Is Scripps College a Good School?

If you plan to attend an all-women’s liberal arts college, it’s not unlikely for Scripps College to be on your list. And now you are on the hunt for pieces of information to help you figure out whether or not it’s a good school, thus allowing you to decide if you should send an application to it or another institution.

Scripps College is a good school in that it’s part of the Claremont Colleges, a group of five undergraduate and two graduate schools, patterned after Oxford University’s design. Scripps is a part of a big university that provides the specialization and personal attention a small institution offers.

US News ranks Scripps College number 28 in National Liberal Arts Colleges, number 82 in Best Value Schools, and number 178 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

So, in other words, Scripps is a well-ranking school.

Read on if you cannot decide if it’s the right school for you.

Below you will come across some of the most important matters you need to know about Scripps before sending an application to it — from its brief history, GPA requirement, available decision plans, notable alumni to how it fares compared with other schools.

Hopefully, by the time you get to the end of this article, you will have a solid decision.

A Brief History of Scripps College

In 1926, Scripps College was founded by Ellen Browning Scripps, a philanthropist, businesswoman, reporter and traveler. She was already 89 years old when she established the all-women’s liberal arts college.

scripps college
Wikimedia Commons

Besides the school, she also founded many other things from the bequest from her late grandfather and savings from her salary as a schoolteacher.

For instance, together with her brother, E.W. Scripps, she established what would become the largest chain of newspapers in the US.

Ellen Browning Scripps also supported a vast number of scientific and educational endeavors. Some of them include the San Diego Zoo, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and Scripps Clinic.

She also purchased land on which not only Scripps College boomed but also provided space for the founding of other member schools of Claremont Colleges, such as Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer Colleges.

It’s due to this why Ellen Browning Scripps appeared on the cover of Time magazine in February 1926.

Here are some quick facts you need to know about Scripps…

  • Location: Claremont, California
  • Campus type: Suburban
  • Size: 32 acres
  • Education system: Liberal
  • School type: Private liberal arts women’s college
  • Reputation: Non-party school
  • Motto: Incipit Vita Nova (here begins the new life)
  • Number of majors: 65+
  • Best majors: Social Sciences, Psychology, Communication, Journalism, Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Selectivity: Selective
  • Average class size: Less than 20 students in 75% of classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Retention rate: 92%
  • Graduation rate: 84%
  • Colors: Green and white
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division III
  • Mascot: La Semeuse
  • Sports: Basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, water polo, swimming, diving, cross country, and track and field

What is the Acceptance Rate at Scripps College?

The acceptance rate at Scripps College is 32%, making it a selective liberal arts college for women. Due to this, the school only has 1,082 full-time undergraduate students (academic year 2019 to 2020). However, Scripps is the easiest of all Claremont Colleges undergraduate schools to get into.

Checking out the acceptance rate of a school will give you an idea of your chances of getting admitted into it.

As a general rule, the higher the acceptance rate, the greater your likelihood of receiving an acceptance letter from the school. With an acceptance rate of 32%, you have a good chance of gaining admission into Scripps College, provided that your application is strong enough in the eyes of the school’s admissions officers.

Earlier, it was mentioned that Scripps is one of the seven institutions that make up Claremont Colleges. Of the seven, Scripps is one of the five undergraduate schools, and it’s the easiest to get into.

Here are the acceptance rates at each of the five Claremont Colleges undergraduate schools:

Pomona College7.4%
Claremont McKenna College10.3%
Harvey Mudd College13.67%
Pitzer College13.7%
Scripps College32%
Claremont Colleges Acceptance Rates

What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Scripps College?

To gain admission into Scripps College, applicants should have GPAs of 4.12 at least. The school prefers to admit students who are at the top of their high school class, having mostly A’s across the board. Having taken various challenging AP or IB classes to show college readiness is a huge plus.

Scripps is number 28 in the National Liberal Arts College ranking by US News.

Part of the reason why it’s a well-ranking all-women’s liberal arts college is that its students have high average GPAs. This is why you should have a minimum GPA of 4.12 if you want your application to the school to stand out.

As a matter of fact, 97.78% of its first-year students were in the top quarter of their high school class!

Worry not if your GPA is not that high.

That’s because it’s not the only part of an application that the school’s admissions office considers. According to Scripps College, it is committed to a holistic and thorough review of each and every application, taking into account more than a student’s academic performance.

Here are some other things that its holistic admissions process look for in first-year applicants:

  • Personal essay
  • Recommendation letters
  • Extracurricular activities

Does Scripps College Offer Early Decision?

Scripps College offers early decision (ED). It’s a great decision plan for students who are 100% sure that they want to go to the liberal arts college for women. With a smaller pool of applicants, it will be easier for students to make a good impression, increasing their chances of getting accepted.

As mentioned earlier, Scripps is the easiest Claremont Colleges undergraduate schools to gain admission into. That’s because it has an acceptance rate of 32%.

Consider applying to Scripps College earlier than everybody else if you are certain that it’s the school for you.

I’m currently a Freshman but I’m loving scripps and the 5Cs as a whole so much! Professors are knowledgable and willing to help, food is great, social life could be better as there isn’t much dorm culture but other than that people are friendly and clubs are great.

Freshman Review,

Send your application to the school on November 15 instead of January 5. Doing so will allow you to learn about the admissions officers’ decisions in the middle of December rather than by April 1.

Besides ED, the school also offers a second round of early decision (ED II). The deadline is the same as a regular decision (RD). However, you will be notified earlier — mid-February.

Many students apply ED I or ED II to increase their chances of receiving acceptance letters. If you want to jump on the bandwagon, it’s important to note that both ED I and ED II are binding. This means that you will have to withdraw your applications from other schools if Scripps College accepts you onto its campus.

Here are the various decision plans at Scripps to make sure you won’t miss any deadlines:

ED I15-NovMid-December15-Jan
ED II5-JanMid-February1-Mar
RD5-JanBy April 11-May

Does Scripps College Require SAT or ACT Scores?

Scripps College has a test-optional admissions policy. This means submitting SAT or ACT scores is completely optional. Applicants who do not submit their test scores will not be required to justify their decision. The scores of those who submit their SAT or ACT scores will be superscored by Scripps.

Are you unhappy with your SAT or ACT score? Then you may choose to keep your test score to yourself. That’s because submission of test scores is completely optional when applying to Scripps College.

Fret not that students who submit their SAT or ACT scores will have higher chances of gaining admission into the all-women’s liberal arts college than you.

According to the school itself, applicants who do not submit their test scores will not be disadvantaged in the review process. As a matter of fact, they will not be asked to explain themselves.

However, since not submitting your test score will leave Scripps College’s admissions officers with one less piece of information, they will focus on other parts of your application to get to know you better. It’s for this reason why having a strong application is a must if you will decide to not submit your SAT or ACT score.

If you took the SAT or ACT more than once and are happy with some of your section scores, consider submitting all your test scores. Scripps will consider only your highest section scores across all test dates and sum them up.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Scripps College?

The tuition at Scripps College, based on the academic year 2019 to 2020, amounts to $56,970. The tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. The total cost of going to Scripps for one academic year costs $77,588. The amount is lower for students living off-campus, which amounts to 6%.

According to the 2019 Best Value Schools (National Liberal Arts Colleges) ranking by US News, Scripps College is number 82. This means that it’s not the cheapest liberal arts college in the nation to go to.

Comparing Scripps with private institutions of higher education such as Harvey Mudd College, Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Pomona College cannot be avoided. After all, they are all members of Claremont Colleges, plus they share some facilities. Tuition-wise, Scripps College has the second most expensive tuition of all.

The following are the tuition costs at each of the five Claremont Colleges undergraduate schools:

Pomona College$54,762
Claremont McKenna College$56,190
Harvey Mudd College$60,402
Pitzer College$55,734
Scripps College$56,970
Claremont Colleges Tuition

Besides the tuition, the room and board cost is another reason why the total cost of attending Scripps for one academic year amounts to a whopping $77,588.

The school does not require its students to live on-campus. However, the majority of them choose to live on-campus. As mentioned earlier, only 6% of the population lives off-campus.

To paint you a better picture, here’s a breakdown of the total cost of going to Scripps College for a year:

Other fees$218
Room and board$17,600
Scripps Cost of Attendance

What Famous People Went to Scripps College?

Many whose names ring a bell were once students at Scripps College. Some of them became members of the US House of Representatives and judges of the US District Court. Some of them were Olympic gold medalists, authors of popular novels, editors of classic films, and hosts of popular TV shows.

The majority of students looking for the best colleges and universities for them are too caught up in checking out costs, acceptance rates, minimum GPA requirement, student-to-faculty ratio and other determining factors.

Not too many of them take a look at a school’s notable alumni. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the popular former students or graduates of an institution. This will give you an idea of the possibilities after getting your hands on your degree from a particular college or university.

Let’s check out some of Scripps College’s most notable ex-students or graduates:

  • Gabrielle Giffords. A gun-control advocate, Gabriele Giffords was the third woman in the history of Arizona to be elected to the US Congress. She was a member of the US House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012. In 1993, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Latin American History from Scripps College.
  • Nancy Neighbor Russell. Born in Portland, Oregon and a mother of five, Nancy Neighbor Russell was one of the principal figures responsible for the protection of the Columbia River Gorge as a National Scenic Area, an act signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. She graduated from Scripps in 1953.
  • Beth Nolan. A former law professor, Beth Nolan is George Washington University’s vice president and general counsel. During the Clinton administration, she was the president’s final White House Counsel. She was also the first-ever woman to hold the position. In 1973, she graduated from Scripps with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Molly Ivins. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice, Molly Ivins was a columnist for newspapers such as The Texas Observer and The New York Times. She started her career as the first female police reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune. In 1962, she attended Scripps College but transferred to Smith College.
  • Judith Keep. From 1991 to 1998, Judith Keep was a US District Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of California. She was nominated by President Jimmy Carter and confirmed by the US Senate in 1990. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and Literature from Scripps in 1966.
  • Jeanne DuPrau. A writer, Jeanne DuPrau is best known for a series of science fiction novels for young adults, The Books of Ember. One of the books in the series, The City of Ember, was turned into a film in 2008. In 1966, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Scripps College.
  • Anne Hopkins Aitken. One of the founders of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Anne Hopkins Aitken established the Honolulu Diamond Sangha, which was a major role player in the development of Zen in the West, together with her husband in 1959. She graduated from Scripps in 1932 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
  • Helene Mayer. Germany-born Helene Mayer had been referred to as the greatest female fencer of all time. Prior to migrating to the US because she was Jewish, she won the gold medal for fencing in the 1928 Olympics and the silver medal in the 1936 Olympics. In 1934, she earned a certificate in social work from Scripps College.
  • Dede Allen. A film editor, Dede Allen was considered by many major US film studios as a film editing doctor. She edited numerous classics, including Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Reds (1981). She studied weaving, pottery and architecture in Scripps but dropped out to start a job at Columbia Pictures as a messenger.
  • Serena Altschul. Born in New York City, Serena Altschul is well-known for her work on CBS and CNN. Many know her for being the anchor of MTV News as well as the host of shows such as MTV News: Unfiltered, Breaking It Down and True Life.  She attended Scripps College for a few years to study English Literature.

How Does Scripps College Compare With Other Schools?

Scripps College is better than other members of the Claremont Colleges. This is especially true when it comes to certain aspects, such as the acceptance rate. Scripps is also better than some other US liberal arts colleges in some ways, including especially all-women’s liberal arts colleges.

To determine which colleges and universities should be placed on the top of your list, it’s a good idea to compare the schools on your mind with each other, weighing the pros and cons of going to them.

I ruined my academic career going here. Don’t recommend you go unless you want to be surrounded by prep school kids who paid at least 20k to go to high school and try to hide their privilege. Academics are okay. Some professors are legitimate, but most give false impression of learning in order to facilitate some bs sense of female empowerment. Classes are 7k each plus fees. Admin is very uncommunicative.

Sophomore Review,

College rankings are subjective, which is why one college ranking site has a different number one school than another site.

Although it’s fine to check out college rankings when figuring out which schools you should apply to, consider coming up with your own ranking using criteria you find important.

Here’s how Scripps College fares against a few colleges and universities:

  • Is Scripps Better Than Harvey Mudd College? The cost of going to Scripps is cheaper than attending Harvey Mudd. However, more students at Harvey Mudd are getting financial aid — 70% vs. 55%. While Scripps has a much higher acceptance rate than Harvey Mudd, it has a higher GPA requirement — 4.12 vs. 3.96.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Claremont McKenna College? Claremont McKenna has slightly cheaper tuition than Scripps. However, the retention rate at Scripps is higher — 92% vs. 87%. As a general rule, the higher the retention rate, the happier first-year students are with their college experience.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Pitzer College? Attending Pitzer is slightly cheaper than going to Scripps. However, when it comes to majors being offered, you have more choices at Scripps — 65+ vs. 40+. But because Pitzer has an acceptance rate of 13.7% only, you have higher chances of getting accepted to Scripps.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Pomona College? There are more students going to Pomona. Still, it has a better student-to-faculty ratio than Scripps — 8:1 vs. 10:1. What’s more, the sticker price of Scripps is higher. The good news is that Scripps has a higher acceptance rate than Pomona, which means better admission chances.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Mount Holyoke College? When it comes to campus size, Mount Holyoke is the clear winner — 800 acres vs. 32 acres. Compared to Scripps, Mount Holyoke has cheaper tuition and a higher acceptance rate. But in most liberal arts college rankings, Scripps tends to rank higher than Mount Holyoke.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Vassar College? Besides having better chances of gaining admission into Scripps, it’s less likely for you to end up being deep in college debts because it has a cheaper COA than Vassar. However, Vassar has a higher retention rate (96% vs. 92%) and graduation rate (91.1% vs. 84%) than Scripps.
  • Is Scripps Better Than Barnard College? Scripps has a larger campus size than Barnard — 32 acres vs. 4 acres. Also, it offers more majors than Barnard. It’s true that attending Barnard is cheaper than Scripps. However, the chances of gaining admission into it are lower as it has an acceptance rate of 11.8% only.


If you are considering attending one of the member schools of Claremont Colleges and you are not that confident with your application, apply to Scripps College. That’s because it has the highest acceptance rate among the various institutions associated with the consortium.

However, the acceptance rate is not the only consideration when choosing a college or university.

Above, we talked about a variety of admissions-related matters about Scripps. We also compared it with different US schools, including especially liberal arts colleges.

Take your time when deciding whether Scripps College is the school for you or not to have the most life-changing college experience and degree.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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