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 a roughly 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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of summer 2020, the physical campus of Pomona College is closed to visitors, as is the physical Office of Admissions. At the time of publication, we cannot forecast a reopening date due to the ongoing public health crisis related to coronavirus (COVID-19), and we advise the public to check our website for the most up-to-date information about campus visits in 2020-2021. In place of on-campus programming, virtual information sessions are regularly offered for interested students, parents and counselors, Monday-Friday. Additionally, virtual Q&A events with an admission officer or a current student, as well as short video-chat appointments with an admission officer, are offered throughout the week. The approximately 45 minute-long, live information session presentations, involving video and audio, offer an overview of the College and its programs, with a chat-box function available throughout the session where a second admissions officer can answer questions. All virtual visit options require prior online registration on the admissions website.
As long as the physical campus of Pomona College remains closed to visitors, student-led tours of the Pomona College campus will not be available. Interested students and parents are invited to view our campus video at https://youtube.com/watch?v=0yM4MSU4eI0. We advise the public to check our website for the most up-to-date information about the possible resumption of campus tours in 2020-2021. At this time, virtual class visits are not available, nor are overnight visits in a residence hall.
We do not offer on-campus interviews, but optional off-campus interviews with alumni are available. Beginning in late August, interested students may submit an online request for an alumni interview in their area.
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. As the best preparation 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. Courses in areas such as journalism, debate, leadership and religious doctrine, as well as courses in music, art or theatre are valuable, but they are not considered academic courses in assessing the strength of the candidate’s high school program.
In evaluating a candidate’s high school program, additional consideration is generally given to honors, International Baccalaureate and AP courses, if they are available in the school. If students’ curricular choices have been limited or disrupted by school closure or access to online platforms for instruction, the Admissions Committee will take this into account in evaluating the overall strength of the high school program. Students who have been home-schooled, have attended foreign high schools, or have pursued a unique educational program are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions about submitting other evidence of their academic preparation for college. (This does not refer to students whose attendance at a physical school was interrupted by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic)
Pomona College accepts the Common Application and the Coalition Application, both of which are available online. Pomona College also accepts the QuestBridge application for students applying through that program.
Students who have completed the junior year of high school may be considered for admission to first-year standing. Such candidates for early admission should 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 or through home study.
When Pomona College 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. 15, and candidates are notified by mid-December. The deadline for Early Decision II is January 8; candidates are notified of their decisions 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 to Pomona under Early Decision 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.
An Early Decision applicant must submit all of the materials described in the section Application Instructions for First-Year Candidates, indicate Early Decision on the application form and sign the Early Decision agreement. Financial aid application instructions for Early Decision candidates can be found online under Financial Aid.
Early Decision candidates will receive one of three decisions:
- The candidate is admitted and is expected to enroll.
- The candidate 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.
- 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.
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 Applicant FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) webpage is available in the Admissions section of the Pomona College website. Additionally, a PDF of our international student information sheet is available by request. The application deadlines are the same for students studying in 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% of their demonstrated need. In the past few years, 40-50% of incoming international students have received need-based financial aid. International students who need financial aid may apply for transfer admission.
English Language Assessment
Students who have not attended a school where English is the primary language of instruction must submit official or self-reported results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with their application materials. 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 Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a placement exam.
Application Instructions for First-Year Candidates
Pomona College accepts applications for fall entrance only. January 8 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 decisions by April 1.
The required credentials are:
- Application. Pomona accepts the Coalition Application, the Common Application and the QuestBridge Application.
- One-time, non-refundable application fee or fee waiver. A $70 non-refundable application fee covers a small portion of the costs 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, those applying through the Coalition Application may use the Coalition Fee Waiver. Additionally, Pomona accepts the National Association for College Admission Counseling (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.
- School Report and Counselor Recommendation. These should be submitted by the student’s 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.
- Two Academic Letters of Recommendation. Confidential evaluations from two classroom teachers in core academic subjects (English, foreign languages, math, science or social sciences) should be uploaded as part of the application or emailed 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, optional recommendation.
- Official Transcript(s) of High School Record to Date. Candidates must submit a transcript of all 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. Transcripts for any college courses taken in high school may be required upon admission if these courses and grades are not on the high school transcript. Admission offers are made with the provision that the applicant’s academic performance continues to be as strong after the offer of admission as it was to that date. A final transcript confirming graduation and good standing at the conclusion of the school year is required for enrollment.
- Standardized Test Scores. Results of either the SAT Reasoning (administered by the College Board) or ACT (administered by ACT, Inc.) tests are optional for applicants for fall 2021 entry. Under this one-year policy, students may still choose to self-report test scores on their applications. If questioning whether to self-report test scores, students are encouraged to decide how best to present themselves to the Admissions Committee and whether–or not–their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential. For those who elect to self-report them, test scores will be reviewed holistically, in the context of other application materials and indicators of academic ability and promise, and an official score report will be required upon admission. If there is a discrepancy between self-reported scores and official scores, the offer of admission may be withdrawn. In the absence of standardized test scores, the Office of Admissions will continue to place emphasis on academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors.
- Interviews. We offer off-campus alumni interviews to seniors beginning in late August 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 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 email@example.com. 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.
- 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.
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 college work 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 or completing their application. 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 transfer.
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.
The final evaluation of credits 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 typically only a preliminary 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.
Students at other colleges who are not interested in pursuing a Pomona degree, but who wish to attend Pomona for a semester or a year, may do so by completing Pomona’s Visiting Student Application, 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, excepting the Mid-Year Report, which is due March 1.
Pomona College accepts the Common Application or the Coalition Application for transfer admission. Required documents may be submitted electronically or may be mailed to the Office of Admissions.
Transfer applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decisions by April 1.
The required credentials are:
- Application. Either the Coalition Application or Common Application for Transfer.
- 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, those applying through the Coalition Application may use the Coalition Fee Waiver. 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.”
- College Report/Transfer Report. This form 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.
- Two Academic Evaluations. These evaluations of the candidate’s academic potential should be submitted by two college instructors. Applicants may submit one additional optional recommendation of any type (e.g. employer, high school teacher, volunteer coordinator, etc.).
- A complete transcript of the secondary school (high 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.
- Mid-Term Report/Curriculum Report. Applicants should submit this form with mid-term grades and comments from their current term’s faculty. We will not make an admissions decision without these grades. However, if the applicant is not currently enrolled, they should contact the Admissions Office to have this requirement waived. This form is due March 1.
- Standardized Test Results. Results of either the SAT Reasoning (administered by the College Board) or ACT (administered by ACT, Inc.) tests are optional for applicants for fall 2021 entry. Under this one-year policy, applicants may choose to self-report test scores on their applications. If questioning whether to self-report test scores, students are encouraged to decide how best to present themselves to the Admissions Committee and whether—or not—their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential. For those who elect to self-report them, test scores will be reviewed holistically, in the context of other application materials and indicators of academic ability and promise, and an official score report will be required upon admission. If there are discrepancies between self-reported and official test scores, the offer of admission may be jeopardized. In the absence of standardized test scores, the Office of Admissions will continue to place emphasis on academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors.
- Interviews. Off-campus alumni interviews are available September to early February. 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 fulfill every interview request.
It is possible to obtain Pomona College course credit for the following:
- Advanced Placement Credit. Scores of 4 and 5 on Advanced Placement Exams may be eligible for course credit.
- International Baccalaureate Credit. Course credit may be granted for scores of 6 or 7 on higher-level International Baccalaureate examinations.
- 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 elective course credits from the sources 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. Students for whom payment of this enrollment deposit constitutes hardship may be eligible for a reduced deposit or may arrange a payment plan by emailing the Office of Admissions to find out their options. 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 applicant’s 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 matriculate.
- 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 Emergency and Family Contact forms collect information needed for future mailings regarding orientation, registration, medical services, housing and billing. These forms are available on an online portal for which admitted students are given instructions to access shortly after they enroll.
- Physical Exam Form. Entering students must submit by August 1 a medical examination report, including the results of a tuberculin skin test or chest X-ray within the preceding six months and active immunization against tetanus. The form for this medical information is available on an online portal for which admitted students are given instructions to access shortly after they enroll. Without the submission of this form, students will not be able to matriculate.
- 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. These forms are available on an online portal for which admitted students are given instructions to access shortly after they enroll.
Policy on Deferral of Enrollment
Students offered admission under Regular or Early Decision may request to defer their enrollment. Such requests are reviewed and approved individually by the dean of admissions and financial aid and must be received by May 1. 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:
- Enrollment in any individual college course must be discussed with an admissions dean at Pomona College. Students may not enroll in a degree program.
- 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 student in accordance with the student’s commitment to enroll at Pomona and agreement not to initiate any new applications to other colleges or universities.
- The student must write to admissions before March 1 prior to their deferred entry, reconfirming the intention to enroll for the fall semester. This communication will include information about how the student has spent the gap 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.
- If the student intends to apply for financial aid from Pomona College for the academic year of enrollment, the student must contact the Office of Financial Aid by Jan. 1 prior to their deferred entry regarding required financial aid forms.
Admissions Decision Rescission Policy
In all of its offers of admission, the Office of Admissions at Pomona College states, [this] “offer of admission is made with the provision that you maintain your strong record of academic achievement and personal integrity. We will review all final transcripts and ask that you have your school forward transcripts at the end of each grading period and send a final transcript confirming your graduation and good standing at the end of the school year.”
When an enrolling student fails to meet this academic or integrity standard, a transparent, student-centered review process is initiated by the Admissions Committee. The review process can include, but is not limited to:
- A review of the student’s mid-year, third quarter or final transcript.
- A conversation with teachers or college counselors at the student’s high school or university.
- A conversation with the student to directly raise concerns regarding academic or integrity issues.
- The request of written statements from teachers, counselors, students or other individuals who might be able to assist the Committee in understanding the academic or integrity issue of concern.
- Consultation with the Vice President and Dean of Admissions.
- The re-convening of the Admissions Committee for the purposes of reconsidering a candidate for admission using the new information within the context of our standard holistic review process.
During the review process a student can expect:
- That the decision to rescind an offer of admission is not a foregone conclusion. Each student who fails to meet the academic and integrity standards outlined in their offer of admission will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Each student will be treated as an individual whose unique story will be heard and genuinely considered by the Committee.
- To be provided with the email and office phone number of a senior admissions officer in order to keep the lines of communication between the Admissions Office and the student free and open.
- That all reasonable attempts will be made to understand the circumstances that led to the academic or integrity issue of concern, be that via phone or written communication.
- To receive a direct written communication from a senior admissions officer if his/her/their offer of admission is in fact rescinded.
- That the student’s college counselor will be notified of the decision to rescind via a written communication.
Examples of academic or integrity issue that could merit an investigation or rescission process include but are not limited to:
- A decline in achievement in an academic course from A in 7th Semester to C/D/F in 8th Semester
- A decline in achievement in an academic course from B in 7th Semester to a D/F in 8th Semester
- Violating a school/university academic integrity policy during the final semester of enrollment.
- A significant discrepancy between a predicted A-Level/IB score and an actual A-Level/IB score.
- The intentional misrepresentation of a self-reported SAT, ACT, TOEFL or IELTS score.
All decisions that are reconsidered and decided upon by the Admissions Committee under these circumstances are final and not subject to appeal. Admitted or enrolling students who feel an academic or personal integrity issue could arise or has arisen, or who have questions about this policy should immediately be in touch with the director of admissions.