Best Liberal Arts Colleges in California

Are you a student who is searching for the best liberal arts colleges in California? If your answer to this question is in the affirmative, stop searching, we have compiled a list of the best liberal arts colleges in California just for you. Read the article below to get an answer to your questions.

Liberal Arts as a field of study entail critical thinking, the specializations that fall under liberal arts include Humanities, Physical Science, and Social Sciences.

A liberal arts education emphasizes the development of critical thinking and analytical skills, the ability to solve complex problems, and an understanding of ethics and morality, as well as a desire to continue to learn.

The employment prospects of liberal arts graduates are quite solid as employers believe that they are capable of handling difficult situations and are able to think critically.

California is home to more than 100 universities and colleges, about 20 of these schools are liberal arts colleges. With the number of schools to choose from, choosing the best college for liberal arts to suit your needs might be a bit difficult; the purpose of this article is to make that job easier for you.

Let us take a look at the best liberal arts colleges in California.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges in California

1. Westmont College (Santa Barbara, CA)

Westmont College in sunny Santa Barbara, CA. Westmont is a non-denominational Christian liberal arts college. The mission of the school is to create thoughtful scholars and faithful leaders.

WC offers 30 liberal arts majors; marketing and business are two of the most popular liberal arts programs offered. Westmont provides various semester-long off-campus programs in several locations, including Costa Rica, Washington DC, and Israel in addition to on-campus activities.

Westmont College is unarguably one of the best liberal arts colleges in California.

2. Whittier College (Whittier, CA)

Whittier College, a private liberal arts college with approximately 1,700 students enrolled, the school is located in Southern California. For a student seeking a tightly-knit, primarily undergraduate experience with not only rigorous academics but also consistently favorable weather, Whittier is an ideal choice.

There are over 30 department majors that students can choose from, they can also build their own major through the Whittier Scholars program. This Scholars program is one of the most unique features of Whittier that sets it above other liberal arts colleges. The Scholars program provides students with hands-on learning experiences and also helps each student discover their passions with guidance from the faculty mentors.

3. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, CA)

Thomas Aquinas College is a remarkable college with an interesting twist: Thomas Aquinas College does not have majors or minors.!

Thomas Aquinas favors the “Great Books” approach (an educational method where textbooks are replaced by classic works of literature) instead of the traditional notions of college majors and minors.

The reason for this approach is that Thomas Aquinas College seeks to educate students with source materials from great minds instead of secondary sources. TA is focused on molding free-thinking minds, which makes it an exciting choice for the advanced collegiate student.

4. Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA)

Occidental College’s campus is located in the hills of Los Angeles’ Eagle Rock community. Occidental boasts a modern campus, complete with state-of-the-art facilities, a location in one of the world’s busiest metropolitan areas, and preserved historic buildings.

One of Occidental’s unique features is the Kahne United Nations Program. This program allows students to New York City for a semester to participate in prestigious internships at United Nations agencies and other related NGOs.

Students who are interested in unique diplomacy opportunities benefit from this specific program as it represents an opportunity that most other liberal arts colleges in the country do not offer.

Occidental boasts quite an impressive list of alumni rivaling other liberal arts colleges. This list includes Pulitzer, Nobel, Academy Award, BAFTA, and Emmy Award recipients. Former US President Barack Obama attended Occidental College in 1979.

5. Pitzer College (Claremont, CA)

Pitzer College located in Claremont is a unique liberal arts college that prides itself on equipping students to enter the world as socially responsible global citizens.

Pitzer students and faculty with the student body volunteer 100,000 service hours each year, they are known for community involvement. Pitzer students enjoy access to all the Claremont Colleges’ collective resources, collaborating with peers and utilizing facilities at all five schools.

The Pitzer experience includes events like the Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival, which started in 1974. This festival brings all Pitzer and Claremont Consortium community members together in celebration each year.

6. Soka University of America (Aliso Viejo, CA)

Soka University of America has only been in existence for 20 years and has risen quicker than other young colleges.

Soka has already acquired an endowment of over $1 billion dollars and ranks top-30 nationwide in the liberal arts colleges category in almost all rankings

What makes Soka a unique college of liberal arts? Soka is a university that instills global values and experiences into its students. Soka students are required to participate in a study-abroad program prior to graduation.

This study-abroad experience takes place in the junior year at no extra cost to the student above normally-paid tuition, destinations they can choose from include Japan, and Spain, China, France.

The Soka Fulbright Advising Program is another way Soka commits to educating global citizens. Two Soka students were awarded prestigious Fulbright scholarships for overseas study in 2020.

7. Scripps College (Claremont, CA)

Scripps College is the all-female school in the Claremont Consortium, which offers a unique experience for women who are in search of an incredible liberal arts education.

Scripps has been ranked as one of the top residential women’s liberal arts colleges in the nation by a number of publications. Though the student body at Scripps is made up of females, the school is incredibly diverse with more than 40% of students being POC and 5% being international students.

Scripps is home to the IDEA Initiative, a program that tackles diversity and inclusion issues head-on. Tuesday Noon, an IDEA Initiative program, is a weekly hour-long thought-provoking presentation given by faculty and visiting scholars.

8. Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA)

Harvey Mudd College like every school in the Claremont Consortium has its own personality, it is best described as the “tinkerer.” Harvey Mudd prides itself on grooming students to be creators, makers, and free-thinkers.

Harvey Mudd is constructing a new, state-of-the-art building; The McGregor Computer Science Center, a 36,000 square-foot construction complete with classrooms and advanced facilities for the growing Computer Science department.

Harvey Mudd College seeks to extend students’ learning capacities well past the classroom. As a result, students at Harvey Mudd participate in the “Clinic Program,” which is an outstanding program for Harvey Mudd juniors and seniors.

The Clinic program allows students of Mudd college to channel their drive and intelligence into real-world situations and projects.

9. Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, CA)

Claremont McKenna College is another college in the Claremont Consortium. Claremont McKenna is located 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

One of Claremont McKenna College’s initiatives through the Center for Global Education is“The Silicon Valley Program,”  which prepares students for both technology and entrepreneurship through real word Silicon Valley learning experiences.

Another one of McKenna’s most exciting initiatives is its Center for Global Education.   the CMU Center for Global Education offers students hundreds of opportunities to engage in diverse study opportunities.

Another unique signature program that McKenna features, is known simply as “The Washington Program,” this program allows students to step into the nation’s capital for a semester carrying out independent study and learning at institutions like the Pentagon and the National Library.

10. Pomona College (Claremont, CA)

Pomona is widely regarded as the best liberal arts college in California, it is also among the best colleges in the world. 94% of students enrolled at Pomona College live on campus all four years, and the majority of professors also live a few miles from school.

Pomona students can choose from over 250 clubs and over 2000 classes at any of the five schools at Pomona.

Pomono is the most unique of all the Claremont Colleges because it is the most selective, with an acceptance rate of just 7.4%.

In addition, students who are selected for admission to Pomona are at the top of their class, with median SAT scores of 1470.

Pomona’s average class size is 15 students, this allows for an intimate, 1-on-1 environment for students and teachers alike. Pomona’s students participate in deep conversations about technology, philosophy, liberal arts, and every possible academic subject.

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