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Introduction to Academic Life at Pomona College

By now you have probably begun to think about your intellectual interests, the courses you would like to take and how you are going to plan your first academic year.  We are enclosing some information to help you think about your course selection.

Unlike many large schools, new students at Pomona College don’t register for classes until they have met with their advisers and have participated in the College's Orientation program just before the semester begins.

There is one exception, however: during June, students are asked to select and rank choices for a required seminar, ID 001:  Critical Inquiry, which is the College’s only required course for first year students.  Each fall, 28 to 30 unique seminars are taught by faculty from across the disciplines and engage students in rigorous reading, writing and discussion on varied topics. The goal of the Critical Inquiry Seminar is to prepare students to participate fully and successfully in the intellectual community that is Pomona College. Critical writing is an essential component of that participation, and to that end all sections of ID 001 focus on writing as a recursive process of drafting and revision.

Information about the ID 001 seminar options and how to submit your seminar preferences is available on myPomona. Go to the New Student link (Through the Gates) on the left side of your home page and select "Critical Inquiry Seminar - Rank your choices".  You need to rank your top eight choices by July 10.

This Guidebook:

On this Guidebook website, you will find information about the various placement assessments.  Additional information on how to access the on-line placement assessments is available on the "Through the Gates" tab of the student portal.  Please read this information carefully. The advisory placement assessments are an important part of helping you decide on your initial course placement. You should take the placement exam for mathematics chemistry, and economics if you plan to take these courses during your time at Pomona.  The foreign language exam is required for students who have had previous language training and plan to study that language while at Pomona (Pomona has a foreign language requirement).  If you have questions about the examinations, write, e-mail, or call the appropriate academic department, but as a general rule, you should take the chemistry and foreign language placement exams.

Also included is a guide to course selection that you will find helpful. In it you will find a series of sample programs to give you an idea of how first-year students typically put together their classes.  Your faculty adviser will assist you in finalizing your decisions.  The College does not expect—or even want—you to have chosen a major before you begin your academic program.  It is important for you to spend at least your first year exploring the various academic opportunities that await you. This year is an important time to take courses that look exciting or even unfamiliar to you.  Along the way, you will fulfill some of your Breadth of Study requirements during your first year. Typically, students select a major during or at the end of their sophomore year.