How I Made My College Decision Without Visiting Pomona

By Chris Meng ’23

Getting a phone call telling me that I was admitted off the Pomona waitlist was incredibly exciting. The downside: I had just one week to make my decision, and I would not have the opportunity to visit campus in that week. Let me lay out my rough recollection of my actions that fateful week in mid-May in hopes that they will be helpful to you.

  1. Celebrate excitedly! Wait 30 minutes to calm down before breaking the news to family and friends. Smile like a fool because you can’t believe it.
  2. Email Pomona admissions to chat with student(s). Shoutout to Geraldine for being my first interaction with a Pomona student! I didn’t know this at the time, but any of the tour guides and student interns would be happy to chat with you. It’s a busy time in the semester for us, so don’t be afraid to follow up if we do not respond within a few days.
  3. Reach out to my Carleton connections. I was actually considering joining the varsity swim team of the first college I committed to, so I emailed the coach who I had been in contact with. He proceeded to put me in touch with a student on the team, and we had a wonderful (and quite extensive) email exchange about Carleton student life, the swim team, and my college decision. My advice? Connect with students at other colleges you are considering who share your interests!
  4. Talk to your support system. I like to spill everything on my mind to my friends from home, people who know me well. While they may not make a decision for you, your support system will be a helpful and reassuring sounding board if you feel stuck in a mire of indecision. (It’s possible that I’m projecting my extreme indecisiveness here.)
  5. illustration of Cecil the Sagehen questioningSit and think about how (im)possible it all feels. O.o. It may not feel like it in the moment, but a decision is possible. Your future is at your fingertips! I kept telling myself that I was incredibly fortunate to be caught between two amazing choices, and the fact that I was indecisive was a sign that both places would probably be good for me. There was also some detailed list-making comparing Pomona and Carleton during this time.
  6. Have a few final conversations! I remember Geraldine connected me with Eric, another tour guide who is also a Pomona senior right now. He had to make a similar college decision as mine, and he was the last, supportive push that I needed to make the final choice…
  7. Wait until the last minute to make the decision. Well, I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you don’t have to. Later that evening, after I called Eric, I officially committed to Pomona just a few hours before my deadline. Whew. What an adventure. I’m grateful to all the people who helped me along the way.
  8. Let people know, wonder what could have been, and move forward. In my case, since I had previously committed to Carleton, I let the people who I had been in contact with there know that I had decided to go somewhere else. Sometimes, I still think about an alternate universe where I would be in snowy Minnesota instead of sunny California. At the end of the day, there are going to be pros and cons with any decision, but don’t let regret stop you from going forth and prospering!

illustration of Cecil the Sagehen with a Pomona parachuteWith no campus tour or official virtual events available to me and with no one in my high school having gone to Pomona before, I still felt good about my decision that Pomona was the place where I wanted to be for the next four years. If there’s one takeaway from all of this, it’s to talk to current students! When I was a high school senior, I felt like I shouldn’t waste their time with my concerns, but, at least at Pomona, students are usually happy to discuss their experiences. On that note, I will end by giving my email: Feel free to reach out, and I’m happy to support you all in any way that I can. Best of luck with your college decisions. Chirp chirp!