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Brown vs Pomona Undergraduate Biology Major

NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
Hello!

I am currently a high school senior and I was accepted to my two top schools, Pomona college and Brown University, as a Biology major.

I am having a really hard time choosing one and it is giving me a lot of stress.

What I really want in a college is small class sizes, getting to know the professors personally, good food and dorms, and good student life outside of academics (I love shopping and exploring). I also really want to research as an undergraduate student.

I really love Pomona and it is my first choice since 9th grade. I love the open curriculum and laid back vibe. I also heard that they have good food and nice dorms. I met many students from Pomona and they were very friendly. I received aid but still have to pay around 2,000.
But, I am from California and Pomona is only an hour drive away from my house. I am afraid it will be too close. A another worry is the name value. I know it is not a really good reason to be afraid, but not many people know Pomona College and how amazing it is.

I loved that Brown is also open curriculum and laid back. I also love that it is in the city. I received a huge amount of aid from Brown and I have xtra money to spend on whatever I want.
But I have never visited the campus. I am not sure how good the dorms are or the food. I watched several videos on YouTube about Brown but I really want more honest opinions.

My goal is to go to Columbia, Yale, or Harvard as a graduate student and I am not sure if Pomona or Brown will have any difference in letting me achieve that goal.

Could any current students or alumni of Brown or Pomona tell me about their experience?
edited 12:23PM
20 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj at
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Replies to: Brown vs Pomona Undergraduate Biology Major

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83391 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Pomona is not "open curriculum", since it has significant general education breadth requirements.
    http://catalog.pomona.edu/content.php?catoid=33&navoid=6638#General_Education_Requirements
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  • MWolfMWolf 2580 replies14 threads Senior Member
    In general, if you want to go to grad school, especially for a PhD, liberal arts colleges are the best path. The two most important factors in being accepted to a PhD program are letters of recommendation and research experience. The more personal connections at LACs result in better LoR's, while LACs focus on research with undergraduates. Whereas in most research universities, undergrads are generally relegated to lab tech works (at best), LACs allow and encourage students to establish their own research projects in the labs. Moreover, in research universities, undergraduates are competing with graduate students for the time and attention of the PI. Most undergraduates who work in labs at research universities interact mostly with grad students, or a postdoc, if they are lucky.

    Although Brown is an excellent school, I think that, if you are looking to go to non-professional grad school, Pomona is the better choice.
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @MWolf
    Thank you for your very detailed response! I am waiting on the approval from my parent, but I have chosen Pomona now!
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 9
    @ucbalumnus
    Thank you for correcting me. It seems I was a little confused.
    edited April 9
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  • WaClToWaClTo 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I just want to know Brown is better choice than Pomona if I am looking to go to professional grad school?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83391 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited April 9
    WaClTo wrote: »
    I just want to know Brown is better choice than Pomona if I am looking to go to professional grad school?

    Brown's lack of general education requirements (other than writing) can allow GPA-focused students to avoid taking courses in areas that they may have difficulty earning A grade in.
    edited April 9
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2968 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Both will be fine for grad school, but honestly this is really a tough one because I'd go with Pomona if you're worried about the perception that Brown may not be considered rigorous because of their grading policies. But if your goal is grad school at an ivy, Brown may be the better choice.
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 11
    @theloniusmonk
    Could you explain to me a little more why Brown may be a better choice if I want to go to an Ivy for grad school?
    edited April 11
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I am not 100% sure what I want to do after college, but I am interested in research.
    So far I want to do research on diseases, but that may change as I learn more about Biology.
    I am not interested in becoming a doctor.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2968 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I think a lot of ivy grad schools take a lot of undergrads from ivies, but not sure if there's going to be a big difference between Brown and Pomona, given I think that Pomona may be higher regarded in the sciences.
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  • giantoctopusgiantoctopus 155 replies63 threads Junior Member
    My son is having the same dilemma. Loves the small class size of Pomona but it's hard to give up the dynamic programs and reputation of Brown
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @giantoctopus
    Hello!
    I know only a couple of days has passed since the last comment, but was your son able to decide on which he wanted to attend?
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  • giantoctopusgiantoctopus 155 replies63 threads Junior Member
    He is still having a really hard time.
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  • giantoctopusgiantoctopus 155 replies63 threads Junior Member
    Have you decided? If so how did you decide and why?
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2968 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Well Brown has a better reputation because OP wants to attend an ivy for grad, if OP said I wanted to attend Stanford, Cal Tech or Berkeley for grad school, then I would've highly recommended Pomona.
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @giantoctopus

    Well, I was leaning more towards Pomona.

    I am in both the Pomona and Brown admitted students group chat on WhatsApp and GroupMe. I felt a stronger connection with the people from Pomona.

    I have also attended few of the webinars that Pomona offered and really loved it.

    The location of Pomona is perfect to me. DTLA is also not too far and there is easy access to both the mountains and beaches.

    I also like the idea that I could take classes at the 4 other colleges. Pomona is a small school but it would never feel isolated.

    I understand that Pomona is not known as much as Brown, but I am starting to accept that. I want to choose what is best for me, not for others.

    I also love Brown, but I have never been to the campus so I am not sure about it. I am really sad that I am not able to visit Brown because of the pandemic. :(

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  • CaliMexCaliMex 2248 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Whether or not you are admitted to an Ivy for grad school will depend on what and how you do in college, not whether you chose Brown or Pomona ;-)

    Both are great schools with strong reputations in academic circles.

    There is no wrong choice here

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  • otispotisp 409 replies4 threads Member
    CaliMex wrote: »
    Whether or not you are admitted to an Ivy for grad school will depend on what and how you do in college, not whether you chose Brown or Pomona ;-)

    Both are great schools with strong reputations in academic circles.
    Exactly. For instance, I believe there are about a half-dozen members of the Brown faculty who went to Pomona, as did the former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Yale, and the new dean of Wharton at UPenn. People who count know both schools well.
    I want to choose what is best for me, not for others.
    Yep, you can't go wrong either way, but my smarter-than-me sister (who chose a small college over Ivies for her BA, then got her MA at an Ivy) might also add that you can always go to an Ivy for grad school, but you have to be an undergrad to experience a LAC.
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  • NervousSeni0rNervousSeni0r 55 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thank you to everyone who replied and helped me decide which college is best for me.

    I committed to Pomona yesterday! I am very excited!
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2968 replies5 threads Senior Member
    congrats! hope you have a great experience there.
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