An Interview On
Scripps College

Background

Interview Date:December 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school outside of Seattle, WA with a graduating class of about 300 students. There was not a strong culture of going to college. A lot of people went to community colleges and technical institutes, but there was also a portion who went to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Biology
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I am a building manager at the gym. I’m in a club called Food Network where we take extra food from the dining hall and deliver it to shelters. I also volunteer at a hospital with the COPE Health Scholars. I did Mock Trial for two years but had to stop because it was too much time.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Working at the field house has because I’m friends with everyone that I work with and it’s kind of like a family. I think students should try to get a job on campus somewhere – not necessarily at the field house – because it really does help with the community and the friends you make here. At least in my experience, I wouldn’t have met a lot of the people.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your Biology major?
It’s a lot of labs and exams. I’m also doing my thesis right now which takes up a lot of time because I’m doing the research component now. In general, it’s a lot of studying and I probably did around 20 hours of studying a week.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
A lot of the professors at Keck are visiting professors that stay for three or four years, which is not a good thing because it’s hard to get letters of recommendation and create a relationship with them. But, in the upper-level courses, there are more tenured professors and professors on the track for tenure, so they are here longer and have labs that you can work in and things like that. The professors that I’ve been able to make connections with have been instrumental in my time here. Overall, I’ve loved all of my professors, even the visiting professors I really liked and I felt sad they were going. Except maybe one or two, I haven’t had any bad Biology professors.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
I found it pretty collaborative. A lot of people want you to do well and people will often work together in class, which is something I really enjoy and take part in.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Developmental Biology. I loved the professors and he’s my thesis coordinator now. I found something in my class last semester with him and he took the initiative and asked if I wanted to keep working on it for my thesis. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to do for my thesis so it was kind of a relief.

What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Biochemistry just because I have never worked so hard in a class and had zero return. The professor was also kind of condescending, but that could just be my taken on him, so I was scared to go to office hours. I guess that’s the only bad professor I’ve had.

How accessible are your professors?
Again, except maybe one or two, they’re all pretty accessible. Like, I see a lot of them in the dining halls and things like that. They’re all super open to questions, have office hours, and all know your name. I haven’t had any issues with getting letters of recommendation or getting to know them because our classes are so small so they allow you to get to know the professors. They know you and you’re not just a number.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I came into college as a Chemistry major because I want to go to medical school later on, so I knew I had to do something in the sciences. Scripps has a lot of general education requirements and for Chemistry I had to take too many math classes which made it not worth it to me. I switched to Biology and I’m really happy with my choice.

How was transitioning academically as a freshman? Were there any academic resources that were helpful in making that transition?
That was a more difficult transition because my high school was not rigorous at all, so when I came here I definitely had a little bit of a culture shock in that sense. I have ADHD, so I went to the Academic Resource Office and they set it up so I can have time and a half on my exams, which is super helpful. I also got a note taker in my classes, so I can just go a pick up the notes, which is really nice because I miss a lot of stuff when I take my own notes.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Routt Hall in a triple. Our room was white cinder block walls so it reminded me of an insane asylum.

Sophomore: Dorsey Hall in a single. I liked that room because it looked out onto a courtyard and I had natural lighting.

Junior & Senior: Single in Kimberly Hall. I love that because there are only two rooms sharing one bathroom. There was also an A/C unit in my room, which is a blessing in Southern California.

How was transitioning from your hometown outside of Seattle to Claremont, CA?
It was different just because I didn’t have a car down here for my first three years and that was something I wasn’t used to. I was used to being able to leave whenever I wanted to go somewhere. It’s also really hot down here and that was something to get used to.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never felt unsafe ever. I always walk a lot of places alone or with headphones in. I’ve never felt unsafe, even not on the Claremont campuses.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
I really like Popeye’s [laughs].

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I don’t have a lot of time right now because I do hospital shifts during the week and am in class. I went to the Getty with my brother and that was really beautiful.

What are the pros and cons of being located in Claremont, CA?
Pros:
1) It’s sunny a lot of the year, which is really nice.
2) You can bike or walk into Claremont Village very easily. It’s really close and you can get everywhere super quick.

Cons:
1) It can get hot, but if you choose to go here that’s something you know coming in.
2) The town is really small and a lot of the people who live around Claremont are older, so it seems like a more conservative place. [About 32% of residents are 55 or older.]
3) If you want to go somewhere that’s not in Claremont, you have to sit in traffic.
4) There’s not a lot of public transport in Claremont, or L.A. There is a metro station, but that’s it.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
My first couple of years I went to the 5C parties because they have them every weekend usually. Now, I don’t really have a nightlife because I have my hospital shifts on Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday. I definitely would still be going to them if I didn’t have hospital shifts at 6 AM. It’s fun to go out and get dressed up for something.

Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year when you were less socially established?
You get ready with your friends in your room or somewhere else. Then you’d go to the event wherever it was. I then would always go get food at The Hub and go back to my room.

How happy are you with the nightlife options at Scripps? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think it’s great. I don’t have any real issues with it. The 5C parties are always on Saturdays and I wish they were on Fridays, but that’s just a dumb reason for myself.

What has been your favorite time at Scripps?
Study abroad because it was a nice way to get out and away from the Claremont Bubble. I just really like being outside of the U.S. too.

How helpful was the study abroad office?
I wouldn’t say they’re bad, but I don’t really know if they did a whole lot. They have a seminar that you have to go to with them and they have students that you can contact who did similar programs to you. I’ve had students contact me about my time abroad and I’ve tried to be helpful in that sense.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
My best friend is one of my freshman year roommates. My other friends I met in classes and in labs.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
All the sports here are Division III so there aren’t a ton of people who are super into athletics, which I like. It’s a very wealthy school, so some people like to show off their wealth. It’s a pretty White school as well. We just tend to go to the school parties on Saturdays and then there is usually something smaller in somebody’s room or something. A lot of people hang out in The Motley, which is our coffeehouse, and do work there. Everyone has their friend group here, but there’s not one large group. I know a lot of people in our senior class and recognize them. I’ll smile at them and say hi. It’s also a liberal arts school so it’s pretty left-leaning, which can be a little exhausting. Like, a girl posted a photo with Mike Pence and everybody went off on her. [43% of the undergraduate population are students of color, and 5% are international. Socioeconomically, 37% of the student body comes from the top 5%.]

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t think there is a huge barrier between different races or anything. I would say Scripps is a pretty inclusive and welcoming space in terms of those things. There’s a fair amount of mixing and it’s not a very segregated school at all.

Do you feel like you are more of a student of Scripps or a student of the Five College Consortium?
I would say a Scripps student, but it would depend on who I’m talking to.

What impact does the Five College Consortium have socially?
I really like being part of the consortium because you can take classes at any of the schools and get to know anybody at the schools. I have friends at all the schools, which I really enjoy.

Do people generally seem happy with Scripps by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
I think it depends on who you talk to. I personally like it here. I’m on a scholarship here, but it’s not a full ride. Knowing what I know now, I’m not 100% sure that I would have chosen Scripps for the cost of education versus going to a school that maybe would have given me a full ride, but that’s just my thing. It’s just a very expensive school and I sometimes wonder how it would have been to go to a school that gave me a full scholarship. [Total costs for 2019-2020 are $74,788.]

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I haven’t really used it. I already have my plan to go to medical school figured out, so maybe when I graduate I’ll use it.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve never gone, but that’s just because I haven’t heard great things. But, I actually haven’t been so I can’t really say anything about it. I also already have a pre-health advisor, and she’s been really great and helpful with everything that I’ve needed, so that’s another reason that I haven’t really needed to go to the career office.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I learned to code in R in Biostatistics, but I don’t know if that will help me at all.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
I really like this outdoors study spot at Harvey Mudd on the roof of the Shanahan Center.

Reasons to attend Scripps:
1) The small classrooms. The largest class I’ve been in here was about 30-35 people. Your professors get to know you, you’re comfortable going to office hours, and they notice when you’re not in class. [In 2018-2019, there were 4 classes with 30-39 students and none larger.]
2) The community you can gain by working an on-campus job.
3) It’s really beautiful in California. It’s also made me realize how much I like where I’m from and I now know that I want to live in my home state and not in California.
4) I’ve loved the professors I’ve built relationships with and they want you to do well.
5) It’s a really collaborative environment and not high pressure between the students.

Reasons to not attend Scripps:
1) The cost. [Total costs for 2019-2020 are $74,788.]
2) There are a lot of students who pay full price, and I don’t understand how they do that. [About 58% of students receive scholarship or grant aid.]
3) It can feel like Scripps just wants to make money and a lot of the reasons they won’t let you do things are based on money. For example, we have senior apartments and you normally don’t have to be on the meal plan if you live there. But, this year they’re making people be on the five-meal plan. I also tried to get off the meal plan because I have migraines and my doctor suggested it might be a diet issue. I submitted a doctor’s note and requested to get off the meal-plan, and they denied the request. [See The Student Life article, “Don’t Swipe My Swipes: Advocating for Fair Meal Plans.”
4) It’s a very White school with people predominantly in the upper-class, which is frustrating. All my friends have their parent’s credit card and go out to dinner all the time, and that’s just not something I can do. A lot of times they don’t get that I can’t go, but I also have some friends that do. [43% of the undergraduate population are students of color, and 5% are international Socioeconomically, 37% of the student body comes from the top 5%.]
5) We don’t have amazing mental health resource access. [See The Student Life article, “5C Students Question Quality of Mental Health Resources.]

Notice: Scripps College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Scripps College.

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