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Who's in the Pomona College Class of 2017?

The Class of 2017 poses in front of Carnegie

Each September, approximately 400 new students move to Pomona College. "Who are these new faces?" you might be wondering.

The 397 newest members of the Pomona family – the Class of 2017 - come from a pool of 7,153 applications to the first-year class. They include 34 students who became acquainted with Pomona through the Questbridge program, 10 through the Posse Program and two through the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS).

The students represent 38 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 26 countries. The states represented by 10 or more students include California (111), Washington (33), Illinois (29), New York (23), Oregon (11), Massachusetts (11), Pennsylvania (10), and Texas (10).

International students make up 8.6% of the group and come from Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, Uruguay and Zimbabwe. Members of the Class of 2017 speak 32 languages.

Approximately 42.5% self-identify as students of color. First-generation college students represent 14% of the class.

Of the 397 new students:

  • 62% came from public schools,
  • 22% from independent schools,
  • 6% from parochial schools,
  • 10% from international schools, and
  • 88.5% were in the top 10% of their graduating class.

In the Class of 2017, 57.9% are receiving scholarships with the average financial aid package being $37,900. Pomona meets 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted student with scholarships and a small amount of work-study funding.

The most popular woman's name is Katherine/Catherine/Katharine (9). The most popular men's name is Daniel (7), for the second year in a row. The most common birthday is May 9.

Most students in the Class of 2017 were born in 1995. The Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2017 points out the following facts about this group:

  • Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at a parents' weekend.
  • They have never really needed to go to their friend's house so they could study together.
  • GM means a food that is genetically modified.
  • They have never attended a concert in a cigarette smoke-filled arena.
  • Plasma has never been just a body fluid.
  • In their first 18 years, they have watched the rise and fall of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez.
  • Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver's license and car.

As with previous Pomona classes, members of the Class of 2017 have accomplished many interesting things.

  • One student decided that his local library needed to improve efficiency in their book return system. He developed a computer model to track and improve book flow, and then reached out to the library's board of directors to see if they were interested in using his model, which they were.
  • Another started a one-man sportscasting business to broadcast the local minor league baseball team games, gaining thousands of regular listeners. Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Buck hailed him as a "fantastic up-and-coming sportscaster."
  • One new Sagehen started her own baking business with her twin sister when she was 12, and their pumpkin white chocolate drops and cookie pizzas became one of the biggest draws at their weekly farmer's market for the next several years. She also won her state's gingerbread house competition three times.
  • A student from the Midwest formed the debate team at his school, making it so successful that many of the star football players joined. He eventually became one of the top debaters in his state.
  • Another new Sagehen founded three different high school branches of a club to combat leukemia, recruiting donors, organizing drives and raising dollars to help save lives.
  • One freshman wrote his college essay in the form of a calculus equation used to explain his personality, which he described as the area between the curves of social exuberance and nerd-vana. Admissions ran the math by a Pomona faculty member and it checked out.
  • A Sagehen with robotic skills spent six years building a working R2D2 replica, which he took to local charity events and then all the way to the national C4 Robotics convention, where he showed it to an impressed George Lucas.
  • As a Girl Scout, one Sagehen mounted a six-year global campaign to eliminate unsustainable palm oil products from use in Girl Scout cookies. Despite the efforts of the Malaysian government to shut her down, she was successful in getting the Girl Scouts to change their policy, the first policy change ever driven directly by a scout's efforts in the organization's 100-year history.

Joining these members of the Class of 2017 are 13 transfer students, selected from a pool of 279 applications. Transfers joining the Pomona family include Pomona's recipient of the Pomona College-Cambridge University Downing College scholarship, who joins the freshman class for a year; and a recipient of the Brazilian government's Science without Borders Undergraduate Scholarship Program, who will also be on campus for a full year.

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