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10 Questions with Admissions

Pomona Preview

Pomona Preview PDF

Please view our Pomona Preview brochure.

Pomona College has everything you might expect from one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges—exceptional faculty, an intimate learning environment and a broad-based curriculum. But before you assume we're just like everyone else, here are a few questions we hope you'll ask that will help you see why Pomona College is anything but ordinary…

I’m a social butterfly, and 1,600 students seems pretty small. Won’t a larger school offer me more opportunities?

We like to think Pomona offers the best of both worlds—an intimate learning environment with average class sizes of 15, and the access and facilities of a large research university. Our membership in the Claremont Colleges means we share resources with five other top colleges (known locally as the “5Cs”) and two graduate institutions located, quite literally, next door to one another. With a combined student body of about 5,000, students have a social and campus experience that rivals many larger schools.


I’ve got my list of potential majors narrowed down to 20-30 options. Is that a problem?

Problem? More like awesome. We love students with broad interests, and in fact encourage exploration though our general education requirements and flexible curriculum. Once you’re ready to decide, we have 47 majors to choose from, covering almost every academic discipline.


As much as I like cleaning beakers and making coffee, access to REAL research is important to me. Can I do that at Pomona?

Student-faculty research opportunities abound, giving students the chance to work closely with faculty on projects that truly advance the boundaries of knowledge. It’s not uncommon for first-year students to get involved before their second year begins. The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) enables students to conduct extended, focused research in close cooperation with a Pomona faculty member. Research projects, which receive funding from Pomona and from public and private foundations, take place both on campus and in the field.


Assuming my break dancing career doesn't take off, private schools seem very expensive. Can I afford Pomona?

To maintain the remarkable strength and variety of Pomona’s student body, the College’s financial resources are critical. For U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and students graduating from US high schools, admission decisions are made without consideration of a student’s financial circumstances. More than half of Pomona’s students receive financial aid from the College to support their study, and the College meets 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of every enrolled student. Since 2008, all financial aid awards have been a combination of scholarships, grants and work study only.


Who teaches at Pomona? Do all the professors smoke pipes and wear tweed jackets?

While we can’t guarantee that no one wears tweed, like their students, Pomona faculty members are diverse in background and scholarly interests. All are committed teachers of undergraduates. They frequently experiment with new approaches and materials, tailoring instruction to the changing world beyond their classrooms or laboratories. Astronomy instructors and students may stargaze from the College’s one-meter telescope on nearby Table Mountain, for example, while those in archaeology may investigate prehistoric sites on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.


Ok, the faculty are great, but what about the students? Do I have to be a Harry Potter fan to fit in?

It’s difficult to generalize about Pomona students—they're so varied and original that they resist easy categorization—but there are a few traits we can safely say are typical. Pomona students embrace new ideas, take initiative, ask questions and challenge the status quo. They are as academically capable a group as any college or university can claim, and they are interested in doing something important with their talents. It’s also safe to say that among them, you're sure to find some of the most interesting and inspiring people you'll ever encounter in your life. They also share a spirit of openness and collaboration. Our students are driven but not cutthroat— that’s a very important distinction.

And it’s ok if you don't like Harry Potter—just don't tell the Quidditch club.


Every college brochure shows a diverse student body (and people lying on a lawn, weirdly). What will I REALLY find at Pomona?

Students come to Pomona from every state in the nation and from many other countries, from private and public schools, from large cities, suburbs and towns so small they don't appear on most maps. Our student body is almost exactly half men, half women. More than one-third are students of color, and a substantial portion—across all ethnic backgrounds—are in the first generation of their families to attend a four-year college or university. We strive to provide informal and formal support for all students through various campus offices, such as the Asian American Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, Pomona College Women’s Union, Office of Black Student Affairs, Office of the Chaplains, Chicano/Latino Student Affairs and International Place.


I like the idea of attending college, but I also like the idea of frolicking with wild abandon on the beach. What should I do?

You're in luck. Its not uncommon for our students to lament that there is simply not enough time in the the day. Not only does Pomona provide world-class higher education, but provides an almost-unparalleled range of opportunities and resources. Consider our annual Ski-Beach Day - a chance for a busload of adventurous students dons parkas and gloves to try their skills on slopes of the nearby Mountain High resort. Then in the afternoon they board the bus once more for the ride to Newport Beach, or one of the other local beaches, to end the day with a cook-out by the sea, complete with swimsuits and boogie boards. It’s just one of the hundreds of campus events available to students at the Claremont Colleges, along with Humans vs. Zombies, Art After Hours and guest speakers like Bill Gates and comedian Dmitri Martin.


My mom seems to think I need to get a job after college. What opportunities do Pomona grads have?

A Pomona education stays with you. It reminds you that although you may have left this remarkable place, your responsibility to take its energy and ideals into the greater world does not diminish. Four years at Pomona not only prepare one for a career, but are the first steps in a life of purpose, innovation and accomplishment.

Given the diversity of the student body, it is perhaps not surprising that students pursue their passions after graduation in a variety of ways. In addition to the 13 Fulbright grants awarded to Pomona students last year, the most recent graduating class had one Churchill Scholarship winner, a NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholarship winner, one Watson Fellow and three Goldwater Scholarship winners. 

Thirty-five percent of that class had job offers prior to graduation, with employers as wide-ranging as Google and Delliotte Consulting, to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kansas City Royals. At least ten planned to participate in Teach for America or City Year. Eighteen percent were going on immediately to graduate school, attending programs which included University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Columbia University, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, Duke, NYU, Stanford, Tufts and the University of Cambridge. On average, 85% of Pomona graduates continue their studies graduate or professional school within 10 years.


I’d like to send the Pomona Admissions Office freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, but they always seem to come out hard and tough. What can I do?

To prevent cookies from becoming hard and tough, avoid adding more flour than necessary to the cookie dough or batter. Also, avoid over-mixing once the flour is added. Don't give up! We're sure you'll get it. And just in case you don't have it, our mailing address is:

Hungry Admissions Officers
c/o Pomona College Office of Admissions
333 N. College Way
Claremont, CA 91711