Claremont, CA: Both of my parents attended Pomona College. After listening to their stories, I gleaned a good amount of information about the school before even visiting it. I knew that Pomona’s mascot was the sage hen: a blue chicken that runs in circles and is currently trembling on the brink of extinction. And I knew that the school’s marching band specialized in the “amoeba” formation, where every member aimlessly wanders around the field.
I was not impressed. These stories, coupled with the fact that Pomona is ranked as one of the nation’s top liberal arts schools, only confirmed my suspicion that this was a nerd school. Did I really want to attend a place like that?
Despite my protests, my parents dragged me to California to visit their alma mater. Although I grumbled during the trip, as soon as I stepped out of the car, the warm sun beamed down on my face and dissipated my bad mood. Gazing around, I admired the clear blue skies, the tall palm trees, the mountain backdrop, and the green grass. It was like I had left all the highway’s pollution far behind. There were not even any cars present; everyone was either walking, biking, or – in true Californian fashion – skateboarding. This new world was extraordinarily beautiful.
Having attended a high school of just 500 students, I knew I preferred a small college. However, smaller colleges are unable to offer the diversity of classes and resources of larger universities. This is a common problem facing students who want intimate relationships with classmates and professors, yet need sophisticated laboratory and artistic equipment.
At Pomona, you get all the benefits from these two different collegiate worlds. Although Pomona has only 1,500 students, it is part of the five Claremont Colleges: Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, Pitzer, and of course, Pomona. They share food courts, classes, and resources, so a student attending Pomona can take advantage of programs at Pitzer, attend dances or barbeques at Scripps, and walk across all five campuses in just 15 minutes. There are 5,000 students in the “Five C’s,” so it is like a five-for-one deal.
In addition, the campus is beautiful. The Claremont Colleges own a good amount of land, and the institutions’ buildings sprawl out amongst rolling mounds. Arches, high ceilings, and colorful murals bear witness to Californian architectural influence. The dorm rooms look out onto courtyards with fountains and trees. The hallways brim with posters detailing college-sponsored events like concerts and horseback riding, and notes from friends cover dorm doors. Ninety-six percent of Pomona students choose to live on campus which testifies to the warm and friendly atmosphere.
By the end of the day, I was enamored. I had fallen in love with the hammocks hanging from the trees, the Frisbees flying through the air, the pretty classrooms. But, most of all, I was impressed at how a liberal arts school – one of the best in the nation – could combine outstanding academics with such a laid-back attitude. Getting back in the car, I was sad to leave the sunshine behind. However, I couldn’t wait to apply – I had found the school for me. Visit their website: www.pomona.edu.