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Occidental College

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Date: Oct 01 2012
Major: Math (This Major's Salary over time)
Speaking as someone who graduated with a technical degree, I can say with certainty that Occidental gave me with a well-rounded education that provided a competitive edge over others in my field.


The Senior Comp project, if fully taken advantage of, should provide you with a real accomplishment that you can tout to potential employers (or grad schools) as a way to gain an edge over any competition. The ability to work directly with a Professor-mentor on this project is amazing, and prepares you well for collaborative efforts you'll be engaged in later in life.

As a math/science grad at a liberal arts college, you will be required to develop strong, polished writing skills. I can't tell you how many of my colleagues lack basic writing skills. Being able to demonstrate the ability to write well is, sadly, an easy way to distinguish yourself in technical fields.

Small class sizes and opportunities for undergrad research are excellent. Take advantage of these; talk to your professors, ask them for help. If you move on to grad school, you'll miss those opportunities. Most of your grad school classmates will have never had that opportunity.


Occidental is somewhat unknown outside of academic circles or outside of Los Angeles proper. If you intend to stay in Los Angeles after graduation, the degree will be meaningful and respected by most employers.

For someone with conservative or moderate views, the atmosphere at Occidental could be uncomfortable. When I attended, the slant of most courses and on-campus dialogue was very liberal. I'm not sure how much has changed in that respect. I arrived as a Freshman with liberal views, but Occidental showed me that even the liberal philosophy can be taken to extremes that I'm not willing to adhere to. For me, that was a lesson worth learning, in retrospect. At some point, you will have your ideology challenged. That challenge is much more likely to occur early and occur often for someone with conservative or moderate views.

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