Pomona College Visit Report by LostCoast

Visit to Pomona College in September 2020 by LostCoast
(Parent of Student, HS Class of 2012)
(Member since September 29 2020 with ? posts)

Visit Activities:


Campus Tour: Yes - Two tour guides. They were really good at providing information about the campus, though my daughter felt that they lacked the enthusiasm for their campus that our Pitzer lead guide showed.


Campus:



Friendliness/Courtesy of Students:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
A number of students smiled back and said hi to us as we were walking around campus on our own. Felt much warmer than a large state school.



Friendliness/Courtesy of Staff:
4 - Very Good
4 - Very Good
Only interacted with the receptionist in admissions. She wasn't the most talkative person, but was perfectly happy and friendly in asking questions.



Appearance of Campus:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
A variety of buildings on campus, with a mix of new and old. All are attractive, and most are small, giving the campus an intimate feel.



Building/Facilities Maintenance/Cleanliness:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Everything seemed to be clean and well-maintained.



Dormitories:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Comments are in the full description.



Security/Safety:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Campus felt extremely secure. We spent a bunch of time wandering around after hours, and never felt unsafe.



Overall Campus Impression:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent



Off-Campus:



City/Town/Community:
5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent
Claremont is a fairly affluent suburb east of L.A. with not much to attract students. Claim is that it's easy to get to LA, but realistically it's about an hour's drive in good traffic.

Campus Visit Notes for Pomona College


Visit Description:

We visited Pomona and Pitzer Colleges on the same day. Pomona was the out-and-out winner for my daughter. She was looking for more of a "wow" factor, given how much Pomona is talked up. Even without that, though, we both liked the campus.

Pomona has about 1500 students, vs. about 1000 for Pitzer, but the difference feels much larger. The campus is larger, and Pomona offers all of the majors. The range of majors at Pomona is impressive, with some that you usually only find at larger schools.

On paper, that shouldn't be a huge difference for Pomona vs. the other Claremont colleges. A student at one of the colleges that doesn't offer their desired major can always do their major at another of the colleges. Still, having all of the majors available just makes Pomona feel like a larger institution.

That also comes from the lack of a "theme," such as the other colleges have. Scripps is the women's college, with an emphasis on the arts. Harvey Mudd is the strong math, science, and engineering campus. Pitzer has its emphasis on social and environmental progressiveness. Claremont McKenna seems to have a strong emphasis on business, economics and international relations. Pomona has students with all of those interests and more, giving it a more inclusive, all-encompassing feeling.

One really nice thing that was mentioned both at Pomona and Pitzer was that the students are not competitive, but more collaborative. We certainly did see a lot of students working after hours in the library, and almost none were alone. The campus appears to foster that attitude from the start. I forget the name of the program, but students are assigned to what amount to mentoring groups led by older students when they first arrive. The groups are designed to help students adjust, and are at least as much social as academic in their function. It sounds like they can form bonds that last for years afterwards.

The dorms are very nice. The first year residence hall that we saw was very attractive on the inside. About 30 percent of first year students live in singles (sounds like a random assignment). We poked our heads into a single (apologies to the young man who had a knock on his door by a tour guide for an impromptu viewing of his room). The tour guides indicated that it was actually a small-ish room. While it wasn't huge, it would be large enough for my daughter to find room for her cello and fencing gear (it would be cramped with them, but it would work). The great majority of students live on campus all four years.

The only real downside for us is the cost. They state that they meet full demonstrated need, but of course that will include some loans, on top of the loans that we'll have to take out to meet the difference between our EFC and what we can actually afford. "Demonstrated need" is also a bit of an amorphous term, and depends heavily in what they include in their cost calculations.

Hotel/Lodging Recommendations or Comments:

We had a bad experience at a particular hotel near the Ontario Airport. There are actually quite a few options closer to Claremont, though the airport isn't far.

Dining/Restaurant Recommendations or Comments:

Plenty of nice restaurants in the Claremont Village next to campus. We ate at a really nice Greek restaurant, which has a very good chocolate/ice cream shop next door.

Other Comments (Transportation, local attractions, parking, etc.):

The Ontario Airport is a much better option than the other LA airports. It's only 15 minutes away, and is much less busy.