Musical "recruitment" at Pomona?

I found the following at Pomona’s Web site (

“Whether intending to major in music or not, students with strong musical skills, significant ensemble or solo experience, AND a strong desire to participate in the Music Department’s performance offerings should be in contact with appropriate Music Department faculty BEFORE the senior year of high school. Pomona’s generous need-based financial aid system does not include music scholarships, but a strong musical profile can enhance a candidate’s prospects for admission. The Music Department is particularly interested in candidates who have thought carefully about how their engagement with music would be integrated into their full liberal-arts experience. Prospective applicants in this category should contact the faculty members below as early as the spring of the junior year, and by August 1 at the latest.”

I would love to hear from candidates, current students, and alumni who actually took up Pomona on that offer. Do you feel it indeed helped your admission chances?

Hi, I’m a current Pomona student in the music department (First-year),

Although I did not contact music faculty when I applied, a few of my friends who are also first-year, in the orchestra did go through this process (they simply got invited to play with the orchestra very briefly, meet with the prof who directs orchestra). I asked them on their thoughts after reading this post and the other thread, and here are their thoughts.

This so-called “music recruitment” has a certain impact, but they also applied with music portfolios as well. Even though some on CC have been dubbing this whole thing as music recruitment, this is nothing compared to athletic recruitment (it seems like a good amount of ED kids are recruited athletes, very few are music). Please do not think of music recruitment and athletic recruitment on the same scale, the latter has a greater significance. Additionally, of the people who did this, currently, only one person is thinking about being a music major at Pomona.
—Friend of mine in PC Orchestra

On the other hand, while a few of the first-years in the music department did do this process (very few), I only applied with a music portfolio (composition and performance), and I still got accepted regardless, and am thinking about declaring music as one of my majors.

Additionally, my friend commented after seeing a comment on the other thread that she just emailed the chair with questions and he said to come and meet with him so she met with him the day she toured Pomona then he emailed her March inviting her to an orch reading. Note: she didn’t even know Pomona has a so-called “music recruiting”, neither did the others

How would you compare the quality of the musicians and music scene at Pomona and the Claremont Colleges to east coast colleges like Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan and Vassar?

Hi, sorry for the belated response, I forgot about this website for a while. I’m unfamiliar with the east coast LAC music scene so I don’t want to make a comparison, but I can tell you a bit more about the Pomona music scene. A lot of the musicians at Pomona are very skilled and talented (across a range of instruments/style as well) and there are some that I think could’ve gone to great conservatories, and will go to great heights. Faculty are all very skilled and amazing, and they’re very wholesome and supportive of music students. Some musicians do have a bit of a competitive mindset, which is common for musicians in general, but it’s generally not going to help them, since, like the rest of Pomona, collaboration is favored more than competition.

A post script: I strongly encourage aspiring Sagehens to contact the music dept. While we will never know what exactly worked for our D, she spent 1h40 min on Zoom with a person directing major ensambles there, and music was her most important ‘spike.’ She got in ED 1. She will not attend because the financial offer was an outrage but hey, if you can afford it, or convince them that you cannot, that’s the way to go, it seems!

PS 2: We went through the rage-to-acceptance grieving process over their FA offer, well documented in my other posts (in case anyone is interested), and yes, our D will attend Pomona. We would feel awkward asking the Music Dept. person whether or not a good word went to the admissions in but with Pomona’s selectivity, and so many kids with even better stats and impressive accomplishment being rejected, we have to assume that music was a factor.

1 Like

Not sure if you are still on here- sounds like you are settled. My D is in the same situation so I guess that we are in the “rage-to-acceptance grieving process”? Hoping that D can negotiate a little more aid, but she’s already investigating every avenue to raise some more funds. Watching her work so hard is chipping away at my No-Can-Do mindset. It’s a small school, so I just wanted to see if there was any chance that I could locate a parent that just went through this decision making process.

We didn’t get anything more from them than they initially offered, other than a vague perspective of the additional $3k for NMF. I wouldn’t count on it unless you can show that recent circumstances have changed your financial outlook significantly - to that, they seemed to be quite open.
For us, it wasn’t that we didn’t have the money, period. It was about how to allocate it between undergrad and further education, with me pushing 60, and the income not quite what it used to be…

It’s pretty scary to commit, but I do get the sense that if things changed drastically before she finished undergrad, she wouldn’t have to leave because of finances. We might have to mentally take it one year at a time? It’s projecting into the future that makes me question if it’s a realistic option. I have 3 kids and one with significant 24/7 needs. My other 2 kids can make their own way in the world safely, so it becomes a personal decision about our family priorities I guess. Fair enough, really. A pomona education is a privileged experience and their aid is ultimately generous. I expected nothing and she ended up getting closer than expected to it being financially viable. So close, yet… I am amazed and proud that she got this far though. I had no idea involved these applications are. She worked hard on her music supplement too.

I am assuming that you all feel good about the decision. I am letting DD take the lead with the financial aid appeal, but I will prepare her with your feedback about it. Congratulations to your family and not to worry- 60 years young, still many working years :slight_smile: Thanks for your reply.

1 Like