By Deanna Han ’23
October 30th, 2018
I took a deep breath and submitted my application. There was nothing else I could do; all that was left was the wait. With one click of a button, I had sealed my future — but I didn’t know that then. In 45 days, my whole world would change.
December 14th, 2018
I rub the sleep out of my eyes and yawn. My heart starts pounding as I log into the Pomona application portal. My parents are anxiously peering over my shoulder.
“New updates to your application were posted December 14, 2018.”
My hands are shaking as I slowly move the cursor. One more exhale. I close my eyes tightly before clicking it.
My fate is sealed: I’m a part of Pomona’s Class of 2023.
But why Pomona? And why Early Decision?
I knew that I wanted to go to a liberal arts college. Pomona had just stood out to me in ways that all the other liberal arts colleges didn’t.
To fully answer this question, I have to go back in time to my first ever real college visit. (I’m emphasizing real because when I was in 8th grade, I was forced to go on college tours around Chicago just because my brother (who lived in Chicago) was working, and my parents couldn’t find anything better to do).
July 10th, 2017
From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was hooked. The beautiful California weather, the number of trees on campus, and the overwhelming sense of belonging hit me. I know I was lucky. Before starting the college process, I never thought it would be possible to actually have “that feeling”. I just thought it was something that people noticed only after they started their college life.
Even after I visited so many other colleges, I never felt that feeling again. Every other college felt wrong, like it wasn’t for me. My gut told me that Pomona was where I was meant to be.
Throughout my junior year and my senior year of high school, people would ask “oh, where are you applying to?” My first answer was always “Pomona College.”
1) Knowing my professors
I never wanted to be “that girl who sits in the third row with an iced coffee.” I wanted to connect with my professors. This would not come as easily if I went to a school larger than a liberal arts college. Some of my friends at large public universities have never even had a conversation with a professor. Most of their intro courses are taught by TAs.
At Pomona, I see my professors everywhere: waiting in line for omelets at the dining hall, frowning at the printer in their departments, walking to class, getting a coffee at the cafe. Because I see them at common places, they just seem like normal people to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a little terrified to talk to some of them since they’re all just so smart.
Pomona professors will get meals with their students, or even invite students to dinner at their houses as a way to get to know the members of their classes. You won’t find this with your typical university 200-person intro course.
2) Small class sizes
I’ve never been able to learn well when there are too many people around. At Pomona, all my courses have been small and personal. My first-year classes were really small, my smallest one being 9 people and my largest one 28 people. These were just the departmental intro courses, too.
Once the intro courses start turning into discussion and seminar courses, the number of people in these courses diminish to only 12 people per class where you just sit around a table and talk about readings. This is a type of intimacy that I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else than a liberal arts college.
3) Ability to choose your path
When I applied to Pomona, I wasn’t applying to get into a program or a certain department. I never thought, “oh no, I can’t apply as this major because it’s too popular.” I went into Pomona with no idea what I wanted to study. Maybe I’d dabble in computer science, physics, history, or politics. Who knew? Definitely not me. But this is precisely why I chose to study at Pomona.
Along with the breadth of area courses we are required to take as a way to expand our knowledge base, I have so many chances to explore courses in any department. My first semester, I tried out cognitive science along with computer science through two courses that I had never imagined I’d take while in high school.
There’s no set path — and that’s amazing. I’ve never worried about not being able to fully explore the courses I wanted. The only problem is that there are way too many interesting courses to take and just not enough time to take them all during my four years at Pomona.
July 21st, 2020
Being at Pomona has brought me so much happiness. Even though I thought I had researched Pomona thoroughly before applying, I have learned so much more about Pomona every day as a student. All the small traditions just make life at Pomona a little better: fountaining, 47, Cecil, etc.
Applying Early Decision sealed the deal for me. From the moment I submitted my application to now, after finishing my first year at Pomona, I can say I’ve made the best decision of my life.
A Sagehen for Life