Pomona's Admissions staff prepares letters to be sent to applicants.

Heralding the Class of 2018—and honoring tradition—Pomona College's Office of Admissions rang the Sumner Hall bell 18 times this afternoon to celebrate the mailing of acceptance letters to admitted students.

Breaking last year's record, the Admissions Office received 7,724 applications, an increase of 8%.  Of that number, 939 applicants—49.5% are women and 50.5% are men—were admitted. At an acceptance rate of 12.16%, this was Pomona's most selective year yet. Another four were admitted last year and deferred. Pomona is expecting approximately 15 transfer students and a Pomona College-Cambridge University Downing Scholar.

Fifteen readers pored over the applications, making for some long days and epic nights, including some bleary-eyed 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. stretches, with some pizza thrown in last night for sustenance.

"It's the culmination of the entire effort of the year—we're excited and exhausted. This is what we've been waiting for," says Seth Allen, the vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.

Pomona admitted students from 46 states, plus Washington, D.C. The most represented states are:  California (228), Washington (53), Texas (52), Illinois (47) and New York (42). There were notable increases in applications from nearly every region of the U.S. this year, with particularly strong increases from the South (+45%) and the Northeast (+29%).

Admitted high school seniors hail from 40 different countries, with 33 different nationalities and another 51 with dual citizenship between the U.S. and other nations. The largest groups are from China (32), India (17), Korea (10), United Kingdom (9), Canada (7), Greece (5) and Turkey (5). Students come from 733 schools around the world.

Students of color make up 46.3% (435) of the admitted class.

There are 122 first-generation college students (neither parent is a four-year college graduate).

Academically, this batch shines. Among high schools that do rankings, 93% of the students are in the top decile, with 26% coming in as valedictorian graduates and approximately 8% as salutatorians—making more than a third of them either first or second in their class. The median SAT scores are 740 critical reading, 740 math and 750 writing. The median ACT score is 33.  

This year, students selected one of two essay questions to answer:

1) What has sparked your curiosity in the last year? How did you respond?

2) Pomona's Critical Inquiry course is required of all first-year students, and is designed to be highly interdisciplinary and engaging. Recent class titles include: "Molecules of the Mind"; "The Economics of Sin" and "Punk: Poets, Politics and Provocation." Imagine you were hired to design and teach a Critical Inquiry course. Describe the title of the class, its contents and why you chose it.

The Admissions Office's hard work is not yet done. Open house programs will be held on campus April 14 and 21. Six post-offer parties will be held across the country for students and their parents who are unable to make it to the campus events. Admitted students must notify the College of their decision by May 1. Approximately 400 first-years will make up the Class of 2018.