Comparing Pomona College vs the University of California, Berkeley

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female high school student looking at the camera

Comparing Pomona College vs the University of California, Berkeley

If you’re considering higher education in the state of California, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the University of California, Berkeley and Pomona College. These two institutions offer distinct advantages to students with different educational goals, both in terms of academic offerings and campus culture. This article will look at Pomona College vs Berkeley, comparing them side by side, to help you make an informed decision about which school is best for you.

Location and Campus Size Comparison between Pomona College vs Berkeley

One major difference between Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley is their locations and campus sizes. Pomona College is located in Claremont, California, a small town east of downtown Los Angeles. The campus has a unique combination of historical buildings and modern facilities, and it’s size is small and cozy. In contrast, the University of California, Berkeley is situated in the heart of the Bay Area, close to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The campus is much larger than Pomona College’s, with towering academic and administrative buildings.

elevated view of one of the areas of UC Berkeley

Another difference between the two campuses is the surrounding environment. Pomona College is located in a suburban area, with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. The town of Claremont is known for its tree-lined streets, parks, and small businesses. On the other hand, UC Berkeley is located in a bustling urban area, with a diverse and vibrant community. The city of Berkeley is known for its cultural events, restaurants, and nightlife.

Additionally, the two campuses have different student populations. Pomona College is a private liberal arts college, with a student body of around 1,700 students. The college is known for its small class sizes, personalized attention, and close-knit community. UC Berkeley, on the other hand, is a large public research university, with a student body of over 42,000 students. The university offers a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities, and attracts students from all over the world.

Admission and Acceptance Rates

When it comes to acceptance rates, Pomona College typically admits around 10% of applicants every year, making it a very selective choice for students seeking admission. The University of California, Berkeley is also a highly competitive institution, admitting roughly 16% of its applicants. Both schools look for students who have shown significant academic achievement, leadership qualities, and a commitment to extracurricular activities.

It is important to note that admission and acceptance rates can vary depending on the program or major that a student is applying to. For example, Pomona College’s acceptance rate for its computer science program is much lower than its overall acceptance rate, due to the high demand and limited spots available in the program.

Additionally, both Pomona College and UC Berkeley have implemented policies to increase diversity and access for underrepresented students. Pomona College has a need-blind admission policy, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admission process. UC Berkeley has implemented a holistic review process, which takes into account a student’s personal experiences and challenges, in addition to their academic achievements.

Academic Curriculum and Majors Offered between Pomona College vs Berkeley

Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley offer a wide range of academic programs. Pomona College is a liberal arts college, providing a well-rounded education that includes courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The institution confers bachelor’s degrees in a variety of fields, with 48 majors offered. UC Berkeley, on the other hand, is a research university which offers undergraduate degrees in over 110 fields of study, including cognitive science, computer science, and bioengineering.

Additionally, both Pomona College and UC Berkeley offer opportunities for students to pursue interdisciplinary studies and engage in research projects. Pomona College has a unique program called the “Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies,” which allows students to explore the experiences of Asian Americans through a variety of disciplines such as history, literature, and sociology. UC Berkeley has a strong emphasis on research, with many opportunities for undergraduate students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge projects in fields such as biology, physics, and engineering.

Faculty and Student Ratio Comparison

While both schools have highly qualified professors, Pomona College boasts a lower student-to-faculty ratio. This allows students more intimate access to their professors and encourages academic mentoring. Pomona College maintains an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, while the University of California, Berkeley has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1.

Students sitting on the chairs while talking.

Furthermore, the lower student-to-faculty ratio at Pomona College also means that professors have more time to dedicate to each individual student. This can lead to more personalized attention and feedback on assignments, as well as more opportunities for research and collaboration with faculty members.

On the other hand, the higher student-to-faculty ratio at the University of California, Berkeley can offer a wider range of course offerings and research opportunities due to the larger faculty size. Additionally, students may have more opportunities to interact with a diverse group of professors and peers from various academic backgrounds.

Student Life and Extracurricular Activities Comparison between Pomona College vs Berkeley

Both Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley have active and engaging student bodies. Pomona College’s student life is centered around the 5 undergraduate colleges in the Claremont Consortium, which allows students the opportunity to interact with a good cross-section of students from across the consortium. UC Berkeley’s student life is vibrant and diverse, with over 1000 student clubs which cover a variety of interests and hobbies. There’s almost no end to the activities and clubs students can join on this campus.

At Pomona College, students can also participate in a variety of intramural sports, including basketball, soccer, and volleyball. The college also has a strong tradition of outdoor activities, with many students taking advantage of the nearby mountains for hiking and skiing. Additionally, Pomona College has a thriving arts scene, with numerous student-run theater productions and music concerts throughout the year.

Meanwhile, UC Berkeley offers a wide range of academic and career-oriented clubs, including pre-law and pre-med clubs, as well as business and entrepreneurship organizations. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with many students participating in volunteer programs both on and off campus. In addition, UC Berkeley has a rich history of political activism, with many students involved in social justice and environmental causes.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Availability

As is typical of private liberal arts colleges, Pomona College has a higher tuition rate than public institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley. With yearly tuition averaging at around $60,000 (including room and board), it’s more expensive to attend Pomona College than UC Berkeley, which averages at $35,000 (including room and board). However, Pomona College is renowned for its generous financial aid package, which about 60% of students receive. UC Berkeley also has a range of financial aid packages to assist with the cost of attendance, including a generous in-state scholarship program.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance at Pomona College and UC Berkeley can vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances. For example, students who live off-campus or have additional expenses such as textbooks and transportation may have a higher cost of attendance. Both institutions offer resources and support to help students navigate the financial aid process and find ways to reduce their overall cost of attendance.

Additionally, Pomona College and UC Berkeley offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money while attending school. These programs provide students with valuable work experience and can help offset the cost of attendance. Pomona College also offers a summer research program that provides students with a stipend to conduct research with faculty members, further reducing the financial burden of attending the college.

Diversity and Inclusion Comparison between Pomona College vs Berkeley

Diversity and inclusion are very important considerations for many students when choosing an educational institution. Both Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley place a high value on cultural diversity and inclusivity. Pomona College is the country’s sixth-most diverse liberal arts college, with around 50% of students identifying as domestic students of color. Berkeley enrolls the largest number of minority students among any public university in the U.S. About 44% of the student body is composed of underrepresented groups.

Furthermore, both institutions have implemented various initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion on their campuses. Pomona College has a Diversity and Inclusion Office that provides resources and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds. The college also offers a variety of multicultural clubs and organizations, such as the Black Student Union and the Asian American Mentor Program. Similarly, UC Berkeley has established several programs and centers, including the Multicultural Community Center and the Gender Equity Resource Center, to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Career Services and Job Placement Comparison

Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley both are well known for their career service and job placement resources. The Career Development Office in Pomona provides students with one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, and exploration into internships and fellowship programs. UC Berkeley’s Career Access program offers unlimited one-on-one appointments with career counselors with monthly job and internship listings.

Smiling students looking at something on a laptop.

Additionally, Pomona College offers a unique program called the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP), which provides funding for students to pursue unpaid internships in their field of interest. This program allows students to gain valuable experience and make connections in their desired industry, while also receiving financial support. UC Berkeley also offers a similar program called the Berkeley Internship Connection, which connects students with internships in the Bay Area and beyond.

Alumni Network and Giving Comparison

Alumni networks can significantly impact your career prospects and help you make important connections in your field of interest. Pomona College and UC Berkeley both have active alumni networks, with Pomona’s alumni network being smaller in number, while UC Berkeley’s is much larger. In addition, both schools have active annual giving programs that fund scholarships, research, and continued growth for each institution.

However, there is a notable difference in the types of programs that each school’s giving program supports. Pomona College’s giving program focuses heavily on supporting student-led initiatives and community service projects, while UC Berkeley’s giving program primarily supports research and academic programs. This difference in focus reflects the unique values and priorities of each institution and can be an important factor to consider when deciding where to donate your resources as an alum.

Research Opportunities and Facilities Comparison between Pomona College vs Berkeley

Being a research university, the University of California, Berkeley offers many research opportunities for its students. Students have multiple opportunities to work with faculty researchers in a variety of fields. Pomona College also emphasizes the importance of research and intellectual curiosity and offers many opportunities for students to conduct original research, including the 10 week long “Summer Undergraduate Research Program”.

Additionally, both universities have state-of-the-art research facilities that provide students with the necessary resources to conduct their research. UC Berkeley has the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is a world-renowned research facility that focuses on energy, environment, and health research. Pomona College has the Seaver Science Center, which houses modern research equipment and laboratories for students to conduct experiments and research projects.

Student Housing Options Comparison

Both Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley offer a variety of on-campus housing options. UC Berkeley has a variety of housing options that cater to a range of preferences, housing 43% of its undergraduate population. Pomona College has 8 residence halls, each providing a closely-knit community that supports intellectual and personal development.

Additionally, both schools offer off-campus housing options for students who prefer to live independently or with roommates. UC Berkeley has a database of off-campus housing options available to students, while Pomona College has partnerships with local landlords to provide off-campus housing options for students. It is important for students to carefully consider their housing options and make informed decisions based on their individual needs and preferences.

Athletics Programs and Facilities Comparison

Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley both provide students with a range of athletic opportunities. Pomona College is a member of NCAA Division III, where they compete with other small liberal arts colleges in Southern California, while UC Berkeley is part of NCAA Division I. UC Berkeley offers access to facilities like the 300,000 square-foot Recreational Sports Facility.


Additionally, Pomona College has a strong emphasis on intramural sports, with a variety of leagues and tournaments available to students throughout the year. These include sports like flag football, basketball, and ultimate frisbee. The college also has a state-of-the-art fitness center, which includes cardio and weightlifting equipment, as well as group fitness classes like yoga and spin.

Campus Safety and Security Measures between Pomona College vs Berkeley

Campus safety is vital when considering an educational institution. Both Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley have stringent safety policies and protocols in place. Pomona College has its own campus police department, which patrols the campus and provides 24-hour protection. UC Berkeley also has its own police department, and employs campus-wide warning systems to alert students of any safety risks.

In addition to campus police departments, both Pomona College and UC Berkeley have implemented safety measures to ensure the well-being of their students. Pomona College has emergency call boxes located throughout the campus, which can be used to quickly contact campus police in case of an emergency. UC Berkeley has a BearWalk program, which provides a free walking escort service to students who feel unsafe walking alone on campus at night.

Furthermore, both institutions offer safety training programs to their students. Pomona College offers self-defense classes, while UC Berkeley offers a variety of safety workshops, including active shooter response training and sexual assault prevention education.

Sustainability Initiatives and Environmentally-Friendly Practices

Environmental stewardship is a significant priority for many college students nowadays. Both Pomona College and UC Berkeley have demonstrated a strong and long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability. Both campuses actively produce renewable energy, have implemented recycling programs, and offer environmental studies programs. Pomona College has achieved a gold rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, while UC Berkeley has earned the prestigious Sierra Magazine’s “Cool School” award more than once.

In addition to these initiatives, both Pomona College and UC Berkeley have also implemented sustainable transportation options for their students and staff. Pomona College offers a bike-sharing program, as well as electric vehicle charging stations on campus. UC Berkeley has a robust public transportation system, with free shuttles and discounted transit passes for students and employees. These efforts not only reduce carbon emissions but also promote healthy and active lifestyles among the campus community.

Rankings, Accolades, and Reputation of Pomona College vs Berkeley

Pomona College has been consistently ranked among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. UC Berkeley, on the other hand, has been consistently ranked as the top public university in the country, with many of its undergraduate programs ranked in the top 5. Both institutions have an excellent reputation in their respective regions and attract bright students from all over the world.

University students looking happy while standing outside of the main entrance

In addition to their national rankings, both Pomona College and UC Berkeley have received numerous accolades for their academic programs and research initiatives. Pomona College has been recognized for its strong programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, while UC Berkeley has been praised for its leadership in fields such as engineering, computer science, and business.

Furthermore, the reputation of both institutions extends beyond their academic achievements. Pomona College is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a student body that represents a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. UC Berkeley, on the other hand, has a long history of activism and social justice, with a campus culture that values civic engagement and community service.

Prospective Student Considerations: Which School is a Better Fit for You?

Choosing between Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley is no easy decision. However, considering factors such as academic interests, campus size, location, and extracurricular offerings can help you make an informed choice. If you thrive in a small, tight-knit community and have a broad range of interests and hobbies, then Pomona College may be the school for you. If you want to immerse yourself in a dynamic metropolitan environment and take advantage of a vast range of courses and opportunities, then the University of California, Berkeley could be the perfect fit. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which school is best suited for your personal and academic goals and which will allow you to thrive and grow.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley is the type of academic environment you prefer. Pomona College is a liberal arts college that emphasizes a well-rounded education, with a focus on critical thinking and interdisciplinary studies. On the other hand, UC Berkeley is a large research university that offers a wide range of majors and specializations, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological innovation.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the cost of attendance and financial aid options when making your decision. Pomona College is a private institution with a higher tuition cost, but also offers generous financial aid packages to eligible students. UC Berkeley is a public university with a lower tuition cost for in-state students, but may be more expensive for out-of-state students. However, UC Berkeley also offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.


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