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Claremont McKenna College 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Guide  

Regular Decision: 

Claremont McKenna College 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 2 short answers of 150-250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Oddball

Why do you want to attend CMC? (150-250 words)

A classic short why essay. Do some research on CMC’s course offerings, campus, and extracurriculars, and then show admissions why CMC stands out from the crowd. Additionally, you can express why you want to live right where LA County meets Rancho Cucamonga: You love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and are now obsessed with West Covina. You’re from Long Beach and CMC is just far enough away from home, but not too far. You dream of a climate that doesn’t involve constant snowfall. No matter your reason, admissions just wants to know that you’ve thought this through and aren’t just asking them to prom (applying) only to drive by and egg their house (withdrawal your application) later — a la Never Been Kissed.

One of the hallmarks of a CMC education is the first-year humanities program that all students take in their first year at the College. The program has two components: the Freshman Humanities Seminar (FHS) and the Freshman Writing Seminar (FWS). While each FHS and FWS seminar has a distinctive approach in terms of texts and topics, their pairing gives first-year students a shared academic experience in small, writing-intensive courses that foster critical thinking about a wide range of important issues.


FHS introduces first-year students to some of the crucial questions that human beings face with relation to society and the world. Individual sections are taught by faculty from a range of departments. Past and current topics include:
1. Democracy and Leadership
2. Women in Science
3. Unconventional Thinking
FWS, taught by faculty from the literature department, develops students’ abilities in written and oral communication at the college level. Past and current topics include:
1. Art of the Personal Essay
2. Blackness in American Cinema
3. Post-Apocalyptic Humanity


For the purpose of this essay prompt, pick one FHS or FWS seminar to study at CMC. What part of your personal experience—or your desire to know more about an area outside of your experience—best explains your seminar choice? (150-250 words)

Claremont McKenna wants to accept intellectually curious students who are passionate about learning. Read through the seminar topics and see which one calls to you. Maybe, as a film buff, you are drawn to Blackness in American Cinema, and would be interested to learn more about how Black people have been historically represented in Hollywood. Perhaps you are passionate about social justice, and are considering running for office once you have a degree under your belt. Would Democracy and Leadership be an excellent introduction to higher education for you? Do you love writing in your journal and secretly hope to publish one day? Maybe Art of the Personal Essay would allow you to further explore your interest in creative writing. No matter which seminar appeals to you, be sure to explain your desire or personal connection to the seminar of your choosing!

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!
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