Some Questions

<p>I'm interested in some schools like Pomona and their reputation just out of curiosity, not for admissions. I'm trying to learn some things so I'd appreciate if someone could answer these for me.</p>

<p>1) How easy is Pomona? I saw that the average person has a GPA of a 3.6, which seems to be pretty inflated. Do professors just hand out A's? Where does the motivation in learning come on?</p>

<p>2) The school is great in taking care of its students in a closed sense, but how good is it in a practical and applicable sense? Yes I know Pomona has impressive acceptance rates and the like but how much of it comes from the school or because of the talent of the student?</p>

<p>3) What factors distinguish Pomona from other top liberal arts colleges and universities? I've heard of the consortium but Rice is a good example of a school that has a liberal arts feel in a university setting, just like Pomona. </p>

<p>4) How hard is it really to get in? Is Pomona admissions test oriented? What exactly are they looking for in the student body?</p>

<p>5) I've heard how diverse Pomona is, but where does its identity emerge? Other universities have a clear vibe and distinction, but it's hard to see one for Pomona.</p>

<p>6) How is it possible that with Pomona being even more selective than Stanford test score wise, far more selective than both UCB and UCLA, and with a greater endowment per student than any California school that not even people who live an hour away know about it? What does prestige mean to an average Pomona student? How do they react to constant belief about being part of the Cal State Pomona? Does this bring up the point that Pomona alumni and students don't contribute much to society? </p>

<p>7) How intellectual is the school? I've read countless posts saying that Pomona is more intellectual than UCB or Stanford, but I've never noted any description emphasizing Pomona's intellectual climate. The school gives off that impression of social, laid-back crowd more. Is intellectualism something you have to seek yourself? Initiate? </p>

<p>8) Despite being racially and socioeconomically diverse comparable to other elite schools, how tolerant, coexistent, and accepting is the community?</p>

<p>Thanks for answering these questions. I hope to clear up any misgivings I have of the school and I hope my questions don't sound too harsh. I really like the school on paper and want to get a more dimensional sense of it.</p>

<p>Let me see how well I can answer your questions.</p>

<p>1) There is grade inflation at Pomona, but it’s no worse than at other top schools. The issue with looking at grade inflation is that it may not be that classes are getting easier, but that students are getting smarter. The second part of the grade inflation debate is whether or not a grade should reflect an objective amount of knowledge/comprehension, or whether it should be relative to other students (whether or not professors should limit the number of As they give out).</p>

<p>2) I’m not sure I understand the question, perhaps you could clarify a bit?</p>

<p>3) That’s a really difficult question and will vary greatly on a person-by-person basis. So yours will probably be different from mine because you value different things. For me, it’s how well Pomona takes care of its students outside of the classroom and how much it provides an overall college experience, not just a college education. I can give some examples of this if you want.</p>

<p>4) Pomona is one of the most selective colleges in the country, not just because its acceptance rate is 12% or 13% or something, but because it is self-selecting in the first place. Unlike a more popular place like Harvard, which posted a ~6% acceptance rate this year, people don’t generally throw applications at Pomona. Also, due to its size, Pomona looks for a very particular type of student to fit its community, and the admissions committee is extremely good at this. I would say that past a certain point, test scores are mostly irrelevant at Pomona admissions (though higher doesn’t hurt), and who you are as a person, as evidenced by the opportunities you pursued in and out of school, and your essays. Because so many competitive applicants apply to Pomona, Pomona can easily pick a particular type of person to build a certain type of community.</p>

<p>5) As corollary to #4, Pomona is very community-oriented. Students are very social and cooperative. This process of community building is started with the admissions process and is then continued through the sponsor program. I’ve heard Pomona described as an Ivy League with a California vibe. Everyone is intimidatingly intelligent but laid back. It’s considered a faux pas to discuss grades extensively.</p>

<p>6) Prestige is an incredibly silly way to judge a school or its alumni. We’re happy we get to BE at Pomona, not that we get to tell people we go there. Sure, it’s annoying at times that people aren’t the most aware of what Pomona is and what it has to offer, but that doesn’t affect the absolutely fantastic experience we are able to get. Also, Pomona is very well known among employers and grad schools, where it truly matters. Your last question is so incredibly silly I won’t respond to it.</p>

<p>7) I don’t know enough about Stanford to judge it properly, but Pomona’s definitely more intellectual than UCB as a whole. It isn’t thrust in your face nor a defining characteristic of the community at Pomona, like it is at UChicago, but you won’t have long to look to find it.</p>

<p>8) EXTREMELY. To the point where intolerance isn’t tolerated. Pomona is the most politically correct school I’ve ever looked at. I would almost say it’s PC to a fault, but it really is a minor issue.</p>

<p>Hope that helps!</p>

<p>Thanks for your comments. </p>

<p>By number 2 I meant, where does the line emerge in quality from the school itself and the students? Does Pomona truly prepare the students for the future or do they come in already prepared, with Pomona being a journey along their way?</p>

<p>In the last question of 6, I mean- Okay, if Pomona alumni and students are so talented, why doesn’t their prestige spread outward? A small school like Caltech for example is highly recognized by the general public, but Pomona is not. I’d expect Pomona students to be among the best of the best in whatever they seek to pursue but that impression isn’t readily apparent when looking across the state. </p>

<p>To 1- Pomona is actually the second or third most inflated university in the country, after Brown. (source- Brown has been struck by accusations that their school is too easy and grades are tossed out. Their mean GPA isn’t too different. What does this mean for Pomona in particular?</p>

<p>3- A lot of liberal arts colleges, if not all of them do this too. I’m asking for what specifically distinguishes the school. For a school like Stanford, it’s innovation and the entrepreneurial vibe. For Chicago, it’s the intellectual climate. </p>

<p>4- Who exactly does Pomona seek out in their admissions?</p>

<p>5- Sounds a lot like Stanford to me, or USC/UCLA to a smaller extent. </p>

<p>7- Can you explain how people seek out an intellectual climate? Is it something you can easily find or something you’ll have to work to find? I understand there’s a pretty decent social scene on campus but haven’t seen much about intellectualism.</p>

<p>8- Who is politically correct? The students? Administration? The teaching?</p>

<p>2) Impossible to say.</p>

<p>6) Caltech has a graduate program, the JPL, etc, etc. Not a proper comparison. On the other hand, schools like Amherst and Williams have been around for longer than Pomona and have that “East Coast” prestige going for them. It’s all quite irrelevant though. How aware the general public is of Pomona is of little consequence. And measuring the caliber of alumni and students by popularity is just as silly.</p>

<p>1) Again, grade inflation is another silly metric to gauge the difficulty of a school. If you visit, you’ll notice that there are much greater trends in grade inflation at private universities compared to public institutions. I doubt anyone would argue that public universities are in general harder than their private counterparts.</p>

<p>3) Do you honestly think that Stanford and Chicago hold monopolies on individualism and intellectualism? A lot of top universities, if not all of them, have intellectual and entrepreneurial students. You simply aren’t going to find anything incredibly unique about any school.</p>

<p>4) As I mentioned in #5, Pomona seeks intellectual, fun, community-oriented students.</p>

<p>5) From the little I’ve heard of those schools, their students are much more competitive/individualistic (rather than cooperative) than at Pomona.</p>

<p>7) Hmmm, what are you exactly asking? It’s as easy as starting an intellectual conversation with other students. Everyone is deeply interested in their studies. It isn’t as present as at a school like UChicago, but you won’t have to “seek out” the “intellectuals” on campus. They’re all around you. Pomona students love to learn for the sake of learning.</p>

<p>8) All of the above.</p>

<p>I might be able to shed some light on question #2. Since my son graduated from Pomona many faculty and staff have been in contact checking up to see if he needed anything. Professors have sent their journal articles prior to publication for him to review. So I think, at least for my son, Pomona will be a continual part of the journey not just a four-year segment. Had my son not gone to Pomona he would still have the drive that was formed long before the college years however Pomona will continue to be part of his life going forward.</p>