For high school students looking at top liberal arts colleges in the United States, Pomona College often comes up as a top choice. Located in sunny Claremont, California, Pomona boasts excellent academics, close-knit community, and idyllic campus. But is Pomona really all it’s cracked up to be?

Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of Pomona to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Pomona College is considered one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation, known for its intimate academic environment, high caliber faculty, vibrant student life and picturesque location.

However, it also has an ultra-competitive admissions process and many pomona-isms that aren’t for everyone.

Pomona’s Academic Excellence

Pomona College is renowned for its academic excellence, offering students a top-notch education that prepares them for success in their chosen fields. Here are some key factors that contribute to Pomona’s academic reputation:

Low student-faculty ratio

One of the standout features of Pomona College is its low student-faculty ratio. With an average class size of 8:1, students benefit from personalized attention and close relationships with their professors.

This allows for more meaningful interactions, in-depth discussions, and personalized feedback on assignments. The small class sizes foster a collaborative and engaging learning environment where students can fully immerse themselves in their studies and receive the support they need to excel.

Strong academics across disciplines

Pomona College offers a wide range of academic programs across various disciplines, ensuring that students have access to a diverse and comprehensive education. Whether you’re interested in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or arts, Pomona’s rigorous curriculum and dedicated faculty will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in your chosen field.

Students are encouraged to explore their interests, think critically, and engage in interdisciplinary learning, fostering a well-rounded education that prepares them for the complexities of the real world.

Research opportunities

Pomona College prides itself on providing ample research opportunities for its students. Through partnerships with esteemed national and international institutions, students have the chance to engage in cutting-edge research projects alongside world-class faculty.

These research experiences not only deepen students’ understanding of their respective fields but also equip them with valuable skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis. Such opportunities often lead to publications, presentations at conferences, and even potential collaborations with experts in their field.

Study abroad programs

Pomona College encourages students to broaden their horizons and gain a global perspective through its extensive study abroad programs. With partnerships with universities worldwide, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in different cultures, languages, and academic environments.

Studying abroad not only enhances students’ cultural competency but also allows them to explore new academic interests and gain a deeper understanding of global issues. These experiences often prove to be transformative and provide students with a unique edge in the job market.

Pomona College’s commitment to academic excellence is further supported by its strong faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a vibrant intellectual community. The college’s dedication to providing students with a well-rounded education, coupled with its focus on individualized attention and research opportunities, makes it a top choice for those seeking a high-quality academic experience.

Student Life at Pomona

One of the standout features of Pomona College is its tight-knit community. With a student body of around 1,600, Pomona fosters an environment where students can easily form meaningful connections with their peers.

The small student-to-faculty ratio allows for personalized attention and mentorship, creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

Tight-knit community

At Pomona, students often describe the campus as a close-knit family. With a strong emphasis on collaboration and cooperation, students are encouraged to engage with each other both inside and outside of the classroom.

This sense of community is further strengthened by the various residential options available, such as themed living communities and affinity housing.

Active student organizations

Pomona College boasts a vibrant and diverse range of student organizations catering to a wide array of interests. Whether you’re passionate about social justice, the arts, or community service, you’ll find a club or organization to get involved with.

These student-run groups provide opportunities for leadership development, networking, and creating lasting friendships.

Athletics and outdoor activities

For the sports enthusiasts, Pomona College offers a robust athletic program. With 21 NCAA Division III sports teams, students have the opportunity to compete at a high level while representing their college.

Additionally, Pomona’s location in Southern California provides easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and beach outings, allowing students to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Traditions like Ski-Beach Day

Pomona College is known for its unique traditions, one of which is Ski-Beach Day. This annual event brings together students and faculty for a day of skiing in the nearby mountains followed by a beach picnic.

It’s a chance for the Pomona community to come together, relax, and enjoy the best of both worlds. These traditions help foster a sense of camaraderie and create lasting memories for students during their time at Pomona.

Beautiful Southern California Location

When it comes to the location of a college, Pomona College is truly a gem. Situated in the heart of Southern California, this renowned institution boasts a stunning campus that perfectly complements its academic excellence.

Idyllic campus with Spanish-style architecture

Visitors to Pomona College are immediately struck by the campus’s beautiful Spanish-style architecture. The red tile roofs, archways, and charming courtyards create a picturesque setting that is both inspiring and tranquil.

Walking through the campus feels like stepping into a Mediterranean paradise, with lush greenery and blooming flowers at every turn.

Located in Claremont village

Pomona College is located in the vibrant Claremont village, a quaint and charming town that offers a welcoming community to students. With its tree-lined streets, cozy cafes, and local shops, Claremont provides a unique and engaging environment for students to explore and immerse themselves in.

Near Los Angeles for internships & entertainment

One of the major advantages of Pomona College’s location is its proximity to Los Angeles, a global hub for internships, career opportunities, and entertainment. Students have easy access to the countless internship possibilities offered by the diverse industries in Los Angeles, ranging from film and television to technology and business.

Additionally, being just a short drive away from the vibrant city allows students to experience the cultural richness and endless recreational activities that Los Angeles has to offer.

Sunny weather year-round

Another perk of attending Pomona College is the sunny weather that Southern California is famous for. With an average of 286 sunny days per year, students can enjoy spending time outdoors, whether it’s studying on the quad, playing sports, or simply soaking up the sunshine.

The pleasant climate creates a positive and uplifting atmosphere that enhances the overall college experience.

Downsides of Pomona

Pomona College is undoubtedly a prestigious institution with a long-standing reputation for excellence. However, like any other school, it has its fair share of downsides that prospective students should consider. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of attending Pomona College:

Ultra-competitive admissions

Pomona College is known for its highly selective admissions process. With an acceptance rate of around 6%, it can be incredibly challenging to secure a spot at this renowned institution. The competition among applicants is fierce, and even students with exceptional academic achievements and extracurricular involvement may find themselves facing rejection.

It is essential for aspiring students to be prepared for the intense competition and understand that admission to Pomona is not guaranteed.

Rigorous academics may cause stress

Pomona College is renowned for its rigorous academic programs, and while this can be a positive aspect for many students, it can also lead to significant stress and pressure. The workload can be demanding, and students may find themselves constantly juggling multiple assignments, projects, and exams.

The high expectations can sometimes take a toll on students’ mental and emotional well-being, requiring them to develop effective time management and stress-coping strategies.

Not much racial or socioeconomic diversity

One of the criticisms leveled against Pomona College is the lack of diversity in terms of race and socioeconomic background. While efforts are being made to address this issue, the student body at Pomona still remains predominantly white and from relatively affluent backgrounds.

This lack of diversity can limit the exposure to different perspectives and experiences, which is a crucial part of a well-rounded education. It is important for students to consider how important diversity is to their college experience before committing to Pomona.

Expensive tuition and costs

Attending Pomona College comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses can be a significant financial burden for many students and their families. It is important to carefully consider the financial implications before deciding to attend Pomona.

Scholarships and financial aid options are available, but it is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the financial assistance opportunities provided by the college.

While Pomona College offers an exceptional education and numerous opportunities for personal and academic growth, it is essential for prospective students to be aware of the potential downsides. By considering these factors, students can make an informed decision about whether Pomona College is the right fit for them.


In conclusion, Pomona College lives up to its reputation as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the country. From its outstanding academics to close-knit, vibrant campus life, Pomona offers an enriched undergraduate experience.

However, the college isn’t the right fit for everyone – you’ll need to thrive in a high-pressure academic environment and be able to afford the expensive tuition costs.

If you’re looking for a top-notch liberal arts education focused on the humanities and sciences, access to professors, and a tight-knit intellectual community, Pomona deserves strong consideration. Just be prepared for competitive admissions and make sure Pomona’s core values align with your own academic passions and interests.

Similar Posts