By Hayeon Lee ‘23
I remember my first registration time my first year of college, looking through the list of courses on the Pomona portal. I wanted to double major and knew one of my majors would be English. As my sponsor group and I sat in the computer lab searching through the courses, I found myself running across courses from other Claremont Colleges.
How would I even make my way over to another campus when I barely know my own campus? None of my other friends will be there. I might feel lonely. I must take extra steps to confirm that these courses fulfill my major requirement. These were some of thoughts that ran through my head, as I dismissed classes at the other Claremont Colleges. Although one of the major advertised benefits of attending the 5Cs is getting to register for courses outside of one’s college, I felt nervous about taking a course at another campus. I registered for only Pomona College courses and continued to do so through my sophomore year.
However, last year, I decided that I would experiment and try out courses at other Claremont Colleges. I felt comfortable at my campus and found myself finding more courses I was interested in across campus. I knew I had to overcome the fear of “feeling out of place” and not seeing familiar faces. Registering for courses outside Pomona College was one of my best decisions during my junior year! Now, some of my favorite classes are not at Pomona AND they fulfill my major requirements. Here are three courses that I particularly enjoyed, and hopefully my experience gets you to register for non-home-college courses as well.
(Quickly, before I dive into my recommendations, I would like to preface by saying that I am an English and Politics major. I love writing and reading, so I tend not to mind the heavy writing and reading course loads. Consider this when reading my suggestions and a reminder that this is just my experience and my opinion!)
Scripps: POLI118: Korean/Korean Americans (Professor Thomas Kim)
This course was a life-changing course for me. As a Korean American, although I speak Korean fluently, I had only learned about Korea and Korean history through the context of U.S. foreign diplomacy. However, Professor Kim pushed us to think critically about how the United States portrays Korea. The class dynamic was also immaculate and discussion based, while the readings were always engaging. The projects allow creative freedom and encourage one to interact with the subject in their own way. The final project is a class group project where the group plans and organizes a Korean Culture Night. Overall, I learned so much about my personal history, and, whether you are Korean or not, I highly recommend this class.
CMC: LIT038: Fiction Writing (Professor Corinna Vallianatos)
This is a workshop course where you write your own short stories and share your pieces with the class. As it is a workshop course, you are assigned a date when your short story is the main piece the class discusses and gives feedback on. Although this may sound intimidating, this course is very beginner friendly, as Professor Vallianatos thoroughly walks through tips and steps on writing fiction short stories. The workshop environment is very friendly, and everyone is in it together. I highly recommend this course if you are interested in writing or are looking to fulfill an area requirement!
Harvey Mudd: CS05: Introduction to Computer Science (Professor Zachary Dodds)
I am currently taking this course as a senior. I have no computer science background. I am a humanities student, and usually anything involving numbers makes me sweat and feel a little nauseous. However, Professor Dodds teaches this course with such enthusiasm and passion that I feel included and follow the subject regardless of my fear and non-STEM background. This is a lecture-based course where there are around 160 students. However, I enjoy this lecture-based style and find it a refreshing break from discussion-based courses. I also found myself really enjoying and looking forward to each class. I recommend this course if you are interested in learning more about coding!
If you are an underclassman and slightly nervous about applying to other 5C courses, I highly recommend you just register! Currently, most of my Fall 2022 semester courses are not Pomona College courses, and I enjoy all of them. However, here are some important reminders.
- If you are registering for specific major requirements, make sure to check with the respective department head about whether or not that course fulfills Pomona’s major requirements.
- If the course you are registering for is labeled a ‘__ college specific course’ or ‘freshman only,’ still reach out and email the professor to see if there is room in the class. Often, the professor will allow some leniency in registering for the course if you have a valid reason for taking it.
- Lastly, do not be discouraged if professors ghost your PERM emails or if you do not get that specific course you are aiming for. (PERMS are what you would submit on your Pomona portal when a class is full or if the professor requires an explanation to register for the course. In addition to the PERM you submit in the portal, you can send a PERM email to your professor further explaining why the class is important to your studies.) There are many opportunities to try other courses, and you can always send another PERM the following semester or next year!
Good luck this fall semester, and early good luck with registering for courses in the spring!