Big news arrives today for the newest members of the Pomona College family, the Class of 2026. Student applicants across the U.S. and the world will receive their decisions via a secure portal starting at 5 p.m. PDT on Friday, March 18.
Applying to college during a pandemic was not easy, according to Evelyne Aviles, a QuestBridge Scholar admitted to the class from Sacramento, Calif. “Having to adapt to a new process of standardized testing and shifted metrics in the college admission process was difficult.” She also notes that the QuestBridge application, which provides early admission with a full scholarship to some of the nation's brightest students from low-income backgrounds, was a helpful part of the process.
Marc Beaulac, an admitted student from Calgary, Canada notes that, “one of the most important reasons I chose Pomona was its small and academically intimate environment. In the spirit of embracing Pomona’s closeness, I look forward to forming close relationships with faculty and peers as well as taking advantage of research opportunities that are unique to Pomona.”
About the Class
Pomona will offer admission to 736 students who come from 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, an overseas U.S. military base and 55 other countries.
“The Class of 2026 embodies our hope for the future,” says Seth Allen, vice president for strategy and dean of admissions and financial aid. “These amazing scholars, artists, athletes, change makers, entrepreneurs, and community-minded young people shone brightly in our selection process, overcoming the impacts of the global pandemic and forging their own unique paths these last few years. I am immensely grateful to the members of the Admissions Committee for their good work identifying who to invite into the new class.”
The admitted students are 55% female and 45% percent male (sex assigned at birth). Five percent do not identify on the binary gender spectrum. Three students were admitted in a previous year and deferred enrollment until this year. A Pomona College-Cambridge University Downing Scholar will join the class, and one veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces has been admitted.
The group is the most diverse in the College’s history, consisting of 61.4% domestic students of color. International students make up 14.4% of the admitted students, while 17.4% identify as Asian American, 15.5% as Black, 17.9% as Latina/o, 9.5% as multiracial, 1.1% as Native American, 20.8% as white, and 3.4% declined to state. Native American admitted students identify as American Indian/Alaska Native (4) and Native Hawaiian(4), while 27 additional students note Native heritage as part of a multiracial identity. First-generation college students—meaning neither parent has a four-year college degree—make up 23% of those admitted to the Class of 2026.
In addition, the College admitted 30 transfer students who selected 19 different first-choice majors. One transfer student was admitted in a previous year and deferred enrollment until this year. Half of the admitted transfer students are first-generation-to-college, while 60% are transferring from a community college. One newly admitted transfer student is a Kaplan Leadership Scholar, and one is associated with Afghan Future Fund. Seven military veterans were admitted through the transfer process this year, two of whom are currently serving. Four of these admitted military veterans are affiliated with Service to School (S2S), and the admitted veterans represent four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy.
Applying under a test-optional policy (ACT or SAT) that extends to 2024 applicants, 55% of this year’s applicants submitted a standardized test score. Fourteen percent of applicants submitted an optional arts supplement in the fields of dance, music, theatre or visual arts. Students admitted to the Class of 2026 are academically exceptional, with 93% of those who attend high schools that rank students ranking in the top 10% of their class.
Class of 2026 admits identified a broad range of academic interests, with 20.5% indicating their first choice major in the humanities, 24% in interdisciplinary fields, 26.8% in the natural sciences, 22.4% in the social sciences and 6.3% undecided about their field of study. In identifying their future academic focus, more than half (55.4%) chose their two top major choices from different academic disciplines.
Where They Come From
Students were admitted to the Class of 2026 from 49 states (as well as the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and an overseas U.S. military base) and 55 foreign countries. The top U.S. states where admitted students come from are California (186), Illinois (48), New York (48), Texas (36), Washington (28), Florida (22), New Jersey (19), Maryland (16), Massachusetts (14) and Oregon (13). Admitted students hail from 55 foreign countries. The largest representation this year is from China (17); Canada and the United Kingdom (6 each); Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, India and Turkey (5 each); Greece and Kenya (4 each). In all, admitted students come from 623 schools worldwide.
Recruiting the Class
Reaching out to a deep and talented pool of prospective applicants, Pomona admissions officers recruited in person and virtually this year. They visited more than 260 high schools in 19 states and completed 325 virtual events, including in-person and virtual school visits, college fairs, group presentations and programs with community-based organizations and student groups. Through this outreach, they met with more than 900 students while traveling and 6,300 students, parents, community-based-organization advisors and high school college counselors online around the world. Alumni played a key role in recruiting the class as well.
Despite restrictions on campus visits due to COVID-19 protocols, an additional 9,300 students and visitors were hosted on campus for tours and information sessions, 3,200 students and visitors attended virtual campus tours and information sessions; and 2,200 students registered for monthly virtual programs.
Pomona’s commitment to increasing access bore fruit, with five admitted students from surrounding Los Angeles communities having participated in the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), an intensive, three-year college preparation program run by the College’s Draper Center for Community Partnerships. In addition, 20 students in the Class of 2026 were matched through Pomona’s partnership with QuestBridge and 20 students were admitted through the Posse Foundation. Also, 110 admitted students reported working with a community-based organization (CBO), including Chicago Scholars, College Horizons, Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), Palouse Pathways, Teen Sharp and Thrive Scholars.
Pomona has also built relationships with international organizations that help colleges connect with applicants from under-resourced schools. They include the HALI-Access Network, The Sutton Trust, the Yanai Tadashi Foundation, Fundação Estudar, as well as numerous local and regional programs.
“Executing our hybrid recruitment strategy required loads of creativity and extra energy,” says Adam Sapp, assistant vice president and director of admissions. “We all agreed it was important to meet students where they felt most comfortable during the recruitment and outreach process, and we did that all year long. I am so proud of everyone in the admissions and financial aid office—recruiting the Class of 2026 was truly a team effort.”