Photo by Karan Malik

The Claremont McKenna College Office of Admission finalized their numbers for the class of 2016 early on Thursday morning. CMC received 5,056 applications for the class of 2016, a 12% increase in applicants from last year.  The Admissions Office accepted only 12.4% of those applicants, according to Admissions Counselor Brandon Gonzalez.

Gonzalez notes, “With the highest number of applications along with the lowest percentage of admitted students ever in the College’s history, this admission cycle has undoubtedly been one of the most exhilarating and groundbreaking periods at CMC. The class of 2016 will be one of the most talented groups of students we have ever seen.”

Admissions at CMC, and at the 5C’s in general, has gotten more selective over the past few years. This year, Pitzer College had a 15.7% acceptance rate for their class of 2016, down from 24% for the class of 2015.  According to Gonzalez, Pomona College had a 12.8% acceptance rate for their class of 2016.

Historically, Pomona College has had lower admission rates than CMC. Last year, Pomona College had a 13.6% acceptance rate for the class of 2015, while CMC trailed with a 13.9% acceptance rate.

However, statistics for the class of 2016 put CMC’s admission rate 0.4% lower than Pomona’s.

Still, since Pomona College has a larger student body than CMC, they have consistently received more applications. For the class of 2015, 7,207 students applied to Pomona.

The almost identical numbers in acceptance rates for CMC and Pomona for the class of 2016 show the potential fluidity of CMC’s lead in acceptance rates.

Applicants for CMC were notified about their admission decision on Thursday night. The class of 2016 profile has not been officially released yet.


  1. While this article is written much more journalistically than most on the Forum, I think the tone is a problem.  The article assumes that lowering acceptance rates are a good thing, which might not be so after a certain point.  I can think of many excellent CMCers who have gone on to do amazing things who might never have even applied were the numbers for getting in so terrifyingly high.  Just days ago, the Forum ran an opinion piece about how CMC’s student culture might change in the future.  If that happens, you can bet that the increasing selectiviy will play a role.

    • While I see your concern, I disagree with your belief that the lowering acceptance rates are necessarily a bad thing. As more and more people apply to CMC, the quality of the applicant pool increases and this benefits all of us. However, this is only true if CMC does not stray from its beautifully unique culture and admit more students who would be better off at Pomona or would spend all of their days in a library cubicle. I dont believe that increasing selectivity correlates with lowered levels of fun provided that CMC continues to admit students in the holistic manner that it currently uses. Shake and Bake brother!

      • …I don’t know whose argument you’re responding to there, but it’s not mine.

        I never said “lowering acceptance rates are necessarily a bad thing.”  All I said was they aren’t necessarily a GOOD thing after a certain point.As 2016er points out below, there are perfectly reasonable and not-at-all insidious reasons for the acceptance rate going down.  My point was simply that we should assess the various metrics used to measure a college as metrics, and not as goals in and of themselves.


  3. CMC’s truth in stats certainly may be open to question and, really, even if accurate, you may be citing some very different statistics after returns on admission (yield) come in and the possibility of offers from the waiting list to additional students alters the picture.  No college has solid stats at this point. In the end, all the measurable and unmeasurable qualities of the actual, enrolling students matter most, not admit rates.

  4. Well LA TI FRICKEN DA, we got ourselves a small victory here! A 0.4% lower acceptance rate than Pomona College?!?!?? F— Pomona, yo!
    Point zero four percent. Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen. What we have here is part of a lasting legacy that Deans Gann, Vos (the fired one), et. al, have only begun to leave us. Why must we wear preposterously low acceptance rates as some badge of pride, as if laughing smugly whilst tossing heaps of applicants who would actually contribute to the school’s (utter lack of) culture and class discussion in favor of those with higher test scores or higher test osterone levels?

    Again I ask, where are the answers from Pammy re: the cheating scandal? As long as we sweep it under the rug and continue to chug ahead as a nameless, faceless rankings machine, I suppose it matters not whether we really changed anything or not. Scapegoats have yet to go extinct for a reason.

    All of these responses seem to almost hint at something, but ultimately fall short of really asking the right questions. Ok, we have very selective stats on paper. Ok, being selective for highest test scores’ sake is a doubly good thing for the rankings machine. But how much does one’s actual humanity factor in to such a system?

    I think “hahaha” said it best in all of their profoundest prose: “i wonder how many of this people are semi-interesting my guess is <12…:( "
    Rivers Cuomo might object, "Say it ain't so!"
    It is with deep regret that I concede, it is so, bro.

    • Get over yourselves HOF and hahaha! This is one of the most, if not the most, selective classes in CMC history and automatically you think CMC has accepted a bunch of robots who only did homework and prepped for the SAT in high school, while elevating yourselves as the ideal, well-rounded, and unique CMCers, seemingly superior to anyone who will ever be accepted to this school in the future.

      I bet all 626/627 of those accepted are incredibly interesting; way more interesting than myself given I spend too much time responding to anonymous comments on the forum. Sadly I will be graduating in May and will not meet the new class. For 2013-2015, all I can say is get pumped because you have an awesome group coming to join you in the Fall. 

      • Michael Michael Michael… you are very afraid of the world post CMC. And when you are alone with your thoughts, this fear broods. And you know that I am right.

    • Having a lower acceptance rate than in other years doesn’t mean anything in terms of SAT scores, GPA, or personality of those accepted. All it means is that more people applied than last year, orthe year before that, for the same number of spots in the Class of 2016. So unless people wanted a huge freshman class next year, the only way it could go is down.

  5. i am disappointed that CMC is so keen on the numbers game.  after all, CMC has fabricated some of the numbers to increase its ranking, and there are many people suspecting whether CMC has not touched on the acceptance rate itself.  of all the LACs, i think CMC should be the last college to emphasize the numbers.  

  6. in addition, judging whether a college is “hard to get in” based on the the general acceptance rate is not accurate.  for instance, pomona has had only 297ED applicants, whose undergrad body is 1567.   so there was not enough ED applicants to fill its class, but middlebury had 647 for 2507, enough to fill its class of 2016 by itself.  

    if a college really wanted to lower its acceptance rate, it can simply accetp 100% of ED applicants and have 0% acceptance rate of regular decision, leading the yield extremely low – to a single digit. 

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