremont McKenna interview, submit the video response, and do your research before writing the Claremont McKenna supplemental essays. All of this will show CMC that you’re serious about attending their school, and that you are not just applying because of the prestigious Claremont McKenna ranking.

Start early

You can begin many components of the application early on in high school. For example, you can hone in on extracurricular activities and build the foundation for a strong Claremont McKenna SAT as early as possible. Additionally, focus on building authentic connections with your teachers. This will help boost your grades and improve those all-important recommendation letters.

This guide was written by Becky Weinstein. If you want to know how to get into Claremont McKenna College, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor’s.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates of Claremont Colleges. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 506-7275.