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Pomona College Study Abroad Application Essay

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Fact Sheet:

Language of instruction: English Housing options: Field Camp, Program House
Areas of study: African Studies, Afrikaans, Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Astronomy, Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dance, Economics, Engineering, English, Environmental Studies, Film, Gender and Women's Studies, Geography, History, Independent/Directed Research, International Relations, Linguistics, Literature, Marine Science, Math/Statistics, Media Studies, Molecular Biology, Music, Performing and Visual Arts, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Pre-Health, Pre-Law, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sciences, Sociology, Sotho, Theatre, Xhosa, Zoology Class standing: 2 - Junior
Program type: Direct enrollment, Experiential/field-based, Hybrid GPA: 9.0
  • Locations:Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms:Spring
  • Restrictions: Pomona applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines


If you’re a high school student making your college list, you’re probably juggling all sorts of priorities. Maybe you know you want a liberal arts school on the smaller side. Perhaps you want someplace with strong academics, and you know you can compete in a fairly selective admissions process. If this is the case, there are many small schools in the Northeastern United States that might be on your list. But what if you prefer a warmer climate or a West Coast vibe? Would Southern California fit the bill?


Pomona College, tucked into the surprisingly New England-esque college town of Claremont, California, is a selective liberal arts school that is part of the larger Claremont Consortium. Through its unique partnership with four undergraduate institutions and two graduate institutes, it offers students the small-college experience in the context of large university resources and opportunities.


Pomona is located about 35 miles west of Los Angeles and is routinely ranked in the top ten National Liberal Arts Schools by U.S. News and World Reports. It offers 45 majors to choose from, and with an enrollment of just around 1,700, it boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1.


Are you considering Pomona College, where the breeze is warm, the days are bright, and the school somehow manages to feel like a New England liberal arts institution nestled into a small town in Southern California? If you’re planning a visit, you can expect to meet an engaged and intellectual community of learners, scope out the broad variety of on-campus housing, and see both classic and modern teaching facilities. But there’s much more that you should plan to see as well. If you’re considering a visit to Pomona College, be sure to check out these top eight Claremont sites.


1. José Clemente Orozco’s Prometheus mural in Frary Dining Hall

Orozco was one of the three great Mexican muralists, along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Pomona College is home to Orozco’s Prometheus mural created in 1930 on a wall inside Frary hall, which is now one of two primary dining halls on campus. The work is widely recognized as one of the artist’s masterpieces, though it sometimes goes unnoticed as students dine beneath it three times a day.


Whether you’re an art history aficionado or not, you’ll appreciate this bold artwork for its sheer size and powerful stance, towering over the formal dining hall. It becomes even more powerful when you learn that this is the first modern fresco mural to be painted in the U.S. by a Mexican artist, and it exists at Pomona thanks to the fundraising efforts of students in the 1920s. Be sure to check it out on your campus tour. While it is of course hard to miss, it’s also easy to pass beneath it without a full understanding of its significance.


2. Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations

The Oldenborg Center serves as the foreign language residence hub at Pomona, as well as dining hall and academic administrative office. It offers a unique living and academic experience to its 129 residents, who live in foreign language sections where they speak the language amongst themselves.


The Center provides language sections in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese, with each directed by graduate student language residents who are native speakers of their languages. The formal requirements for living in Oldenborg include a year’s study of a foreign language at the college level (or the equivalent) and a willingness to join in on the Center’s extracurricular activities, including meals served at foreign language tables.


Oldenborg is also known on campus as a bit of a maze. Its unique appearance and labyrinth-like hallways were the former home of Joe Menosky, class of 1979, who went on to become the writer and co-producer of three series of Star Trek sequels (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager). It is rumored that he named The Next Generation’s Borg after his old Pomona residence hall, which does have an undeniable starship-like exterior. He has never confirmed nor denied these rumors, but the parallels between the two Borgs are definitely convincing.

3. Dialynas and Sontag Halls

Pomona’s newest residence halls, the Dialynas and Sontag Halls, were completed in spring of 2011 and are home to more than 30 suites, comprised of about 150 single bedrooms. Suites range in size from 3 bedrooms to 6 bedrooms, and each suite has a common living room. But what makes these residence halls remarkable is not their room configuration.


These dorms are truly unique in their construction, having been built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum standards, the highest level of sustainable building. As such, these new residence halls are among the greenest in the country. They boast solar hot water heating, solar voltaic panels, an electricity cutoff switch for each suite, daylight sensors, and low water-use fixtures. Sontag Hall also has a full kitchen on each of its three floors, equipped with Energy Star appliances, and a rooftop garden and patio area.


Although these impressive new structures are home to only upperclassmen, they could well be your future home if you end up attending Pomona College. 


4. Smith Campus Center

The Smith Campus Center is the hub of student life on campus. It houses several dining options, including the COOP fountain where you can purchase snacks and casual meals like burgers or chicken fingers, along with the Sagehen Cafe, a student-run restaurant where you can expect a slightly more refined dining experience including waited tables and meals like french onion soup or grilled chicken salad.


In addition to its restaurants, the Smith Campus Center also offers comfortable study spaces featuring couches, arm chairs, and even working fireplaces. Here you will also find the Smith Campus Center Student Programs Office where you can pick up discount tickets to local attractions (think Disneyland, Six Flags, and the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art!) and find student clubs. It is also home to the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) Office & Senate operations, the Student Mail Center, email & printer stations, the Writing Center, and the Asian American Resource Center.


It’s easy to see why the Smith Campus Center is always booming. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Pomona College student who doesn’t pass through it on a daily basis, and many students find themselves here for various reasons several times a day.

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