Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pitzer looking for in its applicants?

Pitzer College

Pitzer is looking for students who are passionate about the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences and who are academically talented, intellectually curious, self-motivated and actively engaged in activities in their high schools and communities. We want a student body that reflects a wide range of economic, ethnic, racial and geographic diversity. Additionally, we are looking for students who are interested in challenging themselves in and out of the classroom and who want to use their education to make a difference while they are here and after they graduate.

I heard that Pitzer offers a test-optional admission process. How does that work?

Pitzer's admission policy provides applicants with greater flexibility in presenting application materials that accurately reflect their diverse academic abilities and potential. Pitzer will exempt students who are in the top 10% of their class, or those who have an unweighted cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher in academic subjects, from having to submit any standardized tests (i.e., ACT or SAT). Applicants not falling into one of those categories will be required to submit at least one of the following options:

  • ACT scores (including writing section), or
  • SAT scores, or
  • Two exams: one recent junior or senior year graded, analytical writing sample from a humanities or social science course, AND one mathematics examination, preferably a final or end-of-semester exam in the most advanced mathematics course possible (at least at the algebra II level). The samples must include the teacher’s comments, grades and the assignment.

If I am in the top 10% of my graduating class or have an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher, will I be disadvantaged by not submitting one of the testing options?

No. This process is designed to allow you to select the option that best reflects your academic abilities. If you feel that one or more of the testing options are an accurate indicator of your abilities and potential, please feel free to select those options. If you prefer to be evaluated solely on the other elements of your application (academic record, essays, letters of recommendation, extra-curricular activities) you may ignore the testing options.

Would you prefer that a student choose the SAT over the other testing options?

No. Each testing option is given equal weight and consideration in the admission process. You should choose the option (or options) that you feel best reflects your academic abilities.

How important are interviews?

Interviews are required for students who are applying Early Decision. For students applying Regular Decision, we do not require interviews but we do recommend them. Interviews at Pitzer are both informative and evaluative. It is really a time for a member of the admission staff to get to know you better and for you to learn more about Pitzer College. There are many opportunities to interview:

  • • You can schedule an interview on campus if you plan to visit Pitzer
  • • You can schedule a time to interview over the telephone or through Skype at your convenience.
  • • You can submit a video free of charge through LikeLive.
Pitzer College

Is Pitzer affordable?

Our commitment is to meet 100% of every admitted student's demonstrated need through a financial aid package that will include grants, work-study and loans. Over forty percent of our current students receive financial aid and Pitzer commits over eight million dollars of its own resources annually to ensure that students with demonstrated need can take advantage of a Pitzer education.

Are there merit scholarships?

Pitzer offers a $5,000 merit-based Trustee Community Scholarship which is awarded to an exceptional group of entering first-year applicants. The scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence combined with extraordinary community service, outstanding leadership and/or exceptional talent. The award is renewable for four years. All first-year applicants who complete their application by the deadline are considered for the scholarship. There are no additional forms to fill out. If you are selected to receive this award, you will be notified in your letter of acceptance.

What makes Pitzer unique among The Claremont Colleges?

Pitzer strives to enhance personal growth while at the same time building community. Students are given academic freedom and flexibility to create their own academic programs in close collaboration with faculty members. Instead of traditional core requirements, students choose their courses by following a unique set of educational objectives. Academic freedom combined with an emphasis on intercultural understanding, environmental sustainability, interdisciplinary learning and social and ethical responsibility make the Pitzer experience truly unique.

What are the most popular majors at Pitzer?

Pitzer is a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences college and our students have a wide variety of academic interests. While many students enroll undeclared, the most recent popular majors for first-year students are as follows:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Political Studies
  • Media Studies

English & World Literature
Intercultural & International Studies
Organizational Studies

Does Pitzer admit by major and when do I have to declare?

You may apply to Pitzer without declaring a major and you are not required to declare until the beginning of your junior year. However, we strongly encourage students to declare by the end of their sophomore year, especially if they plan to study abroad.

Can I double major or design my own major?

Yes. The flexibility of our curriculum allows students to double major in some subjects or design majors that combine two or more areas of study. Students work closely with faculty advisors to ensure they are meeting the objectives of a given major, and all majors are subject to approval by Pitzer faculty. Pitzer students have graduated with self-designed majors such as: alternative medicine, philosophy & society; urban justice studies and climate toxicology.

Will I have an academic adviser?

Yes. The Pitzer faculty is responsible for academic advising at the college. You will be assigned to a faculty adviser during orientation prior to the start of classes. Your faculty adviser will work individually with you to formulate a plan to meet Pitzer's educational objectives, your major objectives and your personal academic objectives. If you are an undeclared major, you will be assigned to an adviser based on the academic interests you listed on your application for admission. You are free to change advisers as your academic interests change until you declare a major. You are also free to add any additional advisers.

Will Pitzer accept my Advanced Placement credits?

Pitzer faculty may grant credit for superior performance on an AP examination. The criteria varies by field group, but no score lower than four will be considered for credit. In general, a score of 4 may be awarded partial credit for a course and a score of 5 may be awarded full credit.

When can I study abroad and where?

Pitzer has the distinction of having one of the highest participation rates of study abroad in the nation. Over 73% percent of the students graduating in May 2012 participated in study abroad programs, and most choose programs outside Western Europe and the English-speaking world. Pitzer College offers seven community-based programs and 57 domestic and international exchange programs. Pitzer's community-based programs maintain a focused connection to the Pitzer curriculum and offer distinctive opportunities for developing higher degrees of intercultural understanding and social responsibility. Most students participate in study abroad programs in their junior year. For more specific information about study abroad, please visit the Study Abroad website.

Can you tell me more about your 7-year medical program?

This is a joint program between Pitzer College and Western University of Health Sciences which normally consists of three years of full time studies at Pitzer College and four years at Western University. At the end of the 7 years, students will be granted both a Bachelor's of Arts degree and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. Each student will have two faculty advisors, one from each institution. At Pitzer, students will meet the College's educational objectives and all premed requirements prior to beginning their studies at Western University. Pitzer students study the natural sciences at the W. M. Keck Science Center, a first-rate facility with a faculty committed to undergraduate education. To continue in this program, students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.2 in their non-science courses, 3.3 in their science courses, a minimum total of 24 on the scored sub-tests of the MCAT and demonstrate personal dedication and traits suitable for health professionals. Students apply for this program as seniors in high school.

Can I take classes at the other Claremont Colleges?

Academic interchange among the undergraduate colleges and Claremont's graduate institutions provides opportunities for curricular enrichment and active membership in the wider community of the Claremont Colleges. In general, first semester freshmen will register for all of their classes on their home campus. In the second semester and the sophomore year, they may take one course per semester off campus. Juniors and seniors are able to register for no more than one-half of their total program outside their college of residence.

What are Pitzer's residence halls like?

48% of campus buildings are LEED Platinum or Gold-certified. Pitzer could ultimately be the first college in the country to have all LEED Platinum or Gold-certified residence halls. In 2007, Pitzer completed three brand new residence halls that achieved Gold LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Atherton, Sanborn and Pitzer Halls are primarily first-year student residence halls, although there are rooms for some upperclassmen. These buildings house students in double rooms, with two rooms sharing a bathroom. The new buildings also have staff apartments and housing for our faculty-in-residence program, our Green Bike program, a new mailroom, music studio and art gallery. Pitzer Hall is also home to the Office of Admission. You can learn more about the green features of the new buildings by visiting Pitzer's sustainability web pages. Likewise, in 2012 Pitzer opened four new mixed-use, LEED Platinum-certified residential halls with the incorporation of a graywater system. Pitzer College requires that all full-time students (except those granted off campus permission) live on campus and enter into a residency agreement each academic year.

In addition to the new buildings, Pitzer College students may live in Mead, which has six three-story towers, featuring eight-person suites. You'll find central living rooms, recreation rooms, kitchen and laundry facilities and small study rooms in the residence halls. Each residence hall has a Residence Director and a staff of four to six Resident Assistants. In addition, Mead Hall has the Marquis Library which is equipped with basic reference books and where fireside chats take place. While all student rooms are wired for internet access, wireless is also available across the campus.

What do Pitzer students do for fun on the weekends?

You will often find students playing ultimate frisbee, hanging out on the mounds or attending 5-College art exhibits, concerts, sporting events and parties. Sundays are commonly used as homework days for students to catch up on studying. Students occasionally drive into Los Angeles or the surrounding areas to enjoy camping and snowboarding in our local mountains or surfing the Southern California beaches, all within an hour's drive away.

Does Pitzer have a Greek system?

Pitzer and The Claremont Colleges do not have a Greek System. For the most part, student life tends to revolve around the activities offered within the Claremont College consortium like sports, clubs, volunteer programs and social activities. At Pitzer, students serve on all committees and play a key role in the governance of the College. Pitzer students are also very active in community service. The spirit of involvement extends well beyond the classroom and is the essence of a Pitzer education.

Can I bring a car and/or bike to campus?

First and second year students are not permitted to have a car on campus, but all students may bring bikes to campus. Our green-bike program also gives students the opportunity to borrow a bicycle. Additionally, you can walk almost anywhere on the five campuses within 15-20 minutes. The Claremont Village, with its commercial and recreational amenities, is also within walking distance. The Claremont Colleges have Zip Cars for rent, where students can rent a car for an hour or a day. Upperclassmen may choose to bring a car to campus. A small fee is charged each semester to all students who operate and park a motor vehicle on campus.

What additional information can I send with my application?

The Admission Office does not consider additional application materials in the application review process. Please also note that we are unable to return anything that is sent to our office.