By Diana Rodriguez ‘19
As a summer intern in the Admissions Office who has been giving campus tours, I hear this question a lot: “how hard is Pomona?” I figure this is a question many prospective students have about Pomona, so let me attempt to answer it.
The short answer is that Pomona is pretty hard. There will be tear stains on papers and tests as well as many all-nighters. The long answer is that because Pomona College acknowledges that we have a rigorous curriculum there are resources in place to help students. So, yes, you will suffer a little, but you won’t do it alone.
Most students at Pomona focus on their academics. This doesn’t mean that students stay in their rooms doing only school work or that they have little to no social life. Students on campus can focus on academics AND social life by becoming mentors for classes or peer tutors. Mentors and resources like the Quantitative Skills Center (QSC) as well as the Writing Center are available for students to reach out for help at any point during the semester. Almost all qualitative courses (economics, STEM, etc.) have mentor sessions. Mentor sessions are the light at the end of the tunnel, the backbone of academic support. Mentors who run the sessions are usually upperclassmen who have taken the course and will hold meetings the night before a problem set is due as well as before midterms (yes, there is more than one midterm per class. No, I don’t know why they are called midterms instead of tests. It’s a little cruel to play with our feelings like this, but here we are.)
From my experience, students at Pomona tend to blend their social and academic lives so that hanging out with friends magically becomes a productive study session. One way I have maintained a decently balanced social and academic life has been to have specific times reserved for my friends. I’ll have check-ins with them weekly to make sure we still make time to rant/cry/order take out/watch movies. It’s nice to have a set date and time where, if I need help on anything or just a nice break, I can push through until that Thursday night check-in. Having a strong supportive friend group or just a few friends really helps you find a balance because they care about you but also push you to do well. My friends will start planning a night out by saying “We can go out if we finish ___ assignment by Friday.” This has really helped us stay on top of our academics but also go out and have a fun college experience.
So, how hard is Pomona? Hard enough to test you, but with friends and support, you’ll get through it just fine.