Academics

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Academics

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5 College Sophomore

Academics: Incredible, just incredible. Small class sizes, challenging yet manageable courseloads. But the best part by far has to be the professors. Each one is incredibly dedicated to teaching students and almost all make an effort to know all their students. Most professors will get lunch with you, all you have to do is ask. Many invite them over to their houses. And all of them, when approached, will help you with whatever material you need help with until you have a complete understanding of the material.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Academics: Absolutely the best thing about Pomona- the academics are SUPERLATIVE. The teachers are so caring and so passionate about what they teach and who they teach. You will learn so much and you will be so challenged, but it will never be at the expense of your own individuality and well-being. Your peers will be brilliant and inspiring, and because the work can be so rigorous at times, there's a huge capital on genuine collaboration. Furthermore, it's easy to do well here if you seek out the help of your classmates and professors, who are always available.

I'm not sure how Pomona compares to other liberal art colleges, but compared to research universities, it is leagues ahead. I went to Brown and while my courses were well-taught, there was no element of care or interest in them. This made for a learning experience that really did not satisfy me. When I transferred to Pomona, I was blown away by how receptive and accessible this community was. I was having hour long conversations with professors on things related to or outside the scope of the class every other day. I am so, so, so grateful to be here.

5 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Academics are tough, but I've found that determination goes a long way. Academic difficulty is not compounded by hyper-competitiveness or an overwhelming amount of students, even though studying itself is tough!

5 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: I feel I'm getting a better education here than I would've at somewhere like Harvard. The professors are all insanely intelligent and passionate about their fields. Most are also very good at teaching, although there is some amount of variation. Having smaller classes is really great for facilitating engaging learning.

4 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Don't let the fact that you've never heard of it fool you: Pomona is one of the top schools in the country, and its academics are accordingly comparable with (and, in my opinion, surpass) any of the Ivies. Because of its small size, there is a ton of personal attention.

Expect to get to know your professors personally and meet with them one-on-one outside of class at times (or even be invited to their house for a meal or birthday party). In particularly small upperclass(wo)men seminars, I've heard of professors coming up with individualized reading lists for their students. This is fantastic for learning; the only drawback is that your professor will likely (or, in many cases, surely) know if you skip class, don't do your reading, or fall asleep.

As always, there is a mix of professors that are better or worse at teaching, but all are highly qualified in their fields (in many cases, they are one of the top experts in the nation on a particular topic).

5 people found this useful Report
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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Classes at Pomona aren't just small—they're intimate. If you are afraid of intimacy, be warned; you will be expected to participate at Pomona. You won't be listening to tape-recorded lectures in a hall full of 500 disinterested students. Classes are largely discussion based, and if you don't keep up, you won't just be threatened with grade penalization, your peers might think less of you, as well! Remember, academic discussion is like a multi-fronted battle, and you must defend your position, crushing your opposition until you stand alone and victorious over your foe's slaughtered, rhetorical remains! Actually, discussion classes at Pomona are more like a friendly meeting than a battle. Students and professors tend to be very accepting of diverse and diverting ideas (occasionally even to a fault). As for professors, they are accessible, interesting, and generally at least as engaged in their teaching duties as they are in trying to get their latest academic treatises published. They are wonderful resources and guides when a student is self-motivated, but they tend to do little to inspire the chronically apathetic—many say that Pomona makes it too easy for the lazy to slide by.

Overall, what you'll find at Pomona is a bunch of professors with varied expectations for their students; some are easy graders, some are not; some will push you, and some will do everything in their power to make sure you don't have to work a lick. Then again, when you stay up drinking every night, skip half of the assignments, and still pull down a solid B+/A- in every class, something might be a little fishy.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
8:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
201
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
45
Total FT Faculty
201
Faculty with Terminal Degree
98%
Average Faculty Salary
$107,983
Full-Time Retention Rate
97%
Graduation Rate
96%
Programs/Majors Offered
45
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 73%
  • 20 to 49 students: 26%
  • 50 or more students: 1%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Degrees Awarded
Bachelor's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Economics and Econometrics: 6%
  • Mathematics, Algebra, and Geometry: 5%
  • Neuroscience: 4%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 3%
Graduation Requirements
  • Arts/fine arts
  • Computer literacy
  • English (including composition)
  • Foreign languages
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Sciences (biological or physical)
  • Social science
Special Study Options
Study abroad
Other Academic Offerings
  • 3-2 combined bachelors in engineering with Wash U (St. Louis)
  • Cross-registration
  • Double major
  • Exchange student program (domestic)
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • Honnold Library
  • The Quad
  • Smith Campus Center
Tips to Succeed
  • Butter up the professors. This may seem cheap, but most people do it, and if you want your GPA to keep up with all the other GPAs, you'd be wise to play along. This mainly applies in the humanities; in the sciences, there is somewhat more objectivity. Of course, Pomona professors are a bundle of sharp cookies (pardon my metaphor mixing), and they don't respond well to the traditional sycophant. The best way to get on their good side is to show seemingly genuine interest in their subject matter; it's generally profound and overlooked, and they want recognition as much as any of us. Then again, if you aren't interested in the subject, why are you taking it?
  • Decide early what you want to do and go about accomplishing it in a driven manner. It's too easy to dither away your time at Pomona, and while this can be very pleasant, you will likely find yourself regretting that you didn't find that internship or do that project with such and such a professor. There's always time to dither. There isn't always time to lay some serious groundwork for your future.
Did You Know?
  • Pomona College offers the lovely and often-used P/NC option, which is short for Pass/No Credit. If previous to the P/NC deadline, which generally falls a month or so into the semester, it becomes evident to you that you are in big trouble in, say, "Advanced Calculus," just P/NC it. As long as the class wasn't for your major, if you fail it, there is no permanent mark on your transcript. If you pass it, then you get the credit, and it doesn't affect your GPA.
  • Acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace ("Infinite Jest," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men") joined the Pomona College faculty in the fall of 2002 as a full-time creative writing professor. The position was created with a grant from Roy E. Disney (son of Walt Disney) specifically designed to land Pomona a distinguished author on the faculty.
  • The average Pomona student's GPA hovers around the B+/A- range. This is due to either exceptional students or grade inflation. You make the call.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 22 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 24 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 5 responses

Never
Always
  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 5 responses

  • 60% This was my dream school.
  • 40% This was one of my top choices.
  • 0% This was a school I settled for (safety school).

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