I recently visited Occidental College in Los Angeles, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· Programs at Occidental frequently feature an experiential, hands-on requirement. A popular music production industry practicum through Warner Music, for instance, counts toward the Occidental degree, and even philosophy majors must satisfy an experiential requirement.

· The most popular major is Economics, followed by Diplomacy. Unique degree programs include Urban and Environmental Policy and Music Production.

· Two signature programs are Oxy’s residential UN program, where students spend one semester working at the UN, and the Campaign Semester, where students spend a semester working on a campaign somewhere in the United States.

· The average class size is 18, and faculty are highly accessible and supportive.

· Despite being in a major city, Oxy is located in a suburban area of LA and most students live on the scenic campus all four years. On a typical Saturday night, around 70% of students stay on campus and 30% go out into LA. As with most colleges in Los Angeles, students either have their own car or explore Los Angeles by getting a ride with a friend.

· There is a large focus on community service and social justice at Oxy.

· Seniors are required to complete a comprehensive project (often a senior thesis).