Pomona vs Cornell vs Williams

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Pomona vs Cornell vs Williams
By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Out of Cornell, Williams, Pomona, NYU, Berkeley, Carleton, and Haverford I've narrowed down the list to Cornell, Williams, and Pomona. Carleton, Haverford, and Williams are very similar except Williams has better academics and a better reputation. So i crossed out Haverford and Carleton. Pomona has sunny Cali which I love, and its also a strong liberal arts school (although im not sure how it compares to the other liberal arts schools). So...


I want to be a doctor, so im looking for a school with good medical school acceptance rates. However, I dont want to be completely immersed in only sciences. I love the arts and literature, and want a well-rounded education. I live in Texas, and no one appears to know about Williams and Pomona as far as their reputation in getting students into med school, but I know Cornell has a fairly high one. Any advice or enlightenment?

By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

I know that Cornell has a med school acceptance rate of 85% and Berkeley has 75% --- don't know about the others.

I'm not sure why you've put Carleton, Pomona and Cornell is the same line -- it's just a very odd combo - east coast to west coast, colleges versus universities....that's just real strange.

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 04:30 pm: Edit

Lots of pre-meds at Williams, and good med school acceptance right is very high (the Admissions Office can probably give you detailed stats on this). Williams recently built a fantastic science center, and the science majors are top notch. (I'm a Williams alum, and was a science major, but not pre-med).

California and the mountains of the Berkshires are two very different locations!

Cornell is very large - completely different than Williams and Pomona.

Good luck - and congrats on having this choice to make.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Looking at my college list...i agree with you guys- it is kinda querky. I didnt realize it was so diverse. If I could get more insight as far as lifestyle in the three different colleges, it'd be very appreciated.

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:08 pm: Edit

I am doing the pre-med track at Pomona right now. We have a very high med school acceptance rate (around 85-90%, but I'd check with the admissions office). I think all three schools will have comparable med school acceptance rates, but I think you should first decide whether you want a large or small school. Williams and Pomona are small, and Cornell is much larger - however the consortium at Pomona might make you feel less claustrophobic. Finally, Pomona is actually constructing a new Biology building right now that will be ready to hold classes the Spring of 2005, which is just in time for you since first-years doing pre-med start taking biology their second semester.

By Innotof (Innotof) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:15 pm: Edit

At Pomona you can pursue your interests in literature and the arts at the other Claremont colleges. You can even double-major at Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, or Scripps if you like!

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

Med. school admission rates can be very deceiving if the college spends lots of energy whittling down those who will essentially be allowed to apply.

I have no current information in that regard. 35 years ago, I took freshman biology at Williams. There were 115 students (this was at a time that the school only had 1,200.) There was a class scheduled at 8 a.m. on Saturdays (when all exams were held as well), and strict attendance taken. It's a long time ago, but I seem to remember the class being about as unpleasant as any course I ever took (by the way, I loved the rest of my Williams education). All tests were graded on a strict curve, and in the days before grade inflation. (and I wasn't premed, just interested in biology!) I received a C+ my first term), which was the average grade.

By the end of the second year, the 115 pre-meds at Williams had become 35. 34 of them were accepted to medical school. (so, now tell me, should the med school rate have been 98% or 30% or something in between?)

These are all fine, fine colleges. Go where you feel most comfortable. More comfortable students are more likely to get into med school.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Im going to be visiting Williams and Cornell in the coming weeks, but I dont think i'll have a chance to visit Pomona. Bah! I dont think a month is enough time to make such an important decision.

By Sunshine916 (Sunshine916) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

wow i'm in the same dilemma

Johns Hopkins

for pre-med

aghhhhhhhhh!!!!! good luck!!!

By Meredith (Meredith) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 06:48 pm: Edit

Cornell is getting hotter because a lot of applicants aren't getting into the top schools anymore. However, it is considered the easiest Ivy to get into. So in a way, it is a fallback for the other ivies as well as Duke and Stanford. Ponoma and Williams are in a different category because they are top LACs. Some of the best candidates only want LACs or Dartmouth, so these schools are fallbacks for no schools. Ponoma has a great reputation in the west but it is sort of unknown in the east. Williams, however, is better ranked and has alums everywhere. In terms of prestige, you are better off with Williams unless your goal is to move out west.

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 08:22 pm: Edit

I would go with Pomona or Williams. Academicly they are equal and are equal in grad schools' eyes. I would personally go with Pomona since it has better location (near Los Angeles) and has much better weather.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

Anyone know where i can look up data for medical school and where these three colleges rank?

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 11:35 am: Edit

Call, or send an email to, the Williams Admissions Office - they can get this info for you for Williams

By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

Just as a side note, I think the LACkys have come out in force to defend Pomona and Williams. In truth, they're practically unknown colleges, and you'll spend the rest of your life explaining to your friends which college you go to. My friend is at Amherst, which is a better LAC than these two, and he's transfering to Cornell this year (if he gets in).

It just amazes me that that the ratio of real universtity students to LAC students must be like 10:1, yet the LACkys spare no expense when it comes spinning a web of prestige around their colleges.

Someone mentioned size -- Cornell is actuall smaller than Harvard in total student size --it's the campus that is larger. LACs are the size of community colleges, and in 99% of the populations eyes, have the same amount of prestige...they're simply not known.

I urge you to do one thing...randomly ask 10 people if they've heard of the LACs. If none of them know, ask 10 more....keep asking until you find someone that DOES know. If that doesn't convince you, nothing else on this board will

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:32 pm: Edit

Does it matter if your neighbors know? Noone my son talked to heard of Wash U or Emory,did know Duke. He will probably go to Pomona however as grad schools and employers Do know it and he can get am amazing well rounded education there. Luckily there are schools for all tastes and needs.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit


By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit

"Does it matter if your neighbors know? "

In that case, why not just go to community college? That'll also give you a fine education if you really want to learn

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 08:07 pm: Edit

It DOESN'T matter if your neighbors know or not. It's the people who work in graduate school admissions that do, and you can bet that they know LAC's. You just gave a clear example demonstrating that your neighbors' knowledge of a school (for example, a local community college) has no correlation with the type of education that you will get and your chances at a good graduate school.

If your only reason to attend a non-LAC is because of what others around you think, then you are a complete prestige-whore and we don't want you attending one anyway.

By Haon (Haon) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Don't listen to Humbleservant.

Williams is academically the most highly respected of the three, although both Cornell and Pomona are extremely respected. Yes, your grocer will have heard of COrnell and not Williams or Pomona, but where it counts (employers and grad schools), you have nothing to worry about. If prestige matters THAT much to you that you want your semi-educated neighbor to be impressed with where you're going, go to Cornell. If not, the prestige between the three schools is similar enough that it shouldn't be a real factor in your decision.

All three schools have extremely high med school acceptance rates (they all vary from 85-90% year-year...I have emailed the schools about this). It's important to note that Cornell has many "weed out" pre-med courses which leads to an artificially inflated med school acceptance rate (neither Pomona nor Williams have any "weed out" departments anymore).

Williams has an amazing, beautiful new science complex.

At Williams and Pomona you will have mainly smaller classes while at Cornell you WILL have a fair amount of 100+ student intro courses (especially as a premed).

Mini, 40 years ago bio at Williams sounds like it was dreadful. I took bio 101 last semester and it was wonderful. My class was 35 students and taught by a star professor. He knew all of our names by the second week of class, made a point of talking to us after class. We had lab and discussion sessions once a week led by him with only 15 students. In our second bio lab we used a brand new SEM and TEM. Each person had as much time at both microscopes to complete the observations necessary for our lab. I personally spent about 20 minutes alone at the controls observing bacteria. While I'm personally not a premed, I have friends who are premeds who love Williams. There are no schools in the country that have better science programs than Williams (and only a few that have comparible programs).

My best friend is a freshman at Cornell previously and is currently seriously considering being a premed. He doesn't seem thrilled with the school in general right now.

Some considerations you should take into account when deciding among these schools:
*Pomona is in the LA area which means it is smoggy.
*Seasons. Do you like them? I wouldn't give up seasons for the world...they're wonderful. Cornell and Williams have 'em, Pomona does not.
*Cornell is huge, Williams and Pomona are not.
*Pomona is part of a college consortium. Williams is not.
*Cornell can be very grey...often.
*This past year has seen a rash of hate crimes on the Claremont McKenna campuses. Pomona specifically has not had any on their campus or by their students, but there have been numerous hate crimes on the other campuses (a cross burning...antisemetic graffiti). The FBI shut down all of the campuses for a day or so to investigate, it was so serious at one point.
*Cornell is known for being a very high stress environment. Pomona and Williams students are known for being among the happiest college students in the country.

Sunshine--Johns Hopkins is much more similar to Cornell than either Pomona or Williams. I'd urge you to do an overnight at the campus...Johns Hopkins has a reputation for being one of the most internally competitive schools in the country. In general, JHU is probably not quite as well-respected as Williams, Pomona, or Cornell. However, JHU has one of the best hospitals and med schools in the world so premeds are held in a high esteem through association. However, be aware...Johns Hopkins' reputation primarily derives from its grad and post-grad programs...NOT its undergrad programs.

By Palmbeach12 (Palmbeach12) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 11:26 pm: Edit

Williams is the most highly respected of the 3 academically?

More than Cornell and you even mention more than Hopkins??

I'll even go as far to say that Cornell and Hopkins are BETTER academically and even more highly respected... even with academics.

Do not think that the research opportunities and strong grad affiliations that Cornell and Hopkins offer don't make a huge difference...whether to foster an excellent undergrad program or reputation for that matter...

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

It all depends on what kind of student you are and want to be. My girls turned down namebrand schools because they really wanted the best chance to get into medical school and Cornell was not the route for them to take. They were not top students in the maths and sciences, nor were their test scores that high. And at schools like Cornell and JHU there are ever so many top, top students all competing for med school. The best of the bunch will undoubtedly have the attention of the top medical programs but a a C at Cornell or JHU does not an A or even a B at NONAME COLLEGE make. The gpa takes precedence over the prestige of the college anyday. The more nurturing the environement at the undergrad school, the better your chances as long as the courses are taught well so that your MCATs scores do not suffer. I doubt if Pomona or Williams has that problem.

However, for those students who are at the top of the test heap and are hoofing and pawing for academic challenge and research opportunities, Cornell and Hopkins offer some of the best available. And those who excell in such programs can name their med school. The top med schools love research experience and top level research experience is a big extra on the app not to mention a fabulous experience. But you cannot swap it for the gpa--does not work that way. My nephew went to a top elite school and got into a top national med school and into a tremendous residency, all because of who sponsored him in research and his contributions in research in addition to high MCAT scores and great grades. There is no question that he got favored treatment because of his undergraduate school and the research and connections he got through this school. But he will be the first to tell you that it was a cutthroat experience. He was sharp enough and motivated enough to triumph but does not recommend for anyone without a strong resolve and strong stomache. He felt he had little fun and social life during his undergraduate years and a lot of stress. Many of his classmates, all bright and talented students did not make it to medical school. And they well might have, at a less strenuous program. A C can knock you out of the running in the medical school race. And it is ever so easy to get that C in some of these schools.

So it depends on what you want to do in college. My nephew was 20 years old by the time he went into the serious premed program and had already gone through his social scenes and was ready to buckle down for years of hard work. He was willing to forego much of his fun and games. But many of you are 18 or younger and have worked so hard in highschool. Perhaps you want to enjoy the social scene a little more, have some fun. Do keep that in mind when you pick your college.

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

Haon - To clear something up, the five colleges are NOT called the "Claremont Mckenna Colleges." They are collectively called the "Claremont Colleges," and Claremont Mckenna is only a single college in the consortium.

Concering the hate crime with the anti-semtic, racist, and misogynist vandalization of a CMC professor's car, this professor has actually been accused of doing the crime herself. Btw, the FBI did not shut down the schools to investigate; the presidents of the colleges decided to cancel classes (an act initiated by Pomona's president, even though the incident did not take place on his campus) because of the seriousness of the situation and the importance of discussing the problem.

By Haon (Haon) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 07:26 pm: Edit

Gnatcire--my mistake about the Claremont Colleges name...it was a simple oversight i should not have made.

I had heard that the professor has been accused of vandalizing her own car, which would definitely be interesting if it were true (although I'm not sure what would motivate her to do such a thing). However, this was not the lone instant of hate crimes on the Claremont campuses, and even if the act was done by the professor herself, I'm not sure if its any less seriousness.

I think shutting down the colleges was probably a good decision on the part of Pomona's president. Pomona DOES seem relatively less touched by these events than the other Claremont Colleges, which is a good thing. However, I do think that even for a student at Pomona, this wave of hate crimes at the Claremont Colleges should be taken very seriously.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 09:23 pm: Edit

I have been actually leaning towards the two liberal arts colleges, because of their small sizes and "one-on-one" attitudes. However, there has been influence from my parents (noticeable, but not too strong) to pick Cornell because of its "ivy" name, and they will be the ones paying for my education...

Haon, how is the winter semester at Williams? It almost appears as if Williams has a year long schedule, which is sort of a turn-off. Do they give you a long enough winter break to visit family and relax?

The smog at Pomona is one of my main concerns, but since i DO live in dallas i would think the pollution is comparable. Ive been to california twice and loved it both times, though i thought my trip to san francisco was better than my trip to LA. But...then again I do like snow...

I also thought about applying to JHU, but after i spent a summer there for a Pre-College program, i changed my mind. The mood of some of the RAs was rather down. They seemed to have regretted going to Hopkins because of the insane stress level and cut-throat competition. I dont mind a lot of work, i can deal with that as long as get enough time to play as well, but what I do mind is intense grade-grabbing and selfishness within the student body. Are any of these schools noted for stiff backstabbing competition (i dont mean the healthy kind)?

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 09:26 pm: Edit

Actually, a good portion of the Cornellians that ive met werent too thrilled about their experiences there. None outright hated their experiences, but none were too enthusiastic either.

Have i just been unlucky in who ive talked to?

By Happykid (Happykid) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 11:33 pm: Edit

I drove through Pomona on the way to Palm Desert on my Spring Break. The smog was terrible. I have asthma and would note even consider going there. Plus... I like a clear blue sky and I like to see the sun. Williams would certainly appeal more to me. Williams has a better reputation nationally, too.

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 02:25 am: Edit

Haon - technically there were no hate crimes at the Claremont Colleges. According to it's definition, a hate crime must be directed at a specific person, and according to the police, not even the the car vandalism incident falls under that definition (since she did it to herself). However, that does not mean to say that the other occurences were justified - there definately is no room for that at the Claremont Colleges. Nevertheless, I, as a person of color, still feel very safe at Pomona and now I know that there are lots of people behind me who will not tolerate these acts in anyway.

The smog has not affected my breathing at all since I've been here, but I do not have asthma. Fortunately, the smog is at its worst when students are already back home for the summer.

By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 12:51 pm: Edit

Wow the LACkys are really turning out in force on this thread.

Williams and Pomona aren't even proper universities! They barely get 3000 applications per year (compared to 20k for any other school), and most of the applications are all from locals. I'd rather go to community college, save 120k, and then transfer to a proper university than attend Williams or Pomona.

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:01 pm: Edit

Check your facts before posting your remarks. Williams receives far more than 3000 applications per year.

The rest of your post isn't worth responding to.

Instead of attacking other schools, it would more helpful to others on this website if you focussed on explaining the positive aspects of the school you are promoting (Cornell).

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:04 pm: Edit

Actually, Pomona had 4900 applicants for around 350 spots. Thats 14 applicants per spot.

By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit

I'm promoting ANY school over LACS, even community colleges with transfer programs. Amerst has 5k applications, and I know that williams and pomona have less than Amherst. Please provide links to the info you presented.

Also, the applicant pool is diverse only for Amherst -- for the other LACs it is very local.

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

Williams had 5700 applications this year for the class of 2008.

Amherst had 5631 applications last year for the class of 2007; probably up a bit this year.

Williams application number comes from the Williams Record (student newspaper - available online). Amherst apps # comes from Amherst website.

The "diversity" of the applications (you seem to be referring to geographical diversity) at both schools is virtually the same. This can be verified on both www.williams.edu (class statistics) and www.amherst.edu (class of 2007 profile).

Your motivation in making such inaccurate remarks on a website like this is puzzling at best.

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Pomona had 4,900 applications this year, according to their acceptance letter. Last year, it was 4539 applications, which can be verified by looking at the Class Profile for 2007 under the admissions section of Pomona's website.

Btw, Pomona is very diverse geographically as well. 64% of the students come from out of state, which is pretty good considering that CA is the third largest and first most populous state. Cornell only has 62% of students who are out of state, which is in fact lower than Pomona's numbers. Both of these percentages can be checked on their college profiles at the princetonreview.com.

Why don't YOU try providing links for your FALSE statements.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:56 pm: Edit

hmm...lots of fighting

one point id like to make, why do you think having a small applicant pool is bad? Cooper Union had only 2,216 applicants in 2002, would you consider that school therefore worse than my local community college? The Air Force Academy also had a similar Applicants to available spots ratio with Williams in 2002, would you consider it worse than my local community college? Although i dont have actual facts, im pretty sure Juliard didnt have 15,000+ applicants either. I'm not trying to bad mouth you, just trying to understand your logic.

I'm not trying to bad mouth Cornell here either because I know it is a great school. But i also know that Williams and Pomona are also equally great schools. They are on an almost equal footing, which is why I'm having such a hard time deciding between the three schools. I really wish i could get some input from graduate professors and people on the admin committee for graduate schools to see what they thought about the three schools.

Cornell IS a big school, so im assuming it has many opportunities to volunteer at hospitals and work at internships. Because I want to get into medical school, I would like to experience either doing research or working with patients (at a private practice, volunteering my time with the terminally ill, volunteering at a hospital, or even tutoring, or taking care of children). Would all three schools give me equal opportunity to do these things? I put more importance in being able to volunteer my time with patients than i do with research because I dont intend on getting a PhD

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 08:41 pm: Edit

Eulogy - your point is a good one. A smaller applicant pool isn't a bad thing at all.

I remember my pre-med friends at Williams being more involved with research than volunteer opportunities. (But none of them went into research - they are all practicing physicians). I would suggest contacting the Williams admissions office (and the admissions offices at the other 2 schools too), to see if they can put you directly in touch with someone involved with the pre-med program who could answer your questions.

Good luck. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with the choices you have.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 09:53 pm: Edit

Jrpar - if you dont mind me asking, how long ago were you a student at Williams?

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 10:16 pm: Edit

Eulogy - I'm a good many years out of Williams! My older child is applying to college next fall and so I'm lurking on this website trying to learn more about the schools he's interested in, to give you some idea. Like many Williams alums, I am still very involved with Williams on a number of levels - fundraising, some admissions work, book awards, career mentoring, local alumni activities. I'm in Williamstown at least several times a year. So I'm pretty up on what's going on on campus today. But my advice is NO substitute for actually talking to someone in Williamstown today - they can give you the real scoop and hard facts (that's why I keep encouraging you to contact the Admissions Office - they will put you in touch with on campus people who can answer your questions).

By Annakat (Annakat) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 01:02 am: Edit

smog in the san gabriel valley is the worst in the summer. it's really not that bad during the school year.

you've got three great schools to choose from. they're all so different though, so i'd say choose based on what you want to study, what sort of community you think you'd enjoy most, what location appeals most to you, and where you feel the most comfortable.

the students at all three of these schools are bright. the stats of the first-year classes seem to show that students at pomona are by far the most capable (1450 sat vs 1395 at williams, 1370 at cornell), but i'm sure the student bodies at all three places are extremely talented.

By Lilyofthevalley (Lilyofthevalley) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 03:39 am: Edit

i was accepted to pomona and rejected to both cornell and williams, although i know of people who have reverse situations so i don't think that says much. i pretty much agree with what others have said; cornell is way different from pomona and williams in size, and between pomona and williams, i think williams has more prestige if that matters any. i think if i had been accepted to all three i would've chosen pomona anyway however, but that's because i want to go somewhere more laid-back. that's just me of course. i'm currently choosing between pomona and UCLA, again very very different schools. good luck, and i agree with others again in saying that any three schools you can't go wrong for sure.

By Haon (Haon) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Annakat--I'm not sure where you got those SAT numbers. Williams and Pomona have nearly identical SAT ranges, and the USNWR ranks them as having equivilent selectivity (while their ranking isn't perfect, their selectivity ranking usually DOES tend to be one of the better ones out there). Cornell SAT range however is about 40 points lower on both ends. It's hard to compare selectivities between the schools between they have such different applicant bases.

By Annakat (Annakat) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

the SAT numbers are from princetonreview.com. the numbers are hardly identical. not surprising, since pomona draws from a very capable pool of california applicants. also, pomona has fewer competitors on the west coast, while williams must compete with harvard, yale, princeton, and amherst; more times than not, getting students that were not admitted to these schools; formidable competitors, so williams still has a talented student body.

haon, again, that's www.princetonreview.com. search for williams college. on the first webpage that comes up you'll see "1395". if you do the same for pomona, you'll see "1450". pomona students have an average 55 points higher than williams students.

By Haon (Haon) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 06:11 pm: Edit

Annakat--what do you have against Williams? 99% of your posts revolve around some criticism of Williams or attempt to make Williams look poorly.

On smog: http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~roger/as3_downloads/Sept29/RecentSmogLevels.pdf

I have a good friend who did an overnight in late november at Pomona. She had an asthma attack and was brought to the hospital. The hospital diagnosed it as a "smog induced" attack. This was the first asthma attack she has had in over 5 years--her asthma is quite slight.

I have a cousin near the San Gabriel valley. She tells me the smog is awful in the summer and mild, but noticable in the winter.

On selectivity: SATs are reported much more accurately as ranges rather than set numbers. The range given by USNWR, which incidentally tends to have much more accurate numbers, shows Williams and Pomona in a near statistical dead heat with eachother with SATs. Furthermore, this really reflects nothing; SAT scores are a poor measure of the quality of students at the college. Princetonreview.com lists Williams' selectivity at 99 and Pomona's at 97. The similarity between the two colleges SAT scores is more likely to represent Pomona's larger emphasis given to SATs in the admissions process than anything else.

It's true that Pomona has less competition for students. However, despite the fact that Pomona has less competition, the Pomona yield rate is less than Williams (41% compared to 47%). For 95% of Williams students, Williams was their first or second choice.

Look, I think Pomona is a great school. It's hard as hell to get into and it's quite admirable that the OP has a choice between so many great schools. Once again, I think the OP should visit both schools, preferably doing overnights. The schools have fairly different campus atmospheres, and chances are the OP will feel much more "at home" at one than the other.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Times like this I wish I hadn't applied to so many schools :P

I will be visiting Williams and Cornell, not sure if i can fit Pomona into my schedule...

Haon - could you kindly paint a picture for me of WInter session. While most college students are at home during that time, Williams students are still on campus (even though its just a single course). I'm not sure whether im repelled or intrigued by the winter session.

And lots of thanks to everyone for replying to this post. Everyone has been very helpful.

By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 07:56 pm: Edit

Haon, please correct me if my description of winter study is hopelessly outdated.

Williams students get about two weeks off for winter vacation. Then they return to campus in early January for a 3 l/2week between semester period in which you take just one course. The courses can be large, small, independent study, related to your major or in a subject you would never go near during the academic year; some fairly academic, others barely academic. My favorite winter study course was a small seminar on presidential campaigns taught by Al Goethals; another year I worked in a professor's neuroscience lab; senior year I worked on my thesis.

Winter study is a great time to enjoy living on the Williams campus without the usual academic pressures and time constraints. I always found that I got to know more people, both students and faculty, during winter study. I'm an avid skier, so I skiied virtually every afternoon at a small nearby mountain - packed with Williams students, some expert skiers, plenty of beginners too.

I think it Winter Study is a real plus in the Williams experience. You can pretty make whatever you want of it.

By Gnatcire (Gnatcire) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 05:30 am: Edit

Eulogy, it would be a shame if you wouldn't be able to fit a Pomona visit into your schedule. Visiting the school was actually what sold the college to me. I'd try squeezing it in, considering the fact that this is a pretty big decision that will determine where you will be in the next four years.

By Humbleservant (Humbleservant) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 12:39 pm: Edit

Pomona and Williams are LACS -- they're not universities, so there's really no comparison to real universities -- that's the view of 90% of the people on Earth.

None of my friends, relatives or acquaintances applied to LACS......it simply isn't done, and the number of applications to LACS proves it.

By Annakat (Annakat) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 02:27 pm: Edit

pomona is a small liberal arts college that is part of the clarement colleges, so you get the best of both the LAC and university worlds.

eulogy, are you asthmatic? if not, then you have nothing to worry about. the smog can be bad in the summer, but i think tales of asthma attacks upon driving into claremont are exaggerated.

haon, i think you think my posts about williams are negative. that's you're opinion, but frankly i think you're just a little sensitive. i merely point out things about the school that students should consider, such as its isolation in the massachusetts berkshires, its drinking culture that is being heatedly debated on campus, and its similarities (more than imagined differences) in terms of academics and student body to probably most of the us news top 25 liberal arts colleges (especially colby and middlebury).

By Haon (Haon) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 01:13 am: Edit

Yes, I agree, often my opinions about Williams differ from yours. You'll find that the vast majority of people who are knowledgable about Williams will have opinions that differ from yours.

I'd agree with your statement that Williams is very similar to Middlebury in many ways. Colby...not so much.

I'd also agree that Williams is very similar to other top 25 LACs in the country in academics and student body...However, it's also very different. Williams is more similar to Hamilton than it is to University of Maryland. However, all-in-all, the differences exist and are noticeable. The student bodies at Williams and Hamilton DO vary significantly...as well as the faculty, resources, campus, alumni networks, and basically any other academic factors that make up an education. There is not only a difference, there is a very distinct difference between the top three LACs and the 20-25 LACs in the country. The difference obviously decreases as you compare the top 3 LACs to better and better other ones, but the difference exists.

By Annakat (Annakat) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 02:37 am: Edit

even williams alums disagree with you, haon.

if pomona, which arguably has a more talented student body than the one at williams (higher sat scores, etc.) is suddenly ranked higher than number 4 in the us news rankings, would that change your mind about williams' similarities to it? you seem to hang on to the us news rankings as some sort of holy book. what are these "very distinct differences" that you talk about? i go to swarthmore, but i'd say the school is similar in academic quality, students, and resources to not only williams and amherst, but also to pomona and carleton and wellesley and wesleyan and smith and bowdoin and pomona and middlebury and grinnell and haverford and vassar and bates and colby and oberlin and a few others. i bet swarthmore was a more interesting place before it got all this attention from those rankings. now we have a good number of "i-applied-because-it-was-highly-ranked" students. do you think williams, amherst, and swarthmore are somehow more "elite" just because they happen to do well in the rankings? what are these differences you talk about? middlebury, swarthmore, pomona, amherst, and harvey mudd students have higher sat scores than williams students. are the students at those schools "distinctly different" from williams students? why do you think middlebury is similar to williams, but somehow colby is not? what is it about colby that makes is SO different from williams? you think students at the holy trinity of lac's are "better" than students at other schools?

By Haon (Haon) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Annakat--I've never once mentioned rankings. Williams and Amherst and Swarthmore have been considered the three best liberal arts colleges in the country basically since they're founding. Yes, there are always other schools who consider themselves comparible with the big three (and usually they are comparible). However, none of these have been consistantly so excellent, which is why Williams, Amherst, and Swarthmore have the reputation that they do. If Pomona was ranked #1 next year and Amherst was ranked #56, it wouldn't change my opinion of either school. The USnews neither validates nor creates my or almost any other person's (with the possible exception of high school students) opinion of schools.

I'm happy you think Swarthmore is on-par with all of those schools. My entire family went to Oberlin and I can confidently say that while Oberlin is a great school, it's not on-par with Williams. All of my family members (and many students/faculty/administrators) at Oberlin would agree with that conclusion. Many of the schools you've listed would fall into the same category as Oberlin.

First of all, SATs alone are a very poor measure of student quality. Many schools weigh the SATs very heavily while others do not. Second of all, many schools do not require students to submit their highest SAT scores (Middlebury for instance allows SATs to be substituted for a combination of ACTs and SAT IIs I believe). Schools that do not require SATs have significantly higher SAT "averages" and "ranges" than what truly exists in their student body. Williams requires all students to submit SAT I scores. A much better indicator of quality of students are selectivity rankings (which are still quite poor indicators). Earlier this year someone posted a composite of selectivity rankings in a 5 year period. The composite ranking included several different ranking systems (the USNews and Atlantic Monthly rankings were two). This study found small but fairly insignificant differences between Amherst Williams and Swarthmore, and a large and significant difference between these three schools and the next highest (which I believe was Middlebury or Pomona).

Do I honestly think that these rankings are accurate or the composite ranking was a good measure of selectivity? They probably aren't. However, you keep spouting SAT scores and these are all significantly more accurate than SATs when measuring selectivity or student quality.

An interesting point that you seem to have missed in your post is that off cross-admit rates. Middlebury is similarly as selective as Williams. However, of those students who are admitted to Williams and Middlebury and go to one of the two schools, a very significant majority go to Williams (65% according to a Middlebury Dean, 75% according to a Williams admission officer). Williams wins the cross-admit battle with every LAC in the country with the exception of Amherst and Swarthmore (which they split almost exactly 50/50). I think this alone is VERY significant.

By Haon (Haon) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

(Annakat, email me if you want to debate about this from now on. It's not fair to the posters to use up space in their threads arguing. You obviously dislike Williams, I obviously disagree with many of your reasons for disliking Williams. Can we leave it at that? I'm honestly very tired of you attacking every single post I make...it'd be much more constructive and fair to the posters on this board if we limited our arguments to an off-board space or a separate thread).

By Haon (Haon) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 02:47 pm: Edit

Euology--Jpar is pretty accurate about winter study.

Winter study is phenomenal, possibly a reason in itself to come to Williams. After having a 3 week winter break (which, believe me, is more than long enough...midway through the second week I was wishing it was shorter), you come back to campus for winter study. Winter study is about 3.5 weeks long and is required (although after frosh year you can go off-campus for it). You take one class pass-fail. The classes offered during winter study are generally more "fun" than those during the regular academic year. However, they are still mostly very intellectual. I took a landscape photography course which was wonderful. If you're interested I'll go into more details about the class. If you go on the registrar's website you'll be able to find a listing of the courses offered last year. Winter study is great--it's college without the work. It's great hanging out with friends...drinking hot chocolate, watching movies, going snowshoeing, skiing, snowball fights, sledding, late night scrabble games, poker tournaments...etc. Williams is beautiful all of the time but so far I'd have to say, I think Williams after a fresh snowfall is the best...it's honestly breathtaking.

Winter break is nice, yes, but winter study is much better. Winter study is essentially winter break at College instead of home. While home is great fun (and I love my home friends), college is much, MUCH more fun. I think it's perfectly designed and I think all colleges should have a required winter study. Middlebury and Oberlin both also have them and I'm sure there are others besides them.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 02:52 pm: Edit

I'm a Williams alum, and visited both Williams and Pomona recently with my daughter (accepted at Williams; rejected at Pomona; likely going to Smith.)

Since they are both LACs with low admit rates, huge endowments, great faculty, smart students, beautiful campuses (Williams is prettier, but you have to like snow), it really will come down to a matter of feel.

Pomona will feel a little more laid back, but probably because students are less sun-starved. The main difference my daughter felt was that Williams was much, much more athletic. Pomona has athletics (football, basketball, etc.), but most students seem to ignore them. At Williams, according to their website, more than 40% are involved in intercollegiate athletics, and that doesn't even count the club and intramural sports. If you like that, it is the place to go. Pomona is also reasonably close to LA, and students do go there (and to Newport Beach for the surf.)

Both places are terrific; go to the one which feels more comfortable.

By Crnchycereal (Crnchycereal) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit

"Pomona and Williams are LACS -- they're not universities, so there's really no comparison to real universities -- that's the view of 90% of the people on Earth.

None of my friends, relatives or acquaintances applied to LACS......it simply isn't done, and the number of applications to LACS proves it."

Well, I'll just jump in here...First off, many of the Ivy's, including H and Y, are LACs at heart so it's inaccurate to say that there is no comparison. Secondly, your claim that 90% of the people on Earth share your view is both outrageous and irrelevant unless you're talking about mere prestige. In academic circles, grad school admissions, and the job market, schools such as Williams are certainly high on the list of impressive schools. And lastly, your anecdotal evidence as to why LACs are poor schools is also completely irrelevant. Why? Because we're going back to prestige and name-recognition, neither of which will do you a single iota of good once you get a career. As to the numbers of applications, I'd first like to see some evidence that most of applicants are local. Secondly, small app numbers don't imply a poor quality of school. If anything, it just means that it's not as well known, which is certainly true in the case of LACs. But again, that has no correlation with the quality of academics or its reputation in the areas that MATTER. Oh, and one last thing: LACs are designed specifically for students who want to go to grad school; universities, on the other hand, are better suited for equipping students who want careers right after graduation. No wonder Williams ranks number 5 just below HYPS in terms of highest percentage of alums going to the top 15 professional schools.

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Wow this thread is getting pretty long.

I love playings sports, i love watching sports, i just dont happen to be spectacularly good at sports.

Is there a great social gap between those who play and dont play? Between those who play intramural vs. those who play varsity? I'm all for school pride and physical fitness, but I DONT want high school all over again. Knowing the caliber of students that apply and attend Williams, I doubt that my fears are in any way palpable, but I'm just trying to be sure. I'll also be asking this to several other current students at Williams.

Again, I would like to thank everyone that has posted on this thread. You all have been very helpful. I'm visiting Williams tommorow, and I'll post my feelings as soon as I get back for those who are in a similar predicament as I am.

By Haon (Haon) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

Eulogoy--no, there is no significant gap between those who play sports and those who don't. I think mini would agree with me in saying that's one thing that makes Williams very special. If you love playing sports and love watching sports, Williams IS the school for you, no question. It really doesn't matter at all whether or not you're good at sports. I know that there were people on my IM soccer and IM broomball team who were absolutely horrendous, but you know what, it didn't matter. They were on the field/ice as often and played just as much as the "stars" on the team. They got just as much or more cheers than our lead goal scorers. Everybody at Williams really supports everyone else. Williams is probably one of the few schools in the country WITHOUT "dumb jocks."

I hope you have fun at Williams tomorrow in your visit. Previews are going to be absolutely crazy...it's going to be so exciting!

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

I would agree with Haon 100%. If you like sports (whether you play or not), and like being around really intelligent, sports-minded folks, and want a fine, fine education, Williams is an absolutely stellar place. (Doesn't describe my D., fortunately or unfortunately, which means she has to wrestle with her decision. Likely to go to Smith.)

By Kalon (Kalon) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 08:50 pm: Edit

I would overwhelmingly choose Pomona, hands down! it is an amazing school!!! You really cant judge it until you visit! I know that when i visited it I completely fell in love with it. The people are great, professors are warm and caring and the atmosphere is great! It' s truly one of a kind, and i strongly reccommend that you consider it. And for pre-med they have a 97% acceptance rate into Med school--you can't beat that!! And did you know that Pomona students are ranked the "happiest." Everyone there is smiling and proud of their school. Also, being part of the claremont colleges is a huge advantage both academically and socially. You can cross-enroll at the others schools. And did I mention that the school and the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous!? Make an effort to visit-you wont be dissapointed--i promise!!!!
By the way, that was my 1st choice and i got rejected; but that's ok!

By Eulogy1786 (Eulogy1786) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

Wow...Williams is really out there. While driving to the campus from the Albany Airport my ears popped several times, which seemed odd considering I was still on the ground. This college is definitely not for people who need the hustle of city life.

i saw ten joggers (all who waved "hi" to me) on campus before I had even been there for 10 minutes. There was a track meet going on and a lot of support from the home crowd (even to the runners in last place). I think almost everyone knew the runners by name (on a side note, the lead runner, who was also on the Williams team, had lapped some of the runners).

I joined in on one of two games of frisbee at the quad and was invited to the "matzah ball". I think thats what it was called. Apparently it was a champagne sampling get together.

I didnt sign up in time for the pre-frosh preview, but i went to the admissions office to see if they could set up something for me. There were still many hosts who were willing to take a "pre-frosh" so in no time I had a place to stay. Too bad I had already paid for my motel.

Every single person I talked to was incredibly happy to be at Williams. They raved about Winter Study, and their relationships with the professors. They mentioned the workload, but no one actually complained about it. This was very different from my experiences at other colleges. Most of the people I talked to were involved in a sport, whether it was varsity, club, or intramural. However, I saw that there wasnt a division between sports and non-sports people. Many empathetically spurned any idea that there was anything but mutual respect between all students.

Five dining halls for 2000 students. The food was great, which was a pleasant surprise.

Fresh air, beautiful mountains in the backdrop, friendly people, and beautiful buildings. Everything felt very homely. It seemed like the perfect place to learn.

Oh yeah, and all freshman went through the "Entry" system. 25 freshman were grouped together and had two Junior Advisors to watch over them. However the relationship was in no way disciplinary. It seemed like a great safety net to have a group of friends as soon as you entered campus.

One girl complained that the people were too friendly. She would purposely sit alone at lunch and people would randomly come and sit next to her. Which could be good or bad depending on what type of person you are.

And about the alcohol "problem". I saw none. Sure people drank, but I felt no pressure to join in.

Overall, i thought it was a great place. But I have to visit Cornell and Pomona before I can try and compare.

By Haon (Haon) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit

It's good to hear that you liked the school.

It sounds like your got a good impression of Williams...all I have to say is that your impression is a very accurate one of the school.

Good luck with your decision process and I hope to see you at Williams next fall.

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