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Pomona College Receives Record-Breaking Number of Applications for the Class of 2021

First-year students, College Gates

Students admitted to the Pomona College Class of 2021 are receiving some highly anticipated good news today. Admittance notifications will go out via email after 5 p.m. PDT to 741 students across the country and abroad.

Pomona received a record 9,046 first-year applications, the largest number in the College’s history. In its most selective year yet, the College admitted 8.2 percent of those applicants. Eleven of these students were admitted in a previous year and deferred enrollment until this year. A Pomona College-Cambridge University Downing Scholar and a Visiting Student will also join the class.

In addition, the College admitted 26 transfer students from a pool of 323, a 23 percent increase over last year. The admitted group includes 11 students from community colleges, of which three are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

To celebrate the incoming class, staff from Pomona’s Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid rang the Sumner Hall bell 21 times this afternoon.

“It is a remarkable and humbling experience to help select the next generation of Sagehens for Pomona College,” said Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “The Admissions Committee and I were so impressed by the stories, talents and accomplishments of the thousands of incredible applicants interested in Pomona this year.”  

About the Class

Students admitted to the Class of 2021 come from 49 states plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Admitted students represent 52 nationalities and international students comprise 11.4 percent of the class.

The admitted group is 53 percent female and 47 percent male. 

Domestic students of color make up the majority of the admitted class at 56.7 percent. Of these students, 15.9 percent are Asian, 12.6 percent Black/African American, 19.4 percent Latina/o and 7.7 percent multiracial. Three Native American and five Native Hawaiian students, along with an additional 42 students who claim Native heritage as part of a multiracial identity, have also been admitted.

First-generation college students – meaning neither parent has a four-year college degree – comprise 20.4 percent of the Class of 2021, up almost four percentage points from last year. 


Students admitted to the Class of 2021 are academically exceptional. From high schools that rank, 92.3 percent of admitted students are in the top decile of their class, 30.4 percent are valedictorians and another 9.7 percent are salutatorians. Median SAT scores are 730 critical reading, 740 math and 730 writing. The median ACT is 33.

Students identified a broad range of academic interests, with 23.2 percent of admitted students indicating a first major choice in the humanities, 18.7 percent in the social sciences, 28.0 percent in the natural sciences, 19.5 percent in interdisciplinary fields and 10.5 percent are still undecided about their field of study. 

Where They Come From

The top U.S. states students come from are California (184), Illinois (47), New York (41), Texas (35), Washington (26), Florida (24) and Oregon (19). The admitted students hail from 46 foreign countries, with the largest representation from China (16), the United Kingdom (11), India (7), Brazil (5), Turkey (5), Canada (4), Singapore (4), Ghana (3), Hong Kong (3), Italy (3) and Thailand (3).

In all, the admitted students come from 621 schools worldwide.

Recruiting the Class

Reaching out to a deep and talented pool of applicants, Pomona admissions officers visited 41 states and 26 countries to meet with students, parents and high school college counselors. An additional 18,237 students and visitors were hosted on campus for tours, information sessions and interviews.

Of special note, three admitted students are participants in the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), an intensive, three-year college preparation program run by our own Draper Center for Community Partnerships. In addition, 16 admitted students were matched through Pomona’s partnership with QuestBridge, 22 students were recruited through the Posse Foundation and seven from the KIPP Foundation.

As part of its commitment to increasing access to higher education, Pomona has built relationships with additional community-based organizations that help colleges connect with applicants from under-resourced schools. They include A Better ChanceBridge2Rwanda, Chicago Scholars, the Grew Bancroft Foundation and The Sutton Trust, as well as numerous local and regional programs.

About Pomona

Located in Claremont, Calif., about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, Pomona College emphasizes a challenging curriculum, intellectual curiosity, small classes with close student-faculty interaction and opportunities for undergraduate research.

With 48 majors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary studies, Pomona College is one of a handful of institutions which practice need-blind admissions and provide need-based financial aid.

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