The motto of Scripps College is Incipit Vita Nova, Here Begins New Life, and nothing
could be closer to the truth. From their first academic day (usually spent listening to a
required interdisciplinary Core I lecture) to their last (spent finishing the required senior
thesis), students are challenged to grow intellectually and personally by faculty and fellow
The fact that Scripps is a women’s college makes this growth all the more meaningful.
From convocation onwards, students are not just encouraged to make a splash in the world—
they are expected to, no matter what their field of study. While many students admit to a clear
sense of self-determination, most find the all-female environment to be collaborative rather
Situated thirty-five miles east of Los Angeles, the lush campus of Scripps opens up like
a hidden oasis as soon as one steps through the western-facing Honnold Gate, welcoming
entrants with a quote from Scripps College founder Ellen Browning Scripps: “The paramount
obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently,
and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” This driving mission
ensures that Scripps women graduate with the ability to think, live, and succeed in an everchanging
At its heart, Scripps is a residential college with ninety-six percent of students choosing
to live on campus. The original four residence halls, listed in the National Register of Historic
Places, are each unique with tile-roofed Mediterranean architecture, fountains, and sprawling
patios perfect for enjoying the California sun. With the exception of a few rainy days, students
take advantage of the weather, studying and even taking naps outside on the large expanse of
grass in front of the residence halls.
When not in class, students can be found participating in one or more of the fifty clubs
and organizations on campus (including the newly formed Equestrian Club and a student
investment fund), chilling out at the student-run Motley coffee house, or lounging by the outdoor
Scripps is also one of the founding members of the Claremont Colleges Group Plan, the
initial vision of creating a group of independent colleges that share key resources.
Today, the Claremont Consortium includes five undergraduate colleges and two graduate
institutes. Claremont Consortium resources include the Honnold/Mudd library (housing
over two million volumes) and the newly constructed Student Health Services building.
Students are welcome to eat at any of the dining halls and are free to enroll in courses in
any of the five undergraduate colleges.
The consortium approach gives each college its own unique social and academic flavor,
but it also allows for students to meet people with vastly different experiences and views.
Weekend socializing frequently crosses campus boundaries with parties and events advertised
across the five undergraduate colleges.
Scripps is a college where an independent and open-minded woman can thrive. She is
sure to be challenged each and every day, and any obstacles she encounters are sure to make
her grow into a stronger person. Students are constantly stretched to the full breadth of their
ability and then urged to share what they know with others. Learning here is never over and is
expected to continue long after a student dons her mint green graduation gown.
The campus is a community built on sharing ideas and expanding the scope of knowledge
in every field. Students are never cornered into choosing only a single interest but are
encouraged to explore every area of intrigue and connect them in their thinking. The staff and
faculty also push students to take these interests outside of the Scripps walls by studying in
another country or conducting research in the surrounding community. The learning process
is only limited by what a student is willing to take on during her four short years here.
Best of all, the women of Scripps are able to engage in this high-level thinking within a
lush and elegant campus. The residence halls are built to encourage community and the sharing
of resources, and it is a daily occurrence to hear students carrying on a conversation about
the Core I film The Battle of Algiers, or any other interdisciplinary subject, from lunch until
dinner. Of course, Scripps women also know how to relax from time to time and are skilled at
finding the perfect spots across Southern California from Mt. Baldy to the Pacific Ocean.
The women who graduate from Scripps enrich the world with their critical thinking
skills and ability to communicate clearly and confidently. No matter where they may go in life,
Scripps women pursue their dreams with a drive to make a difference.
Forget what high school teachers say about college courses: Attendance does matter at
Scripps. When a class has only sixteen students (the average class size at Scripps), the professor
knows when someone goes missing. In fact, regular participation usually accounts for at least ten
percent of a final grade. This helps facilitate the process of students becoming more than just passive
recipients of information and instead helps them become active agents in their own learning.
The small class sizes also ensure that the faculty creates meaningful connections with
the students. It’s not uncommon to see students and faculty enjoying a cup of coffee together
in the Motley. Professors are also known to invite their classes to their houses for an end of the
year barbeque or dessert celebration. Over fifty percent of Scripps professors are women, and
one hundred percent of the faculty holds a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree.
While students take many if not all of their classes at Scripps, students also have the
option of enrolling in courses across the other five colleges. If Scripps does not offer a particular
major that another college does offer, students are allowed to fulfill the major requirements of the other institution. Students are also allowed to fill their general electives with
courses at the other colleges.
All the women that I met at women’s colleges were incredibly confident,
poised, and intelligent—features that I rarely saw in girls at the coed schools I
had visited. Moreover, I just felt more comfortable at women’s colleges. I felt a
great sense of support for women and women’s intellectual capability than I did
at coed schools. —Laura Guaglianone ’07, double major studio art and English
The interdisciplinary focus of Scripps starts early with all first-year students required to
take Core I “Culture, Knowledge, and Representation” in the fall semester. It is a
course unlike any other in the country in that it brings together twelve professors and the
entire first-year class to discuss seemingly disparate topics such as music, philosophy, and
metaphysics. The history of Enlightenment intellectual thought is studied by reading primary
texts written by thinkers like Rousseau, Descartes, and Darwin, and is then deconstructed
through contemporary critiques. Students rotate between attending lectures
(given by a different professor each week) and smaller discussion sections organized
around the common goal of critically questioning knowledge production and dissemination.
The following semester, students enroll in one of six Core II offerings that are team-taught
by two professors, teaching a total of between thirty and forty students in a more specific but still
interdisciplinary subject. Past courses have included “Women in Greek Myth,” “Communities of
Hate: Genocide in the 20th Century,” and “Literary and Psychological Approaches to the Fairy Tale.”
The program culminates with a Core III course taken the following autumn. Students have
fifteen courses from which to choose, but in all sections students are expected to transform their
knowledge into a final self-designed project. One of the most popular Core III courses is the foreign
language and culture teaching clinic, during which students teach another language to elementary
school students in the nearby communities. Students, who must have completed at least one upper
division language course, may teach Dutch, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish. In the past, students
have also been able to submit a syllabus for their own Core III course and, upon approval from
the Core convener, students undertake the course under the supervision of a faculty member.
The Core program provides us with a great basis for a modern, liberal arts
education. I have taken the significant readings with me to other classes and endeavors
in my life. The program also helps develop the critical thought processes that give
you a real leg up in the ‘real world. —Kathryn Densmore, ’07, European studies
Besides the rigorous three-semester Core program, students are also expected to take a
wide variety of general elective courses, including at least one course in letters, social
sciences, natural sciences with a lab, fine arts, women’s studies, and race and ethnic studies.
Many students find they can count most courses for up to two requirements (for example,
the course “Women and Music” would count for both women’s studies and fine arts).
Students must also take at least three semesters of foreign language and pass a precalculus
or statistics math course. During first-year orientation, entering students take placement
tests and can pass out of one or both of these requirements. While some find the requirements
to be daunting at first, some students take a course they wouldn’t have otherwise taken and
end up minoring or majoring in that very subject.
Joint Science Program
As a women’s college, Scripps prides itself on encouraging its students to pursue scientific
knowledge, whether that be in a nonmajor course such as “Energy and the
Environment” or through a major field of study such as chemistry, biology, physics, or neuroscience.
Students may also combine science majors or create one with a specific focus,
including bioethics or environmentalism. Courses are offered through the unique Joint
Science Program, linking the resources of Scripps, Pitzer, and Claremont McKenna
Colleges to offer an outstanding, comprehensive education in the sciences.
The high level of thought that occurs in the science program can be seen through the
Scripps students who produce award-winning research projects at conferences across the
country. At an international conference on chromosomes last winter, one Scripps student presenter
won an award typically given to graduate students. The projects undertaken by science
majors ensure that upon graduation, students are more than prepared to pursue higher education
in the sciences or continue on to medical school.
One of the strengths of the Scripps academic program
is the ability for students to dual or double
major in vastly different fields. Interested in neurobiology
and studio art? Not only can a student major
in both, but she would be expected to explore relevant
connections between the two. Students also
take advantage of the ability to create their own
majors, with recent conceptions like bioethics and
commercial communication and design.
No matter what their majors, all students must
complete a senior thesis. For a chemistry major, this
could mean undertaking a major experiment and then
writing and presenting the results. English majors usually
write at least sixty pages on any topic in literature
(one recent grad wrote hers on Harry Potter).
Requirements across disciplines vary, but in all cases the
thesis must be a substantial undertaking, bringing
together the knowledge and know-how of the previous
three years of study.
Over 55 percent of Scripps students choose to
study off-campus sometime during their junior
year for one or both semesters. The Office of Off-Campus Study offers approved programs
in every continent (with the exception of Antarctica). While some programs require a certain
language proficiency, many others teach language skills in the host country. Foreign
language majors must study abroad for at least one semester in order to meet their graduation
The Office of Off-Campus Study guides students throughout the whole process from narrowing
down continent and country options to deciding on whether a home-stay or dorm life
is the best option for any particular student. Because of the extensive application process that
Scripps requires, almost all Scripps students are accepted to their program of choice.
The Scripps College Humanities Institute
Knowledge knows no bounds when it
comes to the Scripps College Humanities
Institute. The institute is focused around
interdisciplinary studies, focusing specifically
on a different theme for each semester.
Each theme brings prominent scholars
and speakers to campus. “The New
Documentary Impulse,” for example,
brought documentary filmmakers, war
photographers, and radio journalists to
campus to speak on the topic. Authors,
think tank founders, activists, and artists
have frequently been invited in other
While most institutes restrict their
fellowships to graduate students, the
Scripps Humanities Institute is unique in
inviting undergraduate students to become
Junior Fellows for a semester. Between
ten and fifteen students are selected,
meeting every week to discuss aspects of
the theme as well as meeting with the
speakers personally. While other classes
may dally on what exactly an author meant
in a sentence, Junior Fellows get the
chance to ask the author herself.
No matter what program a student chooses, she
pays Scripps tuition, room, and board and in return
the Office of Off-Campus Study covers the host program’s
tuition, room, and board as well as the cost of
airfare to the host city. The Off-Campus Study program
is anything but a semester long vacation—not only
must students enroll in the equivalent of a full course
load at Scripps, but all grades earned at the host institution
are transferred as letter grades on the Scripps
transcript. All the hard work generally pays off, and
students come back more independent, mature, and
culturally aware than they were before they left.
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is
appropriately housed in a stucco building
near the art department building on the
Scripps campus and houses nearly 7,500
art pieces. Selections from the collection,
including works by impressionist artist
Mary Cassatt and Japanese artist
Chikanobu, are put on view throughout the
year in conjunction with themed gallery
Every year the gallery hosts the
Scripps College Ceramics Annual, the
longest running exhibition of contemporary
ceramics in the country. Artists’ works
are selected from across the country, and
students are always invited to the opening
reception and encouraged to attend the
gallery throughout the year.
Scripps art students also make use of
the gallery in April during the annual
senior art show, showcasing the significant
projects that senior art majors
Most Popular Fields of Study
Gaining admission to Scripps becomes more and more competitive each year with over
1,931 applications sent in for the 253 spots in the class of 2012. Even before being admitted,
however, each student is thought of as an individual who has the potential to enhance the
Scripps community. The admission committee looks over each application a minimum of three
times before any final decisions are made in hopes that the students admitted will become a
truly unique and cohesive class come fall. The Dean of Admission has described this process
as building a kaleidoscope, picking the brightest of all the beautiful pieces and colors.
Scripps enrolls students from all over the world, including women from Bangladesh,
China, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. This speaks to the commitment the
college has made to establish a campus of diverse identities and ideas. The admission committee
seeks out women with different cultural, economic, and political backgrounds in hopes that
each woman’s unique perspective will enhance the community as a whole.
Less than two percent of all college graduates come from women’s
colleges. I wanted to experience the road less traveled.
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to securing a spot, applicants
should show what they have to offer the campus intellectually and personally. Successful applicants
usually have taken a rigorous high school course load including four years of English,
three or more years of social sciences, at least three years of one or two foreign languages, three
years of science, and three years of math. Students with a special talent or skill are encouraged
to submit writing samples, art slides, or other additional materials that show off their abilities.
In addition to the standard application materials, Scripps requires two letters of recommendation
from teachers and one from a guidance counselor. These should be written by
teachers who know the student on a more personal level and can relate what she has to offer
the collegiate community. To get a better sense of who an applicant truly is, the admissions
committee also asks each student to list all the books she has read over the past year. This gives
the committee a chance to see what engages a student and what she enjoys learning about.
Of course, applicants must also submit their SAT or ACT scores and are encouraged to
submit any SAT II subject tests they may have taken. Over the past few years, Scripps has
enrolled more National Merit Scholars than any other women’s college in the country, with
twenty-four choosing to enroll in the class of 2012.
Prospective students interested in experiencing life as a Scripps student are welcome
to stay overnight in a residence hall and attend classes with a current Scripps student in addition
to the standard student-led tour of the campus. Interviews with an admissions counselor
are not required but are strongly encouraged and are available for scheduling at both on- and
Scripps offers two Early Decision deadlines, the first on November 1 and the second on
January 1. Those applying under the earliest deadline should be notified as to their
acceptance no later than December 15, while students applying under the January 1 deadline
should hear from Scripps by February 15. Applicants accepted under the Early Decision
program are expected to withdraw their applications for other colleges and enroll at Scripps.
In order to be considered for one of many merit scholarships, including the James E. Scripps
Scholarship worth half tuition for four years, applicants must submit their materials by
November 1. This deadline is separate from the Early Decision deadline and is completely
nonbinding. When choosing recipients of these scholarships, the admissions committee looks
for students who will become leaders and contributors to the Scripps community.
Over fifty-five percent of Scripps students
receive at least some type of financial aid, usually
awarded in a combination of grants, loans, and workstudy
funds. The average grant or scholarship award for
the 2008–2009 year was $24,161, with over $11 million
awarded in grants or scholarships. Scripps students
shoulder less debt than many other colleges with similar
Work-study jobs are very common on campus,
and students have no trouble finding a job that fits into their course schedule. Many jobs are
actually great resume builders, including internships in the offices of the President and the
Dean of Students, as well as the Development offices. The Motley Coffeehouse and Student
Store are also both completely student run and primarily work-study, offering managerial and
product development positions that can serve as great business experience.
To be considered for financial aid, students need to submit the CSS PROFILE and the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as signed copies of the most recent
federal income tax return and W-2 forms for both the student and the student’s parents. The
PROFILE only needs to be completed once, but the FAFSA must be completed each year for
financial aid consideration.
Scripps offers a monthly payment plan that allows tuition payments to be made over the
course of eight months.
Student Financial Aid Details
The center of Scripps activities is located above
the dining hall in SARLO (shortened from
Student Activities and Residential Life Office).
SARLO is the hub of Scripps Associated Students, or
student council, as well as many of the other student organizations. It’s also the place to go
if you want to start your own club and need the paperwork to get it approved in order to
receive funds from the college.
SARLO regularly organizes trips to Pasadena, Disneyland, the beach, and musicals in
Hollywood, all usually at reduced prices. Students who file their driver’s license on record can
also apply to check out one of the two Scripps vans to organize their own excursions around
Plenty of outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding are offered by SOAP
(Scripps Outdoors Activities Program) and are open to all Scripps students. Outdoor gear like
tents and cooking supplies can be checked out from the SOAP office for a small refundable
deposit for students interested in taking weekend camping trips to Joshua Tree National Park
or the beach.
Students are also free to make use of the fivecollege
resources such as the Office of Black Student
Affairs, the Chicano Latino Office of Student Affairs,
and the Office of the Chaplains, which offers weekly
Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish services. Each office
plans events throughout the year and offers mentoring
and advising to any student who requests it.
Housing on campus has been cozy over the past
couple of years in part because the Scripps residence
halls are consistently named some of the most beautiful in the country and attract
most students to live on campus year after year. Of the nine residence halls, four are listed
in the National Register of Historic Places. Some students prefer the storage space and
bathroom amenities of the newer dorms, but many can’t resist the charm and mythology of
the older buildings.
Accommodations vary from standard-issue double rooms, to suite-style living, to apartments
for students who want to try their hand at cooking. Most first-year students live in double
or triple rooms, but juniors and sometimes even sophomores can land a single room.
Almost every room has its own sink, and many rooms on campus have an attached bathroom.
Students who are particularly interested in Spanish, French, German, or Italian have
the option of living in one of four language corridors. Most of the rooms in the language halls
are single rooms, but residents must sign an agreement to speak only the specified language
when interacting with anyone else in the corridor.
The European Union Center
Dedicated to expanding the knowledge and
understanding of the countries of Europe,
the European Union Center of California is
based at the Scripps campus and brings
influential speakers to discuss foreign policy
and international affairs involving the
European Union. The center hosts an
annual state of the EU address and offers
internships and research grants to students
interested in working in the field of
Weekend Social Life
While the small town of Claremont has plenty of boutiques and coffee shops to fill any
Saturday or Sunday afternoon, many students find the nightlife of Pasadena and Los
Angeles more compelling. But for those without access to a car, the Claremont Colleges provide
plenty to do on campus. Every weekend, one of the Claremont Colleges hosts at least
one party, often focused around a seasonal theme. Scripps hosts an annual Oktoberfest
party held in the courtyard of the Humanities building, as well as a handful of other parties
throughout the year.
Outside of the party scene, each campus regularly has film screenings, performances,
concerts, or college-organized weekend excursions to satisfy any taste. One of the five-college favorites is the improv group Without a Box that puts
on monthly shows on Friday or Saturday nights at a different
campus for each performance.
Even with all the activities available, many students
find the weekend a perfect time to catch up on
homework or just relax at the Motley or the pool.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Southern California weather provides the perfect environment for students of all
athletic inclinations. NCAA Division III varsity sports are offered in conjunction with
Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd Colleges, with students from all three schools coming
together to form a joint Claremont-Mudd-Scrips team. In total, nineteen teams
comprise the CMS program. Female sports teams use the Athenas as their mascot, while
the male teams are known as the Stags. Since the inception of the CMS women’s teams into
the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), the program has won fifty-five SCIAC titles, the second most out of all
SCIAC schools. The other two Claremont Colleges,
Pomona and Pitzer, also share an athletic program,
which creates quite the rivalry when CMS plays the
Pomona-Pitzer team around homecoming.
Pick-up intramural sports are offered across the
five colleges and have proved to be a reliable way of getting
to know other students at the Claremont Colleges.
Thanks to a revitalized interest in the program, the
intramural program has become more than just volleyball
and flag football and has started to include Texas
Hold ’Em tournaments and bowling championships
each semester. The program coordinator is also always
open to student suggestions and is constantly adding
new activities to interest participants.
Students that like to do their own athletic activities
can make use of our new 24,000-square-foot
recreational athletic facility. The Sallie Tierman Field
House contains cardio machines, weight rooms, an aerobics studio, and a yoga room, as well
as a lacrosse field.
Many students run in the open space trials just north of the colleges and others enjoy
swimming in the 25-meter outdoor pool, regularly staffed with lifeguards.
Continuing an age-old Scripps tradition,
students gather around the Seal Court
fountain (named for the two seals who
grace the lily pads with a steady stream of
water) every Wednesday and enjoy afternoon
tea. In addition to the hot tea, hot
chocolate, and flavored punches available
for imbibing, the Malott Commons caters
the weekly event with a new confection
every week, whether it be cupcakes, cookies,
or chocolate fondue. To keep it on the
healthy side, vegetables plates with inventive
dips are also available.
The tradition is far from a formal
affair, but it provides a tasty break for
socializing midweek. The event is usually
sponsored by a different campus group or
office each week, providing students with
useful information and other free goodies.
Ellen Browning Scripps, the founder of the
college, wanted desperately to visit the first
entering Scripps class in 1927. But by that
time, she was ninety-two years old and in
no condition to travel. So instead, the first
Scripps class each wrote their names and
hometowns in a book and sent it down to
La Jolla where Ms. Scripps lived.
That tradition has continued with
entering students signing their name and
hometown in a hand-bound book in the
Denison library. The main steel doors of
the library are only opened twice a year,
once for new students to enter and sign,
and again at graduation when students
leave through the doors, glancing at their
signed name on their way out. The ceremony
represents the four years spent
inside an institution of learning, and
hopefully concludes with students exiting
more enriched and enlightened
With a friendly and resourceful Career Planning
Resources (CP&R) office, Scripps gives its students
the chance to get a headstart on post-Scripps life. The
office offers tips on searching for jobs and applying to
graduate schools and even provides the opportunity
for a student to participate in a videotaped mock interview
so she can get an idea of how she is presenting
herself to prospective employers. A conference entitled
“Life After Scripps” is presented for all students
each year to get a glimpse of future possibilities. The
CP&R Office also offers an alumnae networking service
called “Life Connections” that allows any current student to contact alumnae who may be
working in her particular field of interest.
A number of Scripps students are awarded the most prestigious national fellowships
each year, including the Watson Fellowship, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Rotary
Ambassadorial Scholarship, and the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Many seniors apply to graduate programs across the country and are accepted into
some of the most prestigious Masters and Ph.D. programs in the world. Scripps women are
also accepted to law and medical schools in high numbers. Recent grads are currently working
on pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Oxford, California Institute of
Technology, Duke University Law School, and Columbia University.
Scripps students are successful when it comes to job hunting as well. According to the
survey that the CP&R office sends out to recent graduates, approximately fifty percent of graduates
who start their job search during the spring of their senior year have a job by graduation.
Scripps College also has an energetic and active alumnae association that plans frequent
reunions and social events throughout the country. Former Scripps students are always
opening their doors to other former and current Scripps students, providing homes away from
home across the entire world.
- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
- CBS Contributing Correspondent
- Director of Editorial Operations for
Hearst Magazines Ellen Levine
- Best-selling Author Molly Ivins
- Artist Alison Saar
- Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether
- Humanitarian Tanya Tull
- Anonymous 4 Musician Marsha
- Former White House Chief Counsel