Comparing Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three students talking while using a laptop.

Comparing Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

If you are considering attending a top-tier institution of higher education, it is likely that you will be considering multiple schools as potential options. Two of the most prestigious schools worth considering are Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis. Each school has its own unique strengths, but which one is the right fit for you? This article will compare Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis in various categories to help you make an informed choice.

Location and Campus Size

When it comes to location, Pomona College is situated in Claremont, California, which is known for its beautiful weather and proximity to Los Angeles. In comparison, Washington University in St. Louis is located in, well, St. Louis, Missouri, which is known for its unique blend of southern and Midwestern culture and its famed Arch. Pomona has a campus size of around 140 acres, while WashU comprises approximately 290 acres.

Students walking towards the Washington University

Despite the difference in campus size, both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis offer a variety of outdoor spaces for students to enjoy. Pomona’s campus features a botanical garden, a nature reserve, and several athletic fields, while WashU boasts a large park, a golf course, and a nearby forest. Additionally, both schools are committed to sustainability and have implemented eco-friendly initiatives on their campuses.

Admissions Criteria and Selectivity

In terms of selectivity and admissions, Pomona College has a higher acceptance rate than Washington University in St. Louis. Pomona’s acceptance rate is around 7%, while WashU’s is around 15%. However, this does not mean that admission into Pomona is any easier. Both schools have rigorous admissions standards and require high SAT/ACT scores, GPAs, and impressive extracurricular activities.

Student Body Demographics and Diversity

The student body demographics and diversity vary significantly between Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis. Pomona’s student body is predominantly composed of students from California and New England, while WashU has a more national (USA) and international student body. Pomona is known for its diverse student body and its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, while about 60% of WashU undergraduates are white.

Additionally, Pomona College has a higher percentage of students who identify as LGBTQ+ compared to Washington University in St. Louis. This is reflected in the various student-led organizations and events on campus that promote LGBTQ+ visibility and support. On the other hand, WashU has a larger population of students who come from affluent backgrounds, with a median family income of $204,000.

Furthermore, Pomona College has a higher percentage of first-generation college students compared to WashU. This is due to Pomona’s commitment to providing access to higher education for students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Pomona offers various resources and support systems for first-generation students, such as mentorship programs and financial aid opportunities. WashU also offers support for first-generation students, but the percentage of first-generation students is lower compared to Pomona.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

Both schools offer a wide variety of academic programs and majors. Pomona College has 48 majors, ranging from Africana Studies to Women’s Studies. WashU offers 90 majors, ranging from Advertising and Marketing Communications to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Both schools are well known for their strengths in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and both offer ample opportunities for research in a variety of fields.

View of two civil engineering students drafting on a table.

In addition to their extensive list of majors, both Pomona College and WashU offer a range of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. Pomona College offers programs such as Environmental Analysis, Neuroscience, and Media Studies, while WashU offers programs such as Global Health and the Environment, International and Area Studies, and Urban Studies. These interdisciplinary programs provide students with a unique and well-rounded education.

Furthermore, both schools offer a variety of study abroad programs that allow students to gain international experience and broaden their perspectives. Pomona College has partnerships with over 50 universities around the world, while WashU has its own campus in Italy and offers programs in over 50 countries. These study abroad opportunities provide students with the chance to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a global perspective.

Faculty Quality and Teaching Style

Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis are both known for their high-caliber faculty. Professors at both schools are experts in their respective fields and are dedicated to their students’ success. Pomona has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, while WashU has a ratio of 7:1. Both schools offer a mix of lecture-based and discussion-based classes, and students can expect to have access to personal attention from their professors.

Additionally, both Pomona and WashU have a strong emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities. Students have the chance to work closely with faculty members on research projects, which can lead to publications and presentations at conferences. This hands-on experience allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations and can be a valuable asset when applying to graduate school or entering the workforce.

Furthermore, both schools have a diverse range of teaching styles. While some professors may prefer a traditional lecture format, others may incorporate group work, case studies, or experiential learning into their classes. This variety allows students to explore different learning methods and find what works best for them. Additionally, both schools offer resources such as tutoring and academic advising to support students in their academic pursuits.

Research Opportunities for Students between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

Research is an essential component of the academic experience at both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis. Students at both schools have ample opportunities to conduct research alongside their professors or lead their research projects. Pomona is part of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which allows students to take classes and conduct research at neighboring schools (such as Claremont McKenna College or Harvey Mudd College) as well. WashU offers extensive research opportunities in the sciences, including a variety of formal research programs like the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) and the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Additionally, both Pomona and WashU offer research opportunities in the humanities and social sciences. At Pomona, students can participate in the Humanities Studio, which provides funding and support for interdisciplinary research projects. WashU’s College of Arts & Sciences offers research grants for students in the humanities and social sciences, as well as opportunities to work with faculty on research projects. These research opportunities allow students to gain valuable experience in their fields of study and prepare for graduate school or careers in research.

Study Abroad Programs Available

Studying abroad is another crucial aspect of a well-rounded college experience, and both schools offer ample opportunities to study overseas. Pomona offers study abroad programs in 43 different countries. In comparison, WashU has study abroad programs in 52 different countries. Study abroad programs at both schools are designed to maximize cultural immersion and academic engagement.

Group of students standing near a window and smiling for the camera.

Additionally, both Pomona and WashU offer various scholarships and financial aid options for students who wish to participate in study abroad programs. These programs provide students with the opportunity to gain a global perspective, learn new languages, and develop intercultural communication skills. Students can choose from semester-long programs, summer programs, or even year-long programs depending on their academic and personal goals.

Student Life and Extracurricular Activities between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

Both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis offer a vibrant college experience beyond academics. There are ample opportunities to engage in student organizations, club sports, intramurals, and more. Pomona’s close proximity to Los Angeles means that students have easy access to a city with a wealth of cultural experiences. WashU’s campus culture is very active, with over 350 clubs and organizations for students to choose from. Both schools have extensive student life programs and activities designed to keep students engaged on and off-campus.

At Pomona College, students can participate in the Outdoor Education Center, which offers a variety of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, backpacking, and kayaking. The center also provides opportunities for students to learn about environmental sustainability and conservation. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong commitment to sustainability and offers a variety of programs and initiatives to promote environmental awareness and action. The university also has a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues on campus and in the surrounding community.

Athletics Programs Offered

Varsity athletics is another critical element of college life. Pomona offers a robust athletic program, with 21 men’s and women’s varsity sports teams, while WashU has a whopping 19 men’s and women’s varsity sports teams. Both schools are known for their athletic excellence and competitive spirit.

Additionally, both Pomona and WashU offer a variety of intramural sports programs for students who want to participate in sports at a more casual level. These programs include basketball, soccer, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee, among others. Intramural sports are a great way for students to stay active, meet new people, and have fun outside of the classroom.

Campus Safety and Security Measures

Ensuring the safety and well-being of students is a top priority for both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis. Both schools have extensive safety and security measures in place, including campus police and alert systems. Both schools also offer resources such as mental health services and counseling to help ensure the well-being of their student body.

In addition to these measures, Pomona College has implemented a program called “Green Dot,” which trains students, faculty, and staff to recognize and intervene in situations of power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault and domestic violence. This program has been successful in reducing instances of violence on campus and creating a safer environment for all students.

Washington University in St. Louis has also taken steps to increase safety on campus by implementing a “Safe Ride” program, which provides free transportation to students who feel unsafe walking alone at night. The university also has a “Bias Report and Support System” in place, which allows students to report incidents of bias or discrimination and receive support from trained staff members.

Career Services and Job Placement Statistics between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

Preparing students for life after college is another crucial aspect of the college experience. Both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis offer extensive career services resources and programs. Pomona has a close relationship with the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which allows students to have access to career services resources across multiple schools. WashU has an excellent career network, with over 170,000 alumni around the world. According to recent statistics, over 90% of Pomona and WashU graduates are employed or enrolled in a graduate program within six months of graduation.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

Additionally, both colleges have strong internship programs that provide students with hands-on experience in their desired fields. Pomona College has partnerships with various organizations and companies, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Claremont McKenna College Financial Economics Institute, to offer internships to students. WashU has a dedicated Career Center that helps students find internships and co-op opportunities, and also offers funding for unpaid internships through the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Campus Sustainability Initiatives

The environment and sustainability are two important topics of our time, and both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis have robust campus sustainability initiatives. Pomona has an Office of Sustainability, which oversees a variety of programs and initiatives designed to reduce the college’s carbon footprint. WashU is considered a leader in campus sustainability and is consistently ranked as one of the greenest colleges and universities in the country.

At Pomona College, some of the sustainability initiatives include a bike-sharing program, a composting program, and a solar panel installation project. The bike-sharing program allows students to rent bikes for free, reducing the need for cars on campus. The composting program collects food waste from dining halls and turns it into nutrient-rich soil for the campus gardens. The solar panel installation project aims to reduce the college’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Washington University in St. Louis has also implemented several sustainability initiatives, such as a green roof program, a recycling program, and a sustainable transportation program. The green roof program involves planting vegetation on the roofs of buildings, which helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the buildings. The recycling program encourages students and staff to recycle as much as possible, and the sustainable transportation program provides incentives for using public transportation, biking, or walking instead of driving.

Campus Facilities, Amenities, and Services between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

Facilities, amenities, and services are crucial components of the college experience. Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis both offer excellent campus facilities, including state-of-the-art libraries, research labs, and recreation centers. Both schools also offer a wide range of amenities and services, including dining halls, coffee shops, and tutoring and writing centers.

In addition to the aforementioned facilities and services, Pomona College also boasts a beautiful outdoor campus with numerous green spaces, gardens, and walking paths. The college also has a museum on campus, the Pomona College Museum of Art, which features a diverse collection of contemporary and modern art.

Washington University in St. Louis, on the other hand, has a strong focus on sustainability and offers a variety of eco-friendly initiatives on campus. These include a bike share program, a campus garden, and LEED-certified buildings. The university also has a performing arts center, the Edison Theatre, which hosts a variety of performances throughout the year.

Comparison of Rankings and Accolades

When it comes to rankings and accolades, both schools have received numerous honors and awards. Pomona College is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, and is ranked #1 in Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Top Colleges. Washington University in St. Louis is also highly ranked, and is ranked #19 in the US News & World Report 2020 National University Rankings. Both schools have received many other honors and accolades from various publications, as well.

One notable accolade that Pomona College has received is the title of “Most Selective College in the United States” by Business Insider in 2018. This recognition highlights the rigorous admissions process and high academic standards of the college. Additionally, Pomona College has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability, receiving a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Washington University in St. Louis has also received recognition for its research and innovation. In 2019, the university was ranked #7 in the nation for research and development expenditures by the National Science Foundation. The university has also been recognized for its entrepreneurship programs, with the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship being named one of the top 25 entrepreneurship centers in the country by the Princeton Review.

Prospective Student Visit Experience between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

For prospective students considering Pomona College or Washington University in St. Louis, visiting the campus is essential. Pomona offers a variety of visit options, including individual and group tours, as well as overnight stays. WashU offers a similar suite of visit options, allowing prospective students to get a feel for campus life, meet with current students, and attend classes if desired.

Students line up while smiling.

During these visits, prospective students can also explore the surrounding areas and get a sense of the local community. Pomona College is located in Claremont, California, a charming college town with a vibrant downtown area and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. Washington University in St. Louis is situated in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, a bustling city with a rich cultural scene and numerous opportunities for internships and career development.

Additionally, both Pomona and WashU offer specialized visit programs for underrepresented students, including students of color, first-generation college students, and low-income students. These programs provide additional support and resources to help these students navigate the college application process and feel more comfortable on campus.

Student Testimonials from Both Schools

Finally, hearing from current or former students can help guide your decision-making process. Students from Pomona College rave about the tight-knit community and the diversity of experiences available on campus. WashU students love the strong sense of school pride and the ample opportunities to get involved in campus activities. Both schools also have active alumni networks and a reputation for producing successful graduates.

One Pomona College student, Sarah, shared that the professors at the school are incredibly supportive and invested in their students’ success. She also mentioned the abundance of research opportunities available to students, which has helped her gain valuable experience in her field of study.

On the other hand, a WashU student, John, highlighted the school’s commitment to community service and social justice. He shared that there are numerous student-led organizations dedicated to making a positive impact on the world, and that the school encourages students to get involved in these initiatives.

Final Verdict: Choosing Between Pomona College vs Washington University in St. Louis

After considering all of the information presented above, it becomes clear that both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis are excellent institutions of higher education. Ultimately, the best school for you will depend on your individual needs, interests, and goals. We hope that this comparison has given you a better sense of what each school has to offer, and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing your future college home.

It is important to note that both Pomona College and Washington University in St. Louis have unique campus cultures. Pomona College is known for its small, tight-knit community and emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis has a larger student body and offers a wider range of academic programs. Consider which type of campus environment would be the best fit for you.

Additionally, it may be helpful to research the career resources and opportunities available at each school. Pomona College has a strong alumni network and career center, while Washington University in St. Louis has partnerships with top companies and organizations for internships and job placements. Think about your career goals and which school can provide the resources and connections to help you achieve them.


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