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Written by Elizabeth Friede
Claremont McKenna College fits in well with its easygoing Southern California surroundings. The quality of life is great and day-to-day living is easy, despite the academic challenges presented by classes. The climate is friendly, the dorms are nice, and most of the things students really need are on campus. The surrounding area provides a ton of entertainment possibilities for all types of people. While CMCers don't leave learning and in-class discussions at the door, they aren't bookworms or indoor intellectuals with one-track minds. Academics is mixed into daily life and woven into each individual's interests. Classes try to maintain a balance between intellectualism and pragmatism. The Five College Consortium makes available huge numbers of classes, far more than the typical 1,000-student school.
The on-campus social life is very active and creative. Students who come to CMC looking for an active bar and club scene will likely be disappointed, but those who look to campus as an entertainment source will find their needs met. Sometimes, the social scene seems drinking-oriented, but there are many options for non-drinkers and plenty of reasons to go to parties besides the keg. By far, the things that make CMC unique are the living, breathing student bodies that learn and play on campus. CMC's small student body gathers together a huge array of interests and personality types, so a general characterization is impossible, but a few generalizations are safe: everyone is intelligent and interested in learning, but no one is interested solely in learning; the students like to have fun in their own ways and are mostly unconcerned with how other people enjoy themselves; CMCers are opinionated but respectful of other students' opinions and can talk about them in an intellectual way. The student body is more diverse in interests and experience than it is in color and ethnicity, but the academic program and social agenda at CMC make it possible for a lot of different people to find their niche and be happy. Above all else, students should feel happy at their college!
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