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How to Respond to the 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. 

Short-response essays

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:

  • Professionalism
  • Community
  • Teamwork
  • 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!

Additional resources

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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