Pomona College Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


All stereotypes have some element of truth, but this one was created mostly by our rival CMC. No one I know would be described by these adjectives when outside of the 5Cs.


Pomona students are definitely rich, and on the whole uncomfortably so for anyone that doesn't come from a similar background. They're also very smart and on the whole easily successful. There is very little pretentiousness, even though that seems to be the most common and popular stereotype.


In terms of trying to be an East coast institution, I have only seen Pomona do it with it's wasteful use of water as it tries to create East coast plant-life in a desert climate. I have met a number of students who are arrogant but no more than I think I would find in the average school. I really disagree with anyone who says Pomona is full of rich kids. Most of the people on my hall this year said they could only go to Pomona (or that one of the main reasons they went to Pomona) was because of the money financial aid provided them.


No, not altogether. Pomona students are certainly high-achieving academically, but they understand that knowledge comes in different forms and are prepared to learn from a variety of people.


Yes, I would say we do think we are better than the other 5C's overall, though HMC and CMC excell in their special areas. Besides that, we have a reputation for being smart, but social, though not social as in chotchy, like Middlebury.


I would say so for the first one. Not everybody is full of themselves, to be sure, but the intelligence level is definitely there. There is a confidence that comes along with this intelligence that Pomona students posess. As for the second stereotype, there ARE a ton of private school rich kids with fancy cars, but there is also a good amount of diversity and a lot of financial aid available to needier students, like me.


No... maybe just a little bit.


I don't know--we like our school and each other, but it doesn't mean that we talk shit about everyone else.


I've found that most of the aforementioned stereotypes misrepresent Pomona and its student body. The majority of students are white, but I've actually been remarkably impressed with the level of diversity here--it sets us apart from many of our peer small liberal arts institutions. On my hall alone freshman year there were people from New Jersey, Jamaica, Maine, Kentucky, Singapore, New York, England, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Boston, and Kansas. Even more surprisingly, we got along really well. Pomona does an amazing job of grouping freshmen into Sponsor groups based on their housing form information. The result is that even with the real range of races, hometowns, and lifestyles I encountered in my Sponsor group, there is this underlying thread that connects everyone, even if you can’t articulate what makes you compatible. Sponsor groups are one of the many ways Pomona does an excellent job of helping students acclimate to life at Pomona. They unite diverse people into what is really like a little family. Pomona students do tend to lean towards the left politically, especially on social issues, but not radically. Though many students are passionate about specific issues such as worker’s rights and environmental sustainability, they are not particularly partisan. Most of my friends are moderate particularly, and I feel perfectly comfortable as a Republican. The idea that everyone at Pomona is rich is simply untrue. Admission to Pomona is need-blind, and Pomona offers some of the best financial aid in the country. Furthermore, it’s really hard to tell how much money a student here has from just meeting them. Some of my friends have very little money, and some of them have a lot, and I can't tell the difference between them. Even more importantly, if someone’s financial status is known, no one judges them for it. There are schools in the world where you ARE what you wear—you need to have the latest expensive shoes and sunglasses. This couldn’t be further from the reality here at Pomona, where my boyfriend goes to class in pajama pants, and I’ve never once felt pressure to look a certain way. Pomona is one of the most accepting, tolerant environments I know. People are so genuinely interested in getting to know you—who you actually are. There isn’t any of that superficial bullshit keeping some people on pedestals above the rest. It isn't fair to call Pomona elitist either. When I tell people where I go to school, half of them gasp and are impressed, and half of them say "Where's Ponoma?" Pomona has the advantage of being a school that people don't go to just for the name. It isn't full of snotty people who were obsessed with rankings during the application process. Pomona students come here because they love Pomona. Pomona also has the advantage of being a name that the important people--the ones who accept us to the grad school or hire us for their jobs--do know (check out our grad school acceptance rate, which literally rivals the Ivies'). That's why Pomona is such a pleasant place to be for college, and such an exceptional stepping stone for future education or employment. As far as the claim about us all focusing on work too much, there is some truth to that, but we all know how to have a good time. The beauty of Pomona is that people are very intelligent, but not in the brainy, book-smart, stereotypical sense. It’s considered cool to be passionate about your studies here, but it’s more important to be well-rounded, and explore other opportunities as well. You’ll find kids here with interests that cross the board—both academic and non-academic. There’s a really good balance of people who spend most of their time studying, and people who get trashed every night (and everything in between). If you come here, you will find people just like you—no matter what your habits are. Sometimes I need to stay in on a weekend to do some work, and though some of my friends will t


To some extent. There is a lot of pride accompanied with going to Pomona, but I wouldn't go as far as arrogant. As far as the happiness stereotype, well... a lot of people are happy, but there's also a lot of frustration for a significant population.


Some of the stereotypes are true: It does seem that a lot of students come from comfortable or well-off backgrounds, despite the amount of financial aid we give. A fair amount of the population came come off (or truly is) pompous and pretentious, but overall it's really because we worked to get in here, we work to stay here and we're proud of it (not to mention we have to deal with a lot of heat from the other sister schools.)


to some extent


While it's true that some Pomona students ended up at Pomona because they were rejected from a more prestigious school, there are also a fair amount who rejected the Ivy League to come here, as well as a ton of people who applied E.D because they know Pomona was the perfect place for them. I've never met anyone here who is bitter in any way: in my experience, Pomona students love their school and take their academics seriously because the professors are so engaging, not because they're out to prove something. Professors at Pomona will bend over backwards to hook their students up with internships and summer jobs; PCIP (the Pomona College Internship Program) is a great way of getting practical experience as an undergraduate. It's true that Econ majors find it a lot easier to get a great job straight out of college than say Philosophy majors, but I think that's true of any school. Pomona alumni and professors are very well connected, if you're motivated enough, Pomona can get you valuable experience in the professional world. I'd have to agree with the last stereotype-- Pomona students don't care about appearances, a lot of them felt much less accepted in high school than they do at Pomona. But it's great because most Pomona students are just unabashedly themselves, all are interesting people. And again, this is a generalization, there's a wide variety of students here, it would be hard to label any of us.


Yes, we are awesome. No, we're not pretentious. The southern Californian environment effects everyone-- it's hard to be in a bad mood when it's sunny and 77 degrees. People are really friendly, and the community is welcoming and enthusiastic about everything from sun-tanning to chemistry research.




It definitely can be. Mostly, however, the stereotype is just made up by the jealous cmc-ers.


I think so. I think there is a sustained dialogue about this privilege on campus, but it is among students who sometimes come from extremely wealthy backgrounds. But it is a very comfortable school, where there is a very comforting environment. I don't think I would want that to change.


While I think it's true that many students are self-righteous, I sometimes don't think the majority of the student body is political ENOUGH. While walking around campus, you can hear all sorts of racially, sexually, socioeconomically prejudiced or insensitive things. However, most of us aren't snobby or elitist, but regular goofballs with senses of humor and quirky talents and interests.


Not at all. Everyone here is smart but not to the extent that we think we're better than anyone else. People here are competitive with themselves and not interested in comparisons to others. This goes for all academic endeavors (grades), extracurricular involvement (how many clubs you are a part of/ what positions you hold/ what you do). Mostly, people are pretty modest and do things out of genuine interest.


See above.


I have found that most Pomona students are actually quite humble, and it is most likely that this stereotype comes from Pomona's higher standing in the college rankings.




Like any stereotype, it starts from examples. There are surely people that are caught up in US News rankings but for the most part I think that Pomona students are rather open to the other 5 C's but are labeled as being an introverted campus. I do agree with the stereotype that we are a book smart but not street smart group of people.




Everyone here has some hidden or not so hidden nerdy quirk, and a lot of people drink. But there are large groups who don't.


No. What I love about Pomona students is their grounded, easy-going nature. Sure, when we're losing to another school in sports we'll say, "oh well, we're smarter anyhow," but seriously now: is that really unusual? But what I want to reiterate is that by enrolling at Pomona, students self-select an environment rooted in hi-fives, flip-flops, inner nerd-dom, outer party-goer, and academic excellence--not competition or holier-than-thou attitudes.


To an extent, the school is indeed very liberal, but this is not necessarily negative. I would say that the conceded intelligence matter is somewhat true but only because most people here are confident hard working and intelligent.


There are some Pomona students that are arrogant and elitist, but the majority of people at Pomona are really nice, down to earth people. There aren't more pretentious students at Pomona than there are at other top liberal arts colleges.


Yes, pretty much! Kids know they're smart and like to engage in academic debates. When I first came to Pomona, I was intimidated by how smart everyone seemed, but soon I realized that everyone was just trying to show off how witty and interesting they were. Once that behavior calmed down, you could really tell that people were genuinely interested in talking about things and were really smart, but also pretty down-to-earth.


The first one is a half truth in that we think we have better academics and the Pomona is more difficult to get into than the other 5C's. On the other hand, the stereotype makes it seem like we think we are better than everyone else and inherently snobby, which is not the case. We know we are smart well-rounded people but most of us know when we are being ridiculous. The second stereotype is pretty true.


No, some Pomona students may be elitist, but it's not accurate for the student body on the whole.


we definitely have school pride, but i would not say students here think we are "better" than others any more than students at other schools do. also, pomona students are very accepting and genuinely interested in others for the most part. almost anyone can fit in here.


stereotypes are always based off truths


For the most part definitely not. It's become sort of a joke that I think people play into sometimes but I don't know many people who actually think that way or talk about it. We've scored the highest on some of the ratings but Pomona students are actually pretty laid back and don't really get into petty competition or ranking stuff.


While everyone has goals and definitely tries to be the best at what they do, I think that we know how to just kick it, and have fun when the situation calls for it.


More than anything, I think that that comes from our high academic standards. We really do commit a large amount of time to our work, and take it seriously, so perhaps that can come off in the wrong way in such a laid-back environment as the 5C's sometimes are. I'd say the typical Pomona student has the ability to balance a commitment to their studies and the need to relax and have a good time.