The Scripps Experience: Beyond the Elms, The Off–Campus Major at Scripps

CLAREMONT, California - April 4, 2016

Maria Newman ’16

5c option

Though I have taken the majority of my classes at the other Claremont Colleges, made lasting friendships on other campuses, and taken advantage of coed 5C clubs, when I graduate this May, I will proudly proclaim that I attended a women’s college. From the moment I set foot on campus, Scripps was my home, and the past four years have only cemented my feeling of belonging. Every courtyard, secret garden, and fountain has a fond memory attached to it. Yet when I cross the street to one of the other four Claremont Colleges, I feel many of the same deep connections.

In my sophomore year, it came time to decide a major, and I was torn between impractical combinations of double majors and triple minors, as I tried to incorporate all the things I was interested in. When I discovered politics, philosophy, and economics (PPE) through Pomona College, I knew I had found the right fit for me. Scripps supported me in this endeavor, and I had both a Scripps and Pomona academic adviser during all four years. My senior thesis, too, has been supported by professors and departments at both schools and influenced by the courses I have taken across the consortium. While other colleges may offer off-campus majors, the ease with which I was able to accomplish this is unique to the Claremont Colleges.

PPE is a sixteen-course major and offers few opportunities for double-counting courses, as can be done in other majors. I found having more required courses to be beneficial, though, because of the interdisciplinary nature of PPE. I was often required to take a course in all three major departments during a single semester, and I was consistently amazed by how well they complimented each other—I found myself using philosophical argument structures to describe political issues, or analyzing legal cases with economic or philosophical reasoning.

I also found myself drawing on the required first-year Scripps courses I took—Core and Writing 50. Growing up with three older brothers and being in nearly constant co-ed environments, I was surprised how much I benefited from a women’s college setting. I hadn’t known I was holding myself back, but now, as I jumped to offer my ideas and opinions, I realized how silent I had been in previous classes. This lesson carried over to government classes at Claremont McKenna College and philosophy classes at Pomona College, and I was proud of my ability to participate more confidently, and the the respect with which my voice was met by my professors.

And, no matter how far I strayed, in my major or my social life, I always had Scripps to come home to. My school, and the women who inhabit it, are a constant comfort and inspiration for me. I always joke that the competitive admissions process weeds out all boring people, and it’s true. Everyone I’ve met has some unique interest or passion; they are all strong and smart and make you endlessly proud to be a Scripps woman. As one of my classmates put it to me recently, “I saw three of the most passionate, beautiful, and strong women I know choose Scripps, and I realized there was something special going on there, and that I wanted to be a part of it.”

As I prepare to graduate from Scripps this May, I am becoming increasingly grateful for the academic path Scripps offered me. As a Scripps student with a Pomona major, I am able to tap into both schools’ alumni networks and make connections where I may not have been able to otherwise. The Scripps alumnae have a shared experience of the Core program, and we have lived in the same beautiful residence halls. The Pomona alumni know the names of my favorite professors and have had friends in my major. Yet regardless of a specific major or courses taken, any graduate of the Claremont Colleges knows the rigor, value, and magic of this place, and the opportunities and advantages it brings.