Frequently Asked Questions
1. What courses are required for admissions to Pomona College?
There is no specific, prescribed curriculum the Admissions Committee expects from its applicants. However, the strongest applicants to the College take the most rigorous high school curriculum offered to them by their individual school, including four or, typically, five academic subjects each term during the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. It is strongly recommended that applicants complete a minimum of four years of English courses (with substantial practice in writing); at least three years of study each in mathematics (calculus strongly recommended) and foreign language; and two years of study each in laboratory sciences and social sciences (three years recommended). In general, most successful applicants to the College will exceed these minimums; for example, many applicants complete four years of mathematics, foreign language, and laboratory sciences.
2. Should I take honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses at my high school if they are offered?
In evaluating a candidate’s high school program, admissions officers pay close attention to the courses offered at a student’s high school and which courses he or she has elected to take. Close attention is paid to the rigor of a student's curriculum, which may include honors, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement courses, if offered. If a student attends a high school where such courses are not offered, the student will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process.
Please note that although courses such as journalism, debate, leadership and religious doctrine, as well as courses in music, art or theatre may be valuable to the student, they are not considered an adequate substitute for academic courses in assessing the strength of the candidate’s high school program and such courses should not substitute for core courses in English, mathematics, the social sciences, foreign language, or laboratory sciences.
3. What is the average grade point average for admitted students to Pomona?
Pomona does not recalculate an average grade point average (GPA) for admitted students as high schools have a variety of GPA scales and grading policies. Thus, Pomona does not expect a minimum GPA. Instead, the Admissions Committee seeks candidates who challenge themselves as much as possible in their high schools and perform at a high level, relative to peers at their school. Typically, about 90% of admitted students (whose high school provided rank information) rank in the top 10% of their graduating high school class. If a student attends a high school that does not rank, this will not hurt a student’s chances for admission. Admissions officers work hard to become familiar with the high schools from which students are applying and understand student performance at each school.
4. What standardized tests does Pomona require? Can I send multiple test scores?
Students must submit the results of the SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT Subject Tests in different academic areas OR they may replace the SAT and SAT Subject Tests with results from the ACT (with or without the writing subtest). Results from multiple testings are accepted and the Admissions Committee will consider a student’s best results for each of the SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Tests; the Committee will consider a student’s best composite result for the ACT.
For students who attend schools where English is not the language of instruction, results for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must be forwarded to the Office of Admissions in addition to the above testing requirements.
All testing results must be sent directly to the admissions office from the appropriate testing agency by the appropriate admissions deadline.
5. Does Pomona offer Early Decision or Early Action programs?
Pomona offers students for whom the College is their first choice the option of applying under binding Early Decision programs (see the Application Deadlines section for more details). These programs allow students to receive an early decision from the College on their application for admission with the understanding that the student is committed to enrolling, should he or she be admitted. Like Regular Decision applicants, Early Decision candidates who require scholarship support are reviewed without regard to need and the College will provide financial support (without requiring loans) to meet 100% of demonstrated need.
Typically, the College enrolls less than 35% of its first-year class through its Early Decision programs. Students should only apply to Pomona College using an Early Decision program if they are positive Pomona is their top college choice. Please note that international students who intend to apply for financial aid can only apply to the College under its Regular Decision plan.
6. Does Pomona require interviews for admission? Are they evaluative?
Interviews are encouraged and, for those living in the Southern California region (generally within a 2-hour radius of Claremont), interviews on campus are expected. The College offers prospective students the opportunity to interview on campus (with an admissions officer or Pomona senior) or with an Alumni Admissions Volunteer in their area if they reside outside of Southern California. Limited opportunities for alumni interviews are available for students residing in San Diego and Santa Barbara counties. Interviews become part of the candidate’s application and are considered in admissions decisions.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to interview as it allows the admissions office to learn more about the applicant. Making interview arrangements well in advance of application program deadlines is also encouraged.
7. When can I interview?
The Admissions Office offers on-campus interviews for first-year applicants starting in the spring of their junior year of high school through mid-December of their senior year. Interviews are arranged by appointment and students are encouraged to call at least two or three weeks before visiting campus to make arrangements for an interview. Do note that the interview schedule fills up quickly for December appointments and students are encouraged to plan accordingly and call early to request an interview slot, should you wish to visit during these months and interview.
For students from outside of Southern California (generally within a 2-hour radius of Claremont) who are unable to interview on campus, Alumni Admissions Volunteers (AAVs) are available in the fall to interview students in most parts of the United States and in a number of locations around the world. Applicants can request an AAV interview by filling out an online request form (available September 1). Applicants will be asked to provide their contact information and to list the metropolitan areas nearest to them. Once this information is processed, applicants are e-mailed the contact information for an assigned AAV in their area, if available. While our AAVs make every attempt to contact their assigned interviewees, it is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with their assigned AAV.
Applicants should make themselves aware of the various admissions programs available at Pomona and the corresponding deadlines for requesting and completing interviews.
8. Does applying for financial aid hurt my chances of admission?
Absolutely not! Pomona is one of only a handful of institutions in the nation committed to both need-blind admissions and awarding financial aid that meets 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted student. These policies enable Pomona to choose its students solely on the basis of educational considerations such as talent, promise, and ability to contribute to the campus community, while removing cost as a barrier to a first-class educational opportunity. In addition, Pomona does not require students with need to take loans in order to finance their educations, ensuring that enrolling students will not accrue debt while attending Pomona.
Please note that for international students, Pomona has financial aid resources but cannot meet the demonstrated need of all international applicants. Students applying for aid who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States must complete extra financial aid forms, which can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website. Students who are enrolled in U.S. high schools, but who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. should contact the admissions office with questions about eligibility for financial aid and scholarship consideration.
9. Does Pomona accept applications from students who are home-schooled?
Yes, Pomona does accept applications from students who are home-schooled or who have been home-schooled. These students apply to Pomona in the same way students graduating from traditional high schools do, using the Common Application. Home-schooled students do have additional standardized testing requirements in addition to the basic testing requirements described above for all candidates to the College. Specifically, in addition to the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT test, home-schooled student should submit scores from four SAT Subject Tests or a combination of four Subject Tests and Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Higher Level examination results in a variety of fields.
10. Will Pomona notify me when they receive my application? How will I know when my application is complete?
The Office of Admissions makes every attempt to notify applicants if/when they are missing items from their application. In general, it may take several weeks to process the hundreds of pieces of mail received each day in the fall and early winter months. Therefore, the Office of Admissions cannot respond to phone inquiries about specific pieces of mail sent for an individual application. However, students will receive notification from the Office of Admissions, either by post or by e-mail, if their application is incomplete and what items are missing. Please note that if application materials are submitted on or just before the application deadline, it may take longer for us to provide notice due to the extremely heavy volume of documents that we receive in the days surrounding deadlines.
In addition, students who provide an e-mail address will receive a user ID and password to access their application materials checklist online after the vast majority of documents have been processed by the admissions staff. The applicant website will allow students to see which documents have been received and processed and which documents have yet to be received or processed. Please note that applicants are given two weeks upon notification of missing items to submit their missing materials to the Office of Admissions to complete their files. Late-arriving Regular Decision application materials received after March 1 may not be accepted for consideration.
Once the Office of Admissions receives all required materials to complete an application for admission, the applicant will receive notification, either by post or by e-mail, that their application is complete.
Missing items notification will be sent to the e-mail address provided on the Common Application, along with instructions for tracking missing items via the web site. The College cannot be responsible for messages blocked by spam filter programs or problems with internet service providers or postal service delivery. Please be sure to set any spam filters to receive e-mail from Pomona College.
11. What is the Secondary School Report Supplement? Why would I need to submit one?
The School Report Supplement is a separate form required only if your high school counselor does not answer the Common Application's questions regarding your disciplinary history. Admissions decisions cannot be released until a student's disciplinary history is official reported by the student's high school.
Students for whom this form will be required will be contacted by the Office of Admissions.
12. Who should write my two (2) required letters of recommendation? Can I send additional recommendations?
Teacher recommendations should be completed by teachers who know you well and have instructed you in core academic subjects, such as English, mathematics, foreign language, history, or a laboratory science, or who have instructed you in an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) course.
A letter of recommendation from teachers of music, art, theater, journalism, or elective courses are welcome and will be considered in the application process, but they will not replace one of the two required recommendations. Additional letters of recommendation from coaches, employers, intern coordinators/supervisors, religious leaders/youth group leaders, or other activities are welcomed and will also be considered in the application process. However, these letters are supplementary and do not substitute for a core academic teacher recommendation. Only one additional letter of recommendation, from any source, will be accepted.