Brown vs Pomona! (Help Needed)

I am a former Pitzer College student who is currently deciding between attending Brown University or Pomona College as a transfer student for the remainder of my undergraduate years. As a Claremont College student, I was generally happy, had a great network of friends, close relationships with professors (especially those from Pomona), and enjoyed my first of college tremendously. I was extremely excited to receive the acceptance from Pomona because I really wanted to stay in Claremont.

However, then I got into Brown. The reason I have begin to sway towards Brown is because it has seemingly better departments in the fields I would like to study in: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and English. Moreover, as an East Coast student, Brown seems to offer better opportunities post graduation. For example, I aspire to be a writer for a publication like the New York Times. Finally, Brown has a liberal, vibrant campus culture that seems, on paper, like a place I would really click with and be in my zone at. By contrast, Claremont tends to become a little bit stale in both its party culture and social scene.

But Pomona is safer… I have amazing friends there and would undoubtedly have a great three more years in college. But Brown seems, on paper, like a better place for me. So what do you think I should pick?

Are you able to visit brown? If yes, do so to get a feel of the school. If not, go with your gut. Not the best answer I know but it’s the one that’s always right.

Yes, I was able to stop by. It seemed like a great place, although I still find Pomona’s campus very captivating. I visited twice and was not swayed one way or another by either visit. I’ve been grappling with this question for a month and have agonized of this privileged, but nonetheless tough decision. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Hasn’t the reply date for Brown already passed?

I am currently “enrolled” in both, however I will have to withdraw from one over the next month (and lose my deposit money). So no, I will not need to make an executive decision until August (early).

For future reference, don’t pay two enrollment deposits. It’s unethical. However, if I were you, I would go with Brown. Yeah you would be starting over, but it’s not worth it to stay at a school because of friends. Lots of people don’t even meet who will eventually be their very best friend until later on in college. You can meet that person at Brown. Three years from now, odds are, you would have a different peer group anyway, so why let that hold you back?

Hi CaliCash, first of all, thanks a lot for your input on this. I think you brought up a really good point and it definitely has moved me. Does this mean you think Brown is a marked improvement over Pomona in your view? So much so to warrant the risks associated with a transfer (socially, academically, etc)?

Also a quick note on the enrollment deposits: I should clarify that I am a spring admit for Brown and will not be required to send a deposit (or able to) until winter. So I have only sent in one deposit (to Pomona), yet may withdraw if Brown ultimately seems to be the better choice (a common occurrence, I am told, that is referred to by admission officers as “cold feet”).

Doesn’t sound like this is a big component to your decision, but I would have guessed that the Claremont social scene is more dynamic than Brown’s. I think Brown has a lot more off-campus socializing/partying than Claremont, which can contribute to a more “cliquish” scene. When my Daughter and her friends visited Brown, there were no parties on campus that the hosts knew about, and the administration has gotten pretty strict about underage drinking at on campus parties recently. (from what I’ve read)

You can’t go wrong with this decision, but I doubt that a Pomona degree will disadvantage you over Brown, especially at a place like the NYT. Since you already have social and academic connections at Pomona/Claremont, my recommendation would be to stay there. And our family has a lot of (unrequited) love for Brown; I just think Pomona is an great school also and seems like an easier transition.

But it also sounds like this is your plan. If you eventually decided to go to Brown, would you do Fall semester at Pitzer? It could get a little awkward when you transfer your credits from both Pitzer and Pomona.

Thanks for the response! You’re absolutely right about the party scene; it’s not a huge factor in my decision (if it is a considerable one at all). That being said, Claremont is such an administered bubble that I am cautious of the experience as a whole falling into monotony. But perhaps this is just me falling into the whole “grass is always greener” style of thinking. Both are privileged choices.

On the second point, you may be right, however I question whether or not having close friends/relationships with professors and being in significant positions on campus clubs, is enough to justify picking one school over another. The truth is, since I plan to live on the East Coast after college, Brown simply has a name that resonates more and will have a far greater local alumni network from which I can draw resources.

For the fall, assuming I went to Brown, I would be studying abroad at the University of Ediburgh in Scotland, before making my move to Providence in January. This leads me to another concern: are 2.5 years at Brown more valuable in the long/short run than 3.5 years (assuming I go abroad for a semester) in Claremont? Again, any help is greatly appreciated.

I think post-grad plans are an important consideration, and Brown certainly has a good reputation on the East coast, so that would be something to think about.

I’m not sure I follow your math, or what you are concerned about. You’ll be spending 2.5 years at Brown or Pomona, assuming that you study abroad at Pomona. Not sure this matters. The year at Pitzer and .5 abroad doesn’t really come in to play when you consider your options.

I agree on that and, given the nature of my aspirations, I have definitely been leaning towards Brown.

On my math: it is true that I’ll be spending 2.5 years as either a Brown or a Pomona student, however I am using the number 3.5 because the total amount of time I would spend at the Claremont Colleges, taking Pomona classes, meeting Pomona professors, and interacting with students will be 3.5 years (I was at Pitzer this past year).

So, going to Pomona would be a continuation of something as opposed to the beginning of something new. Overall, this is undeniably a more cohesive and complete college experience.

Again, I really appreciate your input on this and would love any other pointers if you (or others) may have them.

I am very concerned if you have accepted admission at two schools. If that is the case, As far as I am aware this is an absolute no no. As a matter of fact if the schools are aware of this ethical breach they can rescind your admission.

Yep. I was going to say that ethics aside, if discovered this can easily result in admission rescinding from both schools.

I only sent an enrollment deposit to one school, however I sent in no binding information to either of them. I will not be submitting a deposit to Brown until January. So I never actually enrolled in both, however I stated that I was anticipating accepting their admission offer but needed to address a few concerns first. I have explained the situation in detail to both schools and they have assured me that the situation is okay and than they just need to know in the next few weeks. I appreciate the concern however.

Also, I ultimately made the decision to go to Brown for largely financial reasons. Pomona understood where I was coming from and supported the decision. Thanks for the feedback on this thread.


And indeed, the situation as you described in post 13 is perfectly acceptable.