UPenn vs. Pomona: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students talking in a bench.

UPenn vs. Pomona: A Comprehensive Analysis

When choosing the right college, it is essential to make informed decisions. While thousands of colleges and universities exist in the United States, many students narrow their choices down to a few top-tier schools.  This article will provide a detailed analysis of UPenn vs. Pomona, comparing and contrasting various aspects of their campus life, academics, extracurricular activities, and more.

Brief Overview of UPenn and Pomona College

UPenn is a private Ivy League research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1740. It is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and has an undergraduate enrollment of over 10,000 students across four schools and 12 colleges.

Pomona College, on the other hand, is a private liberal arts college located in Claremont, California, founded in 1887. It has a student body of approximately 1,700 students and is one of the five undergraduate institutions collectively known as The Claremont Colleges.

UPenn is known for its strong programs in business, law, medicine, and engineering. It is also home to the Wharton School, which is consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world. In addition to its academic excellence, UPenn is also known for its vibrant student life, with over 400 student organizations and a thriving Greek life.

Pomona College, on the other hand, is known for its strong emphasis on undergraduate education and its commitment to a liberal arts curriculum. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, which allows for personalized attention and mentorship for each student.

Pomona College also has a strong focus on community service and social justice, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global initiatives.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Location and Campus Comparison

One of the most significant differences between UPenn and Pomona College is their location. UPenn is situated in an urban environment, with its unique campus situated in Philadelphia’s University City. Pomona College is located in suburban Claremont, a small town in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

UPenn has a sprawling campus with over 277 acres of land, while Pomona College’s campus spans 140 acres.

Both schools have excellent facilities and amenities, with a wide range of housing options, dining halls, and recreational facilities. While UPenn has a more extensive range of on-campus facilities due to its size, Pomona College’s smaller student body provides a tight-knit community where students can quickly get to know each other and build lasting relationships.

Students lounging in the stairs of a building.

Another significant difference between the two schools is the climate. UPenn experiences all four seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. In contrast, Pomona College has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. This difference in climate can impact the types of activities and events that students can participate in throughout the year.

Additionally, the two schools have different academic focuses. UPenn is known for its strong business, engineering, and healthcare programs, while Pomona College is renowned for its liberal arts education. This difference in academic focus can impact the types of courses and majors available to students, as well as the career paths they may pursue after graduation.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Admission Criteria Comparison

The admission criteria for UPenn and Pomona College vary significantly. Both colleges have highly competitive admissions processes, with UPenn’s acceptance rate hovering around 8% and Pomona College’s acceptance rate at around 7%.

UPenn considers a range of factors in its admission decisions, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendations. On the other hand, Pomona College places a greater emphasis on personal characteristics, intellectual curiosity, and community involvement.

Both schools also require standardized test scores, though UPenn will be test-optional in 2022. Additionally, UPenn offers early decision options, while Pomona College only has regular decisions.

It is important to note that both UPenn and Pomona College have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements. This means that factors such as socioeconomic background, race, and ethnicity can also play a role in the admissions decision.

Both colleges also have resources available for students who may face barriers in the application process, such as fee waivers and support for first-generation college students.

Student Body Diversity Comparison

When it comes to student body diversity, both UPenn and Pomona College have made concerted efforts in recent years to improve their diversity stats. UPenn has a relatively equal gender distribution, with 51% female and 49% male students.

The university also boasts a high percentage of international students, with students representing over 100 countries. Pomona College has a higher percentage of female students than male, with a ratio of 55% women to 45% men. The college also has a high percentage of students of color, with 52% of students identifying as students of color.

UPenn has also implemented various initiatives to increase socioeconomic diversity among its student body. The university has a need-blind admissions policy for domestic students and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.

Additionally, UPenn has partnerships with community-based organizations to recruit and support low-income and first-generation college students.

Pomona College has a strong commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and support. The college has a dedicated resource center for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty, and offers various programs and events throughout the year to promote LGBTQ+ visibility and education.

Pomona College also has a Gender and Women’s Studies program, which explores issues related to gender, sexuality, and intersectionality.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Academic Programs and Curriculum Comparison

The academic programs and curricula of both institutions differ in several ways. UPenn is known for its broad range of academic offerings across its four undergraduate schools — the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and The Wharton School.

They provide various degree plans from bachelor’s level to integrated bachelor’s-master’s level. In contrast, Pomona College offers 45 undergraduate majors for students interested in pursuing the liberal arts. The college also has partnerships with neighboring Claremont Colleges, enabling students to take classes outside of Pomona College.

Both UPenn and Pomona College offer a wide range of experiential learning opportunities, such as research programs, internships, and study abroad programs. Students interested in research will find ample funding opportunities at UPenn, while Pomona College offers funding for students to pursue summer internships.

Two students talking near a building.

Another difference between the academic programs of UPenn and Pomona College is the size of their classes. UPenn has a larger student body, which means that some classes can have hundreds of students.

However, the university also offers smaller classes and seminars for students who prefer a more intimate learning environment. On the other hand, Pomona College has a smaller student body, which allows for smaller class sizes and more personalized attention from professors.

Furthermore, UPenn and Pomona College have different approaches to general education requirements. UPenn has a set of distribution requirements that students must fulfill in order to graduate, while Pomona College has a more flexible approach to general education.

Students at Pomona College are required to take a writing course and complete a major, but beyond that, they have the freedom to choose courses that interest them. This allows students to explore a variety of subjects and tailor their education to their individual interests and goals.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Faculty and Staff Comparison

Both UPenn and Pomona College have highly distinguished faculty members committed to research and teaching excellence. UPenn employs over 4,000 full-time faculty members, with a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:5.

Pomona College has a smaller faculty of around 200 members, with a slightly lower faculty-to-student ratio of 1:8. Both schools have earned numerous accolades for their faculty members, including Pulitzer Prizes and MacArthur Genius Grants.

Despite the difference in size, both UPenn and Pomona College have a similar percentage of faculty members with terminal degrees in their field. UPenn has a 98% rate of faculty members with terminal degrees, while Pomona College has a 96% rate. This indicates that both schools prioritize hiring highly qualified and knowledgeable faculty members.

In addition to their full-time faculty, both schools also have a significant number of adjunct and visiting faculty members. UPenn employs over 1,200 adjunct faculty members, while Pomona College has around 50 visiting faculty members each year.

These adjunct and visiting faculty members bring a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to the classroom, enriching the educational experience for students.

Extracurricular Activities and Student Clubs Comparison

Both UPenn and Pomona College offer an extensive range of extracurricular activities and student clubs. UPenn has over 450 student organizations dedicated to various interests, such as academic groups, cultural organizations, and volunteer groups.

Pomona College has around 200 student organizations covering similar categories but on a smaller scale. Both schools have active Greek life communities, with UPenn having more substantial and active Greek life.

UPenn also strongly focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, with several student-run organizations dedicated to promoting and supporting startups and business ventures.

On the other hand, Pomona College strongly emphasizes sustainability and environmentalism, with several student organizations dedicated to promoting eco-friendly practices and raising awareness about environmental issues.

Both schools also offer opportunities for students to participate in community service and social justice initiatives, with UPenn having a larger number of volunteer groups and Pomona College having a strong focus on social justice and activism.

Career Opportunities and Alumni Network Comparison

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

When it comes to post-graduation career opportunities, both UPenn and Pomona College have impressive track records of job placement and alumni networks. UPenn has a Career Services Office that provides students with resources such as job and internship listings, career fairs, and personalized career advising.

UPenn alumni include numerous distinguished individuals, including heads of state, Nobel laureates, CEOs, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Pomona College also provides extensive career and networking opportunities, with a diverse alumni network that includes prominent figures in various fields.

However, there are some differences between the two schools when it comes to career opportunities and alumni networks. UPenn is located in Philadelphia, which is home to many large corporations and organizations, providing students with a wide range of job opportunities in various industries.

On the other hand, Pomona College is located in Claremont, a smaller city with fewer job opportunities. However, Pomona College has a strong focus on internships and experiential learning, which allows students to gain valuable work experience and make connections in their desired fields.

Additionally, Pomona College has a close-knit alumni network, with many graduates staying connected and offering support to current students and recent graduates.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Campus Safety and Security Comparison

Both UPenn and Pomona College have excellent on-campus safety and security services that prioritize the well-being of their students and staff members. UPenn has its own police department, which provides 24/7 emergency response services and patrols the campus.

Pomona College has an excellent Campus Safety department that patrols regularly and provides on-campus escorts and emergency response services. Both schools have low crime rates, with safety features such as emergency phones and security cameras placed strategically across campus.

However, there are some differences in the safety and security measures taken by the two schools. UPenn has a larger campus and therefore has a larger police force, with over 100 sworn officers.

Pomona College, on the other hand, has a smaller campus and a smaller security team, with around 20 officers. Despite this, both schools have similar response times to emergency situations and have effective communication systems in place.

Both schools offer safety education programs to their students, such as self-defense classes and safety workshops. UPenn also has a student-run organization called PennWalk, which provides walking escorts to students who feel unsafe walking alone at night. Pomona College has a similar program called Sagehens Safe Walk, which offers a similar service to its students.

Campus Life and Social Scene Comparison

UPenn’s urban location provides a bustling campus life, with numerous activities and events happening regularly. The campus is a short distance from downtown Philadelphia, which provides students with access to various cultural attractions and events.

Pomona College’s suburban location provides students with a more laid-back campus life, with a quieter and more intimate social scene. The college offers numerous low-key events, such as movie nights, guest lectures, and small music performances.

However, despite the differences in campus life, UPenn and Pomona College offer a variety of student organizations and clubs that cater to different interests and hobbies.

UPenn has over 400 student organizations, ranging from academic and professional groups to cultural and recreational clubs. Pomona College has over 200 student organizations, including sports, arts, and community service clubs.

Additionally, both universities strongly emphasize community service and civic engagement. UPenn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships allows students to engage in service-learning projects and community-based research.

Pomona College’s Draper Center for Community Partnerships offers similar programs, including community-based research and internships with local organizations.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Comparison

Young woman studying in front of a laptop.

UPenn and Pomona College’s cost of attendance varies significantly, with UPenn being more expensive due to its size and location. The sticker price for UPenn is around $80,000 per year, while Pomona College’s is around $77,000 per year.

However, both colleges offer generous financial aid packages, with UPenn awarding over $240 million in aid annually and Pomona College providing need-based financial aid to 90% of its students.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance and financial aid packages can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances. Students should research and compare the net price, which takes into account the cost of attendance minus any grants or scholarships received, to get a better understanding of the actual cost they will be responsible for.

Additionally, students should consider other factors, such as the availability of work-study programs, student employment opportunities, and the cost of living in the surrounding area, when making their decision.

Student Support Services and Resources Comparison

Both UPenn and Pomona College offer various student support services and resources to help students succeed academically and personally. UPenn has a range of services, including academic advising, counseling, and health services.

Pomona College also provides numerous opportunities for student support, such as academic advising, counseling services, and a student-run mental health group called Active Minds. Both institutions prioritize student well-being and strive to provide comprehensive resources to support their students.

Additionally, UPenn offers a variety of career services to help students prepare for their future after graduation. These services include resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and networking events with alumni and employers.

Pomona College also provides career services, such as career counseling and job and internship fairs, to help students explore their career options and gain valuable experience.

Furthermore, both institutions have robust extracurricular programs that offer students opportunities to get involved on campus and develop leadership skills. UPenn has over 450 student organizations, ranging from cultural and identity groups to academic and professional organizations.

Pomona College also has a diverse range of student clubs and organizations, including a student government association and a community service organization called the Draper Center for Community Partnerships.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Research Opportunities and Resources Comparison

Research is a significant part of academic life at UPenn and Pomona College, and both schools offer numerous resources and opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in research projects.

UPenn has a range of research centers dedicated to various fields of study, such as the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, and the Penn Institute for Biomedical Informatics. Pomona College has numerous research opportunities for undergraduate students, including research grants and funding for research opportunities in the summer.

Additionally, UPenn has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, with many research centers and institutes encouraging collaboration across different fields of study. For example, the Penn Center for Health Informatics and the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society both bring together experts from various disciplines to tackle complex research questions.

On the other hand, Pomona College has a smaller student body, which can lead to more personalized research opportunities and mentorship from faculty members. The college also has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with many professors actively involving students in their research projects and providing opportunities for independent research.

UPenn vs. Pomona: Athletics Programs and Facilities Comparison

UPenn is home to a comprehensive Division I athletics program that competes at the highest level in various sports, including basketball, football, and soccer. The university also has 19 varsity athletic teams and extensive recreational facilities such as a fitness center, swimming pools, and gyms.

Pomona College competes in NCAA Division III sports and has a range of sports offerings, including basketball, soccer, and tennis. The college has excellent athletic facilities, including a recently renovated gymnasium, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a track and field complex.

View of sports equipments stacked together.

Aside from the varsity athletic teams, UPenn also offers a wide range of club and intramural sports for students to participate in. These include ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and even Quidditch. The university also has a strong tradition of rowing, with its boathouse located on the Schuylkill River.

On the other hand, Pomona College has a unique program called the Outdoor Education Center, which offers students the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, backpacking, and kayaking. The college also has a strong emphasis on wellness, with a variety of fitness classes and wellness programs available to students.


Choosing the right college is a significant decision, and comparing schools across various aspects can help you make an informed choice. This comprehensive analysis compares and contrasts the University of Pennsylvania and Pomona College across numerous areas, such as location, admissions criteria, student body diversity, academics, extracurricular activities, and more.

Ultimately, the decision on which college to attend depends on individual preferences and needs. However, with the information we have provided in this article, we hope that students can make more informed choices about their college decisions.

It is important to note that while comparing colleges is helpful, it is also essential to visit the campuses and get a feel for the environment. Talking to current students and professors can also provide valuable insights into the college experience.

Additionally, considering the financial aspect of attending college is crucial, as tuition and living expenses can vary significantly between schools.

Finally, it is important to remember that attending college is not just about academics and career prospects. It is also a time for personal growth, exploration, and building lifelong connections. Therefore, students should consider the overall culture and community of the college they are considering, as it can greatly impact their college experience and shape their future.


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