Following a national trend, Pomona College’s applicant pool this year was significantly larger than last year’s.
The number of applicants went from 6,149 for the Class of 2013 to 6,765 this year—a 10 percent increase—but the college is aiming for its usual class size of about 390 freshmen. Consequently, the school’s admission rate for the Class of 2014 reached a record-low 14.7 percent.
Elite private colleges across the country, including Harvard, Swarthmore, Brown, and Stanford, are reporting similar statistics—higher numbers of applications and lower acceptance rates than ever before.
Dean of Admissions Bruce Poch said he does not expect the increase in applicants to affect the incoming class much, though he added it caused more work for the Admissions Officers, who had to read through more applications in the same amount of time.
“The application growth was fairly remarkable in that it was, for the most part, evenly distributed across geographic regions and reflected in proportionally even growth across all ethnic backgrounds,” he said. “Our geographic mix continues to be quite remarkable, and we have more international representation among our admitted group than last year,” Poch said.
Eight percent of the admitted students come from outside the US, an increase from 5.4 percent in the current freshman class. At 32.4 percent, California contributes more students than any other state.
Of the incoming class, 53.7 percent identify as “white,” 22.1 percent “Asian and Asian American,” 13.9 percent “Latino,” 12.5 percent “multiracial,” and 11.8 percent “black and African American.”
Poch said the Admissions Officers have “seen another increase in the numbers and proportions of students of color and an increase in the number of students who will be the first generation in their family to attend college.” Students from the latter group represent 20.7 percent of incoming students.
Slightly less than a quarter of the class scored 800 on each of the three SAT sections—Math, Reading, and Writing. In addition, 22.1 percent of the Class of 2014 are high school valedictorians, and 92.6 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Those numbers are consistent with the Class of 2013’s statistics.
“The selection process was built not only around academic records and proven talent, but with real regard to students who seemed most interested in engaging this kind of residential liberal arts college community,” Poch said.
Pomona’s students have a mix of personalities, achievements, and backgrounds, he said, adding that they are all chosen because of their ability to take the “opportunity to work with faculty and peers as colleagues and friends, not just competitors.”
Poch said Pomona “continues to offer financial aid packages without loan expectations.” Among the admitted class, 69.2 percent have applied for financial aid.