Admission FAQs

scott_courtyardWhat is Pitzer looking for in its applicants?
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 College uses a holistic approach to student admission with emphasis placed on high school transcripts, recommendation letters, leadership positions, work history, involvement in school and community activities, and commitment to Pitzer’s core values. The College is completely test-optional, providing students the opportunity to present application material that accurately reflects their diverse academic talents and potential. Students can submit either the SAT or the ACT by the application deadline if they feel like their results best-represent their academic potential. The admission committee makes no assumptions as to why some students choose to submit scores while others don’t. All students are given equal consideration in the admission process. Read more about our test-optional policy.

How important are interviews?
Interviews are completely optional for first-year and transfer students. 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.

The interview deadline for Early Decision I is November 15 . The interview deadline for Early Decision II is December 15. The interview deadline for Regular Decision is December 15. All New Resources (23+) students must interview by April 1.

Students studying on the Mead Hall patioIs 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.
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. The most popular majors at Pitzer are:

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

  • English & World Literature
  • Special/Self-Designed
  • English & World Literature
  • Anthropology
  • Human Biology

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 advisor?
Yes. The Pitzer faculty is responsible for academic advising at the college. You will be assigned to a faculty advisor 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 advisor 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. Click here to read more.

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 six 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 greywater 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.