How to Get Into Pomona College: Acceptance Rate + Tips

California coast line
August 28, 2023
7 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Want to join a close-knit and diverse community of scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, and scientists who are passionate about making the world a better place? Look no further! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to get into Pomona College!

A strong launch into life. It’s a simple five word motto, yet it holds a world of meaning. It’s a goal that all college students aspire to achieve, that their post-secondary institution provides them with the resources and education to lead successful lives working in their dream careers. 

At Pomona, this aspiration becomes a reality. Pomona acts as the first, and most influential, destination on students’ post-secondary journey. Through this strong foundation, Pomona produces leaders in practically every field: medicine, business, arts, scientific research, law and academic research.

But, enough about everything Pomona has to offer! Now it’s time to discuss what you’ll need to offer them in order to gain acceptance to this leading college. As a school that prioritizes excellence, prospective students are expected to show great academic potential, integrity, and drive. 

Read on to learn how to demonstrate these traits in your application!

happy student

Pomona Acceptance Rate

Before discussing the exact application materials you’ll need to get into Pomona College, it’s essential you have a realistic understanding of your chances of admission. According to the Pomona acceptance rate of 7%, this college is highly selective!

Pomona Admissions Stats

So, how can you ensure you’re part of this 7%? The most important factor to consider is your grades. While your grades aren’t everything, your academic performance in high school will be used to predict your potential to succeed in college.

Regardless of the major you choose, Pomona offers rigorous programs that are designed to challenge students so that they are prepared for their careers. As such, you’ll be expected to have a strong academic background! Here are the exact numbers to aim for:

GPA Requirements

Previous successful candidates had GPAs in the range of 3.82-4.0. Over 98% of the 2025 class was at the top quarter of their class and 91% were at the top decile. If that wasn’t impressive enough, over 30% of these students were also valedictorians!

SAT/ACT Requirements

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of accessibility to standardized testing, many schools have decided to become test-optional. Colleges also learned that eliminating this requirement caused more diverse candidates to apply to their schools.

Pomona is one of the schools that adopted a test-optional policy that remains in effect for the upcoming application cycle. In case you’re unfamiliar with this policy, it simply means you have the choice to write and submit your SAT/ACT scores, but will not be disadvantaged if you don’t. 

Students that plan on writing these exams should aim for an SAT score around 1520 or an ACT score around 33.

admissions statistics on papers

Pomona Application Requirements and Deadlines

Here is the complete list of Pomona College’s application requirements:

High School Transcripts

Students must ask their high school counselors to submit their transcripts to Pomona College. It’s also recommended that students complete the following courses:

  • Four years of English
  • Four years of natural sciences (two should be lab science courses)
  • Four years of mathematics (STEM majors should complete calculus)
  • Three years of a foreign language
  • Three years of social science 

Your transcripts will also be used to determine the rigor of your curriculum, the types of courses you took, and your level of academic aptitude. Consider taking AP or IB classes to demonstrate strong college preparation.

Letters of Recommendation

Students are asked to include two letters of recommendation from teachers in their application. These recommendations will be best received if they’re written by teachers from the recommended core courses that can attest to your academic performance and potential. 

You’re also required to submit a counselor recommendation. This recommendation will go beyond your academics and attest to your integrity, involvement in activities and clubs, and overall presence within the school.

A Personal Essay

Students are required to submit a personal essay through the application they use. For instance, the Common Application will ask students to answer craft a response to one of the following prompts:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

When writing your essay, ensure to read the prompt thoroughly and address each point. Students applying through the Coalition app can expect similar prompts:

1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

2. What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?

3. Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?

4. Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?

5. What success have you achieved or obstacles have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience? 

The final way students can submit their application is through Questbridge. Questbridge offers a more open-ended personal essay prompt that simply asks students to describe how the most influential factors and challenges in their life have shaped them into the person they are today.

Supplemental Essays

Along with your personal essay, you’ll have to complete several Pomona-specific supplemental essays. As we share more about how to get into Pomona College, you’ll learn how important these essays are in the application process!


As important as it is to create a compelling application, it’s equally as important to submit this application on time so you have the best chances of acceptance! Here are some deadlines to consider as you begin your application:

Application Type Application Deadline Notification Date
Early Decision I November 15 By December 15
Early Decision II January 8 By February 15
Regular Decision January 8 By April 1

Source: Pomona College

Students should be aware that both Early Decision applications are binding. You must be certain Pomona is your first choice if you submit this type of application.

Pomona Supplemental Essays

The essays students write as part of the application process help the admissions committee decide if they’ll fit in Pomona’s creative and collaborative culture.

Happy students diversity

The way they see it, your application is like a novel about you. You are the central character and your essays allow you to use your voice to speak directly to the committee, almost like you’re breaking the fourth wall!

As such, these writing pieces play an important function in the selection process. The best way to write the most impressive essays is to start early and give yourself time to revise them until you’re completely satisfied. To start this process, you’ll need to know what the prompts are!

1. Academic Interest Statement: What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.

2. Short-Response Essay: Choose to respond to one of the following three prompts in 150 words or less:

  • At Pomona, we celebrate and identify with the number 47. Share with us one of your quirky personal, family, or community traditions and why you hold on to it.
  • What item are you excited to bring with you to college?
  • Describe a time when you felt empowered or on top of the world?

3. Longer-Response Essay: Choose to respond to one of the following three prompts in 250 words or less:

  •  In the past few years, is there something you have changed your mind about? Why?
  • Reflecting on a community that you are part of, what values or perspectives from that community would you bring to Pomona?
  • What strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize?

While writing several essays for the Pomona College application may seem like overkill, it just goes to show how interested the admissions committee is in learning more about you, your principles, and experiences!

Use these supplemental essays to your advantage and share what makes you unique and how you’d make an excellent addition to the Pomona community.

Pomona Interview

Students may request a virtual or in-person interview with a Pomona graduate if they wish to learn more about the school. Only around 10% of students engage in these alumni interviews, and they do not have any effect on the application process.

Should You Apply to Pomona?

We’ve gone over how to get into Pomona College and answered any related inquiries, including, “how hard is it to get into Pomona College?” But whether or not you should apply to the school really depends on your personal goals.

Pomona is the third-best liberal arts university in the nation. If innovative, challenging, and rigorous interdisciplinary education is what you seek, Pomona is an excellent option. When making your final decision, ensure to account for location, tuition, housing, culture, school size, and any other factors that are important to you personally.

Tips for Getting Into Pomona College

To maximize your chances of admission, you need to know exactly what the admissions team is looking for. Follow these tips to meet their high expectations:

Don’t Try to Fit a Mould

Pomona College has some general qualities they search for in each student: intellectual capability, academic commitment, creativity, inquiry, diversity, and an interest in the community. However, they emphasize there isn’t just one way to show all of these traits.

Instead, they encourage students to demonstrate each trait in a way that reflects their unique personality traits. No application should look similar to another! Don’t give into the idea that there is just one blueprint of the perfect Pomona College student. 

Your individuality, personal experiences, and values are what will help you contribute to their community, so ensure they shine through!

Pursue Meaningful Community Service

Pomona College highlights the importance of community service more than any other extracurriculars. While it’s essential you still participate in school clubs, sports, competitions, or employment opportunities, you should make significant contributions to your community. 

This doesn’t mean volunteering at a new organization each weekend! Choose one or two organizations you have a deep connection to and dedicate a few hours per week for at least six months. Prove you’re an active member of this organization and are committed to community development.

volunteering for college

FAQs: How to Get Into Pomona College 

In case we missed any of your inquiries about how to get into Pomona College, here are the most frequently asked questions about this school. 

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into Pomona College?

Considering its acceptance rate of only 7%, getting into Pomona College will be difficult. Students must focus on their academics and differentiate their applications through unique extracurriculars and compelling essays.

2. What Kind of Student Gets Into Pomona?

Diversity is one of the top qualities that Pomona prioritizes during the selection process, so there isn’t just one kind of student that gets into Pomona. While all students must demonstrate academic commitment, curiosity, and community involvement, they should do so in their own way!

3. What Does Pomona College Look for in Its Applicants?

First and foremost, the most important trait Pomona looks for is your ability to succeed in college. Their curriculums are rigorous, so they need assurance you’re up for the challenge! This can be best shown through your GPA, your courses, and other academic projects you pursued.

Aside from academic potential, they look for a strong commitment to community and distinct qualities that would make you a valuable member to their school. 

4. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Pomona College?

Students should aim for a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible to get into Pomona College. The range of previous accepted students is about 3.82-4.0.

Final Thoughts

Pomona College is one of the few universities that offers its students exceptional opportunities. Their average class sizes are 15 students taught by leading faculty, they offer an intimate learning environment with the same resources as large universities, and allow students to gain significant research experience during their undergrads.

This research experience won’t only involve cleaning beakers or making coffee! Since Pomona has no graduate students, undergraduates are thoroughly engaged in all research projects.

All in all, Pomona can offer you unparalleled resources to launch you into a bright future! Follow the tips and suggestions shared in this guide to ensure you have access to these benefits!

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