Introduction to Applying
Because the life of a great liberal arts college is created in large part by the students who live and learn there, the admissions staff at Pomona College works to enroll a student body that will both contribute to and benefit from the extraordinary opportunities that are available here.
In evaluating students, our primary consideration is academic excellence. Admission is highly selective and includes a thorough review of each candidate’s applications materials by members of the Admissions Committee. Since we regard each applicant individually, there is no set formula for admission. Pomona is interested in the best students, regardless of their ability to pay; financial need does not affect admission decisions for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
The strength of the high school program, the record of academic aptitude and achievement, quality of thought in essays, and recommendations from the school are of great significance, as are evidence of originality, energy, motivation, and leadership potential. In evaluating a candidate’s high school program, extra weight is generally given to honors, International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses, if they are available in the high school. In each case, the final decision is based on a judgment of the entire application in the context of the current application pool.
Since our students come from a variety of educational experiences and from across the nation and around the world, we do not specify individual classes that are required for admission; however, we do seek a broad range of academic experience in a variety of disciplines and expect that competitive candidates will have completed:
- four or five academic subjects each term, including 10th, 11th and 12th grades
- four years of English
- three years of a foreign language
- two years science with laboratories
- two years social sciences
- four years mathematics (one year geometry, second year algebra, year of trigonometry and analytical geometry, year of calculus is highly recommended)
- one year each biology, chemistry and physics for students interested in pursuing science majors
It is extremely important for applicants to ensure their applications and supporting papers present an accurate reflection of academic and personal traits for the Admissions Committee consideration. We urge students to evaluate their own materials and consider how to provide full information to our staff. For example, where the high school transcript does not indicate the quality of academic work (i.e., pass/no credit or ungraded courses), the applicant should submit other evidence for the Committee.
Students who have attended foreign high schools or those who have pursued unusual patterns of preparation should consult the admissions staff about submitting other evidence of their readiness to undertake college work.
Home-schooled students are urged, and may be required, to provide a much more substantial battery of SAT Subject Test results or Advanced Placement tests and should discuss their curriculum and application with a member of the Admissions staff.
Students who have completed a considerable amount of work at the college level (more than the equivalent of six Pomona courses) should consult the Office of Admissions regarding freshman versus transfer standing.
We encourage you to contact the Office of Admissions if you have any questions about the College, its requirements or its admissions procedures.