Admissions officers at the Claremont Colleges estimate that the number of prospective students visiting campus has increased this year, although most schools do not record numbers of visitors.
Pomona Admissions Officer Samantha Jones PO ’10 said that she has seen the number of visitors rise in the past year. She also said that visits have generally increased since her time as a Pomona student.
Visitors do not register for tours at Pomona, so no official data are collected. Instead, tour guides are required to count the number of visitors and record the number. The admissions office recorded over 150 visitors for one tour in early April.
“Those are numbers we don’t typically see outside of President’s Day and Columbus Day,” Jones said.
Jones attributed the increase in visitors to Pomona’s increasing national presence.
“Pomona’s becoming more of a brand name than we have been in the past, and more people are hearing about us and coming to campus,” Jones said.
Kaitie Marshall SC ’14, an overnight hostess and tour guide coordinator, wrote in an e-mail to TSL that Scripps has also seen an increase in visitors.
“I think overall the number of visitors has increased because Scripps is becoming a more well-known school and more people are interested in coming to see what it’s all about,” Marshall wrote.
Peter Osgood, Director of Admission at Harvey Mudd College, said that he believed that there has been increasing interest in the colleges, which has led to an increase in the number of visitors at each of the schools.
“I think all of the Claremont undergraduate colleges are among the ‘hot’ colleges of late,” Osgood wrote in an e-mail to TSL.
Georgette DeVeres, Associate Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid at Claremont McKenna College (CMC), echoed Osgood.
“It’s helpful to be part of the Claremont Colleges, which certainly gives visibility to all of us,” she said.
CMC records the number of campus visitors who take tours. DeVeres said that visiting has increased by about 15 percent over the past three years, from 1,289 visitors registered for tours by this time of year in 2010 to 1,477 this year.
Santiago Ybarra, Associate Director of Admission at Pitzer, wrote in an e-mail to TSL that there have been 794 registered prospective students and 1,643 additional guests on tours this year.
“It definitely felt like a larger number of visitors compared to last year,” Ybarra wrote.
Marshall wrote that the increase in visiting is “a little scary for the tour guides.” Tour guides often have to deal with tour groups of 20 or more students, she wrote.
Justin Gutzwa PO ’14, a tour guide and an intern in the Pomona Admissions Office, leads the Pomona tour guide training.
“We over-hired tour guides this year, because obviously Pomona’s increasing in the number of applications, and there’s a lot of interest in tour guides, and there have been a lot of qualified applicants,” Gutzwa said.
Both Pomona and Scripps have approximately 70 tour guides, with three to four guides per time slot. Gutzwa said that new tour guides are often less comfortable giving tours to large groups, which can include up to 30 or 40 visitors.
Jones said that the rising numbers of visitors has also brought new challenges for the Admissions Office.
“We’re operating on a system that’s 20 years old,” Jones said of tour registration. Jones said that the Admissions Office plans to make some changes to the system, including an online reservation system for tours.