Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,679
Institutional Type: Private
Curricular Flexibility: Somewhat Flexible
Academic Rating: 5
Public Policy Analysis
1. Kaiser Permanente
2. Saatchi & Saatchi
4. JPMorgan Chase
1. Los Angeles Review of Books
2. U.S. Senate
3. Kaiser Permanente
1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
3. New York City
5. Washington, DC
College Scorecard (Early Career): $58,100
EOP (Early Career): $62,000
PayScale (Mid-Career): $117,200
Considered the pre-eminent institution among the Claremont Consortium, Pomona College in Claremont, California, is much like the elite liberal arts schools of the Northeast—Williams and Amherst —only with perfect weather, gorgeous beaches, and Disneyland in relatively close proximity. Pomona also boasts one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country, one that is on par, from a selectivity standpoint, with Yale, Columbia, Brown, and MIT. That said, if you are one of the rare individuals capable of gaining entrance, you won’t find a better or more rigorous liberal arts education anywhere.
There are forty-eight majors and minors to select from with the most popular being social sciences (20 percent),math/statistics (12 percent), computer science (10 percent), and physical sciences (9 percent). More than 600courses are on the menu at Pomona alone, but students can access any of the Claremont Consortium’s 2,700courses. Everyone begins with a critical inquiry seminar as a freshman and must complete coursework designated as writing intensive, speaking intensive, and analyzing difference. Breadth of study requirements demand that undergrads complete one course in the following six categories: criticism, analysis, and contextual study of works of the human imagination; social institutions and human behavior; history, values, ethics, and cultural studies; physical and biological sciences; mathematical and formal reasoning; and creation and performance of works of art and literature. There are literally eight ways to meet the college’s foreign language requirement including AP scores and passing three semesters of language, but all eight demand the demonstration of proficiency.
The school’s 186 professors are dedicated to the task of undergraduate education. Pomona’s 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio leads to an average class size of only fifteen students. There are only six of 412 courses that ran last year that contained more than forty students. Small classes also lead to the forging of student- professor bonds that help 53percent of the undergraduate population conduct research alongside a faculty member. Each summer 200 students remain on campus for such an endeavor. Close to 50 percent of Pomona students travel abroad to one of fifty- nine programs in thirty-four countries.
All of the college’s academic offerings are highly respected by employers, graduate/professional schools, and national fellowship/scholarship competitions. Majors in economics, international relations, chemistry, and mathematics receive especially high marks. One-quarter of Pomona students apply for at least one competitive fellowship.
Pomona’s bustling campus is spread across 140 acres and contains fifteen residence halls and three dining halls; 98percent of students live in campus housing. There are two co-ed fraternities on campus that student members themselves describe as “just a bunch of dorks that hang out sometimes.” Unlike Claremont, Mudd, and Scripps that combine for athletics, Pomona fields its own squads. The twenty-one varsity teams play as the Sage hens in NCAA Division III; 20 percent of the student body are members of a varsity team, and many others participate in club and intramural athletics. Student life at Pomona is, in part, defined by the multitude of opportunities to enjoy there sources of the other Claremont Colleges—Pitzer, Scripps, Harvey Mudd, and CMC. More than 250 clubs can be accessed by students of any of the five schools. On the Loose is a popular outdoors club that organizes 150excursions into natural settings each year. Students can tend to their own plot at an on-campus organic farm, perform for the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company, write for the Student Life newspaper, or connect with volunteer opportunities through the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. While the campus itself receives rave reviews, few complain about the school’s enviable location either. Less than an hour from campus, students can access all of the fun Los Angeles has to offer as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
The Career Development Office (CDO) has seven full-time professional staff members working on grad school/careeradvising, employer relations, and experiential learning coordination. The CDO’s 243:1 student-to-advisor ratio is betterthan the average college featured in our guide. Pomona’s staff puts its resources to good use, engaging 80 percent offreshmen through lunches where the CDO’s offerings are introduced. Each year, the office engages in over 1,800 oneon-one counseling appointments, more than one per enrolled undergraduate student. Two-thirds of seniors directlyengage with counselors.
On a more global scale, Pomona students can connect with more than 8,500 employers through the school’smembership in three consortia groups: the Claremont Consortium, the Career and Internship Connection, and theLiberal Arts Career Network. More than 500 employers engage in on-campus recruiting at Pomona each year, includingmany that attend winter break recruiting programs. Unique internship opportunities are available such as the PomonaCollege Internship Program (PCIP) that funds students to intern domestically in places like DC or New York or abroad incities like Bangkok or Tokyo. Roughly 130 students were awarded PCIP positions during the last school year along withan additional eighty students in the summer. By senior year, 89 percent of students have participated in at least oneinternship, and 70 percent have completed two or more. Thanks to loads of individualized attention and ways toconnect directly with top employers and graduate schools, Pomona’s career services are highly regarded by our staff.
Whether entering the corporate world or a non-profit position, employers adore Pomona grads. Overall, the largestnumber of Pomona alumni can be found in the offices of Google, Kaiser- Permanente, Microsoft, Amazon, andFacebook. Looking at grads from the past 5 years, many computer science majors ended up at the aforementionedtech giants. In that same time, more than one economics major landed a job at Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, MorganStanley, or Accenture. Majors in the hard sciences frequently landed at top research laboratories and hospitals. Thethree most popular geographical landing spots were Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Midcareer salariesare middle-of- the-pack among elite schools and are commensurate with other highly selective liberal arts schools likeWilliams, Middlebury, and Colby.
Of the 16 percent of last year's Class members who were accepted directly into graduate school, the three mostfrequently attended institutions were a not-too-shabby list of the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford,Stanford, Harvard, and Cornell. When Pomona students go to law school they attend only the best. Thirty percent ofalumni were admitted into top-five law schools; nearly three-quarters were admitted into top-fourteen schools. Medschool applicants were admitted at a 70 percent clip, and in recent years more than one Pomona graduate hasenrolled in medical school at USC, UCLA, University of Washington, and Emory University. In short, attending Pomonaas an undergraduate will put you in a direct pipeline into the world’s best graduate/professional schools.
• “You are kind of halfway between L.A. and the Joshua Tree area, so if you’re very outdoorsy, you can go surfing or hiking.”
• “The location allows for a lot of diverse outdoor experiences. You can go skiing one day, go to the beach the next, and go camping the day after that.”
• “There are lots of extracurricular activities you can do. You can go to Mount Baldy or the movie theatre.”
• “The weather. It’s only cold for a month, and otherwise it’s pleasant in the high 70s.”
• “It’s far away from L.A. It’s 40-minutes away by train, but it’s kind of sketchy and can take an hour. It’s not super accessible once you get into L.A. because it just goes to Union Station.”
• “The traffic is horrendous all the time. It’s completely unpredictable.”
• “It’s a very quiet town. School sanctioned parties have even been shut down because of complaints from the neighborhood. Claremont is definitely an older folks’ town, and because that is the case, there isn’t much to do after 10 PM. If you’re looking for that city experience, you will have to go to L.A.”
• “If you’re a person who is intellectually passionate, you’ll find people and professors here to fuel that passion.”
• “Professors care about students. If you find an area where they don’t, you’ll have the tools and people to change that.”
• “We have pretty good dining halls. Friends that have come to visit me are amazed at the selection we have.”
• “The small class environment. Our introduction classes have a maximum of 30 people, so you do get that one-on-one interaction with your professors, and you get to know your classmates really well.”
• “Our sports teams aren’t necessarily the greatest. If you’re really going for a school that has a sports team that unifies the entire student body and has tailgates, Pomona is not the place to be. We’re a D3 college, and are student-athletes. The student part always comes before the athlete part, so people are more focused on their
academics than they are the athletic side.”
• “If you know exactly what you want to do and are just looking to get the resources for that specific career, it’s not the place for you. It’s going to make you question your major and why you picked what you did, and your advisor is going to ask you to take a ton of different classes. If you want to know how to get a certain job, they aren’t going to tell you.”
• “Sometimes Pomona can be stingy with their money, which is a big issue this year. For a school trying to promote
the idea of students graduating debt-free with no student loans, I think the institution should do all that they can to
make that happen.”
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