(Actual) Advice for your Freshman Year


  • Get a microwave & fridge or get a roommate who has them. It will save your life 
  • Get out of your comfort zone and talk to new people — give everyone a chance!
  • Wake up early enough to go to brunch because otherwise you will be hungry at 3pm waiting in line for Mcconnell to open or eating that stale rice cake off the floor
  • Stay in touch with friends & family during the first few months. It’s easy to stay busy but it’s important to touch base with people every so often
  • Plan your room out and order what you need on Amazon to the mail room so you don’t accidentally get to school without any shampoo or conditioner for the first month 
    • Also, when purchasing things, think about storage! Packing up at the end of the year is made easier when you have a lot of collapsible things and ways to store items inside each other. 

Do not:

  • Fake an accent to seem cool
  • Do anything you’re uncomfortable with! There is enough room on campus for everyone and every interest under the sun
  • Be afraid to ask someone new to go to that movie/club/discussion with you because everyone is looking for friends and everyone wants to try new things
  • Invent an entirely new persona to act out during the first month and eventually abandon. Just be yourself! You’re someone’s cuppa tea
  • Pretend you’re into something you’re not into because you will eventually meet someone who’s genuinely, actually, really, enthusiastic about hardcore no-waste camping and then you’ll be forced to carry your poop in a bag for thirty miles during the first two weeks of school in order to save face

How to dress for your first day of Pitzer

So you’re in, and you’re ready for your first day of Zoom school (Monday, eek!). And you must be wondering — what Zoom backgrounds do I need to download? And which of my outfits looks the best from the shoulders up? Having completed half a semester of online education already, we’re ready to give you the breakdown.

Here are twenty funky Zoom backgrounds that you can enable, but for a truly crunchy feel that will have people doing double-takes on their computer quality, we recommend screenshotting panoramas from Pitzer’s Google Map.

As far as attire, nearly anything goes. Just make sure you have a relatively blank or clean background if you’re not using a virtual one in order to make that outfit *really* pop. Layering is almost always the best choice — not only to provide the best range of comfortable temperatures, but also to provide the greatest number of fashion combinations. Get creative with those color combos! Orange and blue is a heavenly combination made for everyone <3

For non-visible clothing, I would recommend sweats and slippers to provide a more comfortable ambiance for your first day and to avoid any unnecessary outfit changes. If, however you’re feeling a bit stylish, you can always wear Chacos, Crocs, or Birkenstocks (*WITH SOCKS*) in solidarity with the unseen and unsung footwear of your classmates. Well, there you have it! You can wear just about anything and everything to Pitzer classes, and someone will like your style. Send us your #OOTD’s!


Danya & Olivia

Your Friendly Pitzer Admission Junior Staff

Inside Admissions: All the things you should know when you apply!

So, you’re here and you’re ready to apply to Pitzer. Congratulations! At this point, I’m sure you know about our divestment from fossil fuels, our intercollegiate programs that support education within carceral institutions, and interdisciplinary courses like the mathematics of woodworking or the CASA program. These are all examples of our five core values — which make up the yarn of Pitzer and are fundamental in everything we do! So keep that in mind.

While we hear a variety of questions from prospective students and their families every day, there are a few that come up more often than others. These include: “what should I write my supplemental essay about?” and “is there anything I should know about the application process?” The process can be long and hard, and we’re here to give you the inside scoop. Having already been through this process, we hope that these suggestions will help make your process a little bit easier.

The best thing you can do when applying to any college is to do your research — make sure you’ve looked at all facets of the student experience. This means academics, sports, on-campus jobs, clubs, food, & more! Not only will this help to inform your essay, but it will also help you decide which schools are right for you. We invite you to think deeply about your own interactions in the world and to write about something that is truly reflective of your own experience for your supplemental essay.

For Pitzer specifically, you should know that we’re 100% test-optional (and have been since 2003)! Required materials: one recommendation letter in the 2020-2021 application period (normally two), transcript, Common App, and Pitzer Supplemental Essay. Optional materials: resumé, counselor recommendation letter, additional letters of recommendation from non-core curriculum teachers or other important figures like coaches, music teachers, etc. So make sure you review which deadline you’re applying for and try to start the essay more than a week before it’s due to decrease stress right before the deadline!

Good luck and as always, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions.

Pitzer Core Values as Famous Shakespeare Quotes

Pitzer College is well-known for its discussion-based classes and wide variety of exciting course offerings. Some of our favorites from the past academic year include: Community Poetry: Black Feminist rEVOLution, Ecopoetics & Photography, and ENGL 093 PZ -World Literature in an Oceanic Context.

These classes exemplify Pitzer’s interdisciplinary learning focus while highlighting interesting and relevant topics. We here in the Pitzer Admission Office have decided to try our hand at literary analysis to provide our readers with a better understanding of our core values through famous Shakespeare quotes. Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to take our core value quiz!

Environmental Sustainability:
I’ll bear him no more sticks, but follow thee,
Thou wondrous man. (The Tempest)

Intercultural Understanding
‘Get thee to a nunnery.’ (Hamlet)

Interdisciplinary Learning
‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ (Hamlet)

Social Responsibility
‘If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?’ (The Merchant of Venice)

Student Engagement
‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ (The Winter’s Tale)

Honorable Mention: Praxis
To be or not to be, that is the question (Hamlet)

Students attending a lecture at The HiveAndy Reischling, center, a junior, at “The Essay as Resistance” at Pomona College. Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

Why ‘The Hive’ Should Be Your Next Favorite Spot On Campus

“I am not a failure,” is what I would have told you six months ago. Today, I will proudly announce to you that I am a failure. But before you jump to any conclusions about my statement, let me explain myself.

It was my brother’s birthday and he begged me to attend the Hive’s “Introduction to Design Thinking” event. “What the heck is that?” I remember thinking to myself. As I entered the Hive for the first time, I became enthralled by the neon sticky notes and vibrant posters that encased the building. The classrooms, too, fascinated me. There were wheels attached to all the brightly colored tables and stools, sketches covering the walls, and most impressively, an abundance of Sharpie markers. At the event, I was introduced to human-centered design and fell in love with its innovative processes. That night, I wished my brother a happy birthday and thanked him.

Three months later, I am enrolled in the Hive’s human-centered design course. Through a series of workshops and design projects, I have learned to utilize innovation, collaboration, and experimental learning to tackle complex problems. Additionally, I have learned to celebrate failure as it is an essential part of the design process. Most importantly, through my experiences with The Hive, I have learned that every problem is solvable. Upon my many returns to the Hive, I have grown to see the value of each sticky note and ultimately each person behind its short, anonymous messages. Through my experiences at the Hive, I have discovered that design thinking creates more than just collaboration, but a community.  

‘The Hive’ is…

A place and a set of mindsets for students from all five of the Claremont Colleges to come to learn to be more creative, learn to gain confidence in their creativity that they already have, learn to sharpen those creative skills, and to learn how to collaborate. Students ultimately learn how to be creative in team environments as working in groups helps us learn that often the best ideas come from teams.

 Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive)

“The Hive attracts students that have an appetite to sharpen their creative skills and make and try things.” –Fred Leichter, Director of the Hive

Students from all five colleges and different majors come to experiment, build, and meet new people. At the Hive, you’ll find button makers, rolls of colored paper, paint, glue, wood, pipe cleaners, cardboard, scissors, and much more!

What is Human-Centered Design?

Image result for human centered design
Human-Centered Design Process, Courtesy of Stanford Center on Longevity

The backbone of the Hive is Human-centered design (design thinking).  Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem-solving with an emphasis on empathy.  It begins with finding the unmet needs of the users you are designing for and ends with a solution for that individual.  This process includes generating tons of (extreme) ideas, rapid prototyping, testing and sharing your innovative solutions!

What Can You Do at The Hive

Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive), 2018-2019 Skillshares and Workshops

“It is a place to experiment and play and where failure is just fine”–Fred Leichter,  Director of the Hive


The Hive offers Skillshares for students, faculty, and staff.  Skillshares are mini-workshops for more complicated and dangerous activities, such as woodworking and screenprinting.  Students often come to prototype, bring their ideas to life, or just to experiment.


The Hive also offers non-credited Workshops that are oriented around personal skills.  Workshops are evening events are lead by guest speakers and/or Hive Staff. Some of this year’s most popular workshops include:

  • 36 Questions to Make Friends With Anyone
  • Empathetic Listening
  • Introduction to Product Management
  • Design Your Personal Brand
  • Creating New Habits
  • Halloween Costume Making Workshop
  • 3 Steps to Improving Your Future
  • Powerpoint Karaoke: Improve Your Presenter Skills

For Credit Classes

Courtesy of The Hive

The Hive offers a one-credit course for students who want a deeper understanding of design thinking. Introduction to Human-Centered Design (ENGR180HMC) is offered during the spring and fall and uses human-centered design as its underlying methodology. The course will include fundamental readings in design thinking, interactive design methods and processes, and hands-on projects. Students will learn how user research, synthesis, idea generation, and prototyping can be integrated into different phases of the design process. Although the course does not require technical knowledge, it is incredibly valuable for engineers and students studying psychology, English, economics, or philosophy, biology…the list goes on!

“It’s about tackling big ambiguous problems” — Fred Leichter,  Director of the Hive

Hive Director, Fred Leichter is always on the look for challenges where designers are needed both on and off campus. This spring 2019 semester, Fred’s students helped contribute to the redesigning of Pomona’s Center for Modern Languages and International Relations, Oldenborg.  Hive students have also tackled natural disaster response and recovery challenges as well as enhancing the organ donation experience, Claremont Consortium Library, and Hickson Center for Sustainability.


Courtesy of The Hive, Sparkathon Fall 2018

The Hive also hosts Claremont’s biennial Sparkathon Competition! Sparkathon is an impact-driven design thinking competition that challenges students to work collaboratively to solve some of the world’s most pressing societal challenges.  Sparkathon brings in students from all over California to embark on this seven-hour challenge. Winners of this challenge receive mentorship, resources, and generous funding, to implement their solutions in the real world!


Rick and Susan Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive)
130 E 7th St, Claremont, CA 91711

Click here to learn more about the events, opportunities, and resources offered at the Hive!


Posted by Kelly Chang ’22 on April 30, 2019

Kelly Chang ’22, Product Design and Communications

Benson Auditorium

5 Ways to Ace Your Pitzer Interview

We understand how nerve-wracking interviews can be, so we made a list of our five best tips to help you to nail your Pitzer Interview! Follow these tips and you’ll be confident and comfortable during your interview! We can’t wait to get to know you better!

Before your interview:

Get to Know Yourself

Courtesy of Giphy

Who is your favorite tv show character?  What do you like to do in your free time? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your hobbies and interests? Asking yourself simple questions like these is a great way to practice for your interview. It will also help you be prepared to answer personal questions during your interview!

Do Your Research

Courtesy of Giphy

A good way to impress your interviewer is to show that you’ve done your fair share of research. No, we don’t need you to be a ‘Pitzer pro’, but knowing a little bit about our college never hurts!  Find out why Pitzer a good fit for you. How can Pitzer help you pursue your interests? How can you contribute to the Pitzer community? What is it about Pitzer College that attracts you? Come prepared and you won’t regret it!

Click here to learn more about Pitzer’s mission statement and core values

Confidence is Key

Courtesy of Giphy

Practice! Practice! Practice! A good way to prep for your interview is to practice with your friends and family. If you’re not comfortable with this, practice in front of a mirror.  The more you practice, the more confident you will be. Nonetheless, don’t worry if you can’t get rid of the jitters… we understand how nerve-racking interviews can be.

During your interview:

“You Never Get A Second Chance to Make a First Impression…”

Courtesy of Giphy

To make sure you start off on the right foot, be on time.  Especially because we only get a short thirty minutes with you, your first impression is crucial.  Being on time shows you have respect for your interviewer–– your interviewer is also very busy and wants all the time they can get to know you!  Then, to seal the deal, thank your interviewer at the end of your meeting. Sending a thank you email or a written letter is not necessary, but there’s no harm in doing so either.

It’s a Conversation, Not an Interrogation

Courtesy of Giphy

There are no right answers and we definitely aren’t looking for perfect responses. We just want to get to know you better.  Tell us something that about yourself that we don’t already know. Tell us about that book you read or about your summer plans!  And don’t hesitate to ask any questions––the best interviews are the ones that are mutually interactive.

Show Your Interest

Courtesy of Giphy

Ask good questions. Asking questions not only shows that you’ve done your research but shows your interest in the school! Nevertheless, coming prepared doesn’t mean sounding rehearsed––a genuine interaction is what we are looking for.

We can’t wait to meet you!


Posted by Kelly Chang ’22 on November 24, 2018

Kelly Chang ’22 Product Design and Communications
A cute dog sitting on the Pitzer College seal

Meet the Dogs of Pitzer!

Hey there! My name is Nat Bentley, and I am a senior here at Pitzer! I’m majoring in Sociology, but that’s not the focus of this blog! Instead, I’ll be talking about something even cooler: The dogs of Pitzer! At Pitzer College, students can apply and receive approval to bring their emotional support animals (ESAs) to campus and live in our residence halls! Emotional support animals come in all shapes, sizes, and types, but the most popular kind is definitely man’s best friend, otherwise known as a dog. Throughout my four years here, I have gotten to know countless pups and have become friends with some of the owners too!

Admission Counselor Erin Griffin’s corgi Levi!

Director of Admission Santiago Ybarra’s dog Lily on a trip to Death Valley!









Scooter at the park.


Meet the Pups

The pups of PZ help make our environment here even warmer and fuzzier. I love walking through campus and getting to pet and interact with cute dogs. Those with cynophobia, have no fear; the Pitzer pups must be on-leash at all times, and they will not approach you without your consent! My favorite canine pal over the years has been *drum roll please*: Scooter – a miniature schnauzer poodle mix, owned by my best friend, Kat. In fact, I love Scooter so much that I even did an independent research project in Language and Gender, a sociolinguistics course taught by Professor Carmen Fought, with him! We examined gender variance in the use of babytalk when interacting with (adorable) dogs! My other favorite puppy pals include Theo, Lili and Harry. Theo and Lili are pictured below!

Lili playing fetch in the Admission Office.

Theo in class!











Unfortunately, Harry graduated last year with his human, Taylor Novick-Finder, but he was a notable and well-loved furry friend by all! He even walked across the stage with Taylor (PZ’17) during commencement (as shown below).








What fun! If you like social justice, friendly people, and dogs, then Pitzer might be the place for you :). Thanks for reading!

Posted by Nat Bentley ’18

hang gliding

Study Abroad at Pitzer!

Hello everyone! My name is AJ and I’m a senior here at Pitzer. During the fall of my junior year, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ecuador on one of Pitzer’s direct-run study abroad programs! My semester was incredible, and I’m here to give you a little insight into what studying abroad at Pitzer is all about. 

Pitzer has an impressive study abroad program. Over 50% of the student body enrolls in a direct or exchange study abroad program once in their four years. To give you a point of reference, the national average for college students studying abroad is 2% (WOAH!). Pitzer offers a range of programs, domestic and international, as well as counseling and guidance through the Office of Study Abroad and International Programs in order to find the program that best suits you. With 8 Pitzer programs (programs founded and directed by Pitzer staff and mindful of Pitzer’s core values) in Costa Rica, Vietnam, Brazil, Nepal, Ecuador, Botswana, and Italy, plus 50+ direct enroll and exchange programs, Pitzer really makes the world your oyster.

Last fall, I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Ecuador. The 5 months I spent in Quito and around the rest of the country were life-changing! From the day I arrived to the day I left, I felt incredibly supported by Pitzer staff who ensured that my stay was smooth and comfortable. There are bumps in every journey, but that being said, my abroad experience was incredibly positive.

What I enjoyed most about my stay in Ecuador was the fact that I was able to develop a routine there. What sets apart studying abroad from simply travelling to a country is that you are given the chance to create your own life in the country of stay. Everyday I would wake up at 8am and have a nice breakfast at my home stay. From there, I would take a leisurely 15 minute walk to the bus terminal, Rio Coca, and catch my 30-minute bus ride to school.

The school I attended, Universidad de San Francisco Quito (USFQ), is located in the valley of Quito called Cumbaya. The bus ride to school was windy but soothing, and it cost me a total of 25 cents. I could always expect to see the same vendors hop on the bus during my ride. One guy stood out in particular: he sold dried lima beans along with a catchy “habas, habas, habitas, habas, ricas habas” tune.  On Mondays and Fridays I had class at 10am, a course titled “The Political Economy of Inequality”. My professor was a pretty well-known economist in Ecuador; he was incredibly passionate about economic inequality in Ecuador as well as the repercussions on social and political dynamics in the country. My other class was a three-hour long painting class on Wednesday nights. I had never painted before, and this class actually proved to be more difficult than my economics course! Still, the diversity of classes I was able to take was awesome. USFQ is a private university and has a strong focus on providing a version of a liberal arts education. The connection between students and professors is strong, which reminded me a lot of my experience at Pitzer.


On top of the classes I took at USFQ, I attended a Pitzer seminar on Tuesday afternoons where we discussed topics regarding Ecuadorian culture. This included everything from politics, to economics, environmental issues, gender, and poverty. Although led by the program leaders, Sebastian and Viviana (amazing angels!!!), the seminar also included a number of guest speakers. This class particularly helped guide our independent research projects, a final report culminating research on an area of interest that we presented at the end of the semester. My project focused on the current economic downturn in Ecuador as a cause of a crash in the price of petroleum and excessive government spending over the past decade. My academics really allowed me to understand the social and political background of the country I was living in, and my classes gave me awareness of customs that are essential to understanding the Ecuadorian population.



My program also had a huge emphasis on cultural immersion. While the curriculum, host families, and community service requirements (6 hours a week at a non-profit ~ really cool options available!) set up by Pitzer help you engage with the language and culture, the level of immersion that you commit yourself to in your free time is really up to you! Being at the university allowed me to make lots of Ecuadorian friends, and throughout the semester, I was able to meet their families, share experiences, and travel with several of them. It’s crazy how close you can get to people in the span of just one semester. I still talk to my Ecuadorian friends daily, and they were one of the reasons why leaving Ecuador was so hard.


Overall, the program provided me with a well-rounded experience that helped me learn a lot about myself in a worldly context. I would 100% recommend going abroad during your time at Pitzer!

Posted by AJ Leon ’18

Central Courtyard in the evenining

Tips for Parents during your Student’s College Visit!

When I was touring colleges, I spent endless amounts of energy worrying about my embarrassing parents. That being said, parents, embarrass your kids as much as you want, but there are effective and ineffective ways to make it happen. It’s always good to remember that your student is the one going to college. However, you may be footing the bill, so at the very least you should get all of your questions answered. Tours are a time for your student to learn more about Pitzer, but it also tends to be an instance of gauging the “feel” of the school and overall “fit”, and there might be some questions that slip your child’s mind in the overwhelming and exciting process. So parents, here are some great, productive questions to remember to ask your tour guide.

1. Find out what health resources — like counseling, trauma support, health services, gym classes and facilities, etc. — are available for students and where they are on campus. This is not only your student’s new school, but also their home, and it is important and comforting to hear about what health and supportive resources are accessible on campus.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed



2. Ask about the surrounding area to get a sense if this is somewhere your student may want to live for four years. How is the college connected to the city or town it is in? Do students interact with locals? What is there to do? How close are doctors, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.?

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

3. What academic support resources are there? Ask about resources like career centers, academic advising, writing centers, and peer tutoring. It is worth getting familiar with any features that will make the transition to college smoother.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

4. When it comes to the living situation, let your student ask the big questions on their mind, and maybe suggest they take pictures of the dorms so planning for moving in can be easier. As a parent, ask your tour guide what kind of peer support is offered in the dorms, like resident advisers, mentoring programs, or how accessible administrators are. These are big things that prospective students often forget that can affect the quality of college living!

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

5. Really consider Pitzer’s five core values and ask how they impact our day-to-day learning as students. Do the core values fit those of your student? We stress them so much in our tours and info sessions for a reason!

Courtesy of Buzzfeed


Don’t let the important questions slip your mind while you are visiting schools. There are several factors that can help you make an informed choice and determine whether a college is the right fit. Take advantage of the knowledgeable, enthusiastic tour guides and admission representatives who can answer your questions about the entire college experience!

Posted by Lizzy Freedman ’18

Gold Student Health and Wellness entrance

5 Things to Try at the Gold Student Health and Wellness Center

There are so many great ways to stay active and be healthy on Pitzer’s campus. Whether it’s the newly renovated Scott Studenmund Gym or grabbing a healthy, local bowl from the Shakedown, there is no shortage of resources at the Gold Student Health and Wellness Center! Here are just a few of the resources the GSC has to offer:

  1. The Scott Studenmund ’12 Gym: The gym is fully equipped and open for anyone to use! It has treadmills, arc trainers, upright bikes and recumbent bikes. There are also weight machines, squat cages, free weights and more! This is a great space to catch a quick workout before or after class.

  1. Fitness Classes: Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Capoeira and more! The GSC offers an array of different classes that are available to all students. Pilates is one of my favorites, you get a full body workout on the reformers and a balancing breathing exercise. When the yoga room is not scheduled for classes, any student is free to use the space. Different dance and yoga clubs also utilize this space.


  1. Peer Health Educators: The Peer Health Educators (PHE) are a great resource on campus. They design and facilitate activities throughout the semester focused on different health and wellness themes. Some wonderful activities that they have hosted include Yoga on the Mounds, Study Break Dance Party, Planting Seeds of Intention, Sex Trivia Night and many, many more!

  1. Pitzer Pool and Patio Area: Arguably one of the most popular places to spend time on campus is the Pitzer pool. Especially on hot days in August, the pool is your best friend! Students lounge on the pool chairs and gather for BBQs and other events throughout the year. The GSC also has locker rooms with showers if you are dashing off to class after a dip.

  1. Shakedown Café and the Student Activities Center: The Shakedown Café is a student run eatery that works to support small-scale, organic, local farmers and aims to reconnect students with their food. The student activity center is the perfect space for club meetings, studying sessions and just hang out.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with the offerings at the Gold Student Center. The Dolores Huerta Room is home to the Latinx Student Union. There is the huge multipurpose room that is a great space for hosting different events, like the weekly late night “Snackie Snack” sponsored by Pitzer Activities (PAct). On your next trip to Pitzer, be sure to stop by and check out the fabulous GSC!

All photos courtesy of Pitzer College

Posted by Jennifer Lesorogol ’17

Kat’s Favorite Places to Hang Out in Southern California Besides Pitzer’s Campus

It’s no secret that Pitzer has a lot to offer right here on campus. You can sip on a smoothie while listening to live music at Shakedown sounds, attend an art show in the Grove House featuring work that was created by your classmates and friends, partake in an Alley Cat scavenger hunt, hang out at the pool, or spend an afternoon slacklining. Even with all of the exciting amenities and events that Pitzer has to offer, heading off-campus– out into the beautiful Southern California sunshine– can be a rewarding and rejuvenating way to spend your day. In my three years at Pitzer so far, I’ve discovered a handful of spots in and around SoCal that I believe to be worthy of the highly coveted title, Kat’s favorite places to hangout in Southern California besides Pitzer’s campus.

1. Deep Creek Hot Springs

This hidden gem located in Apple Valley has been the spot where I’ve had some of my favorite Pitzer adventures to date. The first time I visited the hot springs was in August of 2015, on a day when the temperatures were nearing the upper-nineties by 1:00 in the afternoon. After a series of wrong-turns, the friends I was hiking with and I ended up getting VERY lost in the Mojave desert, and after 14-hours of walking, hitch hiking, and a handful of emotional breakdowns, we FINALLY made it back to our car. *Pro-tip* for if you’re planning on visiting this spot, make sure you have a good map or very clear directions before you hit the trail!


2. Claremont Wilderness Trail

The Claremont Wilderness Trail is a 5-mile loop located North of Pitzer and the other Claremont Colleges. The wilderness trail is the perfect spot for when you’re in need of some time outside and in nature but don’t want to stray too far from campus. If you’re an early riser, this is a great walk or run to do first thing in the morning– you’ll get a great view of the sunrise!


3. Mount Baldy Waterfall

For those days when Pitzer’s succulent-abundant/xeriscaped campus just isn’t doing it for you, head on over to the Mount Baldy Waterfall for a little H2O. The waterfall is the perfect place to take a dip on hot days (like in the summer months when Claremont gets upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit). You can even slide down the waterfall if you’re feeling particularly adventurous!


4. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of those spots that you have to visit at least once during your time at Pitzer. The park– which is nicknamed “J-Tree”– is a 2 hour drive from campus, and has a lot to offer: The park itself is a favorite among hikers, car-campers, backpackers, and rock-climbers. For those who want to experience J-Tree from the indoors, there is a town located north of the park with a number of art galleries, restaurants, and a weekend farmer’s market. My favorite memory from J-Tree is the night when a few friends and I hurriedly scrambled up a boulder (with s’mores in hand) to watch the last bit of the sunset. We only caught the tail end of the sun setting over the park, but munching on our s’mores as we watched the sun disappear over the mountains in the distance made for a lovely (and picturesque!) moment.


5. Crystal Cove Beach

Southern California has a lot of beautiful beaches to choose from, but Crystal Cove is my personal favorite. I love heading to this beach for a few hours on a weekend to soak up some sunshine while pretending to get some reading done (but actually end up falling asleep instead). *Pro-tip* for if you’re interested in visiting Crystal Cove, or really any beach in SoCal; you can never wear too much sunscreen…


6. Claremont Pooch Park

Yes, you read that correctly. This one is definitely not relevant to every Pitzer student, but as someone who has an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) that lives with me on campus, the Claremont Pooch Park is a spot that my dog Scooter and I visit on a regular basis. The park is within walking distance of campus, and it’s a lovely place to go hang out and let Scooter run around with his doggie friends for a few hours!

7. Big Bear

Having grown up in Colorado, colder weather and changing leaves are things that I really found myself missing during my first semester here at Pitzer. Big Bear– which is just an hour away from campus– provided a small taste of home with its mountainous landscape, colorful fall leaves, and crisp autumn air (mm ~poetry~). One of my favorite trips to Big Bear was this past October, when I went on a weekend retreat with a club that I’m involved with on campus. Just about everything that could have gone wrong with that trip did in fact go wrong– beginning with a spilled bottle of Balsamic Vinaigrette that attracted many a critter to our campsite during the night, and ending with a trip back to Pitzer at midnight when we realized that the car keys (along with three of our sleeping bags) had gotten locked inside one of the cars. The only reason the trip wasn’t a complete disaster is that I was surrounded by a great group of people– all of whom laughed through each one of these mishaps and ultimately made the weekend a wonderfully chaotic adventure.

All photos courtesy of Kat Harhai

Posted by Kat Harhai ’18

6 Ways to Impress Your Tour Guide

So you’ve planned the all-too-exciting college visit! If one of your goals is to check out campus and get a feel for the environment, a tour should definitely be on your to-do list. And that student walking (backward) at the head of the group shuttling you from place to place? They’re not only your tour guide, but a fantastic resource for all things college. Below you’ll find some quick and easy ways to make your best impression on the expert students who bring their campus to life each and every day!

  1. Don’t let your parents take charge.

Don’t be shy. Ask most college tour guides, and they’ll say it’s an all-too-common scene: high school students trailing behind them, mumbling to their parents but too shy to ask their own questions. The number one way to impress your tour guide is by taking charge during the tour and showing them that you’re the one interested in the college, not your parents.

  1. Ask Questions.

Tour guides are trained to give you the facts, but they’re also very eager to share their personal experience. Some of my best tours are those where prospective students dared to ask those weird questions like what is in my refrigerator or even requested (although never granted the permission) to push the blue light to test the real-time readiness of campus security. Make the tour personal.

  1. Do your research.

Tours should be supplemental to the information you have already researched on our school website. With that being said, the tour is the perfect time to get a sense of whether or not a college is a good fit for you. Given all the information your brain (the one you are hoping to fill with knowledge) is processing, continuously ask yourself if you can picture yourself on our campus – tour guides can tell when you’re interested and when you’re not.  More importantly, are succulents your favorite plants? They will be if you come to Pitzer.

  1. Put it away.

Although infrequent, there have been occasions when students and parents spend more time on their phone than paying attention to the tour guide. Not only is this inappropriate, but it shows the tour guide that you’re not interested in our campus. Tour guides are experts; they have been trained, and are always ready to talk to you about our campus. Impress them by being present during the tour and not adrift on your phone.

  1. Stay near the front.

Tour guides aren’t given headsets, although I’m sure all of us would enjoy using them. The best thing to do during the tour to avoiding not hearing something is to stay near the front. Tour guides will never hesitate to repeat something, but the tour would go a lot smoother if they didn’t have to.

  1. Be excited!

Shine bright like a diamond. Just kidding. Diamonds don’t shine. But really, one of the best ways to leave an impression with your tour guide is to show them your passion for the school. One way of doing this is to ask about specific parts of campus or programs that you’re excited to be a part of.

Posted by Carlos G. Perrett ’18