As per my recent article, The Claremont Consortium Colleges, I am still attempting to encourage my east coast college-bound friends to expand their scope of options and investigate possibilities in a different time zone. No, I am not getting a “kick-back” from any of the California institutions; although I love the scenery. It is basically my professional belief that many of my local residents fail to expand their search beyond the comforts of home, due to lack of insight from counseling resources or self-awareness. Therefore, I feel an obligation to provide information that can assist with their college exploration.
I was fortunate to participate in a six-college tour of higher education institutions in Los Angeles, and surrounding areas, February 4-7, 2013. The campuses visited were Loyola Marymount University, Chapman University, Whittier College, University of Southern California, University of California-Los Angeles, and Pepperdine University. Even though all campuses share the appealing weather and perks of the west coast, each has its own uniqueness. As no surprise, due to Hollywood influence, theatre/film/television programs are very popular on most campuses, even with distinctive flairs.
Loyola Marymount University is a Jesuit college. Mass attendance is not mandatory but there is a religion/theology requirement. LMU moved to the current location in 1929 and became coed in 1973. Attractions to the campus include the location, medium size, open community, diversity, and camaraderie among collegians and faculty. Twenty-four percent of gift aid is awarded to out-of-state residents and LMU meets 66% of demonstrated financial need. They cross applications with USC, UCLA, USD and Chapman. The Film/Television program comprises 750 students who pursue production (the largest program), animation, screen arts and recording arts.
Chapman University is located 35 miles from Los Angeles, 17 miles from the beach, and 12 miles from Disneyland. Its popular majors are business administration (largest program), film production, and public relations/advertising. Its largest scholarship is an annual $25k award. A performing arts complex is currently under construction. Scenes from the movies Hurricane, Exorcist, and Bullwinkle were filmed on campus. Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers eight concentrations.
Whittier College was originally founded by Quakers. It promotes a collaborative learning and living environment. Former President Richard Nixon was a graduate. The campus is approximately 20 miles from Los Angeles. Whittier is generous with merit and talent (music, theatre, visual arts) scholarships and 82% of students receive aid. CAAS (Center for Advising & Academic Success) is a campus support resource for all students. Back to the Future was produced on campus.
University of Southern California (USC) is a private institution with 38,010 students; undergrad population is 17,700. Its University Park campus is three miles from downtown Los Angeles. Even though the institution is large, USC considers itself to be a “liberal arts college” with 17 professional schools. A dance program will start in 2014. As can be expected, several programs require auditions or portfolios. The admission rate for transfer students is 32% but housing is not guaranteed. Admission considerations in the undergraduate holistic review are academic performance, curriculum rigor, writing ability, test scores, extracurricular activities or community service, leadership potential, and the applicant must be an exceptional fit for USC. They received 40,000+ applications for 2013-14; admit rate is 23%. Most Academy Award winners are USC grads.
University of California- LA (UCLA) was the largest campus on my tour, as well as the only public institution. Every application is read twice and considerations for their holistic review include academic GPA's (10th/11th grades recalculated), standardized tests, coursework rigor, participation in academic and non-academic activities, personal statement, strength of senior schedule, personal background and experiences, perceived contribution to UCLA, leadership/initiative, and exceptional achievements. No recommendation letters or interviews are required so the personal statement is very important. No extra points are given for H-English 10, H-Biology or H-Algebra I, but they will award college credit for AP scores of 3-5. The School of Theatre/Film/Television has an esteemed faculty of Tony and Oscar winners and admission is highly competitive. Unlike most colleges, the F/T students own rights to their film(s) at graduation. Legally Blonde was filmed on campus.
Pepperdine University is located in Malibu; 12 miles from Santa Monica and 35 miles from Los Angeles. It is affiliated with the Church of Christ. Church attendance is not required but encouraged. Attendance is required for convocations; fourteen each semester. The holistic admission review is based on 70% of academic evaluation and 30% of character/service/spiritual growth/leadership attributes. The GPA’s are recalculated and most electives are excluded; however, religion courses are considered core. Thirty-five percent of faculty live on campus. The most popular majors are business administration, psychology and telecommunications. Pepperdine offers a liberal arts curriculum and no classes are taught by TA’s. Nickelodeon shows have been filmed on campus. The curb appeal is awesome; rolling hills and beach embrace the campus.
The airport of choice is LAX and it serves many airlines. So again I say, expand your college search and explore campuses in a different time zone. Many college fairs are scheduled for the spring, so inquire about those in your area, and perhaps some of these institutions will be represented. If not, scope out other colleges that are not on your radar.