Westmont College overlooks Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean in the lush hills of Montecito. On the drive up to campus from the 101 freeway, you’ll feel like you’re on your way to a resort, and once you’re on campus, you’ll feel like you’re at Camp Westmont – which some of the students call it.
Westmont is a private Christian college, with just 1300 undergraduates. Students sign a statement of faith, but do not have to subscribe to specific beliefs, and the campus has an interdenominational feel, with students of different faiths attending. Our tour guide Addie, a rising senior from Colorado, said she felt professors and students have created a welcoming and inclusive environment in which students can expand their academic knowledge and deepen their faith through extensive conversation of different religions and approaches. Addie said she’s grown in her faith and learned to hear other people’s positions and present her own in a non-confrontational way.
Known for its programs in business, psychology and kinesiology, Westmont professors have strong connections in the area and help students find internships. One local alum owns a physical therapy studio in Montecito, and kinesiology students often intern for him. Westmont has a small engineering department that is ABET accredited; they offer mechanical engineering only. Westmont has an active art scene as well; students can participate in the two stage productions or musical ensembles even if they aren’t majoring in theatre or music.
Because of its small size, Westmont’s student-to-faculty ratio is small, 11:1, and the largest class you’ll ever take here is between 40 and 45 students. Most classes are significantly smaller; our tour guide had one class in her junior year with just three students, and one class was one-on-one with the professor! Over half of the faculty live nearby, and professors often invite students over for Thanksgiving, Super Bowl or game nights. This is a place where you’ll develop strong connections with your professors.
Westmont has 14 varsity sports in the NAIA; there’s no football team but basketball games are always packed. Over three quarters of Westmont College students travel abroad at some point. There’s a campus shuttle that takes students to the beach (10 minutes away!), State Street in Santa Barbara and other shopping locales. Lots of campus programming keeps everyone busy, plus there are dozens of hiking trails, an actual hot springs, and some waterfalls up in the hills adjacent to this very outdoorsy campus.
Westmont College is a great option for students who have a connection to religion and want to explore that more, while furthering their academic life. We visited Westmont in July, 2021, and you can see all of the photos from our visit to campus below.