International Applicant FAQs

Applying to Pomona

Are there different application requirements for international students?

All applicants follow the same application guidelines and application deadlines. The overall admit rate for international students is roughly the same as that for students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A few other tips:

  • You do not need to supply the Common Application international supplement.
  • You may apply for any program (Early Decision 1 or 2 or Regular Decision).
  • If sending paper documents, mail your materials early enough to accommodate for delivery times.
  • If your transcripts are not in English, you will need to provide official English translations.
  • If secondary school in your country is 3 years (10th-12th grades), you will need to submit transcripts from both your 9th grade year and from your 10th-12th-grade years in secondary school. There is no need to recalculate your GPA.

Do you look for anything different in international students’ applications?

We understand that there are cultural differences that impact international students’ applications. We do not compare academic performance, extracurricular involvements and teacher recommendations between international applicants and those applying from U.S. institutions. Instead, we evaluate each applicant within their own local context. We value the diversity of experience that can be brought to our community from students graduating from high school outside of the United States and will evaluate applications accordingly.

If you are a… and you attend… U.S citizen or permanent resident Undocumented Foreign national (non-U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
a U.S. high school need-blind admissions need-blind admissions need-blind admissions
must submit International Student Certification of Finances prior to enrollment
a secondary school outside of the U.S. need-blind admissions does not apply need-aware admissions
if instruction is not primarily in English, you must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores

What are the testing requirements for international applicants?

If English is not the primary language of instruction in your secondary school, you must submit either official or self-reported results of either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Duolingo English Test. We accept the following versions of the TOEFL exam: TOEFL iBT, TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution.

The minimum scores for admission are 100 (TOEFL iBT and iBT Special Home Edition), 627 (TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solutions); 7 on the IELTS; and 130 on the Duolingo English Test. There are no minimum requirements for sub-scores. While applicants may self-report scores, all enrolling students will be 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.

Duolingo, Vericant or InitialView interviews are considered optional supplements to your application and do not serve as substitutes for the required TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo tests for applicants whose primary language of instruction is not English.

Is there any way for me to do an interview?

Yes, international students may request an alumni interview and can find more information about this option on the Interviews page. You may also interview with a private service if you have not already scheduled an alumni interview. Third-party interviews are not conducted by Pomona staff or alumni, so, unfortunately, the interviewer cannot answer specific questions about Pomona College. Since there may be a cost involved for third-party interview services, interviews are not required. Fee waivers are also available by contacting We accept interviews through InitialView, Vericant and Duolingo. The Duolingo English Test combines an English proficiency test with a video interview and can be completed any time and place where Web access is available. The cost of the Duolingo English Test is $49 (USD); fee waivers may be available through Duolingo's Access Program

Are Pomona admissions officers familiar with the educational systems of other countries?

Yes, we are familiar with the educational systems and academic credentials of most countries around the world. You are welcome to provide additional information about the educational system in your country.

Do you have IB math curriculum recommendations for students with different potential majors?

For students in IB programs who wish to pursue a college major in STEM, we recommend Math Analysis HL as preparation. To be clear: this is a recommendation, not a requirement. For some STEM-interested students, we know that Math Applications HL may be more appropriate given their previous experience with math courses. Students who do not intend a STEM major have the option of pursuing whatever math curriculum is most appropriate. In evaluating rigor, we consider Math Applications SL as the least rigorous of the four options.

What is your admission policy for students coming from the Southern Hemisphere? Can I enroll at a national university and attend for a term before entering Pomona College?

Yes, students in the Southern Hemisphere can attend a national university for a term before enrolling at Pomona. For example, a student in Brazil who graduates from a Brazilian high school in November could enroll at the University of São Paulo in February, then leave the University in June and enroll as a first-year student at Pomona College in late August. Credits from courses taken at a foreign university may transfer to Pomona, based on an evaluation by our Registrar. (We consider a student a transfer if they have completed a full year of college courses—at least 6, 4-unit, transferrable courses but preferably 8—by the time they enroll at Pomona.

How can international students apply to transfer to Pomona?

We welcome international transfer applicants who are currently enrolled full-time at a college or university but have not already completed a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Please follow the same transfer application guidelines as for U.S. students. 

How does financial aid work for international students? Can international students work?

Admission for international applicants is need-aware, but Pomona does offer financial aid to approximately half of the admitted international students each year. Also, we meet the full need of admitted international students.

For more information, please refer to our International Student Aid page. The College does not provide financial assistance in the form of athletic or merit scholarships. International students can request reimbursement for one trip home during their four years, excepting a trip home after graduating. International students may also seek employment on campus during the school year as well as in the summer. They also remain as F-1 students for one year after graduation, during which time they can seek employment in the U.S.

While You're at Pomona...

Are international students eligible for Pomona’s internship and research programs?

Yes, international students can participate in the internship programs sponsored by Pomona’s Career Development Office, which offers students access to both part-time internships in the Los Angeles area during the school year and summer internships in the U.S. and abroad. International students are also eligible to apply for Pomona’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), which provides funding for extended summer research projects with faculty on or off campus.  International students are eligible for the same stipends and funding opportunities for these internships as domestic students. Please note that students on F-1 visas must receive Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization from the International Student Advisor before accepting an internship. Information about the CPT process is posted on the International Student: Internships webpage

Does Pomona offer any English as a Second Language courses or other special programs for non-English speaking foreign students? Does Pomona offer graduate programs?

No, Pomona College does not offer any ESL or other remedial courses. Students enrolling at Pomona College are expected to be fluent in English. Pomona’s Writing Center can provide assistance from peer writing tutors on improving their written English skills.

No graduate-level programs are offered. All Pomona students are undergraduates. The College does not enroll students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.

Do you grant credit for Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and/or British A-Level Examination results?

Yes, we do grant Advanced Standing credit for coursework and exam scores on Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and General Certificate of Education (GCE, Advanced-levels) completed prior to admittance and matriculation to Pomona College. Credit is awarded for scores of 4 or 5 on AP exams; for scores of 6 or 7 on Higher-Level IB exams; and for comparable scores on GCE A-Level exams. Exams based on year-long courses receive one credit; exams based on semester-long courses receive one-half course credit. Credit is not granted for exams that duplicate each other, such as AP and IB English Literature. A maximum of two Advanced Standing credits will be applied to the 32 credits needed for graduation. (Transfer credit from college course work completed as an admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate is not limited to the two credit Advanced Standing limit.)

What support does Pomona offer international students on campus?

Pomona offers international students a supportive environment in a community aware of many cultures and political systems around the world. International Student Advisor (ISA) Kathy Quispe can be found in the International Student Services Office; contact the ISA for specific information about international students' legal status in the United States and the many benefits available to international students. On Pomona’s campus the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations provides students with a living experience of international education, including the opportunity to live in a foreign-language residence, attend daily foreign language lunch tables, attend conversation courses in diverse languages, and attend cultural programming. Pomona’s International Student Mentoring Program (ISMP) pairs incoming, first-year international students with Pomona students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors who can act as mentors. ISMP also organizes an annual retreat and activities and events throughout the year.

Can international students stay on campus over breaks and holidays?

Staying on campus over breaks offers a great opportunity for exploring the local area. Many students remain on campus during shorter breaks, such as Fall Break in October, Thanksgiving Recess in November and Spring Break in March; the residence halls remain open during these times, even though classes are not held. A dining hall remains open for Fall Break and Thanksgiving Recess, while students can purchase food on campus or in the nearby Claremont eateries over Spring Break. Students who do not leave campus often go on College-sponsored trips during these class breaks, whether to explore the outdoors or do service projects.  Residence halls are closed over the winter break, from mid-December to mid-January, but international students may work with campus and residential life staff to arrange housing if needed.

What is Claremont like, and what is there to do in Los Angeles?

Claremont is a lovely college town of around 35,000 people, known as the “city of trees and Ph.D.s.”  We are in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, about 33 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. In the winter months, the local mountains are snow-capped, but the temperatures may be in the mid-70°s (24° C). Since we have a desert climate, it tends to be cool in the mornings and evenings but warms up nicely during the day.

Our downtown area, known as “the Village,” is just two blocks from campus, so students can easily walk to nearby restaurants, frozen yogurt shops, cafés, gift stores, bakeries, clothing shops and a movie theater. The Village also has an outdoor courtyard for sitting and enjoying a drink while people-watching or listening to live music on the weekends. Monthly art walks and a weekly farmer’s market also draw students. A Metrolink train station in the Village allows students easy access to downtown Los Angeles (a 40-minute train ride). Known for its amazing ethnic and cultural diversity as well as being the capitol of the entertainment industry, L.A. offers fantastic eating opportunities, art and theater venues, professional sporting events, concerts and movie premieres, intriguing neighborhoods, the Griffith Observatory and, of course, beaches and hiking opportunities.

I have more questions about life and academics at Pomona College.