What makes Occidental College unique?

In a search for the right college, students are advised to opt for a liberal arts college. Liberal arts colleges do not limit their students to a particular discipline, and they encourage intellectual curiosity. In this article, Occidental College will be the case study and we shall see what makes it unique?

Occidental College is located in the city of Los Angeles, and this exposes the students to a range of academic and social choices. Its curriculum exposes the students to varieties of disciplines and also grants them the opportunity to explore their various talents in the various clubs in the college. 

What makes Occidental College unique?

Why Occidental College Is Unique?

Established in 1887, Occidental College is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States of America. It fully incorporates culture and tradition into its curriculum, alongside its major and minor courses. For three consecutive years, Occidental College has been ranked as one of the country’s most economically diverse colleges by The New York Times. Occidental College is also known as ‘Oxy,’ and it integrates liberal arts with culture and science, to produce a global intellectual effect. It has been said by students to be a supportive and friendly college, that rewards academic excellence. At Occidental College, the rate of liberalism is very high, and this helps in shaping the diverse nature of the students. The college is the proud educational home of the former American president, Barrack Obama. Asides from the aforementioned, the following qualities make Occidental College unique.

  • A good location 
  • Small-classroom setting
  • Scholarship Opportunities
  • An interdisciplinary and global approach system
  • Diverse developmental clubs

A Good Location 

Occidental College is situated on a 120-acre residential campus in the heart of Los Angeles. This location aids the students in the practicalities of what they have learned in theory. At Oxy, students are often in the lab, the field, the community, and the studio as much as they are in the classrooms. With adequate time management, students can socialize as much as they want, and also ensure that they are not lagging in their academic performances. Studying in Los Angeles generally allows students to make amazing connections because the city is home to great companies like 20th Century Fox, and Marvel Productions. Also, it is a few hours away from Silicon Valley, where prestigious Tech-companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are situated.

Small -Classroom Setting

This is something every student looks forward to. A classroom that isn’t choked up. Imagine walking into a classroom with over a hundred students, how would you feel? The enthusiasm to learn will probably leave you. This is what Occidental College tries to avoid when it stated that classrooms should not have more than thirty students. This comes with a lot of advantages. There is the opportunity of being known by the lecturer personally, there is the advantage of the lecturer having enough time to respond to individual questions, and there is the beauty of getting to know and interact with your coursemates on an academic and personal level. The sad thing is that some students fail sometimes, not because they are dull or incapable of good results, but because they cannot learn in a crowded environment, where the lecturer most times, follows the learning pace of the bright students. When students are few in the classroom or lecture hall, the individual academic progress of students can be tracked by the lecturer, and this would enhance the academic progress of the students.

Scholarship Opportunities

In an attempt to provide financial aid for its low-income students, Occidental College provides students with the Occidental Merit Scholarships, Occidental Need-Based Grants and Opportunity Grant, and Barack Obama Scholars Program among others. The Occidental Merit Scholarship is awarded during the admission process, and it is based on academic qualifications, motivation, promise, and passion. Students are eligible for this scholarship for four years, as long as they maintain the required Grade Point Average (GPA). The Occidental Need-Based Grants and Opportunity Grants are not associated with academic promise. This grant is based on how financially stable a family is. It is not granted yearly, however, benefitting from it is greatly determined by how well you utilize your previous grants. Barack Obama Scholars Program at Occidental College is awarded to students who have demonstrated high academic performance and commitment to the public good. This program covers the tuition, accommodation, learning materials, etc, of the students. Only students who have demonstrated good community service are often considered for this program. 

An Interdisciplinary And Global Approach System

The rigorous curriculum of Occidental College is one that is deeply rich in multiple disciplines. This kind of curriculum produces graduates who are diverse, and with a global mindset. This enables them to understand the various approach to analyzing different problems, and also procuring solutions to complex problems. A student’s ability to analyze and synthesize information depends solely on how much the student knows, and vast knowledge can only be achieved through studying widely and extensively. This, by implication, also results in a holistic or global understanding of things, which makes one more attuned to working towards the global good.

Diverse Developmental Clubs

Clubs in colleges are known for building the growth and development of students who participate in them. At Occidental College, there are various clubs that the students engage in. Some of these clubs include the Geography Club, the Art Club, the Dance Club to mention but a few. These clubs assist the students in discovering their talents, and also help them expand their horizon of knowledge. For instance, the geography club exposes students to the various kinds of environmental hazards and how they can be managed or prevented, the dance club helps a student who have the passion in dancing get better, etc.

From the above, you can deduce that Occidental College anchors its unique nature on the varieties of opportunities it provides its students, and how well it helps in shaping them into full blown adults.


Occidental College has made a good name for itself and has a good reputation. It has a four star rating, and was the educational home of the former president of the United State of America (USA), Barack Obama. With a socially intelligent environment, a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, a platform for financial aids, and a lot of other student-based opportunities, Occidental College ranks among the best liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) How long did Barack Obama stay at Occidental College?


Barack Obama was at Occidental College for two years 

2) What makes Occidental College a liberal arts college?


Its interdisciplinary approach, small-classroom system, and emphasis on Arts, Science and Culture among others, makes it a liberal arts college.