By Sonam Rikha ‘24


We’ve all heard the screams, we’ve all watched the reaction videos, and some of us have even screamed those same words ourselves. The college application process is tough: which schools should I apply to? Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation? Can I even afford to go to this school? Though for some, the decision process is even tougher.

You’ve now received offers from multiple colleges–Pomona College being one of them–and may be as indecisive as ever. It’s as if you’re the main character in some rom-com film and Pomona and XYZ college are the romantic leads, swooning for your intellect. Your heart is torn between the two, and you’re yearning for a deeper connection with the “right” school besides what you’ve found on the surface. Well lucky for you, I will be your fairy godmother and provide you with some insight into the beauties of attending the top liberal arts college in the United States: Pomona College.

I’m sure you’ve heard about our high acceptance rate into the nation’s top graduate schools, our small class sizes, the Claremont consortium, or the amazing weather, but today I will be sharing with you some lesser known benefits of attending Pomona.

singer Lucky Daye with microphone
Lucky Daye’s live virtual performance at Nochella

(1) Nochella: Coachella? Never heard of it. Nochella is where it’s at! Nochella is a music festival organized by the Pomona Events Committee and that focuses on providing a platform for artists from a variety of genres who are often ignored or marginalized by mainstream media. Although I haven’t experienced Nochella in person due to the pandemic, I have experienced it virtually. This year’s headliner is four-time Grammy nominated singer songwriter Lucky Daye! To learn more about what an in-person Nochella feels like, check out Toran Langford’s (Pomona‘21) post about their experience.

(2) Uncommon Extracurriculars: While Pomona does have your ordinary array of extracurriculars (like Model United Nations, Mock Trial, club sports, etc), it also has many unique extracurriculars. One example is Pomona’s Judicial Board, which is a student-run and led disciplinary board that acts as a jury for students.

May 2019 clinic trip students at organic farm in Japan(3) Unique Classes: Pomona has many community partnership classes such as “Prison Punishment Redemption,” which explores “ideologies of punishment and redemption in relation to the prison industrial complex.” Six times during the semester, students participate in a writing workshop in the California Institute for Women prison. Pomona also has a class in partnership with the other Claremont Colleges and the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment called Envirolab Asia. Students who are part of Envirolab Asia will not only learn about environmental issues in Asia, but at the end of the course will be able to travel with their professor and classmates to an Asian country to conduct research.

(4) Special Joint Programs: If you’re interested in engineering, Pomona has the 3-2 plan in Engineering with the California Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis. Through the 3-2 plan “qualified students may receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College and a Bachelor of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology or Washington University in St. Louis after a combined five-year program.” Pomona also has the 2-1-1-1 program with Dartmouth where “qualified students may receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Dartmouth College after a combined five-year program.

(5) An Abundance of Grants and Scholarships: Did you know that Pomona College has a special partnership with the University of Cambridge? Pomona’s Downing Scholarship sends two graduating seniors to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge on a full ride scholarship! Pomona also has funds for students to do undergraduate research over the summer through the SURP program as well as funding for students to study a language over the summer through the Oldenborg Grant. Other sources of Pomona funding include the Yidan Endowed Fund for Transformative Learning Opportunities for the Study of AsiaPCIP,  etc.

Of course, these are just some of the many reasons why you should choose Pomona. If you’re still torn and struggling to decide, reach out to a Pomona student to get their unfiltered thoughts about Pomona. Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet some of you prospective Sagehens, but, until then, Chirp Chirp!