Pomona College vs Harvard University: Which is the Better Choice?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A male and female student standing in the middle of the hallway, talking to each other while the female student is looking through the notebook that the male student is holding

Pomona College vs Harvard University: Which is the Better Choice?

Choosing the right college can be a daunting and important decision to make. Two of the most highly regarded institutions in the United States are Pomona College and Harvard University. Students who are considering either of these colleges may wonder which choice is the better one. In this article, we will compare Pomona College vs Harvard University to help prospective students make an informed decision about which college to attend.

Location and Campus

Pomona College is located in Claremont, California which is a suburban area known for its pleasant climate and easy accessibility to Los Angeles. Pomona has a 140 acre campus and is part of the Claremont Colleges Consortium. Harvard is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is also a suburban area located on the banks of the Charles River. It has a 209-acre campus that is home to more than 400 buildings, including many historic landmarks. While both institutions offer beautiful and well-maintained campuses, Harvard’s campus is much larger and more expansive than Pomona’s.

Harvard University historic building in Cambridge at Massachusetts USA

Pomona College’s campus is known for its beautiful landscaping and architecture. The campus features a mix of historic and modern buildings, including the iconic Bridges Auditorium, which is a popular venue for concerts and performances. The college also has several outdoor spaces, including a botanical garden and a nature preserve, which provide opportunities for students to explore and connect with nature.

Harvard’s campus is also known for its impressive architecture and historic landmarks. The campus features several notable buildings, including the Widener Library, which is one of the largest academic libraries in the world. Harvard also has several museums and galleries on campus, including the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which offer students and visitors the opportunity to explore a wide range of art and artifacts.

Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates between Pomona College vs Harvard University

Admission to both Pomona College and Harvard University is highly competitive. Pomona College has an acceptance rate of 7%, while Harvard University’s acceptance rate is 4.9%. Both institutions require standardized test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. Pomona encourages students to submit SAT or ACT scores, while Harvard has a more flexible policy that encourages applicants to submit test scores if they have taken the tests. They are both looking to admit students who show academic achievement and intellectual curiosity.

Additionally, Pomona College and Harvard University both consider extracurricular activities and community involvement when evaluating applicants. Pomona College values students who have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to service, while Harvard University looks for students who have made a positive impact in their communities. Both institutions also consider diversity and seek to admit students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Academic Offerings and Majors Available

Both institutions are highly regarded for their academic offerings. Pomona College offers students a liberal arts education where they can explore a wide range of subjects. It has a student to faculty ratio of eight to one and offers 48 majors. Harvard University is a research institution and offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. It has a student to faculty ratio of seven to one and offers a vast selection of majors which include the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

In addition to the majors offered, both institutions provide students with a variety of academic resources. Pomona College has a Writing Center where students can receive assistance with their writing assignments. The college also has a Career Development Office that helps students explore career options and provides guidance on job search strategies. Harvard University has a vast library system that includes over 20 million volumes, making it one of the largest academic libraries in the world. The university also has a Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas that offers workshops and one-on-one consultations to help students improve their writing skills.

Furthermore, both institutions offer opportunities for students to engage in research and independent study. Pomona College has a Summer Undergraduate Research Program that allows students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. Harvard University has a Research Opportunities Program that provides funding for students to conduct research during the academic year and over the summer. These programs give students the chance to gain hands-on experience in their field of study and prepare them for graduate school or a career in research.

Faculty and Class Size between Pomona College vs Harvard University

Pomona College and Harvard University have highly respected faculties. Pomona College has over 200 professors, and 60% of them hold a PhD or the highest degree in their field. Harvard has over 2,400 faculty members, and 92% of them hold a PhD or terminal degrees. Class sizes at Pomona College are small, with a student to faculty ratio of eight to one, and Harvard classes tend to be larger, with the student to faculty ratio at seven to one.

Students walking around the school campus.

Despite the difference in class sizes, both Pomona College and Harvard University prioritize individual attention and mentorship for their students. Pomona College’s small class sizes allow for more personalized interactions between students and professors, fostering a close-knit community of learners. Harvard, on the other hand, offers a vast array of resources and opportunities for students to connect with faculty outside of the classroom, such as research projects and office hours. Regardless of the size of the classes, both institutions are committed to providing their students with a rigorous and supportive academic environment.

Student Life and Extracurricular Activities

Pomona College and Harvard University offer students a range of extracurricular activities that include cultural events, clubs, and sports. Harvard has a diverse student body with over 400 student organizations, including music and theater groups, political clubs, and sports teams. Pomona College also has a diverse population and offers students opportunities to participate in over 230 clubs and organizations. Pomona College is unique in that it also offers students to have access to the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which allows them to take classes and attend events at the other liberal arts colleges in the consortium.

Aside from the numerous clubs and organizations, both Pomona College and Harvard University offer students a variety of cultural events throughout the year. These events include guest speakers, concerts, and art exhibits. Harvard’s campus is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is known for its rich history and cultural attractions. Pomona College is located in Claremont, California, which is home to a vibrant arts community and numerous museums.

In addition to the cultural events, both schools have a strong athletic program. Harvard has a long-standing rivalry with Yale University, and the two schools compete in a variety of sports, including football, basketball, and hockey. Pomona College is part of the NCAA Division III and competes in a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, and swimming. Both schools also offer students the opportunity to participate in intramural sports, which are a great way to stay active and meet new people.

Housing Options and Dorm Life between Pomona College vs Harvard University

Pomona College and Harvard University offer students a variety of housing options such as residence halls and apartments. Pomona College guarantees on-campus housing for all four years, while Harvard requires students to live on campus for their first year. At both institutions, dorm life is an essential part of the college experience, and students are encouraged to participate in residence hall activities and events.

Additionally, Pomona College offers themed housing options, such as the Sustainable Living Cooperative and the Queer Resource Center, where students can live with others who share similar interests and identities. Harvard also has a variety of residential communities, including the Freshman Yard, which is a cluster of dorms specifically for first-year students.

Both institutions prioritize creating a sense of community within the dorms. Pomona College has a program called “Dorm Wars,” where residence halls compete in various events throughout the year, fostering a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. Harvard has a House system, where students are randomly assigned to one of 12 Houses, which serve as a home base for social and academic activities throughout their time at the university.

Alumni Network and Career Opportunities

Both Pomona College and Harvard University have influential alumni networks consisting of highly-accomplished professionals in their respective fields. These alumni networks can help students secure internships, jobs, and other career opportunities. Harvard University is known for its strong connections to Wall Street, while Pomona College is renowned for its graduate school placement rate.

Two students talking to a professor.

Additionally, both schools offer extensive career services to their students. Pomona College’s Career Development Office provides students with resources such as resume and cover letter reviews, career counseling, and networking events. Harvard University’s Office of Career Services offers similar resources, as well as access to job and internship postings, on-campus recruiting events, and career fairs.

Furthermore, both schools have notable alumni who have made significant contributions to their fields. Pomona College alumni include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and CEOs of major corporations. Harvard University alumni include numerous U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, and leaders in fields such as business, law, and medicine. These alumni serve as role models and sources of inspiration for current students, and their success highlights the potential career opportunities available to graduates of these institutions.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Packages between Pomona College vs Harvard University

The cost of attendance for both institutions is high. Pomona College’s annual tuition is $56,870, while Harvard University’s annual tuition is $51,925. Both institutions offer need-based financial aid packages to eligible students. Harvard’s endowment funds a robust financial aid program that ensures that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to attend. Pomona College’s financial aid policy ensures that all admitted students have access to a financial aid package designed to meet their needs.

Despite the high cost of attendance, both Pomona College and Harvard University offer various scholarships and grants to help students cover their expenses. Pomona College provides merit-based scholarships to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, leadership skills, and community involvement. Harvard University offers a range of scholarships, including the Harvard College Scholarship, which covers the full cost of tuition and fees for students from families with incomes below $65,000.

In addition to need-based financial aid and scholarships, both institutions also offer work-study programs to help students earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Pomona College’s work-study program provides students with on-campus jobs, such as working in the library or assisting professors with research projects. Harvard University’s work-study program offers a variety of job opportunities both on and off campus, including positions in research labs, community service organizations, and local businesses.

Student Diversity and Inclusivity Efforts

Pomona College and Harvard University are committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. Pomona College has a diverse student body with 56% of the student population being students of color. Harvard University has a diverse student body with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Both institutions offer resources and programming that prioritize the needs of historically marginalized groups.

At Pomona College, the Office of Black Student Affairs provides support and resources for Black students on campus. They offer mentorship programs, academic support, and cultural events. Additionally, the Queer Resource Center at Pomona College offers a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students. They provide educational programming, counseling services, and community-building events.

Harvard University has a similar commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations sponsors events and initiatives that promote cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. They also offer grants to student organizations that promote diversity and inclusivity on campus. Additionally, the Office of BGLTQ Student Life provides resources and support for LGBTQ+ students, including counseling services and social events.

Athletic Programs and Facilities

Both Pomona College and Harvard University have competitive athletic teams and excellent athletic facilities. Pomona College is known for its strong athletics program, which includes 21 varsity sports. Harvard University has 42 varsity sports teams and boasts state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Students at both institutions are encouraged to participate in athletics as a way to stay active and engaged on campus.

Sports equipments placed on a grass turf.

In addition to varsity sports, both Pomona College and Harvard University offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. These programs provide opportunities for students of all skill levels to engage in physical activity and build community on campus. Pomona College offers intramural sports such as flag football, basketball, and soccer, while Harvard University offers club sports such as ultimate frisbee, fencing, and sailing. With so many options available, students can find a sport that they enjoy and continue to participate in throughout their college experience.

Reputation and Prestige in Academia between Pomona College vs Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious and highly-regarded institutions in the world. It consistently ranks in the top ten of national universities. Pomona College is also highly-regarded, earning the top spot for national liberal arts colleges in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Both institutions have a strong reputation, and students who earn degrees from either institution are well-positioned for success in their future endeavors.

However, reputation and prestige are not the only factors to consider when choosing a college or university. Other important factors include location, campus culture, academic programs, and extracurricular activities. For example, a student who is interested in pursuing a career in film may find that attending a school in Los Angeles, such as the University of Southern California, provides more opportunities for internships and networking in the industry.

Additionally, it is important to note that reputation and prestige can vary by field of study. While Harvard may be highly-regarded for its law and business programs, it may not be the best choice for a student interested in pursuing a degree in engineering. In this case, a school such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may be a better fit, as it is known for its strong engineering programs.

Research Opportunities for Students

Harvard is a research institution, and students have access to a wide range of research opportunities, including access to labs and research centers. Pomona College encourages students to participate in research through its Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), and also offers a range of research opportunities in science, mathematics, and social science.

Additionally, many universities offer research opportunities for students through partnerships with local businesses and organizations. These partnerships allow students to gain real-world experience in their field of study and make valuable connections in their industry. Some universities also offer research grants and fellowships for students who wish to pursue independent research projects.

Study Abroad Programs and International Opportunities

Both Pomona College and Harvard University are committed to providing students with international experiences. Pomona College has study abroad programs in 34 countries. Harvard University offers a number of international programs, including study abroad, international research, and internships in various countries around the world.

These international opportunities allow students to gain a global perspective and develop cross-cultural communication skills. Students can immerse themselves in different cultures, learn new languages, and gain valuable experience that can enhance their academic and professional careers. Additionally, these programs often offer financial aid and scholarships to make them more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds.

Campus Safety Measures between Pomona College vs Harvard University

Both Pomona College and Harvard University prioritize campus safety. Both institutions have a campus police force that works with local law enforcement agencies to maintain a safe environment for students. In addition, both schools have safety resources available to students, including escorts and safety tips.

Female student walking near a walkway.

At Pomona College, the campus police force also offers self-defense classes for students, which are designed to teach basic techniques for protecting oneself in dangerous situations. These classes are free of charge and are open to all students, regardless of gender or physical ability.

Harvard University has implemented a number of technological safety measures on campus, including a mobile safety app that allows students to quickly and easily report incidents and request assistance. The app also provides real-time updates on any safety concerns on campus, such as weather alerts or emergency situations.

Student Support Services Available

Pomona College and Harvard University offer a range of support services to students. Both institutions have academic advising, career services, and counseling services available to students. Pomona College also provides students with opportunities for mentorship and peer support through its M.O.V.E. peer mentoring program and affinity groups. Harvard University has a well-established academic support program for students with disabilities.

In addition to these services, Pomona College has a Writing Center that offers one-on-one consultations with trained writing tutors to help students improve their writing skills. The Writing Center also hosts workshops and events throughout the year to support students in their writing endeavors. Harvard University has a similar resource in its Writing and Communication Center, which offers individual consultations, workshops, and online resources to help students improve their writing and communication skills.

Conclusion: Which is the Better Choice?

When it comes down to it, the decision to choose between Harvard and Pomona will ultimately depend on the individual student’s academic and personal goals. Both institutions provide high-quality education, offer rich campus cultures, and have robust resources for students. It is important for prospective students to carefully consider all of the factors listed above before making their decision. Regardless of which institution a student chooses, they will have the opportunity to receive a world-class education that will set them on the path for success in their future endeavors.


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