How to Get into Pomona: Admission Requirements and Tips

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

How to Get into Pomona: Admission Requirements and Tips

Pomona College, a prestigious liberal arts institution, is renowned for its rigorous academic standards and highly selective admission process. Aspiring students often face intense competition and complex application requirements, making the journey to acceptance a challenging one.

This article aims to simplify the admissions process at Pomona College. It offers you practical advice, step-by-step guidance, and insider tips to enhance your chances of being accepted into this esteemed college.

Overview of Pomona

Founded in 1887, Pomona College holds a significant place in the history of American education. Located in Claremont, California, it is part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, offering students a unique blend of a small college experience with the resources of a larger university.

Pomona College is celebrated for its wide range of exceptional programs, especially in the liberal arts and sciences. It emphasizes a personalized educational experience, with small class sizes and a strong focus on undergraduate teaching.

In terms of national and global recognition, Pomona College stands tall. It is ranked #4 in National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News and holds the same rank in Forbes’s Top Colleges 2023 list (#4 in Liberal Arts Universities). This prestige reflects its commitment to academic excellence and innovative teaching.

The college boasts a roster of distinguished alumni. They include Bill Keller, a Pulitzer-winning journalist and former editor of The New York Times, and Jennifer Doudna, awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for her groundbreaking work on CRISPR-Cas9. These alumni exemplify the institution’s impact on various professional fields.

Understanding Pomona College’s history, its esteemed programs, and the accomplishments of its alumni can be pivotal in shaping your application. It’s important to align your application to reflect the values and academic ethos that Pomona stands for, demonstrating how you can contribute to and benefit from its distinguished community.

How Hard Is It to Get into Pomona College?

Gaining admission to Pomona College is undeniably competitive. With the latest acceptance rate hovering around 6.8%, it signifies that out of every 100 applicants, only about seven are offered admission.

This low acceptance rate is a clear indicator of the college’s selectivity and the high caliber of students it seeks.

Pomona’s acceptance rate

Over the past five years, Pomona College’s acceptance rate has consistently hovered around 7-8%:

Class Acceptance Rate
Class of 2023 7%
Class of 2024 8.6%
Class of 2025 6.6%
Class of 2026 7%
Class of 2027 6.8%

This consistent range reflects the college’s status as one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the United States, highlighting the competitiveness of its admissions process.

For the Class of 2027, Pomona College received 12,121 applications. Of these, only 819 students were admitted, resulting in an acceptance rate of 6.8%. These figures underscore the highly selective nature of the college’s admission process.

Prospective students should view this acceptance rate as a measure of Pomona’s rigorous selection criteria. It’s a reminder of the need for a strong academic record, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and a compelling personal story in your application.

Factors influencing the acceptance rate

The overall acceptance rate at Pomona College is shaped by several key institutional factors. Consider these points:

  • Application Trends: The number of applications received each year can fluctuate, impacting the acceptance rate.
  • Admission Policies: Pomona’s holistic admission approach reviews each applicant comprehensively.
  • Institutional Goals: The college’s mission and goals can influence the kind of student profile they seek.
  • External Factors: Broader educational trends and societal factors can also play a role in the college’s admission strategy.

Pomona Admission Requirements

Navigating the admissions process at Pomona College requires a clear understanding of its requirements. While the college evaluates candidates holistically, there are several key components that play a pivotal role in the decision-making process:

  • GPA: A strong academic record is essential. While Pomona does not specify a minimum GPA, successful applicants typically have high GPAs, reflecting excellence in challenging coursework.
  • Course Recommendations: Successful applicants often have a background in a range of high school subjects. These courses prepare students for the academic rigor at Pomona.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Pomona College has adopted a test-optional policy for SAT and ACT scores, but submitting high scores can bolster your application.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Participation in extracurricular activities demonstrates your interests and commitment outside the classroom.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from teachers and counselors provide insights into your academic and personal qualities.
  • Personal Essays: Your essays should reflect your personality, interests, and how you align with Pomona’s values.
  • Interview: An interview is an optional but recommended component that can add a personal touch to your application.

The admission process at Pomona College is comprehensive and competitive. Each application undergoes a thorough review where all these components are considered in conjunction to understand the applicant’s strengths, character, and potential fit with the college’s community and values.

What Does Pomona Look for in Students?

At its heart, Pomona College seeks students who embody specific values that align with its educational philosophy and community ethos. Knowing these values is crucial for applicants, as it helps in tailoring applications to demonstrate qualities that Pomona values highly. This understanding not only strengthens your application but also ensures a good fit between you and the college.

1. Intellectual and academic commitment

Pomona College places a high value on students who show not just a strong academic record but a genuine passion for learning. Intellectual curiosity, a hallmark of Pomona’s ideal candidate, is about more than just grades. It’s about a deep-seated desire to understand and explore complex concepts, a thirst for knowledge that extends beyond the classroom.

The college seeks students who are not satisfied with surface-level understanding but are driven to delve deeper. This commitment to intellectual growth is often demonstrated through engagement in challenging coursework, independent research, and a consistent track record of academic achievements.

2. Inquisitive and creative learning

Creativity and inquisitiveness are at the core of Pomona’s educational ethos. The college highly values students who are not afraid to ask challenging questions, think outside the box, and approach learning with a creative mindset.

This means looking beyond traditional methods and embracing innovative ways of thinking and solving problems. Pomona admires students who show an eagerness to learn in diverse fields, reflecting a multifaceted approach to education.

Such learners often engage in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities, showcasing their versatility and eagerness to explore new areas of knowledge.

3. Collaborative engagement and perspective

Pomona College’s community thrives on collaboration and diverse perspectives. The college looks for students who can work effectively in team settings, contribute to group discussions, and bring unique viewpoints to the table.

This collaborative spirit is key in a learning environment where different ideas and cultures intersect. Students who excel in this area often have a history of involvement in group projects, team sports, or community organizations where they have learned to navigate and enhance group dynamics.

Group of students talking in a table on a room.

4. Community and network

A strong sense of community involvement is highly valued by Pomona. This involves a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility.

The college seeks individuals who have shown an ability to positively impact their local or global community, whether through volunteer work, activism, or leadership roles in community organizations. Pomona looks for candidates who understand the importance of building and maintaining networks that foster positive change and mutual support.

5. Personal traits

Finally, character traits such as resilience, empathy, leadership, and integrity are crucial for success at Pomona.

Resilience speaks to a student’s ability to overcome challenges and adapt to new situations. Empathy indicates a capacity for understanding and valuing diverse perspectives. Leadership shows an ability to guide and inspire others, while integrity reflects a commitment to ethical and honest behavior.

These personal qualities are often reflected in a student’s personal essays, recommendations, and extracurricular involvements, providing a glimpse into their character and potential to contribute to the Pomona community.

Pomona GPA and SAT Requirements

GPA and SAT scores are critical components of the admissions process at Pomona College. These metrics serve several important roles in evaluating prospective students.

Since high schools vary greatly in their academic rigor and grading systems, GPA and SAT scores help admissions officers compare students from different educational backgrounds on a more level playing field.

A high GPA, especially in rigorous courses, and strong SAT scores are seen as indicators of a student’s readiness to handle the academic challenges at Pomona.

Moreover, achieving a high GPA and SAT score often requires dedication, hard work, and good study habits. These qualities are highly valued by Pomona College, as they indicate a student’s commitment to their education and their ability to prepare effectively for important assessments.

Understanding the importance of GPA and SAT scores can guide students in their preparation for applying to Pomona College, emphasizing the need to focus on academic excellence and effective test preparation.

Pomona GPA Requirements

While not explicitly stating a minimum GPA requirement, Pomona College typically admits students with high academic achievements. The latest statistics show that the average GPA of admitted students is around 4.06.

The average GPA at Pomona College places students among the top achievers not only within the context of the college but also nationally. This high GPA indicates that admitted students are often at the top of their high school classes, having successfully undertaken the most challenging courses available to them.

When considering these GPA statistics, it’s important to understand that while they represent averages, admissions decisions at Pomona are made holistically. This means that a slightly lower GPA does not automatically disqualify a candidate, especially if other aspects of their application are exceptionally strong.

GPA recommendations

Students aspiring to gain admission to Pomona College should aim for a GPA that is close to or above 4.06.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this goal:

  • Enroll in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), honors, or other advanced courses if available. Excelling in these courses can positively impact your weighted GPA and demonstrate your readiness for college-level work.
  • Strive for consistency in your grades throughout high school. A steady or upward trend in your academic performance is a positive indicator for admissions officers.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek extra help if you’re struggling in a particular subject. Utilizing resources like tutoring or study groups can significantly improve your understanding and grades.
  • Develop strong time management skills. Balancing academics with extracurricular activities requires careful planning to ensure you can dedicate sufficient time to your studies.
  • While all subjects are important, pay special attention to core academic subjects like mathematics, science, English, social studies, and foreign languages. Strong performance in these areas is often weighted more heavily in admissions decisions.
  • Beyond just aiming for good grades, truly engage with the material. Active learning and a genuine interest in your subjects can enhance your understanding and lead to better academic performance.
  • Allocate ample time for exam preparation. Good test-taking strategies and thorough preparation can significantly boost your grades.

Pomona Course Recommendations

Understanding the recommended courses is essential when applying to Pomona College. These recommendations are designed to ensure that students are well-prepared for the academic rigor they will encounter at Pomona and provide a foundation for success in a variety of disciplines.

a female student grabbing a book from a library shelf

  • English (Four Years): A strong foundation in English is crucial. It enhances critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. Four years of English, including literature and composition, are recommended.
  • Natural Science and Mathematics (Four Years): A solid background in math and science is recommended, with an emphasis on four years of each. For science, two lab sciences are advisable, especially for students interested in STEM fields. In mathematics, completion of calculus is recommended for those aiming for STEM majors.
  • Foreign Language (Three Years): Proficiency in a foreign language enriches communication skills and cultural understanding. Three years in the same foreign language is recommended to achieve a good level of proficiency.
  • Social Science (Three Years): Engaging with social sciences, such as history, economics, or psychology, for three years helps develop a well-rounded perspective on societal structures and issues.

It’s important to note that these are not strict admission requirements but recommendations for the best preparation for Pomona’s curriculum. Students who have taken and succeeded in challenging courses in high school are often better prepared for the college’s rigorous coursework.

However, Pomona College understands that not all schools offer advanced course options. Students are not at a disadvantage in the admissions process if their school does not provide such courses. The college evaluates each applicant within the context of the opportunities available to them at their respective schools.

Course selection tips

When selecting high school courses with an eye towards applying to Pomona College, it’s important to consider several key factors that can strengthen your application:

  • Choose courses that align with your academic interests and future goals. If you have a specific major in mind, select courses that will prepare you for that field. For example, if you’re interested in a STEM major, prioritize advanced math and science courses.
  • Opt for the most challenging courses available to you, such as AP, IB, or honors classes. However, it’s important to balance rigor with your ability to maintain a strong GPA. Challenge yourself, but be realistic about what you can handle.
  • While specializing in areas of interest is good, colleges like Pomona also value well-roundedness. Ensure you have a balanced curriculum that covers essential subjects like English, math, sciences, social sciences, and foreign languages.
  • Demonstrating that you’ve taken increasingly challenging courses each year can illustrate your growth and dedication to academic excellence. Admissions officers often look for an upward trajectory in the rigor of your coursework.
  • Remember that Pomona evaluates your course selection in the context of what’s available at your school. If certain AP or IB courses aren’t offered, consider what other advanced or challenging options you have.
  • Consult with your high school counselors to plan a course schedule that aligns with Pomona’s recommendations and your academic interests. They can provide valuable advice on balancing course load and extracurricular commitments.
  • If you have specific academic interests, look for opportunities to explore them, whether through electives, independent studies, or extracurricular activities. This can add depth to your application and show your genuine passion for learning.

Pomona SAT Requirements

The SAT is a standardized test that assesses a student’s readiness for college. It measures critical reading, writing, and mathematical skills, which are fundamental for academic success at the college level. The SAT is designed to provide colleges with a common data point that can be used to compare all applicants.

Pomona College does not have an absolute minimum SAT score requirement, but these statistics give a clear picture of the typical scores of admitted students:

Average SAT Score 25th Percentile SAT Score 75th Percentile SAT Score
1520 1480 1550

The typical SAT scores of Pomona students are high, both in the context of the college and nationally. These scores reflect the college’s high academic standards and the competitiveness of its admissions process.

Scoring in the 75th percentile (1550) places you above many applicants and is indicative of a very competitive SAT score. This can strengthen your application significantly.

Scoring in the 25th percentile (1480) means you are below the average of admitted students but still within the range of accepted scores. If your SAT score falls here, it’s important to complement it with strong components in other areas of your application.

These SAT statistics provide a benchmark for prospective students. While Pomona College adopts a holistic approach in admissions, a high SAT score can be an advantageous aspect of your application.

SAT recommendations

Aiming for the 75th percentile score (around 1550) is a good target. This score range puts you in a strong position in terms of standardized testing. Here are some strategies to help you reach this goal:

  • Begin your SAT preparation early. Give yourself ample time to understand the format, content, and strategies for the test.
  • Regularly take full-length practice tests under timed conditions. This not only helps you get familiar with the test format but also identifies areas where you need improvement.
  • After each practice test, analyze your results to identify weak areas. Spend extra time improving these aspects, whether it’s critical reading, math, or writing.
  • Use official SAT preparation materials and resources. They provide the most accurate representation of the actual test.
  • If you need additional guidance, consider enrolling in an SAT prep course or hiring a tutor. Personalized instruction can be very effective in boosting your score.
  • Apart from mastering the content, learn effective test-taking strategies. This includes time management, guessing tactics, and dealing with test anxiety.
  • Consistency is key. Regular study sessions are more effective than cramming.
  • Ensure you’re well-rested, eating healthily, and staying physically active during your preparation period. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind, which is essential for optimal performance.
  • If your first SAT score isn’t what you hoped for, consider retaking the test. Many students improve their scores on a second or third attempt.

Pomona ACT Requirements

The ACT is a standardized test that evaluates college readiness. It covers four main areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science, with an optional writing section. The ACT is designed to assess a student’s academic skills and their ability to apply knowledge in these key areas.

Pomona College does not set an absolute minimum ACT score requirement for admission. However, you need to consider the typical scores of admitted students:

Average ACT Score 25th Percentile ACT Score 75th Percentile ACT Score
34 33 35

These scores for Pomona students are impressive both in the context of the college and nationally. These scores reflect the college’s rigorous academic standards and the high caliber of students Pomona attracts.

A score at the 75th percentile (35) is considered highly competitive. Achieving this score can greatly enhance your application’s strength.

Scoring at the 25th percentile (33) means you’re on the lower end of the score range for admitted students. If your ACT score falls in this range, it’s crucial to strengthen other parts of your application, such as your essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

These statistics are benchmarks for applicants. While they are important, it’s essential to remember that Pomona evaluates candidates holistically. A slightly lower ACT score can be offset by strong performances in other application areas.

ACT recommendations

Aiming for a score at or near the 75th percentile (35) is a good goal.

This level of performance on the ACT demonstrates strong academic ability and can significantly bolster your application to Pomona College. Here are some tips to help you reach this goal:

  • Familiarize yourself with the ACT’s structure, including the types of questions asked in each section (English, Math, Reading, Science, and optional Writing).
  • Consistent practice is vital. Use real ACT tests for practice to get a feel for the question types and format.
  • Identify your weaker sections and devote extra time to improving them. Tailoring your study plan to your needs can lead to significant score improvements.
  • The ACT is a timed test, so practice managing your time effectively. This includes learning how to quickly read passages and solve problems.
  • Utilize official ACT preparation materials for the most accurate practice experience. These materials are designed to closely mirror the actual test.
  • If you need additional support, consider an ACT prep course or a tutor, especially if there are areas where you consistently struggle.
  • Ensure you have a strong grasp of the basic concepts in English grammar, math, and science. This foundational knowledge is crucial for the ACT.
  • The reading section requires fast, efficient reading with comprehension. Practice this skill with various types of texts.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise. A healthy body supports a focused and alert mind.
  • Don’t hesitate to retake the ACT if you feel you can improve your score. Many students find their scores increase on a second attempt.

Is Pomona Test-Optional?

Pomona College has adopted a test-optional policy. This means that submitting SAT or ACT scores as part of your application is not mandatory.

If you believe your SAT or ACT scores accurately reflect your academic abilities and strengthen your application, you can choose to submit them.

However, if you feel that your scores do not adequately represent your potential or if circumstances have prevented you from taking these tests, you can opt not to include them without any disadvantage in the admissions process.

Pomona College’s decision to go test-optional reflects a broader trend in higher education recognizing that standardized test scores are not the only indicators of academic potential. This policy aims to provide a more equitable admissions process by considering the varied backgrounds and experiences of applicants.

By adopting a test-optional policy, Pomona College seeks to evaluate applicants more holistically and create a diverse and inclusive student body.

Does Pomona College Superscore SAT and ACT?

Pomona College superscores both the SAT and ACT. This means that if you choose to submit multiple test scores, the college will consider the highest scores from each section across all the dates you’ve taken the test.

Pomona’s superscoring policy can be highly advantageous. It allows you to showcase the best of your abilities across different test dates. If you have taken the SAT or ACT multiple times, you can benefit from this policy as it might lead to a higher composite score.

This can be particularly helpful if you have strengths in certain areas and have shown improvement over time. Superscoring can ultimately present a more favorable view of your testing capabilities as part of your overall application to Pomona College.

Pomona Application Essays

Application essays play a crucial role in your Pomona College application. They provide an opportunity for you to showcase your personality, intellectual interests, and writing skills.

Essays are your chance to speak directly to the admissions committee, offering insights into who you are beyond grades and test scores. They allow you to highlight your unique experiences, perspectives, and the values you would bring to the Pomona community.

As part of the application process, Pomona College requires a personal statement and supplemental essays.

Personal statement

The personal statement, a part of your main application, is your chance to tell your story. This is where you can highlight your background, experiences, challenges, achievements, and insights into your character.

It’s an open platform to express who you are and what has shaped you. This essay should capture your voice and present a narrative that ties together your past experiences with your future ambitions.

Supplemental essays

In addition to the personal statement, Pomona requires you to write supplemental essays. These are designed to gauge your fit with the college’s academic environment.

For your supplemental essays, you need to respond to the following Pomona-specific prompts:

1. Academic Interest Statement (Max 150 words): What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.

2. Short-Response Essay (max 150 words): Respond to one of the following prompts:

  • At Pomona, we celebrate and identify with the number 47. Share with us one of your quirky personal, family, or community traditions and why you hold on to it.
  • What item are you excited to bring with you to college?
  • Describe a time when you felt empowered or on top of the world.

3. Longer-Response Essay (Max 250 Words): Respond to one of the following prompts:

  • In the past few years, is there something you have changed your mind about? Why?
  • Reflecting on a community that you are part of, what values or perspectives from that community would you bring to Pomona?
  • What strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize?

These supplemental essays provide a platform to delve into more specific aspects of your personality and intellectual curiosity. They should complement your personal statement, adding depth and breadth to your application profile.

Essay tips

Writing compelling essays for your Pomona College application is a critical step in presenting yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Here are some specific tips to help you make a strong impression:

  • Your essays should reflect your true self. Avoid giving answers you think the admissions officers want to hear. Authenticity resonates more than perfection.
  • Use storytelling techniques in your essays. Narratives that illustrate your experiences, growth, and learning can be particularly engaging and memorable.
  • Don’t just describe experiences or achievements; reflect on them. Discuss what you learned, how you grew, or how your perspective changed.
  • For each supplemental essay, tailor your response to directly address the prompt. Be clear and concise, sticking to the word limit.
  • In your Academic Interest Statement, express your passion for your chosen field or an academic subject that excites you. Be specific about why it interests you and how it aligns with your goals.
  • In prompts about changing perspectives or empowerment moments, focus on personal growth. Share insights into how these experiences shaped your character and outlook.
  • In the community contribution essay, discuss how the values or perspectives you’ve gained from your community align with Pomona’s values and how you can contribute to the college’s environment.
  • Ensure your essays are free of grammatical and spelling errors. Read them aloud or have someone else review them for clarity and flow.
  • Make your essays memorable by using vivid details and descriptive language. This makes your writing more engaging and helps your personality shine through.

Two people having a one-on-one talk

Pomona Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are a crucial part of your Pomona College application. They provide the admissions committee with insights into your academic abilities, character, and potential contributions to the college community from the perspective of those who have taught and guided you.

Well-written recommendations can offer a deeper understanding of your personal qualities, such as intellectual curiosity, leadership, and collaboration skills, which grades and test scores alone cannot convey.

Pomona College requires a counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations.

The counselor recommendation, along with the school report, must be submitted by your high school counselor. It typically addresses your academic and personal development in the context of your high school environment, providing a comprehensive view of your performance and growth over your high school years.

Next, two recommendations are required from teachers of core subjects: English, foreign languages, mathematics, science, or social sciences. These letters should ideally come from instructors who have taught you recently in these subjects and can speak to your academic strengths, contributions to classroom discussions, and any notable projects or achievements.

You also have the option to submit an additional letter from teachers of elective subjects, a coach, or another individual who can provide a different perspective on your abilities and character. This letter can shed light on aspects of your personality and abilities that are not covered in the academic recommendations, such as creativity, leadership in extracurricular activities, or teamwork in sports.

The recommendation letters should be carefully considered, as they are a key component in providing a full picture of you as a student and individual. They should complement your academic record and test scores, providing a holistic view of your candidacy to the admissions committee at Pomona College.

Tips for requesting recommendation letters

Securing effective recommendation letters is an important aspect of your Pomona College application. Here are some tips to help you approach this task:

  • Select recommenders who know you well and can speak to your strengths, achievements, and character. Ideally, these should be teachers or counselors who have interacted with you extensively.
  • Approach your chosen recommenders well in advance of the application deadline. This gives them ample time to write a thoughtful and comprehensive letter.
  • Offer your recommenders an overview of your college aspirations, including why you’re interested in Pomona College. Share your resume or a list of your academic and extracurricular achievements to help them highlight relevant aspects of your character and accomplishments.
  • If there are specific experiences or strengths you would like your recommenders to focus on, discuss these with them. This ensures that your letters are aligned with the overall narrative of your application.
  • As the deadline approaches, gently remind your recommenders if they have not yet submitted their letters. Always be courteous and appreciative of their time and effort.
  • After your recommenders have submitted their letters, thank them for their support and time. A heartfelt thank-you note can go a long way in showing your appreciation.

Tips for recommenders

If you’re writing a recommendation letter for a student applying to Pomona College, here are some tips to make your letter as effective as possible:

  • Beyond academic achievements, emphasize the student’s personal qualities such as resilience, curiosity, teamwork, or leadership. Share anecdotes that illustrate these characteristics.
  • Use specific examples to illustrate the student’s strengths and achievements. Generic statements have less impact than detailed, personalized observations.
  • Describe the student’s accomplishments within the context of their environment. This could include overcoming challenges, contributing to the school community, or excelling in particular projects or subjects.
  • Discuss the student’s growth during your time knowing them and their potential for future success. This can include their readiness for college-level work and potential contributions to a college community.
  • Tailor your letter to align with the values and ethos of Pomona College. Highlight qualities and experiences that resonate with the college’s emphasis on intellectual engagement, community involvement, and diversity of perspectives.
  • Ensure that the letter is well-structured, free of errors, and professionally presented. This reflects well on both you and the student.

Extracurricular Activities for Pomona Application

Extracurricular activities play a vital role in the Pomona College application process. They provide a window into your interests, passions, and skills outside the academic realm. These activities demonstrate how you engage with your community, pursue personal interests, and develop leadership and teamwork skills.

For Pomona, which seeks well-rounded individuals, your extracurricular involvement can be as telling as your academic performance. They offer insight into your potential to contribute to the campus community and beyond.

Pomona College, in line with its core values and programs, looks for extracurricular activities that show:

  • Intellectual Curiosity and Passion: Activities that demonstrate a love for learning and exploring interests deeply. This could include academic clubs, competitions, or independent research projects.
  • Leadership and Initiative: Leadership roles in clubs, organizations, sports teams, or community projects highlight your ability to lead, organize, and motivate others. Pomona values students who take initiative and can bring positive changes to their environments.
  • Community Engagement and Service: Involvement in community service or local organizations shows a commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility, aligning with Pomona’s focus on community.
  • Creative and Artistic Pursuits: Participation in the arts, music, theater, or creative writing reflects creative thinking and expression, qualities that are highly regarded at Pomona.
  • Collaborative Endeavors: Team sports, debate teams, or group projects can demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively, a key aspect of the Pomona educational experience.
  • Diversity of Experience: A range of interests and activities can illustrate your versatility and openness to new experiences, aligning with Pomona’s liberal arts philosophy.

Extracurricular activities tips

Choosing and showcasing your extracurricular activities effectively is crucial for your Pomona College application. Here are some tips to help you highlight your involvement in the best light:

  • Engage in activities that genuinely interest you rather than those you think will look good on a college application. Authentic passion is more compelling than a list of activities done just for the sake of college admissions.
  • Depth of involvement is more impressive than breadth. Stick with activities for an extended period to show dedication and the impact of your contributions.
  • Where possible, take on leadership positions in your extracurriculars. Leadership experience can demonstrate initiative, responsibility, and the ability to work well with others.

Group of students experiencing social life

  • In your application, highlight how you’ve grown through your activities and any impact you’ve made, whether in your school, community, or a larger context.
  • While it’s important to show dedication, also demonstrate a well-rounded profile. A mix of academic, creative, athletic, and community service activities can showcase a well-balanced individual.
  • Keep track of your achievements and milestones within these activities. This can include awards, projects you led, or significant contributions you made.
  • Be ready to discuss what you’ve learned from your extracurricular activities and how they’ve shaped you. Reflections on your experiences can offer deeper insights into your character.
  • It’s better to have a few meaningful activities than a long list of superficial involvements. Focus on what truly matters to you and where you have made a significant contribution.

Pomona Interview

While the interview for Pomona College is entirely optional, it can play a valuable role in your application process.

The interview provides a unique opportunity for you to add a personal touch to your application, giving the admissions committee a better sense of who you are beyond your written application. It’s a chance to discuss your interests, experiences, and what you hope to achieve at Pomona College. Additionally, it demonstrates your genuine interest in the college.

The interview can be conducted virtually or in-person, offering flexibility to applicants from different geographic locations. To schedule an interview, you must request it through a request form, and it may take up to three weeks to fulfill this request.

It’s important to note that only a small fraction of applicants, less than 10%, opt for the interview. Moreover, not all interview requests are granted.

Interview tips

If you decide to request an interview with Pomona College, preparing effectively can help you make the most of this opportunity. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Familiarize yourself with Pomona’s programs, values, and campus culture. Being knowledgeable about the college shows your interest and helps you articulate why Pomona is a good fit for you.
  • Prepare answers for common college interview questions, such as your academic interests, extracurricular activities, and reasons for choosing Pomona. Practice speaking clearly and confidently.
  • Think about your high school journey, including challenges you’ve faced, accomplishments, and personal growth. Be ready to share specific experiences that have shaped you.
  • Have a list of thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about Pomona. This could include questions about academic programs, campus life, or opportunities for student involvement.
  • While the interview may be virtual or in-person, dress as you would for a formal meeting. This shows professionalism and respect for the interviewer.
  • If the interview is virtual, test your technology ahead of time to ensure a smooth experience. Check your internet connection, camera, and microphone.
  • Authenticity is key. Be honest, open, and let your personality shine through. The interview is as much about your character and fit for Pomona as it is about your achievements.
  • After the interview, send a thank-you note to your interviewer. Expressing gratitude is not only polite but also reinforces your interest in Pomona College.

Pomona Application Requirements

Applying to Pomona College involves a comprehensive set of requirements that collectively present a detailed picture of your academic and personal achievements. Understanding these requirements and how to effectively approach each component is crucial for crafting a strong application.

Pomona College

Mandatory requirements

  • Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge Application: Choose one of these platforms to submit your application. Each contains sections for personal and educational information, extracurricular activities, and a personal essay. Start your application early to give yourself plenty of time to thoughtfully complete each section.
  • Pomona Supplemental Essays: These essays are your opportunity to showcase your personality and intellectual interests. Be authentic and reflective in your responses, ensuring they align with Pomona’s values.
  • Official High School Transcripts: Your transcript provides a comprehensive view of your academic history. Ensure your transcript is up-to-date and accurately reflects your academic achievements.
  • School Report and Counselor Recommendation: This report gives insights into your academic performance within the context of your school. Build a good relationship with your counselor so they can provide a detailed and positive recommendation.
  • Mid-Year Report: This report includes your grades from the first half of your senior year. Maintain strong academic performance throughout your senior year, as these grades are considered.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: From core subject teachers, these letters should speak to your academic abilities and character. Choose teachers who know you well and can provide specific examples of your strengths.
  • Application Fee or Waiver: The application fee is $70, but fee waivers are available for those who qualify. If you need a fee waiver, don’t hesitate to request one early in the application process.

Optional requirements

  • Standardized Test Scores: SAT or ACT scores are optional. If you believe they strengthen your application, you can submit them. Consider submitting scores if they are a strong representation of your academic abilities.
  • Interviews: An alumni interview is an optional but recommended way to add a personal dimension to your application. If you choose to have an interview, prepare thoroughly to discuss your interests and experiences confidently.
  • Arts Supplements: If you have considerable talent in the arts, you can submit a supplement showcasing your work. Select pieces that best represent your artistic skills and creativity.
  • Additional Letter of Recommendation: This can be from a teacher of an elective subject, a coach, or another individual who can provide a different perspective on your abilities. This letter should add new insights, not just reiterate what’s already been said.

Other requirements

  • English Proficiency Test Scores: International applicants coming from schools where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to submit this requirement. Accepted tests include TOEFL, IELTS, or the Duolingo English Test. Prepare and take these tests well in advance to ensure your scores are available by the application deadline.

How to Apply to Pomona

Applying to Pomona College requires careful planning and execution. To help you effectively manage this process, here is a step-by-step guide, ensuring you stay organized and focused from preparation to awaiting your results.

1. Preparation and research

Begin your application process well before the deadline. This involves researching Pomona College’s programs, values, and culture to understand how they align with your interests and goals.

Gather information about application requirements, deadlines, and financial aid options. Utilize Pomona’s website, attend college fairs, and connect with current students or alumni for firsthand insights.

A woman writing for recommendation letter

2. Gathering materials

This phase includes collecting your high school transcripts, standardized test scores (if you choose to submit them), and identifying individuals who will write your recommendation letters. Begin drafting your personal statement and supplemental essays, focusing on authenticity and reflection.

Create a checklist of all required documents and track your progress in gathering them.

3. Filling out the application

Choose between the Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge application platforms. Fill out all sections meticulously, ensuring accuracy in your personal and educational information. Submit your essays and ensure all parts of your application present a cohesive and comprehensive picture of who you are.

Regularly save your progress and review each section for completeness and accuracy.

4. Submission and follow-up

Once you’ve reviewed your application thoroughly, submit it before the deadline. Afterwards, confirm that all parts of your application, including recommendation letters and transcripts, have been received by Pomona College.

Set a submission deadline for yourself a few days before the actual deadline to avoid last-minute issues.

5. Awaiting results

After submission, continue to demonstrate your interest in Pomona College. You can do this by attending virtual events or reaching out to the admissions office with thoughtful questions.

While waiting for the decision, focus on maintaining your academic performance and staying involved in your extracurricular activities. Use this time to plan for any possible outcomes, including considering other college options.

How to Submit Supplemental Materials to Pomona

Submitting supplemental materials to Pomona College is an opportunity to showcase your talents and interests beyond the standard application components. It’s important to understand the official policy on these materials and the specific steps required for submission to ensure your application is complete and compelling.

Pomona College accepts arts supplements in disciplines that are taught through departments at the college, specifically dance, music, and theater. Each of these disciplines has specific requirements for what can be submitted.

It’s important to note that arts supplements can only be submitted online after you have completed your primary application to Pomona. These supplements should be submitted through the same portal where you access your application.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Before submitting any supplemental materials, you must first complete and submit your Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge Application to Pomona College.
  2. After submitting your application, you will have access to your applicant portal. Use the same credentials you created for your application to log in.
  3. Within your applicant portal, locate the link to the arts supplement form. This link is made available only after your primary application has been submitted.
  4. Based on the discipline (dance, music, or theater), prepare your supplemental materials according to the specific requirements outlined by Pomona. Ensure they are in the correct format and meet the necessary guidelines.
  5. Upload your materials to the arts supplement form. Before finalizing, review everything to ensure the files are correct and properly display your work.
  6. If you are not ready to submit, you can save the form and return to it later. Once you are satisfied with your supplement, submit the form. Remember, after submission, the form cannot be edited.
  7. After submission, ensure that you receive confirmation that your arts supplement has been successfully uploaded and linked to your application.

a female student looking at her computer screen

Following these steps carefully will ensure that your supplemental materials are correctly submitted and considered as part of your application to Pomona College.

Pomona Scholarships and Financial Aid

Pomona College is committed to need-blind admissions and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all students who enroll. This commitment ensures that financial considerations do not hinder talented students from accessing a Pomona education.

Around 67% of Pomona students receive some form of financial aid. The college’s Need-Based Financial Aid program assesses each student’s financial need through a careful review of their financial background.

Scholarship tips

Here are some key tips to guide you through the process of exploring scholarship options at Pomona:

  • Pomona’s need-blind admissions policy means that your financial situation does not impact your chances of admission. This can ease concerns about applying for financial aid.
  • Submit your financial aid application as early as possible. This ensures that your financial aid package is processed in a timely manner.
  • When applying for need-based financial aid, it’s crucial to provide accurate and complete financial information. This helps the financial aid office accurately assess your need.
  • Beyond need-based aid, investigate other scholarships, grants, and work-study options. Some may require separate applications.
  • If your financial circumstances change or if you have any questions, communicate with Pomona’s financial aid office. They can provide guidance and potentially adjust your aid package.
  • Once you receive your financial aid offer, review it thoroughly. Ensure you understand the composition of your aid (grants, work-study, loans) and your family’s contribution.
  • If your aid package includes loans, consider their long-term implications, including repayment terms and interest rates.
  • In addition to institutional aid, look for external scholarships for which you might qualify. These can supplement your financial aid package.

Pomona Regular Decision vs Early Decision

When applying to Pomona College, you have the option to choose between Regular Decision and two Early Decision plans. Understanding the differences between these application routes and determining which one aligns best with your circumstances is an important part of the college application process.

Regular Decision is the standard application process. This option provides more time to complete your application, consider your college choices, and compare financial aid offers.

On the other hand, Pomona offers two Early Decision (ED) plans: ED I and ED II. Both are binding agreements, meaning if you are accepted through either Early Decision plan, you are committed to attending Pomona College and must withdraw applications from other schools.

ED I has an earlier deadline and notification date than ED II, which provides a later option for students who decide Pomona is their first choice after the ED I deadline.


If Pomona is undoubtedly your top choice and you are prepared with a strong application early in the admissions cycle, ED I or II can be a good option. It demonstrates your commitment to Pomona and can sometimes offer a slight admissions advantage due to the demonstrated interest. This choice can also give you an advantage due to ED’s higher acceptance rate.

However, if you are still exploring your college options, need more time to improve your application, or want to compare financial aid offers, Regular Decision might be the better route. It offers more flexibility and time to make a well-informed decision without the binding commitment of Early Decision.

Pomona Application Deadlines

Staying informed about the key deadlines for Pomona College’s application process is crucial for timely and successful submission. Below are the deadlines for each application option:

Application Option Deadline Notification Date
Early Decision I November 15 By December 15
Early Decision II January 8 By February 15
Regular Decision January 8 By April 1

Each of these deadlines is an important milestone in your application journey to Pomona College. Marking these dates on your calendar and preparing your application materials well in advance can help ensure a smooth and stress-free application process.

How Hard Is It to Get into Pomona College?

Gaining admission into Pomona College is challenging due to its highly selective nature. The acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 stood at approximately 6.76%, indicating that only a fraction of applicants are successful. This rate is derived from Pomona College receiving 12,121 applications and admitting only 819 students.

This competitive acceptance rate underscores the college’s rigorous selection criteria. Prospective students should know that Pomona’s admissions process goes beyond academic excellence. The college employs a holistic review process, meaning every part of the application – from academic records to extracurricular involvement and personal essays – is carefully evaluated to gauge the applicant’s potential and fit with Pomona’s values.

Admission to Pomona College requires a strong academic record, well-rounded extracurricular profiles, and a compelling personal story. The average GPA of admitted students hovers around 3.9 (unweighted) and 4.06 (weighted), indicating the high academic achievements of successful applicants. However, it is crucial to understand that while Pomona does not explicitly state a minimum GPA requirement, the average GPA of admitted students sets a high benchmark.

Benefits of Attending Pomona College

Pomona College, located in Claremont, California, offers many benefits contributing to a rich and fulfilling college experience. Here are some key advantages:

Diverse Academic Opportunities

At Pomona College, students have access to over 600 courses offered by the college and more than 2,700 courses available through cross-registration at the neighboring Claremont Colleges. This extensive range of courses allows for a broad and diverse educational experience. The college’s academic structure is designed to foster a deep understanding across various disciplines, encouraging students to explore various interests and subjects.

Small Class Sizes and Individual Attention

One of the significant benefits of attending Pomona College is the small class sizes, with an average class size of 15 students. This environment fosters close relationships between students and faculty, allowing personalized attention and mentorship. The 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures students receive individualized guidance and support throughout their academic journey.

Research Opportunities and Professional Development

Pomona College is committed to providing students with research and professional development opportunities. Many students engage in research projects alongside faculty, offering a hands-on approach to learning and discovery. These experiences enhance academic understanding and prepare students for their future careers by providing valuable skills and professional connections.

Vibrant Campus Life

The college’s location in Los Angeles adds to its appeal, offering students a vibrant and culturally rich environment. Campus life at Pomona is dynamic, with numerous clubs, organizations, and activities catering to various interests. This vibrant campus culture ensures students have a well-rounded college experience, balancing academic pursuits with social and extracurricular activities.

A group of female students

How Can an International Student Get into Pomona College?

Understanding the admission requirements is crucial for international students aspiring to join Pomona College. Here’s a comprehensive list of what’s needed:

  1. Academic Excellence: International applicants must demonstrate strong academic performance. While Pomona College does not specify a minimum GPA, the typical admitted student boasts a high GPA, reflecting their academic rigor and success.
  2. English Proficiency: Non-native English speakers must prove their proficiency in English. Accepted tests and minimum scores include:
  • TOEFL iBT: 100 or above
  • IELTS: 7 or above
  • Duolingo English Test: 130 or above
  1. Standardized Test Scores: Though SAT or ACT scores are optional, submitting them can strengthen an application. For students opting to provide these scores, Pomona historically suggests scores in the ACT range of 30-34 and SAT range of 1430-1560.
  2. Extracurricular Engagement: Active participation in extracurricular activities is important for showcasing interests and commitment outside the classroom. Pomona values students who demonstrate leadership, initiative, and involvement in various areas, including community service, sports, arts, and other fields.
  3. Personal Essays and Recommendations: Applicants must submit compelling personal essays and recommendations. These documents offer insights into the student’s personality, interests, and alignment with Pomona’s values. Essays should be thoughtful and reflective, while recommendations ideally come from teachers or individuals who can attest to the applicant’s academic and personal qualities.
  4. Financial Documentation: If necessary, international students must provide evidence of financial support or apply for financial aid. Pomona meets the full demonstrated need of every admitted international student.
  5. Application Forms: Applicants should use the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge to submit their application. These platforms allow for a streamlined and organized application process.
  6. Visa Requirements: International students must secure an F-1 visa post-admission. This involves obtaining an I-20 form from Pomona College, paying the SEVIS fee, and applying for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

How to Get into Pomona College as a Transfer Student

Pomona College offers a unique opportunity for transfer students to continue their educational journey. As one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges, Pomona presents specific requirements and criteria for transfer applicants. Understanding these requirements is crucial for a smooth transfer process. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

student reading book between the shelves in the library

Requirements for Transfer Students:

  • Academic Standing: Applicants should have completed at least one year of full-time college work by the time of enrollment at Pomona.
  • Credit Transfer: Up to 16 course credits from a regionally accredited institution can be transferred.
  • Course Grades: Only courses with a grade of ‘C’ or better are eligible for credit transfer.
  • Application Submission: Transfer applicants must use either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
  • Application Fee: A non-refundable fee of $70 is required, though fee waivers are available.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges attended, plus high school transcripts or GED documentation, are necessary.
  • College Report: This form must be completed by the current or most recent registrar or transfer advisor.
  • Academic Evaluations: Two evaluations from college course instructors are required, with an optional third recommendation.
  • Mid-Term Report: This indicates current academic performance, which is essential for application assessment.
  • Test Scores: SAT or ACT scores are optional but can be included.

Meeting these requirements is the first step in your journey to becoming a part of the vibrant and diverse Pomona College community.

Can an Average Student Get into Pomona College?

Pomona College, known for its rigorous academic environment, might seem out of reach for an average student. However, the college’s holistic admission process looks beyond mere academic scores. While Pomona’s selection criteria are stringent, they consider various factors that provide a comprehensive view of an applicant’s potential.

Academic performance, while significant, is not the sole criterion. Pomona values diverse talents and perspectives, recognizing that students are more than their GPA and test scores. Active participation in extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and personal achievements are all integral to the admissions process.

Pomona seeks students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, resilience, and a commitment to personal growth. These qualities often shine through in application essays, recommendations, and interviews. An average student with a strong character, a passion for learning, and the ability to contribute positively to the campus community has a place at Pomona.

Furthermore, the college appreciates diversity in all its forms. Students from varied cultural, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds enrich the learning environment. Pomona’s commitment to inclusivity means that each application is evaluated in the context of the individual’s unique experiences and background.

This approach allows students who may not have the highest academic scores but have demonstrated growth, resilience, and a broad range of interests and abilities, to be seriously considered.

Additionally, Pomona values personal essays where students can narrate their journeys, challenges, and aspirations. These essays offer a platform for applicants to showcase their individuality and how their experiences have shaped them. A compelling personal story can sometimes weigh as much as if not more than, academic metrics in the admissions decision.

It’s also important to note that Pomona provides resources and support for students from all backgrounds to succeed. Academic advising, tutoring services, and a supportive campus community are part of Pomona’s commitment to student success.

How to Get into Pomona College with a Low GPA

Gaining admission to Pomona College with a low GPA is challenging but not impossible. Pomona’s holistic review process means that other aspects of your application can compensate for a lower GPA. Here are strategies to strengthen your application:

Extracurricular Involvement

  • Leadership Roles: Demonstrate leadership in clubs, sports teams, or community organizations.
  • Community Service: Engage in meaningful community service or volunteer work.
  • Creative Endeavors: Showcase any artistic talents or creative projects you’ve undertaken.

Strong Recommendations

  • Teachers’ Endorsements: Obtain recommendations from teachers who can vouch for your academic potential, character, and work ethic.
  • Mentors or Coaches: Consider recommendations from non-academic mentors who can speak to your personal qualities and contributions to your community.

Personal Essays

  • Narrate Your Journey: Use your personal statement to narrate your unique experiences, challenges overcome, and personal growth.
  • Explain the GPA: If circumstances contributed to a lower GPA, briefly explain them while focusing on your resilience and determination.

Standardized Test Scores

  • SAT/ACT Scores: If your GPA is low, strong SAT or ACT scores can help demonstrate your academic abilities.
  • AP or IB Exams: High Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam scores can also underscore your academic strengths.

Additional Coursework

  • Community College Classes: Taking challenging courses at a community college and excelling in them can show your capability to handle college-level work.
  • Online Courses: Enroll in relevant online courses and earn certificates to showcase your commitment to learning.


  • Alumni Interviews: If offered, participate in alumni interviews to express your enthusiasm for Pomona and discuss your achievements and experiences.

By strategically focusing on these areas, you can build a compelling application that highlights your strengths and potential, balancing out a lower GPA. Pomona College values diverse talents and perspectives, and a well-rounded application that illustrates your unique abilities and experiences can enhance your chances of acceptance.

It’s important to remember that the college is looking for students who will contribute to the campus community in various ways, not just academically. Therefore, showing how you can bring value to Pomona through your different experiences, skills, and perspectives can significantly impact your application, even with a low GPA.

What Makes Pomona College Unique?

Pomona College, nestled in the vibrant town of Claremont, California, stands out for its distinctive blend of qualities.

A Diverse and Accomplished Student Body

Pomona’s commitment to diversity is evident in its Class of 2027. This class is the most diverse in the college’s history, with 62.5% domestic students of color and 14.3% international students. The college’s rigorous admission process, reflected in the 6.76% acceptance rate, ensures that the student body is diverse and comprises academically exceptional individuals. About 95% of the admitted students are in the top 10% of their high school class, underlining the college’s focus on academic excellence.

Small College, Big Opportunities

Pomona’s small size fosters a close-knit community, allowing for more personalized attention and mentorship from faculty. However, it doesn’t limit opportunities for students. As part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, Pomona students enjoy the resources of a larger university while retaining the benefits of a small college. This unique arrangement offers a broad range of courses and the chance to collaborate with diverse students and faculty.

Emphasis on a Liberal Arts Education

Pomona’s liberal arts curriculum encourages a well-rounded education. Students are prepared in their chosen fields and gain skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication. This holistic approach to education prepares students for varied career paths and fosters a lifelong love for learning.

What Does the Pomona College Application Look Like?

Applying to Pomona College involves several steps, each important in presenting a comprehensive picture of the applicant. Here is a breakdown:

  • Application Form: Start with the Common Application or Coalition Application, which includes personal information, educational background, and extracurricular activities.
  • High School Transcript: Your transcript provides insight into your academic history and achievements.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, Pomona requires letters from teachers and a counselor, offering a third-party perspective on your abilities and character.
  • Essays: The application essays are your opportunity to express your personality, interests, and motivations.
  • Optional Interviews: While interviews are not tracked as a measure of demonstrated interest, they offer a chance for more personal interaction and to add depth to your application.
  • Standardized Test Scores (Optional): Pomona’s test-optional policy means submitting SAT or ACT scores is up to you.
  • Supplemental Materials: For those with talents in arts or other areas, supplemental materials can showcase these additional aspects of your profile.

Remember, each component plays a role in portraying a complete and authentic representation of who you are.


Is Pomona College a Good School for You?

Determining if Pomona College is the right fit involves examining several factors that align with your personal and academic goals.

Consider Your Academic Preferences

Pomona’s strong emphasis on liberal arts education is perfect for students who seek a broad-based, interdisciplinary academic experience. The college’s curriculum encourages exploration and intellectual curiosity across various subjects. Pomona could be an ideal choice if you thrive in a learning environment that values critical thinking and diverse perspectives.

The Community and Campus Life

Pomona’s small student body creates a tight-knit community where students can form close relationships with peers and faculty. If you prefer a more intimate and collaborative learning environment, this setting might appeal. Additionally, being part of the larger Claremont Colleges consortium provides the perks of a larger university, such as a wide variety of extracurricular activities, without losing the charm of a small college.

Location and Lifestyle

The college’s location in Southern California offers a unique blend of academic rigor and a vibrant outdoor lifestyle. If you enjoy sunny weather and access to various cultural and recreational activities, Pomona’s location will enhance your college experience. The proximity to Los Angeles also offers numerous opportunities for internships, research, and cultural experiences.

Pomona College’s diverse and accomplished student body, unique blend of a small college experience with extensive resources, and a strong liberal arts focus make it a unique institution. Its rigorous application process, including essays, optional interviews, and a test-optional policy, allows students to present a holistic picture of themselves. Whether Pomona is the right choice depends on your academic preferences, desire for a close-knit community, and lifestyle aspirations. Consider these aspects carefully to make an informed decision.

How Selective is Pomona College?

Pomona College’s selectivity is evident in its acceptance rates, which clearly show the competitive nature of its admissions process. For the Class of 2027, Pomona College admitted only 757 students from thousands of applicants, maintaining an acceptance rate of 6.76%. This rate highlights the college’s stringent selection criteria, emphasizing academic excellence and diverse talents and backgrounds among its students.

The admitted students for this class represent a rich diversity, with 62.5% being domestic students of color and 14.3% international students. This diversity extends beyond ethnicity, including students from a range of geographical locations, with representation from 48 states in the U.S. and 50 other countries. The diversity in the student body is a testament to Pomona’s commitment to inclusive excellence, seeking students who are not only academically exceptional but also bring unique perspectives and experiences to the campus community.

Pomona’s admissions process is holistic, considering a range of factors beyond mere academic performance. While most admitted students rank in the top 10% of their high school class, the college also values unique talents, leadership qualities, and the potential for contribution to the Pomona community and beyond. This approach to admissions aligns with the college’s ethos of fostering a vibrant, dynamic, and diverse academic community.

Should You Apply to Pomona College?

Deciding whether to apply to Pomona College involves considering various factors that align with your academic and personal goals. Here are key points to consider:

  • Academic Rigor: Pomona is an ideal choice if you thrive in intellectually challenging environments and aim for academic excellence. The college’s rigorous curriculum is designed to push students to their intellectual limits.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Pomona values a diverse student body. If you appreciate being part of a community that embraces different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives, Pomona could be a great fit.
  • Research Opportunities: For those interested in research, Pomona offers ample opportunities. The college encourages undergraduate research, allowing students to work closely with faculty on various projects.
  • Small Class Sizes: Pomona’s small class sizes ensure personalized attention and a close-knit learning environment. This is beneficial if you prefer a more intimate academic setting.
  • Liberal Arts Education: If you seek a well-rounded education spanning various disciplines, Pomona’s liberal arts approach will serve you well, offering flexibility and breadth in academic choices.
  • Community Engagement: Pomona is known for its strong sense of community both on and off campus. If community involvement and social responsibility are important to you, Pomona’s ethos aligns well with these values.
  • Career Preparation: The college provides robust support for career development, preparing students for diverse post-graduation paths. Consider Pomona if career guidance and preparation are priorities for you.
  • Financial Aid: Pomona’s comprehensive financial aid program makes it accessible to students from various economic backgrounds. If financial considerations are a factor, Pomona’s commitment to aid can be a significant advantage.

How Does Pomona College Review Applications?

Pomona College employs a comprehensive review process for all applications. This approach ensures a holistic assessment of each applicant beyond just academic credentials. The primary components considered in the application review include:

  • Academic Record: Pomona looks at the rigor of the courses taken, performance in these courses, and the overall academic trajectory. The college seeks students who have challenged themselves with advanced coursework and have excelled in these endeavors.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Students can submit SAT or ACT scores while not mandatory. These scores can provide additional context to the applicant’s academic abilities, especially in a test-optional policy environment.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Pomona values students who demonstrate passion and commitment in activities outside the classroom. This could include leadership roles, community service, sports, arts, and other areas of interest.
  • Essays: The personal essay is a critical component, offering insight into the student’s personality, perspectives, and motivations. Pomona looks for authenticity and a clear sense of the individual behind the application.
  • Recommendations: Letters of recommendation provide external viewpoints on the applicant’s abilities, character, and potential. Pomona considers these letters to understand how the applicant may contribute to and benefit from the college community.
  • Interviews: While not a compulsory part of the application, they can provide a more personal view of the applicant and allow students to demonstrate their interest in the college.

Pomona’s application review is designed to identify students who will succeed academically and contribute meaningfully to the campus community. This comprehensive approach aligns with the college’s mission of fostering a diverse and dynamic student body.

Young woman talking to a principal and a teacher in a room.

Does Pomona College Require Interviews?

Pomona College’s approach to admissions interviews provides a unique insight into its holistic evaluation process. Interviews at Pomona are optional and offered off-campus, conducted by alumni. The college explicitly states that these interviews do not measure demonstrated interest, underscoring their commitment to a fair and inclusive admissions process.

The Role of Interviews in Admissions

Although optional, interviews offer a valuable opportunity for students to add a personal dimension to their applications. These conversations allow applicants to showcase their personalities, interests, and motivations that might not be fully captured in the written application.

Students need to note that while Pomona doesn’t track demonstrated interest through interviews, the feedback provided by alumni interviewers does form a part of the application review. This personal interaction can provide additional context to the application, potentially aiding the admissions committee in understanding the student beyond grades and test scores.

Preparing for the Interview

For students opting to take the interview, preparation is key. It’s advisable to approach the interview as a two-way conversation, where both parties learn about each other.

Students should be ready to articulate why they are interested in Pomona College and how they envision contributing to the campus community. Preparing thoughtful questions about the college also demonstrates genuine interest and a proactive approach to college selection.

What Extracurriculars Do You Need for Pomona College?

Pomona College values diverse extracurricular activities in its applicants, reflecting a commitment to a well-rounded student body. Here are some key types of extracurriculars that can strengthen your application:

  • Leadership Roles: Positions in student government, clubs, or community organizations highlight leadership skills and a capacity for responsibility.
  • Community Service: Volunteering in local communities or engaging in service projects shows compassion and a commitment to social responsibility.
  • Arts and Creativity: Participation in the arts, whether in visual arts, music, theater, or dance, indicates creativity and a willingness to explore diverse forms of expression.
  • Athletics: Involvement in sports, either through school teams or external clubs, can demonstrate teamwork, discipline, and dedication.
  • Academic Clubs and Competitions: Engaging in clubs like debate, science olympiads, or math leagues showcases intellectual curiosity and a commitment to academic excellence.
  • Work Experience: Part-time jobs or internships provide practical skills and a sense of real-world responsibilities.
  • Cultural Activities: Participation in cultural organizations or events reflects an appreciation for diversity and understanding global perspectives.
  • Technology and Innovation: Involvement in tech clubs, coding competitions, or innovation challenges highlights technical skills and a forward-thinking mindset.

Students must remember that the quality of engagement in these activities often matters more than the quantity. Pomona looks for depth of involvement and students’ impact in their chosen areas.

What Should You Write About in Your Personal Statement to Get into Pomona College?

Crafting a personal statement for Pomona College involves thoughtful reflection on your unique experiences and aspirations. Here are some key themes to consider:

1. Showcase Your Individuality

Your personal statement is an opportunity to highlight what makes you distinct. Discuss experiences that shaped your identity, values, and goals. Reflect on moments of personal growth, challenges overcome, or unique perspectives you bring. Authenticity is key; admissions officers seek genuine self-representation rather than a crafted persona.

2. Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity

Pomona values students who are academically capable and genuinely passionate about learning. Share instances where you pursued knowledge beyond the classroom. This could include independent research projects, voracious reading habits, or engaging in intellectual discussions. Discuss how these experiences fueled your passion for learning and how they align with your academic interests.

3. Connect with Pomona’s Values

Understanding and relating to the values and ethos of Pomona College can significantly strengthen your personal statement. Illustrate how Pomona’s emphasis on diversity, community engagement, or interdisciplinary learning resonates with your experiences or aspirations.

For instance, if you have been actively involved in community service, discuss how this aligns with Pomona’s commitment to social responsibility.

University students checking something in a notebook.

4. Highlight Goals and Aspirations

Articulate your future aspirations and how Pomona College fits into your journey. Describe how Pomona’s programs, faculty, or resources will help you achieve your academic and career goals. This section is about stating your ambitions and demonstrating a clear and thoughtful connection between your goals and what Pomona offers.

5. Share How You’ve Overcome Challenges

Life challenges can be transformative. If applicable, share how you have overcome personal, educational, or social obstacles. Reflect on the lessons learned and how these experiences have prepared you for the challenges of college life. This can showcase resilience, growth, and the capacity to thrive in diverse environments.

How Do You Write a Pomona College Supplemental Essay?

Writing a standout Pomona College supplemental essay involves a strategic approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting an essay that resonates with the admissions committee.

  1. Understand the Prompt: Begin by comprehensively understanding the essay prompt. What is it asking? What themes or values does it emphasize? Pomona College often looks for essays that reflect the applicant’s individuality, intellectual curiosity, and engagement with their community.
  2. Reflect on Your Experiences: Before writing, take some time to reflect on your personal experiences and achievements. What sets you apart? How do your experiences align with the values and culture of Pomona College?
  3. Create an Outline: Organize your thoughts and create an essay outline. This will help you structure your essay logically, ensuring that each paragraph transitions smoothly to the next.
  4. Be Authentic: Write in your authentic voice. Admissions officers can tell when an essay feels genuine versus overly polished or not representative of the student’s true voice.
  5. Use Specific Examples: Rather than making broad statements, use specific examples to illustrate your points. Show how you embody the qualities Pomona values through real-life experiences.
  6. Keep It Concise: Remember, brevity is key. Make sure every word counts and contributes meaningfully to your narrative.
  7. Proofread and Edit: Finally, thoroughly proofread and revise your essay. Mistakes can distract from your message, so ensure your essay is polished and error-free.

What Enrichment Opportunities Will Help You Get into Pomona College?

Enrichment opportunities can significantly strengthen your application to Pomona College. Here are some activities that align with the college’s values and expectations.

  • Community Service: Engaging in community service demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility. Pomona values applicants who contribute positively to their communities.
  • Leadership Roles: Taking on leadership roles in school clubs or community organizations shows initiative and management skills, qualities Pomona College appreciates in its students.
  • Research Projects: Participating in research, especially in areas that interest you academically, can showcase your intellectual curiosity and dedication to learning.
  • Artistic Pursuits: If you’re artistically inclined, participating in music, art, drama, or dance can reflect a well-rounded character and a passion for creative expression.
  • Internships or Work Experience: Real-world work experience or internships related to your field of interest can demonstrate practical skills and a mature understanding of your chosen field.
  • Cultural Exchange Programs: Participating in cultural exchange programs or studying abroad can highlight your adaptability, cultural awareness, and global perspective.
  • Academic Competitions: Success in academic competitions can showcase your academic prowess and dedication to your field of study.

Do You Need to Take AP Courses to Get into Pomona College?

While AP courses are not a strict requirement for admission to Pomona College, they can significantly showcase your academic readiness and commitment.

  • Demonstrate Academic Rigor: AP courses are often considered a sign of academic rigor. Taking these challenging courses can demonstrate your readiness for the demanding academic environment at Pomona College.
  • Showcase Subject Mastery: Excelling in AP courses related to your intended major can highlight your depth of knowledge and passion for the subject.
  • Highlight Time Management Skills: Successfully managing the workload of AP classes alongside other extracurriculars can indicate strong time management and organizational skills.
  • Opportunity for College Credits: Scoring well in AP exams might provide you with college credits, potentially giving you a head start in your college education.
  • Balance with Overall Application: Balancing course rigor with your overall application is important. Engaging in extracurriculars and maintaining a strong GPA are also crucial components of a successful application to Pomona College.
  • Consider School’s Offerings: If your high school does not offer a wide range of AP courses, Pomona College considers the context of your school’s curriculum. It’s more about how you maximize the opportunities available to you.
  • Consult with Your Counselor: If you’re unsure about taking AP courses, consult your school counselor. They can provide guidance based on your academic strengths and college aspirations.

Remember, while AP courses can strengthen your application, they are just one part of a comprehensive review process that Pomona College undertakes. Your overall academic performance, extracurricular involvement, essays, and recommendations are pivotal in the admissions decision.

Does Pomona College Accept AP Credit?

At Pomona College, the policy regarding Advanced Placement (AP) credits is designed to recognize the efforts of students who have achieved high scores in their AP exams. Students entering Pomona College may receive course credit for a maximum of two courses required for graduation. This is particularly beneficial for students who have excelled in their AP courses and are looking to get a head start in their college education.

Pomona College awards course credit to students who have secured scores of 4 or 5 on their AP exams. This policy also extends to students with scores of 6 or 7 on Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exams and comparable scores on British A-Level exams. This approach underscores Pomona’s commitment to acknowledging academic excellence and encouraging students who have demonstrated a high level of understanding and proficiency in their subjects.

This credit policy can significantly impact a student’s academic trajectory. Students can advance their academic progress by earning credit for two courses, potentially leading to a more diversified college experience. They might take on a double major, take more elective courses, or graduate earlier. Moreover, the credits can alleviate some of the academic loads in the initial semesters, allowing students to ease into college life comfortably.

However, students need to plan carefully. They should consider how these credits align with their intended major and academic goals. Advising resources at Pomona College can help students make informed decisions about utilizing their AP credits best. Furthermore, students should know that while AP credits can count towards graduation, they might not fulfill major-specific requirements, depending on the department’s policies.

Will Pomona College Look at Your Social Media?

When it comes to college admissions, students often wonder how much their digital footprint, particularly their social media presence, will impact their chances of acceptance.

At Pomona College, the admission offers include a provision that expects students to maintain their strong record of academic achievement and personal integrity. This statement points towards a holistic approach to evaluating

applicants, where character and ethical conduct are valued alongside academic performance.

However, it is not explicitly stated that Pomona College routinely scrutinizes applicants’ social media profiles. While the college’s admissions decision rescind policy highlights the importance of maintaining personal integrity, this does not necessarily translate to actively monitoring applicants’ social media accounts. Without a clear statement from Pomona College regarding routine social media checks, it is reasonable to assume that such reviews are not a standard part of the admissions process.

Nevertheless, students should exercise caution and demonstrate maturity on social media. Colleges, including Pomona, value character and integrity, and any publicly available information that contradicts a student’s presented image of responsibility and respectability could potentially impact their admission offer. This is especially true in cases where social media content is brought to the college’s attention through external means.

a student thinking while holding his pen

Will Visiting Pomona College Help You Get In?

For many students, visiting a college campus is part of the decision-making process, allowing them to get a feel for the environment and community. However, the impact of such visits on admissions decisions varies from college to college. At Pomona College, no explicit statement indicates that campus visits directly influence admission chances.

It’s important to understand that Pomona College, like many other institutions, evaluates applicants based on a holistic admissions process. This process typically includes a review of academic achievements, extracurricular activities, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and other factors that give insight into a student’s potential and fit for the college. While campus visits can provide valuable insight for the student, they are not mentioned as a factor in the admissions decision-making process at Pomona College.

That said, visiting the campus can benefit prospective students in other ways. It offers an opportunity to learn more about the college, its programs, the campus culture, and the overall student experience. This information can be invaluable when deciding if Pomona College is the right fit.

Additionally, during a visit, students can engage with admissions officers, faculty, and current students, gaining insights and information that might help craft more personalized and informed application materials.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the essential aspects of applying to Pomona College. Each component plays a crucial role in your application.

While it’s true that gaining admission to Pomona College is highly competitive, with a low acceptance rate and rigorous standards, it’s important to approach this challenge with determination and a positive mindset. Focus on showcasing your unique strengths, passions, and experiences.

Remember, every part of your application is an opportunity to reveal a different facet of your personality and potential. Stay authentic, be thorough in your preparations, and, most importantly, believe in your abilities. Regardless of the outcome, the process itself is a valuable journey of self-discovery and growth.

We can help you figure out how to get into Pomona

At AdmissionSight, we understand the intricacies of the college admissions process and what it takes to stand out in a pool of highly qualified candidates.

Our expertise and personalized guidance can significantly enhance your chances of getting into Pomona College. We offer tailored strategies for every part of your application, from essay writing to interview prep, ensuring you present your best self to the admissions committee.

Let us help you highlight your unique story and academic potential. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step towards Pomona College.

College Admissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.