How to Apply

We look forward to reading your application! To get started, you’ll need to make two basic decisions: (1) which application to use and (2) which application plan to choose.

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, so look into which one provides the best showcase for you and your talents.

Pomona offers first-year applicants two application plan options: Early Decision (ED) or Regular Decision. The deadlines for these plans apply to the application itself. Supporting materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendation do not need to be submitted by the published deadlines, although we do encourage applicants to submit them as close to the deadline as possible. Applicants will have access to a portal where they can track our receipt of their application materials, and we will email an applicant if a missing item prevents us from reading their application.

Early/Regular Decision FAQ

Early Decision

If Pomona is your absolute first-choice college, an Early Decision (ED) application may be your best 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.

Regular Decision

Most students apply and are admitted to Pomona through the Regular Decision option. This means you may apply to as many or as few colleges as you choose, and you’ll receive admissions decisions around the same time—by April 1. You can then compare the offers of admission and financial aid and make your final decision of where to enroll.

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

Application fee or fee waiver

There is a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $70. However, we understand that this application fee may present a financial hardship for some applicants. If you plan to apply for financial aid, and the application fee presents a hardship for you or your family, please complete the Pomona Access Pass form. 

Upon completion of this form, the $70 application fee will be waived without requiring additional documentation. Questions? Please email our office at admissions@pomona.edu.

Official high school transcript(s)

For most students, this means asking your high school counselor to electronically submit your official transcript(s) with grades through your junior year. Transcripts also may be submitted through Parchment. Transcripts sent by students are not considered official.

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.

Guidance on California AB 104: Pomona College will accept for admissions purposes transcripts from California students who elect or authorize changes to their transcripts as allowed by California Assembly Bill 104, namely changing letter grade(s) to Pass or No Pass grade(s). 

A primary aim of our holistic admission review process is to look for evidence of applicants’ academic aptitude and readiness for Pomona through an assessment of recommendations, rigor of the curriculum, course choices, and grades. We will assess what is provided on all applicants’ transcripts using the same review process and standards. Prior to exercising this option afforded by California Assembly Bill 104, students are encouraged to speak with a school counselor or their school principal to ensure they are fully aware of all options before electing to have the grades replaced.

School Report and Counselor Recommendation

These should be submitted by your high school counselor. Be assured that you are not disadvantaged in the admissions process if you attend a large high school, and your counselor is not able to provide a highly personalized recommendation. This is one aspect of our holistic admissions review, and we do not expect every student to provide a detailed counselor recommendation. We also no longer require that school counselors answer a question about applicants' disciplinary history.

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.

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 three short supplementary essays. The first one appears in the Academics section of the application and has a maximum word limit of 150.

Question 1: College is about more than your major. It’s about learning through classes, conversations, experiences, and finding connections across multiple topics. Tell us about a time recently when you became excited to learn more about something: a time when your curiosity pushed you to eagerly pursue an idea or topic further through research or discussion.

There are two additional short essays required, with a maximum word limit of 200 for each essay.

Question 2: 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.

Both of the following prompts address this topic, and we ask you to respond to one of them. We give no preference, so choose the prompt that resonates the most with you.

     (a) We believe that everyone has something to contribute and receive from a diverse community. Why is belonging to a diverse and inclusive college community important to you?

     (b) Advancing diversity and inclusion (D&I) can be hard work and a continuous learning process. Tell us about how you have either recently championed D&I or how you plan to maintain a deep commitment to D&I in college.

Question 3: According to our Board of Trustees, "institutions such as Pomona College should prepare their graduates to lead lives of creative leadership and exemplary service." How do you hope to use the knowledge you will gain in college to impact something greater than yourself, such as your family, neighborhood, community, city or society?

Optional Application Components

Standardized Test Scores

Pomona College has extended a test-optional policy for students applying for first-year and transfer admission for entry in 2022-2024. Under this policy, SAT or ACT scores are not required to apply but students may choose to self-report them on their applications.

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

Seniors who are thinking of applying may request a virtual interview with a graduate of Pomona College. We do not track demonstrated interest in the application process, so interviews are entirely optional. Typically, less than ten percent of our applicants engage in an interview. 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. Please request an interview through this online form. It can take up to three weeks to fulfill a request. For QuestBridge and Early Decision I applicants, the deadline to request an interview is October 11. For Early Decision II and Regular Decision applicants, the deadline to request an interview is December 3.

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 after you apply to Pomona. You will be able to do so through your applicant portal. More detailed information can be found on the Supplements page.

Policy on Applicants’ Disciplinary and Criminal History Questions

Pomona College believes in treating applicants who have a disciplinary or criminal history with fairness and dignity. Thus, the College has adopted the following policies:

The Admissions Process for Applicants

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

The Enrollment Process for Admitted Students

Prior to enrollment, students will be required to answer the following question regarding disciplinary history:

Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from the 9th grade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in a disciplinary action? If Yes, please explain below.

If you are uncertain about the status of your school disciplinary or conduct record, you may wish to consult your school counselor or another school official prior to responding.

Prior to enrollment, students also 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 from enrolling students to the disciplinary and criminal history questions and determine whether a past disciplinary or 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 these policies please contact Adam Sapp, Assistant Vice President for Admissions, (909) 621-8134.

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.