Application Plans

Pomona offers first-year applicants the option of Early Decision (ED) or Regular Decision. If Pomona is your absolute first-choice college, Early Decision may be a good option. Both ED I and ED II applicants are evaluated in the same way; the only difference is that ED II has a later calendar date (allowing applicants, for instance, to show more of their senior year grades and to take an additional round of standardized testing). While ED applicants are free to simultaneously apply to other colleges through non-binding, unrestricted admission plans (including Early Action), if admitted to Pomona through Early Decision, you unconditionally agree to attend Pomona College if you're accepted, and agree to withdraw all other applications.

Application Plan Application Deadline Notification Date Reply Date
Early Decision I Nov. 15 By Dec. 15 Jan. 1
Early Decision II Jan. 8 By Feb. 15 March 1
Regular Decision Jan. 8 By April 1 May 1

Application Requirements

Pomona accepts the Coalition for College Application, the Common Application and the QuestBridge application. We give no preference in the admissions process based on which of these applications you submit. For first-year and transfer applicants for admission for Fall 2021 entry, Pomona College has adopted a test-optional policy. This one-year policy means SAT or ACT scores are not required for applicants for first-year admission, but students may choose to self-report them on their applications. Pomona has also rolled out a new fee waiver policy to remove financial barriers to apply. First-year applicants are required to submit the following: 

Official high school transcript(s)

For most students, this means asking your high school counselor to submit your official transcript(s) with grades through your junior year. Transcripts also may be submitted through Parchment.

Title IV Compliance Statement: The Pomona College Office of Admissions will confirm all final transcripts arrive from a high school with a CEEB code, as well as the high school seal and/or signature. If a final transcript arrives from a high school that lacks a CEEB code or seal/signature, the Office of Admissions will investigate to confirm that the school is recognized by the relevant state Department of Education or home school association. In some cases the Office of Admissions may request a copy of the student’s diploma, GED certificate or homeschooling certificate the summer prior to enrollment in order to comply with Federal Student Aid regulations.

School Report and Counselor Recommendation

These should be submitted by your high school counselor. Please note that we do not release an admissions decision without a completed disciplinary history from a school administrator. If the School Report's disciplinary history questions are left blank or answered with "School policy prevents me from responding," we will not release an admissions decision.

Mid-Year Report

Your counselor should submit this form by Feb. 15 along with an updated transcript containing your most recent senior-year grades (typically, first-semester grades).

Two letters of recommendation

These should be written by teachers of core academic subject areas: English, foreign languages, math, science or social sciences. We prefer letters from teachers who know you well. Optionally, a recommendation from a teacher of an elective subject (music, art, journalism, etc.), or by a coach, employer or other individual who can speak to your skills or special qualities may serve as an additional recommendation. 

One-time, non-refundable application fee of $70 or fee waiver

There is a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $70. However, we understand that the application fee may present a financial hardship for some applicants. If you indicate on the application that you qualify for a fee waiver, we will waive your fee without requiring additional documentation. To provide further context, we are happy to automatically waive the application fee if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have received/are eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver (domestic or international students)
  • You are enrolled/are eligible to participate in the federal free or reduced-price lunch program (FRPL)
  • Your annual family income falls within income eligibility guidelines set by the USDA Food & Nutrition Service
  • You are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., TRIO programs such as Upward Bound)
  • Your family receives public assistance (domestic and international students)
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing, or a foster home, or are homeless (domestic and international students)
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan (domestic or international students)
  • You are currently serving or have previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • If you attend a school outside the U.S. and your school fees are covered by need-based scholarship or another organization; you have missed two or more weeks of school due to inability to pay school fees; or you are a recipient of EducationUSA Opportunity Funds or you work with the U.S. Achievers Program or are being assisted by any college/university access program.

If you do not meet any of these specific criteria, but the application fee presents a barrier for you to apply, please email our office at admissions@pomona.edu. You may be asked to provide a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader. 

Test scores for international applicants

If you are applying from a school where English is not the primary language of instruction, you must also submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Official score reports may be sent, or students may self-report their scores on their applications. All enrolling students are required to submit an official score report, and any discrepancies between self-reported and official test scores may jeopardize a student's offer of admission.

Pomona-Specific Essay Questions

On the Common Application and the Coalition Application, applicants will be required to submit two short essays. Each essay should be max. 200 words.

  1. Pomona is committed to achieving the benefits of diversity for all students by creating a community that learns and grows together through the exchange of different lived experiences and perspectives. Our community is made up of students from diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and linguistic backgrounds; political, religious and social views; physical abilities; home environments and socioeconomic backgrounds; hometowns and regions; and sexes, gender identities and sexual orientations. Please choose one of the following two prompts:
    1. Tell us about an experience when you dealt with disagreement or conflict around different perspectives within a community. OR
    2. Tell us about one of the communities you belong to and what it means to bring that shared belief and/or perspective to Pomona.
  2. Helen Keller once said, “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Whether you aspire to be a hero or an honest worker, what impact do you want to have in the Pomona community, your community back home, or any new community?

Optional Application Components

Standardized Test Scores

Pomona College has adopted a test-optional policy for students applying for first-year and transfer admission for Fall 2021 entry. Under this one-year policy, SAT or ACT scores are not required to apply but students may choose to self-report them on their applications.

Why are test scores optional this year?

Recognizing that many students have struggled and will struggle to sit for standardized tests due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Pomona chose to remove this barrier to apply for 2021 admission. We do not encourage any student to endanger their health, or that of their families or communities, in order to take a test. Should an applicant have a test score available that they would like to submit, they may exercise that choice at the time of application. This choice allows students to choose how best to present themselves in the application process.

How do I choose whether or not to include my test scores as part of my application?

Practically speaking, applicants will be asked on the application if they choose to submit test scores. If a student answers “no,” that is all they need to do. If a student answers “yes,” they will submit their application and will be asked to self-report their scores later on their Pomona applicant portal. If they fail to provide scores after receiving instructions and reminders, the test scores will be considered a missing application item and could result in the application being incomplete and not reviewed.

If a student who answered “yes” later changes their mind about submitting scores, they can let us know before a stated deadline, and the scores will no longer be considered. Only self-reported scores are required for those choosing to submit scores. Official score reports are only for those who are admitted and enroll at Pomona and who self-reported scores for their application. Discrepancies between self-reported and official scores may jeopardize a student’s offer of admission.

Philosophically speaking, the choice to submit or not submit test scores is up to the applicant. Students are encouraged to decide how best to present themselves to the admissions committee and whether—or not—their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential. Test scores are one factor among many– grades, curriculum rigor, recommendations and essay–that are considered in the application review process to assess academic preparation for Pomona.

What if my scores have already been sent from a testing agency or are included on my transcripts?

If you choose not to include test scores as part of your application, your test scores will not be considered in the evaluation process even if we receive your scores from a testing agency or if they appear on your transcript.

How are test scores used in the admissions process?

Good question! Test scores have always been one factor—and far from the most important one—that we have used to assess applicants’ academic preparation. Do high test scores guarantee admission? No. Are those admitted to Pomona strong students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, good grades, appropriate rigor and broad preparation across academic disciplines? Yes.

For those who elect to report them, test scores will be reviewed holistically, in the context of other application materials as indicators of academic ability and promise. In the review process, the Office of Admissions will continue to place emphasis on academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors. Academic preparation is necessary for admission, but most of our applicants demonstrate academic preparation. We are also evaluating what and how students will contribute to Pomona, their talents, their qualities (like grit, creativity, leadership, kindness, innovation, etc.) and their potential.

I still have questions: who can I talk to about this test-optional policy?

We invite you to contact your admissions counselor or to contact us at (909) 621-8134 or admissions@pomona.edu with any questions about admissions or financial aid.

Interviews

If you're thinking about applying, we offer off-campus alumni interviews to seniors beginning in September and up to December 1. We do not track demonstrated interest in the application process, so interviews are entirely optional. To schedule an alumni interview, please register online at least three weeks in advance. Please be aware that our alumni network does not extend to every corner of the country or world, and we cannot always fulfill every interview request. Registration is available by September.

Arts Supplements

If you have a special talent or wish to submit additional information about yourself in the area of dance, music, theatre, or visual art, we encourage you to submit a supplement through SlideRoom. More detailed information can be found on the Supplements page.

Readmission to the College

Students who withdraw from Pomona College before earning a degree may apply for readmission or reactivation. If the withdrawal occurred within the last five years the student is a candidate for reactivation and should direct their request to the committee or Pomona official who approved the withdrawal. Students who withdrew more than five years ago are considered candidates for readmission and must consult the Office of Admissions at admissions@pomona.edu. Neither reactivation nor readmission to Pomona is guaranteed. Applications filed in absentia or applicants seeking irregular enrollment are considered by the Office of the Registrar and the Academic Procedures Committee.

Policy on Applicants’ Criminal History Questions

Pomona College believes in treating applicants who have a criminal history with fairness and dignity. Beginning with the 2019-20 admissions cycle, the College adopts the following policies:

The Admissions Process for Applicants

The application to Pomona College will no longer contain questions about criminal history. The Admissions Committee will make all decisions on candidates for admission without knowledge of criminal history.

The Enrollment Process for Admitted Students

Prior to enrollment, students will be required to answer the following question regarding criminal history: Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime? Those depositing students who check yes will be sent a request to provide context and background information about their affirmative answer. This information will be reviewed by a special committee within two weeks of the receipt of the information.

Committee Review for Depositing Students

A review committee that includes Pomona College admissions officers, staff, and faculty will convene to review the affirmative responses and determine whether a past criminal offense justifies a revocation of the College’s offer of admission. This Committee is responsible for making the final determination about admission. Candidates will be notified of the Committee’s decision before being permitted to complete the enrollment process.

Questions

If you have any questions regarding this policy please contact Adam Sapp, Assistant Vice President for Admissions (909) 621-8134.