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Pomona vs. Williams

indecisivesnrindecisivesnr 1 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
I am a senior who has been admitted to both Pomona and Williams and has visited both. I feel so lucky to have such a great decision but am incredibly indecisive.

Both seem amazing. I visited classes at both, but the students at Williams seemed a bit more engaged in class discussion than those at Pomona. I only visited one class at Pomona, so I don't know if I am making a fair judgement or not.

Overall, I liked Pomona's laid back vibe, location, and weather. Williams was pretty great too, though. I like the idea of having four seasons, especially a New England fall. I also thought the students at Williams were a bit preppier (which is a negative), but again, I am not sure if my impressions were correct. I also loved the Williams campus with its beautiful library and student center. I also have a few questions about the consortium at Pomona: does having so many other kids make it harder to get to know professors? Are all students at the other schools equally as engaged as those at Pomona?

I know that there are old threads on this topic, but it doesn't seem like there has been one done in a while.

Thank you for any help.
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Replies to: Pomona vs. Williams

  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Regarding engagement at the 5Cs, each school has it’s own vibe. My kid was a Mudder - they are VERY academically engaged. My kid took classes at all the other 5Cs, and didn’t have any complaints about student engagement at any of them. The time at each can be a little different. She really liked having the broad course selection available. I don’t think the 5Cs make it harder for Pomona students to get the attention of professors - they have teaching loads that are reasonable so they have time for their students.

    You have 2 great choices, you really can’t go wrong.
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  • yucca10yucca10 1261 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are you an outdoor person? If you're not excited at the thought that your main off-campus pursuits would be hiking and skiing, I'd choose Pomona.
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  • katliamomkatliamom 12812 replies167 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you really like both schools equally and can afford travel, why not go to the one that's farther from home? It's a great way to discover a different part of the country. Which these certainly are.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2153 replies101 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    Two fantastic choices! Their academic and small-college community strengths, and the opportunities afterwards, all will be quite similar. You can’t go wrong. Since you visited both, you can just pick the one where you picture yourself more.

    Just to answer two of your questions about Williams:

    In terms of location concerns: There is so much happening on a college campus that it is hard to imagine ever being bored. Campuses that are not situated in a city tend to bring the action to the campus, with student performances, lectures, sporting events, trivia nights, special events, and outside speakers and performers. And kids make their own fun, too. That said, someone craving the hustle and bustle of a big city surrounded by lots of strangers will not find that in Williamstown, a small mountain village!
    For sure, Pomona will have warmer, more pleasant weather year-round... but no autumn leaves or snowball fights!

    You visited both, so trust your own impressions. But from my perspective at least, every time we visit Williams, which my son attends, I don’t think “preppy,” I think “nerdy”! In terms of clothes- casual stuff: sweatshirts and jeans, or T-shirts and shorts. In terms of backgrounds, incredible diversity. Son has friends of all different races and ranging in wealth from having a single parent in poverty to being quite wealthy. The only common denominators are brilliance, quirky academic interests/ an enjoyment of discussing ideas, and an ambitious work ethic.

    The freshman “entry” dorm system and two week freshman orientation, including an Ephventure group that goes on adventures together and a campus-wide book discussion among other things, is one of the best things about Williams. It is easy to find friends.

    I would guess that the consortium would be a key advantage of Pomona, along with the lovely weather.

    Try imagining yourself choosing each college and turning down the other. Which do you feel sadder saying goodbye to? Pick that one. It is the one you most want to attend!

    Good luck!
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  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard 2114 replies20 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Both great schools --

    Assuming that neither cost of attendance nor travel time/costs are a factor for you (a rather large assumption), some of the differences to keep in mind are:

    1) Williams has Oxford-style tutorials (2 on 1 student to professor)

    Pomona has the consortium.

    2) Pomona has nicer weather (but not seasons), nearby hiking and easy access to Los Angeles with all that a big city offers culturally. You are never much more than an hour or two from beach, high desert, mountains, city, snow in winter. Skiing is doable in winter, but it's not New England.

    Williams is colder, more remote, and more isolated. It is beautiful in fall, which gives way to a long, cold, and snowy winter; it is far from any cities of worth (I'm not counting Albany, which is hardly a cultural Mecca) and even further from an ocean.

    3) Williams has a more sports-centered culture, a more east coast prep school vibe, a self-contained culture, and EC activities unique to itself.

    Pomona has a more laid back, California feel and benefits from the other schools' cultures and extra-curricular activities.

    4) Access to and interaction with faculty (apart from the tutorials), should be similar as should students' intellectual engagement.

    I would not base your decision on one class. Can you spend any more time at either or both schools? Did you do any overnights?


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  • PublisherPublisher 8073 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Williams College & Pomona College should allow their students to be visiting students for a year / have an exchange program because it seems too hard to pass up either opportunity.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 1894 replies70 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I like that exchange program idea between W and P... @Publisher
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  • indecisivesnrindecisivesnr 1 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Williams is slightly cheaper, but both are affordable for my family.

    I’m a west coast kid, so I definitely have an easier time seeing myself adjusting well to Pomona. However, I can’t feel like I’m missing out on something by not going to Williams.

    I guess I will give it a few days to sink in because I just visited both schools recently.

    Thanks for your advice.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Williams.
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 157 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    What do you want to study and what do you think your career path might look like? Both of the schools have excellent academics in general but they will exceed each other in certain departments and in certain career fields, which might play a part in your decision.
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  • SienaRoseSienaRose 78 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm biased since I go to Pomona but I have to say the consortium is amazing! Class sizes are still super small so professors at all the colleges will know you personally and care about your success. My discussion based classes are incredibly engaging and you can talk as much as you feel comfortable. The weather is perfect and I could never see myself going somewhere with such a long winter. Pomona has everything you need within an hour, the city, the mountains, skiing, the desert, hiking, lakes! Claremont is the cutest town and I love all the resources the consortium provides while still having the small school atmosphere.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1508 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with @katliamom. If living that far away from home won't bother you, and there are no particular programs in which you are interested in that only Pomona has, I think that you should go to Williams. It is a very different vibe than the one in which you grew up, and one which you will likely not have the opportunity to experience in this type of setting again. If you were from the East Coast, my recommendation would have been Pomona, for the same reasons.

    PS. Pomona is an amazing place, and my kid fell in love with it after her visit (though she went with a different love at the end), so if you decide on Pomona, you will have an amazing experience as well.
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  • HPTD12HPTD12 85 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @indecisivesnr what did you decide?
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