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The Program

What is PAYS?

The Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) enrolls up to 90 local high school students (30 rising sophomores, 30 rising juniors, & 30 rising seniors) and seeks to support them in preparing for admission to selective and highly selective colleges and universities. We select a new class of 30 ninth graders (rising sophomores) every May. PAYS participants engage in a thought-provoking combination of faculty-led courses, activities, workshops, projects and field trips during the intensive 4-week, residential program as well as throughout the academic year.

Why does PAYS exist?

Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) aims to increase the pool of students prepared to enter selective and highly selective colleges and universities who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including first generation college students, those from low-income backgrounds, AND/OR those who are African American, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and/or Southeast Asian.

Who can apply?

Ninth graders attending high school in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

What type of student do you recruit?

High achieving students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including first-generation college students, and/or those from low-income backgrounds.

How many 9th graders get accepted into the program each year?

About 30 ninth graders from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Each scholar is part of PAYS for three consecutive years, from acceptance at the end of their first year of high school until graduation.

How many students total are part of PAYS?

90 students from Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We support 30 rising sophomores, 30 rising juniors and 30 rising seniors.

What is Pomona College?

An elite/highly selective liberal arts institution located in Claremont, CA, about 30 miles away from downtown LA.

How long has PAYS been around?

In its 21st year, PAYS (previously known as Summer Scholars Enrichment Program [SSEP]) recruited its first cohort of 30 students in the summer of 2002.

The Application

Can I still apply if I’m a sophomore, junior or senior in high school?

Unfortunately no. Each grade cohort is currently full.

Does PAYS accept undocumented students?

Yes, if you are a ninth grader attending a high school in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside Counties.

Does PAYS accept out-of-state or international applicants?

Unfortunately not. PAYS is only committed to local students in the surrounding Pomona College community (students attending high school in Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Riverside Counties).

When does the application open?

Monday, November 13, 2023

When is the application due?

Monday, March 4, 2024

When will I know if I’ve been accepted to PAYS?

All applicants will be notified late April.

What makes up a complete application?

  1. Personal Information Form (online preferred)
  2. Two complete essays (Max 500 words each)
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. An official transcript

How do I submit my application materials?

We prefer for your Personal Information Form to be submitted online. However we will accept physical forms, if internet access is an issue. A paper copy of the application is available on the application page.

We prefer that you submit the above application items # 2-4 together in one of the following ways: mail, email, or fax. Please put your name on every document you submit to us.

What address do I use to mail my application materials?

Draper Center for Community Partnerships
Pomona College
Attn: PAYS
735 N. Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711

What email address do I use to submit my application materials? If submitting materials via email, please submit only PDF files, labeled accordingly:

Transcript: Last Name, First Name Transcript
Recommendations: Last Name, First Name Recommendation
Essays: Last Name, First Name Essay 1

What fax number do I use to submit my application materials?

Fax: (909) 607-8006

The Summer

What are the dates for the PAYS 2024 Summer Session?

Sunday, June 23rd – Friday, July 19, 2024

What does the Summer Session entail?

PAYS participants engage in thought-provoking Math & Critical Inquiry courses taught by Pomona College professors/faculty; students also have the opportunity to take 2 electives taught by TAs (Pomona College students and or PAYS alumni). In addition, students partake in cultural events, workshops, projects and field trips during the intensive 4-week residential program. Beyond the faculty-taught courses and the Pomona student-led electives, rising 12th graders are given the rare opportunity to work on a significant research project under the direction of a Pomona College faculty member. On occasion, the research is published in academic journals.

What’s a day like during the PAYS Summer Session?

Here’s our general residential schedule from Monday through Thursday:

7:30 a.m.Breakfast
8:20 a.m.Community Meeting
9:05 a.m.Math/Critical Inquiry
12:00 p.m.Lunch
1:00 p.m.Community Break
2:00 p.m.Electives
3:00 p.m.Study Session or Research (Seniors)
5:00 p.m.Dinner
6:00 p.m.Study Time/Afternoon Activities, etc.
10:45 p.m.Curfew

On Fridays we have fieldtrips or the day off.

Where do I live while attending the Summer Session?

In a dorm on Pomona College’s campus.

Do I live alone?

During your first summer at PAYS, you live in a dorm by yourself. Every summer afterwards, you share a dorm with a roommate.

Do I get to go home on weekends?

Yes, you leave on Friday night and return to campus on Sunday from 6pm to 8pm.

Do I get credit for PAYS?

No. Neither college nor high school credit is awarded for participation in PAYS. What you gain from participating in PAYS is much more rewarding and helpful than credit.

How much does the PAYS Summer Residential Session cost?

There is no cost for participation in PAYS. Pomona College covers all costs including housing, food, activities, and transportation to field trips. Students will only be required to bring basic school supplies, such as pencils and paper.

Do I need to provide my own meals?

No. PAYS provides all meals.