2018-19 Pomona College Catalog 
    Dec 06, 2023  
2018-19 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.


Admission to Pomona College

Pomona College admits a first-year class representing a broad range of interests, viewpoints, talents and backgrounds. The College has been coeducational from the beginning, and its student body comprises an equal proportion of men and women. Pomona considers an ethnically, economically and geographically diverse student group to be an educational asset, and it actively encourages a mix of ideas, backgrounds and experiences in its student body.

Pomona attracts more qualified candidates than it can enroll, making it impossible to state a minimum record that will ensure admission. The strength of the high school program, the record of academic aptitude and achievement, and school recommendations are very important, as is the propensity to engage fully with peers and faculty. Special talents or experiences in science, music, drama, dance, art, journalism, athletics, community service and other fields, as well as evidence of originality, energy, motivation and leadership potential are also considered in the admissions process. Students who have unusual academic backgrounds should consult the Office of Admissions about submitting other evidence of their readiness to undertake college work.

Financial need does not affect admissions decisions for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and/or for students graduating from a high school in the United States. The College seeks to enroll a number of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Pomona College Board of Trustees adopted the following policy statement on admissions:

The future of the nation and humankind depends upon the quality of the education received by young people. Institutions such as Pomona College should prepare their graduates to lead lives of creative leadership and exemplary service.

For that reason, the Board of Trustees believes the College’s student body should be drawn from a pool composed of the most intellectually capable and academically committed college bound students in the nation. From that pool, the College should select students for its entering classes who represent a rich cross-section of backgrounds, talents, experiences and perspectives, and who offer significant prospects for achievement and leadership at the College and after their graduation. This is essential to the creation of a lively and stimulating educational environment that will prepare graduates for life in a changing world.

The development of a student body, rich in talent and broad in its diversities, must be intentional and energetic. The College encourages applications from candidates around the world. It is the policy of the College to review admissions candidates who are United States citizens and permanent residents without regard to financial circumstances and to provide financial assistance for those who enroll to the extent of their demonstrated need.

Anyone interested in preparing for Pomona, or any school official who directs preparatory programs, is invited to contact the Office of Admissions for advice on specific programs and admissions procedures.

For more information, write, call or email the Office of Admissions, 333 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711; phone: (909) 621-8134; email: admissions@pomona.edu.

Campus Visits

The College welcomes and encourages students and parents to visit the campus. Tours and information sessions are offered nearly every day the Office of Admissions is open. Although appointments for tours and information sessions are not required, students are encouraged to register online in advance through the Office of Admissions’ website. Visitors also are invited to attend classes and take meals in the dining halls on weekdays when the College is in session; there is a cost for visitors to take meals in the dining halls. The Office of Admissions is open Monday through Friday throughout the year and Saturday mornings mid-September through early December. For more information on visiting, please visit the admissions website.

Prospective students who are high school seniors or prospective transfers may also register online in advance for an overnight stay in October, November, February and early March. Overnight stays must be booked two weeks in advance and are offered Monday through Thursday nights. During April, only admitted students may book an overnight visit.

Admission to First-Year Standing

Candidates typically will have completed a minimum of four or five academic subjects for each term in 10th, 11th and 12th grades. The Admissions Committee considers the rigor of the program and quality of the record, as well as the courses a student has elected to take, given what is offered at the school. To best prepare for Pomona’s curriculum, we recommend four years of English, three years of a foreign language, four years of natural science (two of which should be lab science) and at least two years of social science (three are recommended). Four years of mathematics are recommended, including calculus for students interested in science and math majors. Courses in computer programming and statistics, while desirable, are not considered substitutes for these fundamental courses. Students interested in pursuing a science major should include in their high school curriculum one year each of courses in physics, chemistry and biology, emphasizing laboratory work and problem solving.

In evaluating a candidate’s high school program, extra weight is generally given to honors, International Baccalaureate and AP courses, if they are available in the school. Although courses in areas such as journalism, debate, leadership and religious doctrine, as well as courses in music, art or theatre are valuable, they are not considered academic courses in assessing the strength of the candidate’s high school program.

Application Forms

Pomona College accepts the Common Application and the Coalition Application, both of which are available online. Please consult the Pomona website for more information. Pomona College also accepts the QuestBridge application for students applying through that program.

Early Admission

Students who have completed the junior year of high school may be considered for admission to freshman standing. Such candidates for early admission are expected to contact a member of the admissions staff to discuss their readiness for college life and academic work and to provide evidence that they have exhausted the academic opportunities offered at their school.

Early Decision

When Pomona is the clear first choice, students are encouraged to apply under one of the Early Decision options. This may allow them to resolve their college choice earlier in the senior year. The deadline for applying for Early Decision I is Nov. 1, and candidates are notified by mid-December. The deadline for Early Decision II is January 1; candidates are notified by mid-February.

Students who apply to Pomona under an Early Decision option may simultaneously apply to other colleges through non-binding, unrestricted admission plans (including Early Action) but may not also apply for Early Decision at other colleges. As a “binding” decision between the College and the candidate, applicants admitted under Early Decision to Pomona agree to withdraw all other applications, to initiate no new ones and to enroll at Pomona. Students who are unsure whether Pomona is their first choice should apply under the Regular Decision plan, for which the deadline is January 1.

An Early Decision applicant must file all of the materials described in the section Application Instructions for Freshman Candidates, indicate Early Decision on the application form and sign the Early Decision agreement. Financial Aid instructions for Early Decision candidates can be found online under Financial Aid.

Early Decision candidates will receive one of three decisions:

  1. The candidate is admitted and is expected to enroll.
  2. The decision is deferred. These candidates will receive their final decisions with the Regular Decision applicants pending mid-year grades, additional testing information, supplementary writing samples or other information requested by the Admissions Committee.
  3. The application is denied. In these cases, the Admissions Committee’s decision is that the student would not be admitted in the Regular Decision group and would not benefit from further review.

International Students

The College welcomes cultural and linguistic diversity but has no English as a Second Language or other remedial programs for non-English-speaking foreign students. An International Student Brochure is available in the Admissions section of the Pomona College website, and a hard copy is available by request. The application deadlines are the same for students studying inside and outside the United States. Financial aid for foreign students is limited, although every admitted student applying for financial aid at the time they submit their application will receive 100 percent of his or her demonstrated need. International students who need financial aid may not apply for transfer admission.

English Language Assessment

Students who have not attended a school where English is the medium of instruction must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with their application materials—in addition to official SAT or ACT scores. If providing TOEFL or IELTS scores presents a hardship, please contact the Office of Admissions for possible alternatives.

The College will not use the results of the SAT English Language Placement Test or the Test of English as a Second Language as placement exams.

Application Instructions for First-Year Candidates

Pomona College accepts applications for fall entrance. January 1 is the regular decision deadline and the deadline for all credentials other than senior year midterm grades. Midterm grades are due by February 15. Candidates are responsible for submitting all items on time and are given access to an online portal where they can check on the completion of their application. Candidates for first-year admission will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision by April 1.

The required credentials are:

  1. Application. Pomona accepts the Coalition Application, the Common Application and the QuestBridge Application.
  2. One-time, non-refundable application fee or fee waiver. A $70 non-refundable application fee covers a small portion of the cost of processing applications. If the fee is a financial hardship, please consult the “Fee Waiver” section of the Common Application “Profile.” If you indicate that you satisfy one of those criteria, you will become automatically eligible for an online fee waiver for each school to which you apply. The Common Application will email your school counselor, who will be required to submit a form confirming your eligibility for a fee waiver. Please note that Pomona’s ID for the counselor’s form is 4607. Alternately, the Coalition Fee Waiver is made available to qualifying students who apply to Pomona College using the Coalition Application. Additionally, Pomona accepts the NACAC fee waiver form or a letter from your counselor, written on school letterhead, that directly requests a fee waiver for you. Please have your counselor email the NACAC form or the counselor letter directly to the Office of Admissions.
  3. School Report and Counselor Recommendation. These should be submitted by your high school counselor. Please note that we do not release an admissions decision without a completed disciplinary history from a school administrator. If the School Report’s disciplinary history questions are left blank or answered with “School policy prevents me from responding,” we will not release an admissions decision.
  4. Two Academic Letters of Recommendation. Confidential reports from two classroom teachers in core academic subjects (English, foreign languages, math, science or social sciences) are to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. We suggest these recommendations be sent from teachers whose classes the applicant took during junior or senior year. A letter from a teacher of an elective subject (e.g., music, art, journalism, etc.) can serve as an additional recommendation.
  5. Official Transcript of High School Record to Date. Candidates must submit a transcript of work through the junior year and, as soon as grades are available, a transcript complete through the first semester or trimester of the senior year. It should include an interpretation of the grading system and a clear designation of honors, International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement courses. The student must submit transcripts for any college courses taken in high school if they are not on the high school transcript. Admission offers are made with the provision that the academic performance will continue to be as strong as it has been to date. A final transcript confirming graduation and good standing at the conclusion of the school year is also required.
  6. Standardized Test Scores. Results of either the SAT or ACT are required. You may submit “old” SAT scores (before March 2016) and/or “new” scores. Applicants may request their scores be sent directly to Pomona from the testing agency (and may use the score choice option), or applicants may self-report scores on their applications. All enrolling students will need to submit an official score report, and any discrepancies between self-reported and official test scores may affect a student’s offer of admission.


  1. Interviews. We offer off-campus alumni interviews to seniors beginning in September and up to December 1. We do not track demonstrated interest in the application process, so interviews are entirely optional. To schedule an alumni interview, please register online at least three weeks in advance on the Admissions section of the Pomona College website. Please be aware that our alumni network does not extend to every corner of the country or world, and we cannot always fulfill every interview request.
    International applicants may interview with an alumni interviewer or a private service. Third-party interviews are not conducted by Pomona staff or alumni, so, unfortunately, the interviewer cannot answer specific questions about Pomona College. Since there may be a cost involved for third-party interview services, interviews are not required. Fee waivers are also available by contacting admissions@pomona.edu. We accept interviews through InitialView and Duolingo. The Duolingo English Test combines an English proficiency test with a video interview and can be completed any time and place where web access is available. Those attending high school in the U.S. should schedule an alumni interview in the U.S.
  2. Arts Supplements. The Admissions Committee encourages students to submit evidence of their special talents in the area of dance, music, theatre or visual art. Additional information about arts supplements can be found on the Admissions section of the Pomona College website. 

Standardized Tests

All candidates for admission—both first-year and transfer—are required to take either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT. Candidates should schedule the SAT or ACT exam to allow at least one month between the date and the appropriate application deadline. Students may self-report their scores on their applications, but all enrolling students are required to submit an official score report, and any discrepancies between self-reported and official test scores may jeopardize a student’s offer of admission.

Arrangements for taking the College Board or ACT Program examinations are made directly with the testing agency, and the responsibility for completing these arrangements rests with the candidate. Application to take the tests must be filed approximately four weeks in advance of the examination. Candidates are urged to fill out the descriptive questionnaire associated with the tests.

Information concerning test dates, application fees, score reports, testing procedures, sample questions and special administration of the tests may be obtained from the testing agencies. Inquiries should be sent to the College Board for the SAT or The American College Testing Program for the ACT.

The Admissions Committee will consider the highest section scores across all SAT test dates and will also consider the highest ACT section scores across all test dates. Final admissions decisions will be made using your highest individual test scores.

With each test result submitted, Pomona College will update records with any new individual high scores; this can benefit candidates by allowing Pomona College to fully consider the application with the context of best testing performance. Thus, we recommend that applicants submit or self-report all test results. Applicants to the College must identify Pomona directly to the College Board to receive official test results.

The writing section on the SAT and ACT is optional but recommended. SAT Subject Test scores are optional.

For more information, please view information about test score requirements on the Admissions section of the Pomona College website.

Home-Schooled Students

Home-schooled students must follow the same testing requirements as other candidates but are encouraged, although not required, to submit results of at least two SAT Subject or Advanced Placement exams. These scores may allow home-schooled students to demonstrate their various academic abilities in ways that can provide additional context for a home-school application. Home-schooled applicants who have questions may contact the Office of Admissions about submitting other evidence of their academic preparation for college.

Admission to Transfer Standing

Students are considered for transfer standing if they will have completed the equivalent of at least one year’s full-time college work at the time of enrollment at Pomona (a minimum equivalent of six Pomona courses). Students who will have completed less should apply for first-year standing. Students enrolled in early college or dual-enrollment programs are not usually eligible for admission to transfer standing because they have not yet graduated from high school.

Candidates who have previously applied to Pomona College should make that known when contacting the Office of Admissions about transferring. Candidates who previously have been enrolled at Pomona must submit an academic plan for graduation.

All transfer students must spend a minimum of four semesters in full-time regular standing at Pomona in order to receive the B.A. degree. A student may not transfer more than 16 course credits toward the 32 minimum courses required to graduate. Please see the Transfer Credit Policy in this catalog for further rules regarding credit.

In evaluating transfer applications, the Admissions Committee places considerable weight on the nature and quality of the previous college record. Where the college transcript does not clearly indicate the quality of work (e.g., a large number of Pass/No Credit courses), it is the applicant’s responsibility to provide supplementary information on which the Admissions Committee can base its decision.

Credit granted for work taken at other institutions is determined by the Academic Procedures Committee after the candidate has been admitted. Course credit is ordinarily transferable if: 1) the prior college is accredited; 2) the course carries a grade of C or better; and 3) the course is comparable to a course offered by Pomona or another Claremont College. Pomona faculty members may be consulted on the question of course comparability, and the candidate may be asked to submit catalog course descriptions, syllabi and reading lists in addition to complete transcripts. This process may be time-consuming, and normally only a tentative estimate of course transferability is available to the candidate when enrolling at Pomona College. Conversion of credit from a unit system can be made by equating four semester hours or six quarter hours to one Pomona course.

Visiting Students

Students at other colleges who wish to attend Pomona for a semester or a year, but who are not interested in pursuing a Pomona degree, may do so by completing the Transfer Application (Common Application or Coalition Application) and the Visiting Student Supplement, found on the Admissions section of Pomona College’s website. Visiting students are admitted on a space-available basis and are not eligible for Pomona College financial aid funds.

Application Instructions for Transfer Candidates

Transfer candidates will be considered for fall entrance only. Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted by Feb. 15.

Pomona College accepts the Common Application or the Coalition Application for transfer students. Other required documents may be sent electronically or may be mailed to the Office of Admissions. If admitted, a student’s results of the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT must be sent directly to Pomona College from the testing agency.

Transfer applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision by mid-April.

The required credentials are:

  1. Application. Either the Coalition Application or Common Application for Transfer.
  2. One-time, non-refundable application fee or fee waiver. A $70 non-refundable fee or fee waiver. If the application fee presents a financial hardship, please consult the “Fee Waiver” section of the Common Application “Profile.” If you indicate that you satisfy one of those criteria, you will become automatically eligible for an online fee waiver for each school to which you apply. The Common Application will email your school counselor, who will be required to submit a form confirming your eligibility for a fee waiver. Pomona’s ID for the counselor’s form is 4607. Alternately, the Coalition Fee Waiver is made available to qualifying students who apply to Pomona College using the Coalition Application. You may also fill out the NACAC Request for Transfer Admission Application Fee Waiver and submit it to Pomona with the subject line “Transfer fee waiver request.”
  3. Secondary School Final Report. A confidential report by the principal or counselor is required of students who have been out of secondary school for less than two years by the time they would enroll at Pomona. This requirement is waived for candidates who, at the time they apply, have completed at least two full years of college work or who have been out of high school for more than two years. All candidates who are unable to obtain the report from their secondary school must contact the Office of Admissions.
  4. Transfer College Report. This report should be submitted by a current registrar or transfer adviser, or, at community colleges, a member of the counseling staff who has access to the student’s complete college record. If the candidate has attended more than one college, a copy of this form should be submitted by an administrator from the college attended most recently. If the candidate is not currently enrolled in a college, a letter from his or her employer (if working) or superior in command (if in the military) must be filed in addition to the recommendation from the college.
  5. Two Academic Evaluations. Two evaluations of the candidate’s academic potential by college instructors.
  6. Transcripts.
    • A complete transcript of the secondary school record showing the date of graduation (if applicable) and providing an interpretation of the grading system.
    • An official transcript from each college or university attended, including a statement of good standing or honorable dismissal. Failure to list and provide transcripts for all colleges attended will be considered sufficient grounds for requiring withdrawal from Pomona College.
  7. Standardized Test Results. Self-reported or official test score reports for either the SAT Reasoning Test (administered by the College Board) or the ACT (administered by ACT, Inc.) are required for all transfer candidates. All enrolling students will be required to submit an official score report, and any discrepancies between self-reported and official test scores may jeopardize a student’s offer of admission. (See below for further information.)
  8. Transfer Midterm Report. Submit this Common Application form by March 6 with midterm grades and comments from the current term’s faculty. Those applying through the Coalition Application should contact the Office of Admissions about this requirement. If the applicant is not currently enrolled, this requirement is waived.


Arts Supplements. The Admissions Committee strongly encourages students to submit evidence of their special talents in the areas of music, theatre, dance, or visual art. Please follow the instructions on the Admissions section of the Pomona College website.

External Credit

It is possible to obtain Pomona College credit for the following:

  1. Advanced Placement Credit. Scores of 4 and 5 on Advanced Placement Exams may be eligible for credit.
  2. International Baccalaureate Credit. Course credit may be granted for scores of 6 or 7 on higher-level International Baccalaureate examinations.
  3. College Courses Taken While in High School. Credits may be allowed for transferable courses that were not used towards high school graduation requirements. 

A maximum of the equivalent of two course credits from the categories above may be used toward the graduation requirements of Pomona College. See the section Transfer Credit Policy in this catalog for more information.

Credit by Examination

Pomona College does not allow credit by examination, other than by the means described in the section External Credit.

Instructions for Candidates Accepting Admission

Deposit. Enrolling students are required to make a non-refundable $500 deposit. This deposit does not apply to tuition or to room and board but is held until a student’s graduation or withdrawal from the College. At that time, any outstanding bills or charges are deducted and any balance is refunded unless part or all of the deposit has been forfeited by withdrawal after established deadlines. No refund will be made to candidates who accept admission and withdraw after the first-year reply date of May 1 or the transfer reply date of June 1.

Final Transcript. An official transcript reporting final grades must be filed as soon as possible after the close of the last term. It should include a statement of graduation or honorable dismissal. Please note that all offers of admission are conditional, upon review of final grades. Students who do not submit final transcripts by July 1 for the fall term will be unable to enroll.

Housing Form, Emergency Contact Form, Family Contact Information Form. Housing assignments are based on the information provided by new students on the Housing Form. The Contact Information forms ask for information needed for future mailings regarding orientation, registration, medical services, housing and billing.

Physical Exam Form. An entering student must submit by August 1 a medical examination report on a form furnished by the College, including the results of a tuberculin skin test or chest X-ray within the preceding six months and active immunization against tetanus. Without them, enrollment cannot be completed.

Student Health Insurance Enrollment or Waiver Form. Pomona College requires that all students carry health insurance. An entering student must enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or submit a waiver form with proof of health insurance by July 1.

Policy on Deferral of Enrollment

The Office of Admissions is supportive of requests by students offered admission under Regular or Early Decision to defer enrollment. Such requests are reviewed and approved individually by the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and must be received by the May 1 candidate reply deadline. The typical approved deferral is for one year, but those requesting more than a one-year deferral for specific reasons (e.g., compulsory military service or faith-based experiences) will be considered (and are typically approved). Deferral of admission involves several requirements:

  1. Enrollment in any individual college course must be discussed with an admissions dean at Pomona College. Students may not enroll in a degree program.
  2. In accepting the non-refundable $500 enrollment deposit, Pomona College will guarantee the student’s place for the following academic year as a full-time first-year student with the commitment that the student will enroll at Pomona and will initiate no new applications to other colleges or universities.
  3. The student must write to admissions before March 1 prior to their deferred entry, reconfirming the intention to enroll for the fall semester. In this letter, the student will include how he or she has spent the year and plans for the remainder of the year. Upon receipt of that information, the Dean of Admissions will confirm membership in the entering class.
  4. If the student intends to apply for financial aid from Pomona College for the academic year of enrollment, he or she must contact the Office of Financial Aid by Jan. 1 prior to their deferred entry regarding required financial aid forms.