I've searched the forums and this exact topic has come up about 5 times. So it may feel like overkill, but I think I need some specific advice.
I'm torn between transferring to Brown or Pomona. I'm currently a student at American University. My reasons for transferring are:
- The school just wasn't very intellectual. I thought I would appreciate how liberal the school was, but it just seemed sort of fake—that whole activism as a brand sort of thing. There seemed to be very little critical thought of the sort I was interested in
- I want to study philosophy. The philosophy department is fairly small and it's treated almost exclusively as a second major, and it's usually a second major for fairly practical minded students, i.e. poli sci, or international studies and I found that the classroom discussion wasn't very focused. If anyone is deeply familiar with the philosophy departments, my interests are mostly in continental philosophy—Existentialism, German Idealism, Psychoanalysis, Post-structuralism, Deconstructionism. If you could discuss the department's focus one way or another, that would really help. Thanks!
- I want to study computer science. The department basically doesn't exist. Nothing else really to say.
Having decided that, here's where I am:
I have a lot of different interests and talents.
- I'm a (kitchen-sink) musician, though I have little formal training, I've taught myself to play about 7 or 8 instruments well.
- I'm a web developer/designer. I've been doing this since fifth grade and have built up quite a knowledgebase: PHP, Ruby on Rails, CSS, XHTML, etc. I also really enjoy graphic design. I can probably identify any typeface you throw at me.
- I go from interest to interest often
These things lead me to lean towards Brown right now. The open curriculum seems to encourage this sort of taking-random-classes-for-interest mentality, though it's not like Pomona's gen-ed requirements are tough at all. I would imagine I've met all of them, save maybe one or two courses.
I like the prospect of taking graphic design and user interface classes at RISD, any comparison from Pomona?
I live in Pennsylvania and attending Brown would be more convenient.
My only hesitations are from:
- I absolutely hate the cold/snow. What could be more appealing than the California sun.
- I think I may be overestimating the intellectualism of Brown. Pomona seems to be a little more genuine. Can someone weigh in on this?
- I've heard great things about dorm life, food, etc. at Pomona.
- Am I right to assume that Computer Science and Philosophy will be about the same at either school?
- The city is really important to me. I really enjoy independent music, and being in DC afforded me the opportunity to see around 15-20 concerts a semester. What's travel like to Boston from Brown or LA from Pomona? Is there transportation that runs through the night?
- I want to be able to take music classes and lessons. At American, I had a music minor because it was required to be able to enroll in lessons and the requirements weren't that hard (about 6 or 7 classes). Is this possible while double majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy? And if not, will I at least have access to take lessons?
I don't want to feel like I'm not giving Pomona a fair chance. And I can't help but feel like I'm giving Brown a little too much credit. I don't want this to come down to choosing Brown for name recognition or prestige. I think that's where my doubt comes from.
Thanks in advance for your input!
Last edited by el guincho; 05-16-2008 at 05:54 PM.
I'm in a very similar position to you, except between U.C. Berkeley and Claremont McKenna. The situation is similar in that I'm debating between a big name brand school and a small liberal arts college without the same brand power. Of course, most people are pushing you for Brown even if they haven't looked into it.
I've asked so many people, Berkeley or Claremont? And most of them say Berkeley because of the brand. However, my parents have been telling me to visit both schools and hang out with the students. See what *fits* the best, and then make an intuitive decision then.
I decided to send deposits to both schools and make my decision later. I think you need to give Pomona more of a chance, because it's truly an amazing school. My transfer friends at Brown aren't particularly happy with it -- friends are made in the first year, which means that transfer students have a more difficult time making their own. Weather is a bummer and professors often have snobby attitudes. (all of this coming from a close friend of mine who transferred to Brown as a junior) -- she had the chance to go to a small liberal arts college, but turned it down in favor of the powerful brand name. Just be warned...
So my personal advice? Look at both schools objectively. Brand name DOES matter to some extent, but what are you looking for most in a school? Job prospects, education, student life? Visit both schools, think about it some more, and the decision will come. You'll know when you know
i'm transferring from wellesley college to pomona. pomona does have a fantastic reputation and is such a great school. the students there are so friendly and its just an amazing place. i've been to brown and although it is nice, you just dont get that same feeling. however, it depends on what kind of college experience you are looking for. but i just have to say that i prefer a small liberal arts college to a big university any day. the professors at lacs are so helpful and class discussions are great.
When I used to live there(and actually,last month when I was visiting I saw the Breeders play)and saw a lot of amazing shows there.
LA is about 30 minutes west of pomona,but the transportation kind of sucks.I once tried taking the bus there to see sonic youth/wolf eyes and ended up at the brea mall because the bus had stopped that route a few weeks before,but the lady i talked to from the metro office said otherwise when i was trying to figure out which buses to take.
i don't know anything about the school,but i love LA and i like pomona.
I've taken classes at both, and FWIW, Pomona seems to be a lot more intellectual.
As for the weather, the best way to explain is by example:
When I visited Brown in mid-april, it was like a high 50's/low 60's day, with partial cloud coverage, but the sun was getting through. Students were out on the quad in their bathing suits, going crazy because it was among the first GREAT weather days of the year.
A week later I was at Pomona, it was mid-seventies, not a cloud anywhere in sight, and students were just going about their lives...the response when I asked; "It's like this every day." (and it is)
I go to Pomona now, and it's really hard not to feel great about the day when you look out the window each morning. Also, compsci at Pomona just got completely upgraded; new building, new terminals, really cool labs, all sorts of stuff.
I suggest you visit Pomona, and check it out. As for music, Pomona will pay for you to take private lessons in their music department, should you want to advance your skills to the next level.
this might be too late. but i just graduated from pomona and it was the best decision i ever made. coming out of hs i was looking at UCLA and Berkeley and the idea of being able to learn closely from professors impressed me more than having a nobel laureate in my class. after all, nobel laureates aren't all that interested in teaching lowly undergrads. most of my peers who are CA residents also got into UCLA and Berkeley, so that shows you they too made a choice to go the small liberal arts path.
in terms of education, the experience is second to none. you have to participate in classes and really learn the material. and you get to do it all under the california sun. the consortium is great too bc each college is really strong in certain areas (claremont mckenna and finance, for ex) and you can take classes there.
yes suburbia's not that great. but the people are really warm and friendly. i think that's a lot tougher at a big school. and you won't get ivy league blue blood snobbery.
My daughter was accepted at Pomona last year, but ended up at Carleton. (For curious reasons.) I grew up two miles from Pomona and I know full well the reputation it has for superb academics--the Ivy of the West, as I've heard the Claremont Colleges called. For any student, graduate, or potential transfer to Pomona, you can't do better!
It's nice to read these posts. I'm going to Pomona this fall as a transfer. I had applied to Brown both as a hs senior and to transfer and was rejected both times... I think I had really put Brown on a pedestal and had always really wanted to go there, but Pomona is such a great school that even if I had been accepted to Brown I might've chosen Pomona anyway.
MNKeeper--My daughter was rejected by Brown last year and (as I noted in #9) accepted by Pomona, which I think had something like an 18% acceptance rate for the current freshman class. I was jumping up and down, hoping and praying she'd at least consider Pomona, but Carleton had already managed to capture my Kentucky girl's heart. ... I notice you're from Minnesota. You're going to LOVE the Southern California winters! Good luck to you.
i am a current Claremont College student but I am not happy with the current institution I am at. I really want to transfer to Pomona but I was trying to "stick out" my first year and make the best of it. I served on Student Senate, student-faculty committees, etc. and was basically trying to give it a chance. However, as a result I missed the transfer deadline. I wanted to know if anyone had any advice on what to do. I do not want to have to go back and am actually quite dreading it. I know it is asserted that the Claremont Colleges are a consortium with shared resources, it is important that a student be pleased with his or her current institution. Therefore, I am looking to transfer. Anyone who transferred, knows about admissions' processes, etc., have any advice for me?
BangraGirl, why bother transferring within the consortium? If you're dreading returning to Claremont, a Pomona transfer probably wouldn't make you much happier. Beyond just shared academic resources, you can basically do everything that a Pomona student can (save for use Rains; but with access to Scripps' gym, who would ever want to?). You can enroll in Pomona classes for up to half of your courses, and not just per semester, but of the total number of courses you take for your degree. If its the campus environment you don't like, find a Pomona student to trade housing with you and you can live on Pomona's campus (I had Pomona friends living at Pitzer and CMC last year who loved it).