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Incoming Freshmen Starter Pack!

Going to college is full of mixed feelings - excitement, nervousness, and fear of the unknown. The Forum is here to help you ease that fear, and prepare you for the first semester of your home for the next four years.

First up, packing tips!

  • A lot of students buy fridges and microwaves, but CMC is now providing microfridges in all CMC dorm rooms free of charge! A microfridge is a combination appliance which includes a refrigerator and a freezer with a connected microwave on top

  • Reach out and coordinate with your roommate(s) and decide who is bringing the TV, PlayStation or couch.

  • If you’re living in North Quad, make sure to bring a fan (or two), as the dorms are not air-conditioned and it gets unbearably hot.

  • Make sure to buy all the bedding you need and don’t forget memory foam! Freshmen may not bring their own beds to campus. The College provides beds, desks, desk chairs, dressers and the only furniture you can request to be removed from your room are the desk chairs. You can submit a Work Order for your preferred bed height. A lot of people choose Height 3, which allows for under-bed storage space. But keep in mind - the new microfridges will only fit under Level 3.5.

  • If you are currently living in North America, you can contact your local Bed, Bath and Beyond store to place an order for items you’ll need at school, and they’ll be waiting for you to pick up at their Claremont store.

    • By asking a couple of questions, the Bed Bath & Beyond website can also create a customized college checklist for you:

    • Remember to use your college ID/email to avail discounts at stores

  • There will also be a Re-Room sale at the beginning of the semester on campus where previously used items will be put up for sale.

  • If you want a drying rack, wait for the Eco-reps to send out an email where you can rent one for the entire semester.

  • You’ll want to put up pictures and posters so remember to buy wall-safe adhesives or push pins. Lights, tapestries and other decorative items can be purchased on Amazon, Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.

    • Amazon Prime Student offers a free six month discount for college students

Tips for International Students

  • Remember to bring converter plugs if you’re going to be using appliances from your home country

  • Bring some medicines from home

  • Your international orientation leaders will organize a free bus ride to Target,so you can pick up items that you may have forgotten

  • The orientation leaders also organize a trip to Bank of America in the Claremont village so that you can open your bank account.

  • The orientation will have various stalls - including an AT&T stall, so you can get a US sim card and buy a plan at a discounted rate

    • Consider the possibility of a family plan to save some money!


  • Don’t be shy to ask your First Year Guides, RAs, International Orientation Leaders, Affinity Group leaders and any other upperclassmen for advice about specific classes, majors, and professors!

  • Locate your classrooms before the first day of classes so you don’t get lost or late

  • Set your phone on Do Not Disturb during class

  • If a class you’re trying to get into is already full, you can send a Permission to Enroll (PERM) request. But, always follow it up with a personal email to the professor!

  • Look at Rate My Professor for feedback on which professor to pick. However, don’t rely solely on the website for advice - reach out to your upperclassmen friends and ask about their experiences as well.

  • Compare prices before you buy books for your classes. Look at Chegg, Amazon and The Huntley Bookstore - most places offer rental options as well. Sometimes you can also access free online PDFs.

  • The 5C Book Exchange is also a great resource to buy second-hand books, and The CARE Center offers free textbook rental via Nextdorm

General tips

  • Do your laundry on weekdays - it’s almost always empty!

  • Attend the welcome events - they might be cheesy, but they’re a great way to meet new people

  • If you’re going out, use the buddy system and keep in touch with your friends. Make sure there’s someone to take care of you if something happens.

  • Get to know your professors and go to office hours. You’re at a school with small class sizes, take advantage of that!

  • Develop a relationship with your academic advisor. They are going to help you navigate classes throughout your college career. If you want a different advisor, talk to the registrar.

  • Plan ahead! Use G-Cal, buy a planner, or use any other planning tool. They’re a great way to stay on top of your workload.

    • Read your syllabus and put the important dates (midterms, quizzes) in your calendar

  • Make friends with the people in your classes. It helps to have a study group during midterms and finals.

  • Go to tutoring sessions even if you don’t have questions. It helps to hear other’s questions.

  • Go to the Club Fair and talk to the people at the stalls. There’s nothing to lose by adding your name to a mailing list!

  • Exercise! Go for a jog, do some yoga or check out the recreational classes at Roberts Pavilion.

  • Explore all the dining halls. Collins, Frary, and Scripps are the closest, but Mudd has the best Pad Thai! You can look at the Collins menu on their website.

  • Visit LA. The best way to get there is via the Metrolink which is walking distance from college. The ticket is just $5.50 for students and takes you to Union Station, which is in Downtown LA. You can download the Metrolink App, or buy your tickets at the station.

  • Remember to call home, your family misses you!

College Programming Board (CPB) Events!

  • Barn Party: September 2

    • A night of line dancing, eating and mechanical bull-riding awaits!

  • Social Sunday Snack: September 8

    • Yummy snacks and a chance to speak to the CPB members! They will also hand out calendars with all their upcoming events. Make sure to be there!

  • Terrarium Making: September 12

    • Your side looking a bit drab compared to your roommate’s? Decorate and create your own succulent garden!

  • Earth Wind and Fire Concert: September 14

    • Yes, CPB takes you for free to concerts in LA. Sign up as soon as the link goes live!

  • Dodgers Game: September 20

    • Go watch a Dodgers Game… for FREE! Remember to sign up on time - CPB will send out an email with details.

  • Dinner and Drag: September 26

    • Amazing performances and dinner! What more could you ask for?

  • CPB plans events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so look out for emails from them!


  • 6:01: First week of school

    • As soon as the clock strikes 6:01 pm, dry week is officially over. Head to Green Beach on Parents Field and celebrate the beginning of the semester at CMC! Pace yourself, and remember to stay hydrated.

  • Mistletoe Rock: December

    • It’s the last party before finals week, so let loose and enjoy yourself at CMC’s annual Christmas party before you’re pulling all-nighters for Econ 50.

  • The Vice President of Student Activities will send out a weekly Party Inform to the student body, so look out for the events of the week in your inbox.

  • If you’re interested in hosting an event, shoot out an email to the VPSA (Chandler Koon ‘20), and the events crew will help you set up and manage the event!


  • Soll Center for Student Opportunity! Don’t have a resume? No worries! They take walk-ins as well as appointments. Browse their website and familiarize yourself with their services.

  • Roberts Pavillion. This is the gym shared between CMC, Harvey Mudd and Scripps! They offer free recreational classes throughout the week, look out for the schedule in your inbox.

  • The CARE Center hosts weekly events that focus on a variety of topics concerning identity (race, religion, sexuality, etc.) which provide a space for dialogue, collaboration, and expression. You can also rent study rooms, eat a quick snack, or play the latest Wii games!

  • The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Sign up for talks at the Ath and enjoy a tasty lunch/dinner while listening to engaging lectures which allow for questions at the end. If you don’t have time for the meal, you can simply attend the talk. The Ath also offers paid opportunities for students to work as servers or help in the kitchen - a fun and easy way to make some money!

  • Academic Success Consultants. Struggling with your workload? Don’t worry. The Academic Success Consultants help you manage your academics and develop strategies to ensure you achieve your goals at CMC.

  • CMC Advocates are students that serve as a confidential resource to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and assist them through their healing process. They have a 24/7 hotline for survivors and their allies: 909-377-2400. Advocates also plan educational events that promote consent and healthy relationships on campus!

  • Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (A 5C Resource). MCAPS offers the first 6 therapy sessions for free, and is on call 24x7.

  • Claremont Mckenna College’s social media platforms! Subscribe to the YouTube channel to get an inside look at the college. Follow the Instagram page to stay up to speed with the latest news.

  • Follow the CMC Forum on Instagram @thecmcforum and like our page on Facebook to receive updates on the newest articles. Go through the articles on our website to get a feel of the latest news around the school.

Lastly, have fun! College is supposed to be the best time of your life so step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and get involved in whatever catches your eye. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, speak up in class and try new things! Please don’t hesitate to email The Forum at with any questions.

Thumbnail photo credit: Thomas D’Anieri

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