Pomona Supplemental Essays 2023-24
Pomona Supplemental Essays
If you’re planning to apply to Pomona College, you’ll also need to prepare to write several Pomona supplemental essays. Each Pomona essay that you write should expand upon your values, interests, and character. The Pomona supplemental essays are a unique opportunity for applicants to impress admissions officers simply by sharing more information about themselves.
Pomona College is the founding member of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of seven private undergraduate and graduate schools. The Claremont Colleges are located in Claremont, California, which is often considered to be one of the best college towns . As part of this collective, Pomona students are able to take part in the courses, programs, and offerings at their fellow universities.
The undergraduate Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd, and Pitzer) are all fairly selective. Indeed, Pomona is one of the best colleges in California as well as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. As a prestigious university, Pomona Admissions receives as many as 10,000 applications each year. With all that in mind, you’ll need to impress the admissions team with stellar Pomona supplemental essays. However, if you need help tackling the Pomona College supplemental essays, then you’re in the right place.
In our guide to the 2023-2024 Pomona Supplemental Essays, we’ll cover:
- Choosing the right Pomona College essay prompts for you
- How to write your Pomona supplemental essays
- Importance of the Ponoma essays in the admissions process
- Other Pomona requirements for admission
- And much much more!
By the end of this guide, we hope you’ll feel prepared and excited to start writing your Pomona College supplemental essays. But, before we dive into the Pomona College essay prompts, let’s start with some admissions quick facts.
Pomona College: Quick Facts
Pomona college admissions quick facts.
- Pomona Acceptance Rate: 7% – U.S. News ranks Pomona College among the most selective schools.
- 1 (~150 word) Why Major essay; Applicants will discuss their intended college major or, if Undecided, one of their academic passions.
- 1 (~150 word) short response Pomona essay: Applicants will choose from three Pomona College essay prompts about quirky traditions, personal items, and a time you felt empowered.
- 1 (~250 word) longer response Pomona essay: Applicants will choose from three Pomona College essay prompts about changing your perspective, community values, and personal strengths.
- Common Application
- Coalition Application
- QuestBridge Application
- Early Decision I: November 15th
- Early Decision II: January 8th
- Regular Decision: January 8th
- Pomona Essay Tip: All six of the Pomona College essay prompts are unique, so choosing the right one for you may be challenging. Whether you have a great idea for every prompt or are immediately drawn to one, don’t stress! There is no “correct” combinations of prompts to choose—your Pomona essays will be fantastic as long as they are specific, reflective, passionate, and authentic.
Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.
Does Pomona have supplemental essays?
Yes, Pomona has supplemental essays. The prompts for your Pomona College supplemental essays include a Why Major essay along with six unique prompts for you to choose from. These are school specific essays that are required in addition to your Common App or Coalition Application personal statement essay .
Although there is one shorter and one longer response Pomona essay, neither is particularly long. However, both of the Pomona College supplemental essays require students to choose from multiple prompts. So, narrowing down which of the Pomona essay prompts to respond to may take some time.
How many essays does Pomona require?
Pomona requires students to submit three Pomona supplemental essays as part of their application. There are two shorter 150-word Pomona supplemental essays and one longer 250-word Pomona essay.
The first Pomona essay is a Why Major essay (150 words). Both the second and third Pomona supplemental essays ask students to choose from three Pomona essay prompts to respond to. Neither the shorter nor longer response Pomona essay has a specific theme. So, you’ll have the opportunity to write about a wide variety of topics in these Pomona supplemental essays. This can feel overwhelming, but it is also an excellent opportunity for applicants to share a meaningful part of themselves with admissions officers.
The first step to writing great Pomona supplemental essays is to make sure you understand the prompts and how to approach them. In the next few sections, we’re going to go over each Pomona essay in more detail. First, we’ll discuss the Why Major Pomona essay. Then, we’ll take a look at the Pomona essay prompts for the shorter response essay. Lastly, we’ll do the same for the longer response Pomona essay. And, of course, along the way, we’ll provide you with plenty of tips to keep in mind while crafting your essays.
Pomona College Why Major Essay
If you’ve started any other applications, this prompt may seem familiar. Many universities choose to incorporate a Why Major essay into their supplemental requirements. Let’s take a look at Pomona’s take on this type of prompt.
Here is the Why Major Pomona essay prompt:
What do you love about the subject(s) you selected? If Undecided, share more about one of your academic passions. (150 words)
Part of Pomona’s mission is to help students identify and address their intellectual passions. So, naturally, they want to hear about your own academic interests. If you already know your intended major – great! As such, you’ll likely know exactly what you want to write about. However, if you’re Undecided, you might find the task more challenging. But, you shouldn’t! Simply talk about any of your academic passions, even if you’re not sure that you want to major in that particular subject.
When approaching this essay, it can be helpful to think of it chronologically. First, think of when you became interested in that topic. Were you inspired by one of your teachers in school? Or, did you read, watch, or hear something that sparked your curiosity? Then, consider where you are now – how has your relationship to the subject deepened or developed?
Additionally, starting with an anecdote is a great way to immediately engage your reader. It might have to do with the moment you first were introduced to the subject or an example of your involvement in exploring it. (Dropping the reader into a specific experience is an effective way to start any of your Pomona supplemental essays!) While simply stating what you are interested in will technically answer the prompt, never miss an opportunity to paint a picture for your reader and support your points with detailed examples. In fact, successful college essays will do just that.
Tie it into Pomona
Once you’ve established what you love about your chosen major, think forward to how you’ll continue to explore this topic at Pomona and beyond. Are there certain aspects of Pomona’s academic experience you plan to take advantage of? What type of profession do you hope to pursue? Or, if you’re not sure what career you might want to have, frame your future in impact. What issues do you want to help solve? How do you envision yourself engaging with and serving your community?
The Why Major Pomona essay is brief, so you’ll want to be sure to only include the most important details. A sentence or two is all you need to capture the essence of a personal anecdote and set the scene for sharing your academic passions. While you have the option to talk about both your first and second-choice academic interests, be strategic about the focus of your essay. Unless you can draw a connection between your two interests, you’re likely better off focusing on just one.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our Why Major essay examples to see some essays that worked, including a Pomona specific Why Major essay!
Pomona Essay – Short Response
Now let’s look at your second 150-word Pomona essay – the short response. Remember, students can choose from three Pomona essay prompts:
Pomona College Short Response Essay Prompts
Please choose one of the following three prompts to respond to with an essay of no more than 150 words., 1. 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., 2. what item are you excited to bring with you to college, 3. describe a time when you felt empowered or on top of the world..
The topic of your Pomona supplemental essays will largely depend on which prompt you choose. So, let’s take a look at each prompt and what you need to accomplish in your essay.
Short response prompt #1
This prompt asks you about your traditions, specifically those that are unique. For this prompt, you’ll want to describe what the tradition is and what it means to you.
Short response prompt #2
Remember, you have the power to imbue an object with meaning. If you choose this prompt, be sure to describe the item, why it is valuable to you, and why it’s important you have it with you in college.
Short response prompt #3
Here is an opportunity to define what empowerment means to you. Consider touching on the challenges that precipitated this moment or the lasting lessons or values you took away from the experience.
How to answer Pomona supplemental essays
The main goal of your Pomona College supplemental essays is to provide admissions with compelling, interesting details not found anywhere else in your application. So, when deciding on a topic, you’ll want to consider how the prompts you select for your Pomona supplemental essays play off of one another.
For example, let’s say short response Pomona essay prompt #1 immediately brought to mind a family tradition you love and value. If you feel passionate about writing that essay, you may want to choose a prompt beside #2 for your longer Pomona essay. Since both of these prompts are about community, you run the risk of being repetitive in your essays. However, if you have two communities in your life that are important to you and your identity, then feel free to write one essay for each of them!
On a more general note, you’ll want to highlight different qualities and characteristics in your Pomona supplemental essays. For example, let’s say you choose prompt #3 for your short answer Pomona essay and share a story about you leading your robotics team to a state championship. In your essay, you’d like to capture something about your interests as well as qualities such as perseverance, leadership, and collaboration. If you choose prompt #3 for your longer response essay, you’ll want to touch on different strengths or qualities not already reflected in your other Pomona essay.
Basically, use the different Pomona essay prompts to highlight varying skills, traits, experiences, and values. This is your opportunity to round out your application and craft the most intriguing narrative for admissions. Make sure each essay adds something new and different.
Pomona Supplemental Essays – Longer Response Essay
Finally, let’s discuss the third of your Pomona supplemental essays – the longer response essay. As before, students will need to choose from three Pomona essay prompts:
Pomona College Supplemental Essay Prompts
Please choose one of the following three prompts to respond to with an essay of no more than 250 words., 1. in the past few years, is there something you have changed your mind about why, 2. reflecting on a community that you are part of, what values or perspectives from that community would you bring to pomona, 3. what strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize.
Let’s discuss each of these prompts in a bit more detail.
Longer response prompt #1
This is a great prompt because we get to see a moment of change and growth. Be sure to establish your previous perception or stance so we can see the difference between the before and after, connected through the “why”. Be sure to delve into why the change happened. This is where admissions will see your ability to reflect as well as your capacity for personal growth.
Longer response prompt #2
Think of this prompt as an opportunity to show Pomona why you’d be a valuable addition to their community. You’ll want to demonstrate the value or perspective through specific examples. You might expand on what a certain value looks like in your community or perhaps a moment where your community taught you something. Then, be sure to mention how this perspective or value would translate to a college campus.
Longer response prompt #3
With this prompt, you have free range to brag about yourself. Don’t be afraid to highlight your best qualities, so long as you can back them up with specific examples. Take advantage of anecdotes so that it doesn’t read as a list of strengths. You might even start this prompt by working backward, first thinking about some of your most meaningful experiences and then relating them to one of your strengths.
How to write Pomona supplemental essay
Writing your Pomona College supplemental essays requires a similar approach to any college application essay . You’ll want to follow a complete writing process in order to arrive at the best Pomona supplemental essays possible. Each step is important so don’t cut corners. That means allowing yourself plenty of time to write these essays.
Let’s check out the steps you should follow for each essay:
Steps for Writing Pomona College Supplemental Essays
When approaching a prompt, try building a mind map to explore potential ideas. The topic with the most connections will likely be the easiest to write about. Not into a mind map? Well, there are plenty of other ways to come up with ideas. Check out this webinar for some more ideas!
2. Writing a first draft
Don’t worry about making your first draft perfect. In fact, don’t even stress about the word count yet. Just get your ideas down on paper. You’ll worry about sorting through them next.
3. Refining your ideas
Now that you’ve got a first draft, look for the throughline. What’s the overarching message or point of your essay? Do you have a beginning, middle, and end? Think about what you want your reader to be left with by the end of your essay, then go back and consider how each sentence contributes to that goal.
4. Editing for clarity
If your essay is too long, here’s where you can narrow down and highlight only the most important ideas. Where can you simplify your wording and make your statements more direct? Does your essay raise any questions that are left unanswered?
A final essay should be free of any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. When you’re happy with the content of your essay, be sure to do a final check to polish your essays and make sure they shine . It’s also helpful to have another pair of eyes read through your essays. They can check for any mechanical errors as well as clarity of the content.
While you may decide to brainstorm for every prompt, you’ll probably want to settle on one before you start drafting your Pomona supplemental essays. Keep reading for more tips on how to select the right Pomona essay prompt for you.
Advice on choosing the right essay prompt for you
Choosing which of the Pomona College essay prompts to respond to might feel like a big decision. After all, the prompts you pick will directly impact your Pomona supplemental essays and the topics you discuss in them. Before you get stressed out about making this decision, just remember you can’t go wrong. The Pomona admissions team included all of these prompts for a reason: they want to read a Pomona essay about something you feel passionate about.
Now that you know you can’t go wrong with any of the Pomona College essay prompts, you still have a decision to make. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you decide which of the Pomona College essay prompts make the most sense for you.
Don’t limit your choices
While you may be immediately drawn to a specific prompt, take the time to do a timed free-write for all six of the Pomona College essay prompts. You may be surprised what topics you come up with for each when given the chance!
Always go back to the why
Imagine every prompt for your Pomona supplemental essays asks this question at the end: “Why?” For example, if you can’t articulate why you’re bringing your favorite stuffed animal from home in response to short answer prompt #2, it’s probably not a good enough topic for one of your Pomona supplemental essays. The meaning behind the topic you choose is the key to crafting passionate essays.
Think about the bigger picture
Remember, your Pomona College supplemental essays won’t be considered on their own. They’ll be considered alongside your other essays and elements of your application. So, keep in mind your overall personal narrative and how each essay contributes to it. Use each essay to highlight something new so that admissions gets a true sense of who you are and what you’d bring to campus.
Remember, above all, choose the prompts you’ll have the most fun responding to! If your responses to the Pomona College essay prompts capture your voice and passion, you’re doing everything right.
Does Pomona care about essays?
If you’re wondering how to get into Pomona, you might be asking yourself how important the Pomona supplemental essays are when it comes to admissions decisions. As a highly ranked and selective college, Pomona needs to be impressed with every part of your application. Admissions is looking for students who are passionate about their intellectual pursuits and will thrive in their campus community.
Furthermore, each Pomona essay is an opportunity to demonstrate how serious you are about attending Pomona. Completing the Pomona supplemental essays with care demonstrates your competence as a prospective student, commitment to personal excellence, and respect for the college. So, well-thought-out and polished Pomona supplemental essays should definitely be a top priority in your “how to get into Pomona” strategy.
To drive home the importance of your Pomona supplemental essays, consider this: There are many colleges without supplemental essays and others with optional supplemental essays. All three of the Pomona supplemental essays are required . That means admissions is relying on your essays to provide them with a full, vibrant picture of who you are and what you’ll bring to Pomona.
Additional information about Pomona College
So, now that we’ve gone over the essay prompts and have touched on just how important the Pomona supplemental essays are, let’s look at the other Pomona requirements. After all, you need more than just the essays to complete your Pomona application.
In addition to your Pomona supplemental essays, you’ll need to submit:
- Completed Common App, Coalition, or QuestBridge application
- Official high school transcript
- School report and counselor recommendation
- Mid-year report
- Two letters of recommendation (from core academic subject areas)
- Application fee or fee waiver
Students also have the option of submitting standardized test scores , requesting an interview, and sharing an arts supplement . If you’d like to submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher of an elective subject, coach, employer, or other individual, please note this must be in addition to the two required letters of recommendation.
Now, let’s touch on another important part of the application process – financial aid.
Pomona Financial Aid
Over half of Pomona’s students receive some level of financial aid . Pomona is need-blind, meaning they evaluate applications regardless of a student’s financial status. They are also dedicated to meeting fully demonstrated need. So, eligible students will receive an offer comprised of grants and a student employment allotment.
If you plan on applying for aid , be sure to do your research. The deadline to apply for financial aid will depend on whether you choose to apply Early Decision I, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision. Be sure to double-check the financial aid deadline for your chosen admissions plan.
If you have any more questions about what it’s like to attend Pomona, there are many ways to learn more. Pomona’s Connect / Visit page has everything from virtual campus tours, Q&As, and webinars as well as information regarding in-person programs and info sessions.
Pomona Supplemental Essays: Final Takeaways
As the most selective of the Claremont Colleges, Pomonacarefully considers each students application as a whole. In order to get the most complete understanding of their applicants, Pomona Admissions requires students to submit three Pomona College supplemental essays. While all students will write a Why Major essay, the other Pomona College essay prompts cover a range of topics.
To help you tackle your Pomona College supplemental essays, keep in mind these key takeaways:
- Prospective students will need to write three Pomona supplemental essays: a Why Major essay, a short response essay, and a longer response essay.
- When selecting a prompt, consider what your Pomona supplemental essays will say about you as a whole.
- Ground your Pomona supplemental essays in a specific anecdote or personal experience. Bring each essay back to the “Why?” in order to write meaningfully.
Before you submit your Pomona College supplemental essays, take a look at our guide on How to Get Into Pomona for more tips. Additionally, if you’re looking for more essay-writing tips, we have plenty of articles on how to write better essays . And, if you have more questions about your application to Pomona after it’s submitted, be sure to check out their FAQ . Good luck!
This essay guide was written by Stefanie Tedards. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
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April 7, 2021
Pomona College Announces Four-Year Test-Optional Policy
Pomona College has extended its test-optional policy for three additional years for students applying for first-year and transfer admission for Fall 2022, 2023 and 2024 entry. Under this policy, SAT or ACT scores are not required to apply, but students with available scores may choose to self-report them when applying.
The choice to submit or not submit test scores is up to the applicant. Students are encouraged to decide how best to present themselves to the admissions committee and whether—or not—their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential.
Pomona’s holistic or whole-person review process ensures that test scores are one factor among many– grades, curriculum rigor, recommendations and essays–that are considered in the application review process to assess academic preparation for Pomona. The submission of an arts supplement will continue to be an optional component of the Pomona application.
The College’s selection process will continue to be thorough and comprehensive, notes Assistant Vice President and Director of Admissions Adam Sapp. “We use a multi-factor review process and make decisions via committee,” he says. “It has always been our goal to admit students who we know will flourish at Pomona—the test optional policy will not change that.”
March 12, 2021
Pomona College Extends Test-Optional Policy for One Year
Pomona College has extended its test-optional policy for one year for students applying for first-year and transfer admission for Fall 2022 entry. Under this policy, SAT or ACT scores are not required to apply, but students with available scores may choose to self-report them when applying.
The choice to submit or not submit test scores is up to the applicant. Students are encouraged to decide how best to present themselves to the admissions committee and whether—or not—their standardized test results accurately reflect their academic ability and potential. Applicants to Pomona will be asked on the application if they would like to submit a standardized test score. If a student answers “yes,” they will submit their application and will be asked to self-report their scores later on their Pomona applicant portal.
Test scores are one factor among many– grades, curriculum rigor, recommendations and essays–that are considered in the application review process to assess academic preparation for Pomona. The submission of an arts supplement will continue to be an optional component of the Pomona application.
March 10, 2020
A Message About the Coronavirus and Visit Policies
As Pomona College continues to closely monitor the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow national and regional public health guidance, precautionary restrictions on travel, visitors and events have been implemented. Beginning March 10, all organized campus tours have been canceled. We will hold information sessions March 10-13. Beginning March 14, the Office of Admissions will be closed to visitors ; we hope to welcome visitors after April 30. During this rapidly evolving public health situation, we will continue to update you on campus visit options by email and on our website for coronavirus information .
We are committed to supporting the health and safety of our community while continuing to focus on our educational mission. While there are no reported cases of coronavirus at Pomona College, we have made this decision to minimize risks both to travelers and to our community members. For more information about the coronavirus, its symptoms and any current health or travel advisories, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website .
We will provide updates about more virtual programming options in the coming weeks and can offer you a range of sources now for learning more about Pomona:
- Our website is a tried and true source of information—from our 48 majors to admissions and financial aid policies
- Follow us on social: @pomonaadmissions on Instagram, @pomonaadmit on Twitter, and our YouTube channel are great resources
- Our students have a blog ! They write about adventures abroad, research, the Claremont caffeine scene, and much, much more
While we regret we cannot offer you the experience of physically visiting our beautiful campus at this time, we are always happy to answer your questions by email or phone (909-621-8134).
February 5, 2020
A Message for Those Affected by School Closures in Wake of the Coronavirus
We are aware that many overseas schools are modifying their schedules as a precaution in response to the coronavirus outbreak first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Pomona College will work with students, teachers and counselors to understand any modifications to classes and will not allow these changes to negatively impact students’ applications in our review process. Students who have already been admitted to the Class of 2024 will not have their admission offers rescinded; however, we expect that students will fulfill all expectations set forth by their schools to complete their high school diplomas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to closely monitor the situation. Currently, immigration from China to the United States has restrictions, but at this time we do not expect that there will be any changes to how I-20s will be issued to enrolling students this spring. Please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for the Pomona College Community and contact the Office of Admissions if you have any further questions or concerns.
October 29, 2019
A Message for Those Affected by California Fires and Power Outages
In response to the significant impact on the lives of students, families and school officials due to wildfires, the loss of electric power and/or mandatory school closures under threat of California wildfires throughout the state, Pomona College’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid extends the Early Decision application deadline to Nov. 8 for those impacted. To support students in the application process, the Office of Admissions offers extended time to submit application materials for impacted students, counselors and teachers, including the following:
- An automatic extension for impacted students. All impacted applicants now have until midnight PDT on Friday Nov. 8. to submit their application for Early Decision I. To request an extension beyond Nov. 8, please email [email protected] .
- An automatic extension to midnight PDT on Friday Nov. 8 for impacted teachers and counselors to submit the school profile, letters of recommendation, official transcripts and other materials. If an extension is needed beyond Nov. 8, please email [email protected] .
- An automatic extension to Nov. 8 for impacted parents, legal guardians and students working to complete financial aid paperwork. If an extension is needed beyond Nov. 8 please email [email protected] with your request.
- If you have any other questions about the admissions or financial aid application processes, or if we can assist you in any other way by providing critical assistance, please contact us at [email protected] or call the Office of Admissions at (909) 621-8134.
October 22, 2019
A Message for Those Affected by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Strike
Students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district have recently been impacted by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) labor strike. In addition to teachers, this strike includes school counselors and other support staff critical to the timely and successful submission of college applications and school supporting documents. In response, Pomona College’s Office of Admissions offers consideration in the application process to students in the CPS district.
To support you in the application process, the Office of Admissions offers the following assistance:
- If you need an extension for the Nov. 1 Early Decision deadline , we can extend the deadline to Nov. 8. For further requests, please email [email protected] .
- We will grant extensions to teachers and counselors for submission of the school profile, letters of recommendation, official transcripts and other materials. If an extension is needed beyond the extended Nov. 8 deadline, please email [email protected] with your request.
- If you have any other questions about the admissions or financial aid application processes, or if we can assist you in any other way, please contact us at [email protected] or call the Office of Admissions at (909) 621-8134.
A Message for Those Affected by Natural Disasters
In recent years, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes have had a destructive impact on many of our applicants and current students. Currently, tornadoes have negatively affected students and their families in the Dallas area, leaving them struggling to cope. The Pomona community has reacted with sadness and concern. The Office of Admissions extends its sympathies to those affected and will continue to offer support in the application process to those who might suffer through a natural disaster.
- If you need an extension for the Nov. 1 Early Decision deadline , please email [email protected] with the request.
- If paying the application fee presents a financial hardship for you or your family, please request a fee waiver, consistent with our policies . Please request the “Pomona-specific fee waiver” on the Common Application, and we will automatically grant the waiver to domestic or international students.
- We will grant extensions to teachers and counselors for submission of the school profile, letters of recommendation, official transcripts and other materials. If an extension is needed beyond the application deadline, please email [email protected] with your request.
- The Office of Financial Aid will work with families who may suffer from financial hardship as a result of natural disasters. If you have been impacted, please submit a letter of special circumstances to the Office of Financial Aid to alert us and we will work with you to take your circumstances into consideration. The College Board will automatically provide a CSS Profile fee waiver based on FEMA’s disaster area designations. More information may be accessed on the College Board’s Natural Disaster website.
- If you have any other questions about the admissions or financial aid application processes, or if we can assist you in any other way, please contact us at [email protected] or call the Office of Admissions at (909) 621-8134, or contact the Office of Financial Aid at (909) 621-8205 or [email protected] .
July 1, 2019
Pomona College’s 2019-2020 Supplemental Essay Prompts Are Available
When the Common Application goes live August 1, 2019, applicants will be able to see the prompts for the personal essay requirement. The Common Application personal essay is sent to every college to which the applicant applies. To create an account, visit The Common Application website . As a reminder, applicants to Pomona may use the Common Application, the Coalition Application or the Questbridge Application. For those applying to Pomona using the Common Application, we require two short supplemental essays. Those Pomona-specific essay prompts are now available on our Application Overview webpage . Applicants will choose to answer two of the three questions with responses of 200 to 250 words.
- Imagine having a 1 a.m. debate/discussion with your peers in college about an issue you care about. What is that issue, and what is the discussion?
- Share your favorite quote, and tell us what it means to you. The quote can be from an author, leader, musical artist, family member or other source—famous or not. (The quote will not be part of the word limit.)
- We want to understand you better! Tell us about a skill you have (useless or useful) and what it says about you.
September 17, 2018
Pomona College Admissions Office Expands College Access Partnerships
In its ongoing efforts to expand outreach to underrepresented populations, Pomona College’s Office of Admissions will increase its partnerships with leading college access organizations around the country. New partnerships for 2018-19 include The Ron Brown Scholars Guided Pathways Program , College Greenlight and Arkansas Commitment . Building on long-standing relationships with College Horizons , KIPP Foundation , the Posse Foundation and QuestBridge , these new partnerships continue Pomona College’s tradition of working with national, stateSer and local organizations in order to expand higher education opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds.
“We are excited to begin working with these new partners to further the goal of reaching more talented students around the country and the world,” said Director of Admission Adam Sapp. “We are pleased to be partnering with some of the most capable and high-impact organizations working in this space today.”
Additional agreements with the Marine Corps’ Leadership Scholars Program , Service to School (S2S) and the Honors Transfer Council of California (HTCCA) support Pomona College’s initiatives to enroll talented military veterans and community college transfer students. Work with current international partners such as the Sutton Trust , the Grew Bancroft Foundation , the Yanai Tadashi Foundation , Bridge2Rwanda and the Nairobi-based Equity Group Foundation likewise allow Pomona to expand pipelines for talented international students from diverse backgrounds.
Established in 1887, Pomona College is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif., about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. One of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, Pomona is a close-knit and diverse community of accomplished scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs and artists who are passionate about making a difference in the world. There are approximately 1,670 students who come from 63 nations and all 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Pomona College admits domestic applicants (U.S. citizens, permanent residents and those who graduate from a U.S. high school) regardless of their ability to pay and then meets the full demonstrated need of all admitted students. Fifty-eight percent of students receive need-based financial aid and twenty percent of students at Pomona are Pell Grant recipients.
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How to Respond to the 2034/2024 Pomona College Supplemental Essay Prompts
Pomona College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in Claremont, California. If you are applying, a few Pomona supplemental essays are required. These include an academic interest statement, a short response essay, and a longer response essay. Responding to these prompts in a stellar way offers the admissions professionals a better view of who you are. Let’s dive in!
Academic interest statement
The academic interest statement is a quick, 150 word maximum statement that shows why you chose to apply to Pomona. Quick doesn’t always mean easy, so give yourself plenty of time to write and review, and then repeat!
Academic interest statement prompt
“What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.”
A topic for this prompt shouldn’t be too difficult to think of. If you are having trouble thinking of what to say, here are a few things to think about:
- What classes did you love in high school?
- What is the reason that you picked your major?
- What about your specific program at Pomona inspires you?
- What are your career aspirations?
These are all great questions to ask yourself before you start writing, to get you inspired. As with any college application essay, just be honest and be yourself–authenticity always comes through.
The Pomona College short response supplemental essays are each only a maximum of 150 words. The good thing about this section is that there are three prompt options to choose from. That means you only have to select one to write about.
Short-response prompt #1
“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.”
This is a very unique question for a college application essay, which is why it is so great. You may not have a tradition that you can think of off the top of your head, and that’s okay! That just means this prompt may not be for you– which is why they have two more options.
An example here might be a family tradition such as eating a certain meal as a family every week, and how you would like to carry a similar tradition to college with you. It could also be a tradition that your high school community had, such as a rival football game that gets you excited to explore team rivalries at your new school. Whatever you choose to write about, try to be clear and concise in your writing, because you do not have much space to write anything super “wordy”.
Short-response prompt #2
“What item are you excited to bring with you to college?”
This is a fun question because it is so open-ended. You can use this prompt to showcase your personality and the type of person you are. It reveals things about you that can’t be found on a resume or academic report.
Whether it is some sort of memento that reminds you of your childhood or a more practical item that you can’t live without, this prompt allows you to be witty and let the reader see who you are. You could also take this question literally, and write about something that you are bringing with you that isn’t a tangible item– something you learned at some point during your life, or a quality that you have that will help you succeed in college.
Short-response prompt #3
“Describe a time when you felt empowered or on top of the world?
There are many directions that you can take this prompt, and we’re sure that upon reading it, you can think of at least one instance. For this prompt, you really want to channel the way that this feeling of empowerment made you feel, and how it affected your life, or the way you live your life. This can be a very deep question if you let it!
Longer response essays
The longer response essays are going to give you a bit more room to talk about things in more depth. They are going to be a maximum of 250 words, and you have three prompts to pick from, again for this section.
Longer response essay #1
“In the past few years, is there something you have changed your mind about? Why?”
This prompt is really interesting, especially for a long response essay. For a prompt like this, the reader wants to be able to see how open-minded you can be. Are you a person who is willing to respectfully learn about the viewpoints of others? This tells a lot about a student and the way they live their lives (and how they might adapt to college life). Think about this when you are writing this prompt.
Longer response essay #2
“Reflecting on a community that you are part of, what values or perspectives from that community would you bring to Pomona?”
For this prompt, you could talk about your community as a whole. That could be your hometown, your high school, or another larger community. You could also share about a smaller community, such as an organization that you are a part of, a church group, a service group, or even a club at school. It is important to remember that the prompt is there to inspire you, not to lock you into one certain topic. You are allowed to stray slightly from the topic as long as you redirect it to align with the question they are asking you.
Next, you want to start thinking about what Pomona College’s core values are. With this knowledge, you can align the values learned from your community with those of Pomona College. The core values of Pomona are:
- Student development
- Ethical behavior
Take these values and connect them to the values or perspectives that you will bring with you to college. The reader will be so impressed that you have done your homework and that you are aligned with what they believe in.
Longer response essay #3
“What strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize?”
This prompt is the perfect opportunity for you to dive in deep and really tell the college admissions professionals who you are on the inside. Don’t take this prompt and write about something simple– they want to know about your struggles and how they made you stronger. Lean into that feeling and write from your heart here.
A prompt like this one would be a great opportunity to write about struggles such as a medical problem, mental health struggles, bullying, family problems, growing up and growing out of friendships; the list could go on and on. This is the perfect opportunity to show Pomona what has made you stronger in your life, and how you choose to use those difficult experiences to better the life of others and yourself. This might be emotional, but that’s okay. If you feel comfortable writing about these topics, even if they are hard to get out on the page, it is going to give the essay a much more human feel. After all, sharing an authentic, lived experience reveals a person’s true colors.
Final thoughts for students
Although having this many options to write about may seem daunting at first, it makes things a bit easier on you because you have so many options to choose from. This way, there is bound to be a prompt among the Pomona supplemental essays that fits every person. As long as you stay honest and concise in each of your essays, your personality will shine through. There is no doubt that this will impress the reader!
At Scholarships360, we get that applying to college is a stressful time– which is why we have your back! Once you’ve finished up your Pomona College supplemental essays, you can start looking into scholarship opportunities in our scholarship database , and additional college admissions tips . You can also check out our guides on how many colleges to apply for , how to choose a college , and how to plan college visits .
Realizing Pomona might not be for you? That’s okay too! We have tons of other articles on other schools supplemental essays as well, such as Stanford University , Claremont McKenna College , and much more. Good luck on the rest of your college admissions process!
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CollegeVine's essay prompt database
Find your college’s application essay prompts for 2023-24
Latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools.
At CollegeVine, our goal is to make the college application process a little less stressful, so we’ve compiled the latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools in one easy, searchable database.
Also, every year we create free guides on “ How to Write X School’s Essays ” for the top 100 schools. In these guides, we give you tips and tricks on how to approach each prompt. As such, our prompt database also contains a link to each school's Essay Breakdown.
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How to Write the Pomona College Essays 2017-2018
Applying to Pomona College? This guide discusses each of the supplemental essay prompts that Pomona asks its applicants to write. After reading this article you should be able to understand:
- What these essay prompts are really trying to get at when they ask you about “superpowers” and “individual differences”
- How you can write a compelling essay that addresses these prompts and — more importantly — helps you stand out from the other 7,000+ applicants.
Located an hour east of Los Angeles, California, in sunny Claremont, Pomona College is one of the five Claremont Colleges in the Claremont Consortium and is often considered one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. The acceptance rate for Pomona is 9% with a median ACT score of 33 and a median SAT scores of 740 for reading, 740 for math, and 750 for writing. This is a highly competitive application pool, so in order to stand out, you might want to consider taking some risks and trying something a little more experimental in the supplemental essays.
In terms of size, the campus is beautiful and spacious at 140 acres, and massive buildings like the Campus Center and the Rains Center provide ample room for the 1,600 undergraduates. Sagehens have 48 majors to choose from , and access to classes throughout the Consortium provides over 2,000 courses.
The class sizes are generally very small and based around discussion, so as you write your essays you’ll want to present yourself as someone who is open to considering and respecting new ideas. This does not preclude you from having strong ideas of your own, but you’ll want to present the version of yourself who is best able to make a constructive contribution to a conversation.
Which application should I use?
There are three different paths that you can take when writing your way into Pomona: the Coalition Application, the Common Application, and the QuestBridge National College Match Application. Pomona says that it does not have any preference, so it is up to you to decide which application system to use.
First, note that t he Questbridge is a special application process that “helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.” Most students will be choosing between the Common and Coalition Applications. The Common App is used by more schools, but the Coalition App allows you to start building a portfolio early in your high school career.
The major difference between the Common and Coalition Applications at Pomona is that they each ask for a different set of supplemental essays that you will have to write in addition to the essay questions already included in the Common and Coalition Applications. CollegeVine has additional blog posts on how to tackle the Common App and Coalition essays. For Pomona, the Questbridge Application does not require any additional essays.
Common Application, Pomona-Specific Questions
If you are using the Common Application, you only need to answer one of the following three questions. Don’t choose the question that you think you “should” answer. Instead, dare to answer the question that you think you will have the most fun writing about. As you’ll see below, these supplemental questions are a little bit strange because they are designed to shake you out of clichéd responses. Also, while Pomona does not give a specific word limit for these essays, the general rule of thumb is no more than 500 words .
You have been given the option of having one superpower, but, in exchange, you have to give up one of your five senses. If you take this offer, what do you hope to accomplish with your new power, and what would you miss about the sense you’ve given up?
There is a lot going on in this question. This prompt is actually asking two seemingly unrelated questions, and it is up to you to synthesize them. The first question is : What do you want to change about the world with your new power? The second question is: Can you imagine how you would feel if your sense of the world were changed in a fundamental way? A strong response will present an artful way to tie the two halves of this double-faced question together.
Let’s take the “superpower” question first. At first, you might be thinking about traditional superpowers like flight or invincibility or laser-beam eyes, but you’ll probably do better answering this question by thinking less about the power itself and more about how you would like to use that power to change the world.
For example, maybe you live in California’s Central Valley, fertile farmland where persistent droughts have caused aquifer levels to drop to dangerously low . What if your superpower was specifically targeted to that situation, letting you replenish the aquifers? Maybe you are coming to Pomona to study ecology and political science because you know that no magic superpower is going to pull us out of this problem and that you want to explore potential solutions.
Ideally, when you talk about losing a sense in order to gain your superpower, you will not be switching topics completely. To continue with the drought example from above, you might talk about losing your sense of smell. You can stick to the topic of your essay by discussing how you would miss the scent of artichoke freshly pulled up from the earth or maybe even the omnipresent smell of cow that fills up the air around a dairy farm. This way you are talking about something more than the public policy of water conservation, but also your personal connection to that problem.
There are, of course, many other ways to answer this question. The example of central valley water conservation suggests that you don’t need to talk about a global issue of world-historical importance like “all of climate change.” Rather, you can actually use this question to focus on those issues that you know best because of your own particular background. As you work on this question ask yourself: What are the superpowers that would let me talk about what I care about? How can I talk about losing one of my senses in a way that will let me stay on the topic of my essay?
Maybe the above approach sounds a little too goody two-shoes for your tastes. What if the “superpower” you would gain opens up some difficult moral questions? Maybe your “power” is a destructive one like the ability to create fire blasts with your hands. Could such a power ever be useful? Which of your senses would you most need to keep in order to avoid becoming a moral monstrosity? An essay that focuses on the more problematic aspects of the “superpower” fantasy might demonstrate a capacity to think critically and creatively about a strange question.
One last point: When you talk about “losing one of your senses,” you should remember that many people go through the world who are blind and deaf but also live full and interesting lives. If you’re going to answer this question it might be worth listening to this conversation about disability and contemporary American culture.
One last last point: The more pedantic among us might note that there are not five, but seven senses . The writers of this prompt seem to have forgotten about the proprioception and vestibular senses.
For Pomona students, the College’s location in Southern California is integral in shaping their experience. Tell us about a location, real or fictional, that has shaped you in a meaningful way.
This question is more straightforward than the last: write about a location that is meaningful to you. There are a number of different ways to think about what it means for a place to be “meaningful” to you. A place might be meaningful because you discovered your intellectual interests there. Maybe you could write about your backyard where you discovered a love of entomology by looking under rocks. A place might be meaningful because it is tied to a significant life event. Maybe you could write about the hospital waiting room where you experienced that unsettling mixture of boredom and panic while waiting for your sister to get out of the ER.
A place might also be meaningful because it plays an important role in your community. Maybe you want to write about the local taco shack where bands, personal injury lawyers, and contractors advertise their services on a post board? Whatever you choose, remember that this question is ultimately asking you to both take your readers to a place that is important to you and tell them something about how you yourself have grown into the person you are today.
This prompt could be an especially good choice if you are a strong writer: It calls out for good descriptive prose. For bugs in your backyard, maybe contrast the feeling of soft soil with the hard exoskeletons of the insects you pick up. For the hospital ER, maybe consider the smell of stale coffee and the sound of feet scuffling around. For the taco shack you should certainly describe the smells, but don’t leave out the pleasantly sticky floor and the bathroom’s artful graffiti. Carefully written and lively prose can really help you stand out.
Finally, it’s worth saying a few words about writing on a “fictional” place. If you go this route, be sure to steer clear of lengthy plot summaries. You only have 500 words, so you will not be able to introduce your reader to the whole terrain of, say, George R.R. Martin’s Westeros.
The key to the prompt is to tell your readers why this fictional space was important to you . To read an essay that does this particularly well, take a look at Gerry Canavan’s “ We Have Never Been Star Trek .” Notice how Canavan moves between his own personal history doing the Vulcan salute and talking about the ideas that made this show so important to him — ideas that matter to those of us who don’t know what the Vulcan salute is.
One last point: The first sentence of this prompt is a distraction. You do not need to incorporate anything about Southern California into your essay unless it fits in the story about your own growth and development that you want to tell. “Sucking up” to Pomona by talking about how you love hiking in the mountains and swimming in the ocean (both of which are within driving distance of Claremont!) is probably not going to get you anywhere.
A recent Critical Inquiry course at Pomona, ‘I Disagree,’ poses these questions: What does it take to be the one juror out of twelve who votes innocent? What are the dangers of living with people who agree with you? How does a scientific or a religious community confront troublesome new ideas? Consider one or more of these questions and address ‘the noble art of disagreement.’
Right off the bat, you should recognize that the question is setting a little bit of a trap when it asks you to “consider one or more of these questions.” To better stay focused, stick to one of the three questions the prompt lists. With only 500 words, you do not have time to range across the ethics of jury deliberation, the challenge that politically homogeneous geographic regions pose for American democracy, and the sociology of religious and scientific communities.
At its heart, this question is asking you to imagine that you are already attending Pomona and taking a class on “disagreement.” The key to answering this question is to avoid spinning your wheels and making generalized proclamations about moral rectitude and human nature. Instead, do what you would do in a seminar and choose a text to respond to. That text can be a movie, novel, or poem, but it can also be a newspaper article, a current event, or even a personal experience. Having a text can focus your response and get you writing as if you were taking part in a conversation.
To take a particularly politically charged example, you might choose a text the documentary Welcome to Leith , a film about how a group of white supremacists moves into a very, very small town in North Dakota with the intent to seize control of local government and create a miniature ethno-state — a “troublesome new idea” to be sure. Can the town’s residents have a “noble” disagreement with these new comers? Are there limits to free speech, and if so what are they?
You should not be afraid to tackle controversial topics in this prompt. After all, many of your discussions in college will touch on such difficult issues, and this admissions committee wants to see if you can engage thoughtfully and respectfully with difficult issues. If you decide you want to write about a controversial topic in your essay, be sure to check out CollegeVine’s blog post on how to talk politics on college applications .
One last note: The question “What does it take to be the one juror out of twelve who votes innocent?” is so obviously pulled from the plot of Twelve Angry Men (a text commonly assigned in high school literature classes) that you should probably not write about that particular play in your response. By the end of application season, Pomona’s admissions officers will be very tired of Twelve Angry Men.
Coalition Application, Pomona-Specific Questions
If you apply using the Coalition App, you’ll need to write two supplemental essays: First, you’ll write an essay or offer a multi-media project that addresses the “Who” prompt, and then you’ll write an essay that responds to one of the three “How” prompts.
Ideally, the two essays should offer a coherent picture that lets the admissions committee know who you are and how you interact with the world around you. Good responses to these questions will address a little bit of “who” and a little bit of “how” in both essays. Finally, though the instructions say your response must be “at least 400 words,” none of your essays should be longer than 500 words.
Part I: Who
Environments and experiences shape people in different ways. what is your world like as a result, what characteristics, beliefs, or values will you bring with you when you begin college, and how does this help us understand who you are, you can respond to this prompt with an essay of at least 400 words, a collection of photos, a video response (up to 90 seconds long), or something else from your locker. if you choose to submit a collection of photos or if your video response does not include narration, please also include a short statement telling us what you hope we will learn from your submission..
When you think about your “world,” any number of things might come to mind: your friends, your favorite TV show, your dog’s poop, the petrochemicals in your plastic water bottle, the bacteria in your gut — the list goes on. With an open-ended topic like this, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and slip into clichés. You might be tempted to start an essay saying, “My world was turned upside down when my grandmother died…” A good essay about the death of one’s grandmother can, of course, be written. But what you’ll want to do is focus on a more specific aspect of your world, that will be far less common, to share with your readers.
One way of approaching this essay is to ask how your own position in the world might help you see it differently. The trick is to take a step back and ask, what is distinctive about my world?
For example, maybe there’s a specific street corner where you play the violin for a few dollars on weekends. What’s it like to live alongside pedestrians, not as one body among many moving through the crowd, but rather as an observer and entertainer? What has your time as a street musician taught you about how urban planning succeeds (or fails) at moving bodies from one place to another? How does your position as a street musician help change the way you see the city? Maybe buildings are not just places of commerce, but rather part of a lively acoustic ecosystem.
Though you are supposed to talk about your “characteristics, beliefs, and values,” the story you tell need not include a sentence where you say, “I believe x , I exhibit characteristic y , and I value z. ” Instead, by sharing a story about your own personal experience you should help your readers see how and why you see the world the way you do.
One particularly effective way of introducing your readers to your own distinctive self is to share something from your “Locker.” The Coalition App’s Locker system allows you to store different multimedia art projects in your application.
If you are a painter or a musician or a spoken-word poet or a video artist, this is your moment to shine. No matter what your intended major is, Pomona says that it is looking for students who have “ an appreciation for the visual and/or the performing arts .” If you are majoring in engineering, maybe you can share something that shows how your interest in art and science are two halves of the same coin. Maybe you have a short video showcasing a marble machine that you’ve made?
No matter what innovative or strange project you share, you should include a short artist’s statement that shares with the admissions committee “what you hope they will learn from this submission.”
Ideally, this statement should not be more than 200 words. It can be as simple as telling the committee what inspired you to take up this project. The role of this statement should not just be to explain the work itself but to explain how the work says something about you and your values and experiences. In the marble machine example above, maybe it was playing miniature golf with your dad that first got you interested in mathematics and physics, and you thought this machine would be a fitting tribute to the role he played in your intellectual formation.
What if you cannot think of anything particularly distinctive about your life? What if you are not a particularly talented multi-media artist? Another tactic is to try writing an essay that helps us see a banal aspect of your life in a new way. Remember when I mentioned dog poop a few paragraphs ago? There might be a good essay in that. What do you learn by picking up your dog’s poop every day? How does that small ritual of care structure the rest of your day? There can be something deeply meditative about tending to an animal. When we care for our fellow creatures (be they human or animal) that means dealing, perhaps lovingly, with their filth.
The “dog poop” essay probably pushes the limits of acceptability. You should avoid being vulgar and provocative just for the sake of being vulgar and provocative. But Pomona’s website says the college is looking for students who are “risk-takers.” One way to demonstrate that is to take risks in your writing. In the stack of essays about dying grandmothers, a thoughtful essay on dog poop (or a similarly peculiar topic) can stand out.
Part ii: how, please respond to one of the following three prompts with a written response of at least 400 words., how do you interact with those around you tell us about a group you’re comfortable with and how you act or behave when you’re with them. this could be your family, a team, a class, a club, etc..
If you’re not careful, this question can mislead you into offering a milquetoast response where you write about how you are a little bit awkward and nervous in new situations but your sense of humor really shines when you are with your friends. The difficulty of this essay is that most people are pretty similar when they are “comfortable.”
One way to craft a more lively response to this question is to think about this question as asking you to share something about what you’re like when you are in your element, pursuing something that you are passionate about. As I’ve suggested above, the trick here is to show rather than tell . It can sound awkward and braggadocios to simply assert, “I have personality traits x, y, and z. ” You want to tell a story that lets your reader get a sense of you as a person that goes deeper than any common adjective.
Maybe you are writing an essay about how you are most at home when you are volunteering at the local aquarium. Instead of saying, “When I’m in my element, I am a calm person,” you can talk about how your pulse evens out when you pass by a tank of drifting jellyfish. Instead of saying, “When I’m in my element, I get excited,” you can talk about how your eyes light up when telling visitors near the octopus tank about the scandal of the cephalopods .
Another challenge in this essay is that it asks you to describe a situation where you are “comfortable,” but sometimes a good essay needs a bit of a plotline, a little bit of conflict. Where’s the suspense in a description of a “comfortable” situation? One way to overcome this is by talking about how you became comfortable in a given place in a group over time. In the aquarium example above, you might have always loved sea creatures, but maybe large crowds make you nervous. How did you overcome that social anxiety, and how do you continue to manage it as you go about doing the work that you really do love?
2. How do you approach learning? Tell us about an experience with a learning process. This can be a description of a personal or academic project and the stages it involved. What did you discover?
In this question, the admissions committee wants to see how you live your passions beyond the classroom. You can do better than talking about how you wanted to get an “A” on your calculus midterm, studied really hard, and then got that “A.”
If you are focusing on an “academic project,” it is fine if it started at school, but ideally, you are talking about something that took on a life of its own. For example, maybe in your statistics AP class, you started doing a project building linear regression models to predict the walk-to-strikeout ratio for different pitchers. But after doing that project, you got more deeply involved in an online community dedicated to sabermetrics — the application of statistical analyses to baseball records.
When the prompt asks, “What did you discover?” they are not necessarily after the results of your experiment or project so much as they are asking about what you’ve learned about yourself or even what you’ve learned about the process of learning itself.
In our example about “sabermetrics,” the important thing is not the precise set of statistics that you think best model an individual pitchers performance. More important is how you learned to test your analysis by getting into impassioned (but respectful) discussions with people from all over the world. This process, in all its messiness, actually resembles the chaotic process of scientific research where people are constantly testing and debating the claims and methods of other researchers.
One last note: As you introduce your readers to your particular intellectual passion, you want to avoid burying them in jargon. Whenever possible, use laymen’s terms or offer a quick definition.
3. Our individual differences are what make us unique and can sometimes make us stand out. Write about a time when you were aware of your difference. How did it impact you, and what did you learn from the experience?
This prompt is best for you if a specific experience with difference played a formative and consistent role in your life. You might be writing about a difference in race, gender identity, religious belief, or bodily ability. But you might also be writing about how your skill level in a sport, or your facility with a language, or your family’s economic means makes you different.
Whatever it is, avoid broad clichés and generalizations that will weaken your overall message. Avoid saying something along the lines of “I overcame that difference and won” or “I put aside that difference immediately and was able to work things out.” It’s okay to be vulnerable here and establish how you changed as a person by reckoning with a difference that might still pose a very real challenge.
One way to approach this essay is to move from your own personal experience of “difference” to the larger historical, social, and political context that gives weight to that experience. For example, what did it mean to you when you went to the county courthouse for the first time and saw a monument to Confederate soldiers outside its door? As the events of this last summer suggest, these monuments have a contentious history , rooted not just in the history of the Civil War itself but also in how different groups have interpreted and remembered that war in the early and mid-twentieth centuries.
You might also consider how “difference” has played a role, not just in your life but also in the lives of those you are closest to. For example, if your mother uses a wheelchair to get around, what have you learned about the way your community facilitates access for people with disabilities by going out to lunch at restaurants with her?
Finally, if you have a unique background, it does not mean that you need to commit to answering the “diversity question.” For example, if you’d like to talk about your family history, and if you’ve been interviewing your aunts and uncles about their experience of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan , then you can talk about that in your response to the “Who” essay or in a response to question two that focuses on your passion for family history.
Good luck with your essays, and go Sagehens!
Check out the CollegeVine list of all 2017-2018 essay prompts for colleges and universities .
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Pitzer College 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 5
Pitzer College 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanation
The Requirements: One essay of 650 words; one essay of 250 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why , Community , Diversity
At Pitzer College, five core values distinguish our approach to education: social responsibility, intercultural understanding, interdisciplinary learning, student engagement, and environmental sustainability. As agents of change, our students utilize these values to create solutions to our world’s challenges. Find out more about our core values. Please choose from the following prompts and answer below (650-word limit):
Describe what you are looking for from your college experience and why pitzer would be a good fit for you. .
Pitzer wants to make sure you are psyched for the full college experience at their school. So, we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. Locate specific opportunities within your department, related programs, and clubs that really make your heart sing with excitement. And then connect those offerings to your hopes for a successful college experience (however you may define it). Talk about your academic and professional goals and how Pitzer will help you achieve them. What unexpected classes might you want to take to stoke your curiosity? Don’t forget to connect your past/present to your future. What experience do you have already that you can build on? What about the Pitzer experience will enrich your life overall? Finally, don’t forget that the prompt asks you to research Pitzer’s five core values, so make sure you reference the values that speak to you in your response. How do these values relate to your past experiences, excite you for your college career, or drive your dreams of the future?
Reflecting on your involvement throughout high school or within the community, how have you engaged with one of Pitzer’s core values?
If you choose to respond to this prompt, odds are you have something to say about social responsibility (what do we owe to our fellow humans?), intercultural understanding (how do we form connections and appreciation across cultures?), interdisciplinary learning (much like yoga, it’s all related, isn’t it?), student engagement (how can we help each other to grow, expand, and deepen our knowledge?), or environmental sustainability (Mars is cold, y’all!). Hone in on the Pitzer value that resonates the most with you and share the steps you have taken to connect, address, or engage with it over the past four years.
As a mission-driven institution, we value and celebrate the synergy created by our differences and similarities. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, identity, or personal interests that you would bring to Pitzer, and how you plan to engage in our community. (250 words)
Pitzer wants to accept students from a range of backgrounds who will contribute to their community, so tell admissions about what makes you you and how that will inform your engagement with your peers. Think about times when people have been intrigued by or curious about your identity, skillset, or background. Maybe you film and edit music videos featuring your pets and plan to expand that by collaborating with other creative classmates and peers on campus. Perhaps you learned to play cricket while visiting your grandparents in India every summer and can’t wait to teach your floormates a sport that’s less common in the US. What do you hope to share with others about your lived experience? How will you incorporate this element of your identity to enrich the world around you? Finally, make sure to reference Pitzer’s mission . Show admissions that you’re eager to make your mark in their community through the lens of those values.
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2024 biomedical & bioinformatics research internship and training experience at the knight cancer institute.
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Undergraduate interns will immerse themselves in an 8 to 10 week research experience over the summer (June-August), working directly with established mentors in various fields of biomedical research, including, but not limited to, cancer biology, immunology, cell and developmental biology, computational biology, and biomedical engineering. Interns will attend weekly education sessions covering topics from cutting-edge technologies and choice of model system, to career development. As a culminating experience, each intern will prepare and present their research at the final poster session to their peers and members of the Knight Cancer Institute (KCI) and wider OHSU community. View the 2023 program schedule .
We offer two start dates to accommodate a range of college academic calendars. The internship program runs from June 10th or June 24th through August 16th, 2024.
The B-BRITE Summer Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute offers:
- An introduction to experimental design and critical thinking.
- Participation in a guided research project facilitated by an experienced researcher.
- Direct hands-on experience in cutting edge biological and quantitative cancer research methods.
- Development of written and oral communication skills.
- Networking opportunities within a broad community of scientists.
- Weekly stipend of $500 for the 8 or 10 week program.
- Limited housing and airfare support is available.
- We are looking for motivated college undergraduates with a strong interest in a career in biomedical and data sciences and who have completed introductory science courses.
- This internship program is for motivated college undergraduates who will have completed at least one, preferably two, undergraduate years, but not yet graduated by the start date of the program.
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The 2024 Franchise 500 Ranking will be released on January 16th
This Graduate Student Started a Side Hustle to Help Pay Tuition. It Earned Over $115,000 Last Year — More Than His Full-Time Job. In 2017, Carter Osborne launched a side gig to "take the edge off" tuition payments for graduate school. But it would grow into a much larger — and lucrative — venture.
By Amanda Breen • Jan 10, 2024
- Osborne’s unique focus on essay specialist services and collaborative networking with competitors have been critical to his success.
- Osborne emphasizes the importance of persistence and niche targeting for aspiring side-hustlers aiming to turn their ventures into profitable businesses.
This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Carter Osborne , who started tutoring students in need of help with college application essays in 2017. Today, Osborne's business brings in about $110,000 per year — more than his full-time job as a director at a global PR firm.
When did you start your side hustle , and where did you find the inspiration for it?
Tuition was my original motivation. I started graduate school in 2017, and my tutoring business was originally meant to be a temporary, small-scale operation to take the edge off tuition.
I was inspired by two people who ran their own tutoring practices at the time, both of whom advised me during the weeks after I launched. One was a test prep tutor in New York who helped me understand the logistics behind starting my own business. The other was a Seattle-based college consultant who had previously supported me during my application process to Stanford . I only met with her once, but she had such a profound impact on my college search that I was inspired to reconnect, emulate her work and start tutoring college essays.
Related: The Sweet Side Hustle She Started 'On a Whim' Turned Into a $20,000-a-Month Income Stream: 'It's Simple, It's Affordable and It's Fun'
What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?
Mentorship was key. I reached out to local college consultants and asked for informational meetings, both to understand their business models and to pitch myself as a potential resource. It worked — one of them recommended several clients from her waitlist to help me get started, and another hired me as a part-time writing coach. These were small steps by my standards today, but at the time, they were just what I needed to get off the ground.
From there, client referrals became the core of my growth. I had three clients in my first year, 14 clients in my second year, 23 clients in my third year and so on. This year, I worked with over 50 clients and referred several families to other tutors after reaching capacity. It was a nice full-circle experience — I owe my start to referrals from established tutors, and this year, I got to provide those referrals to others.
Related: This Former Teacher Started a Side Hustle That Made More Than $22,000 in One Month: 'I Have Never Been More Fulfilled'
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your side hustle, and how did you navigate them?
I quickly discovered that there are hundreds of qualified tutors in urban hubs like Seattle, including many who work in my core business of college applications. This created a major challenge: How could I build a unique service that stands out from everyone else's?
There turned out to be two answers. First, I pivoted away from academic tutoring and test prep and focused entirely on the niche market of college essays. It was a calculated risk — the market for college essays is relatively small, but that's exactly what made it easier to differentiate myself as a specialist.
Second, I turned my competitors into partners . College admissions consultants typically advise on the full application process, but many don't enjoy working on essays. As an essay specialist, I pitched this as an opportunity to consultants in the Seattle area — they could onboard new clients, outsource the essay portion to me, and then continue working with their clients on all other aspects of the application. The result was a win for everyone: College consults got to offload work they didn't like, students got specialized essay support, and I got a bump in business from people who otherwise would have been my competition.
Related: This Arizona Teacher Started a Side Hustle That Immediately Earned More Than Her Full-Time Job: 'Much Better Than $40,000'
How long did it take you to begin seeing consistent monthly revenue? Did revenue ever surpass that of your full-time income, and if so, when?
I began seeing monthly revenue right away. It started small: a few thousand dollars in my first year and about $10,000 in my second year. However, by my fourth year, I earned over $113,000, which exceeded my full-time income as a director at a public relations firm.
You've turned your side hustle into a successful business. How much average monthly or annual revenue does it bring in now?
In 2023, my business generated roughly $115,000 in revenue. Almost all of this comes during the six-month stretch from June to December when college applications are at their peak. I take time off from tutoring from January to May, which allows me to reset and think critically about ways to improve my service for the next application cycle.
What's your advice for other side-hustlers who hope to turn their ventures into successful businesses?
First, develop something unique about your product or service. How can you make your work stand out from the competition? This might mean pursuing a niche market within your field (like college essays within the field of tutoring) or building a variation on your product. It doesn't need to be revolutionary — I'm always surprised by customer enthusiasm for products that are marginally different from the mainstream.
Second, stay patient as you grow. There are plenty of stories about side hustles that struck it rich in year one, but for most of us, success takes time. If you have a multi-year time horizon and the persistence to keep at it, your investment will be much more likely to pay off.
Related: 3 Secrets to Starting a High-Income Side Hustle in 2024, According to People Whose Gigs Make More Than $20,000 a Month
Finally, remember that there are no prerequisites to starting a successful side hustle . I am hardly the stereotype of a business owner: I studied public policy in college and never dreamed of starting a business. There's no such thing as a "type" of person who becomes a successful business owner, so go pursue your ideas and see what happens.
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Most popular red arrow, this graduate student started a side hustle to help pay tuition. it earned over $115,000 last year — more than his full-time job..
In 2017, Carter Osborne launched a side gig to "take the edge off" tuition payments for graduate school. But it would grow into a much larger — and lucrative — venture.
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11: How to Write the 2023-24 Harvard University Essays (Part 1)
- Sep 29 2023
- Length: 18 mins
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Join Stacey and Becca as they discuss the first three (out of five) 2023-24 Harvard University supplemental essay prompts that applicants must respond to in 200 words or fewer. Access our 2023-24 Harvard University Supplemental Essay Guide: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/supplemental-essay/harvard-university-2023-24-supplemental-essay-prompt-guide/ Watch some of our YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MaLsIu1vdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6VxiKDeqQc Work one-on-one with an Advisor from our team: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/one-on-one-advising/ Follow us on social: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CollegeEssayAdvisors Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollegeEssayAdv Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/collegeessayadvisors/ Website: https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/ *Details have been changed as it relates to any and all essay examples mentioned in the podcast to protect the privacy of our clients. Don't forget to subscribe so you can be notified when we release new episodes!
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