CMC-Pomona: Going solo?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: CMC-Pomona: Going solo?
By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Some time ago, it was mentioned that Pomona did not participate in information sesssions with the other colleges in the consortium.

Today, we received an invitation to attend an information session hosted by:
Claremont McKenna
Colorado College
Connecticut College
Grinnell College
Haverford College
Kenyon College
Macalester College
Sarah Lawrence College

I'm wondering whether this is part of a strategy by the colleges in the consortium to team up with non-consortium colleges?

By Mini (Mini) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:18 pm: Edit

Nah. I think it is just that Pomona is snooty. (We definitely got that impression when we visited, even though we thought, in many areas, the academics at Scripps were better.) They are worried that too close association with the riff-raff (CMC, etc.) would hurt their reputation.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:21 pm: Edit

Yes, but why is CMC not having a joint info session with other colleges in the consortium instead of joining forces with colleges from the Midwest and the NE?

By Mini (Mini) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

Oh, I'll bet they have those too. (I know they did last year.)

By Dogstar (Dogstar) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

We went to one info session in Boston last spring that had Pomona in it as well as the other four in the consortium. My son received an invitation for the eight that you listed and I think we're going to go to the info session in Rocky Hill, CT.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:29 pm: Edit


Interesting. We won't be going as my S has eliminated LACs from his list, but they're all great.

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit

Mini, I'm sorry you got the impression that Pomona is snotty. Having a son just starting there and having just attended a talk by administration and the college president to all new students and parents, the other 4 colleges were talked about a lot and they stressed how much each had to offer and that students would be interacting in many ways with all the other schools via different avenues. The students there are amazing but not just into academics, they are laid back and well rounded. My son would have been happy at CMC as well as Pomona and my D would be happy at Scripps. They are all amazing schools. I think that sometimes just having a tour guide you dislike or a comment hit you wrong can turn one off to a school. I thought it was interesting that the president of Pomona's daughter who was deciding between Harvard and Carlton picked Carlton, a school very similar to Pomona. Just my 2 cents worth!

By Mini (Mini) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:12 pm: Edit

It's a great school - don't get me wrong -- and one that any parent should be proud to send their kids to. But they (meaning, their own admissions officer, and then the students we talked to at Scripps) made it clear (unlike the other schools) that it was harder for other students from the Consortium to cross-register for courses there than for Pomona students to register out. Of course, each person has limited experience - I can only talk about the one we had. But they did some much less collegial than their colleagues. And up here in the Northwest, they have consistently failed to appear with the other Claremont schools - it just seems to be part of their strategy. More power to them -- it is a great school.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:17 pm: Edit

I think the most interesting thing we learned about the consortium this summer is that a student at one school can effectively major in a program at another school, and not have to change schools to do so.

By Mini (Mini) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:21 pm: Edit

It probably makes Pitzer about the best admissions "value" in the country. (meaning - needing the least to get in and getting the most for it.)

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit

When we toured Pitzer we were told by the tour guide that one of his frinds took 90% of his classes at Pomona and all classes in his major at Pomona. It does seem odd that his diploma is from Pitzer and not Pomona. I'm sure that is not the norm and very major dependent.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:31 pm: Edit

Like all these sorts of "selling points" I think there is often more than meets the eye initially- the Pitzer angle is an interesting one, but there has to be a "catch." In reality , the girl we know there (now a sophomore) has found it not the school of her dreams, less diverse, somewhat remote from the other consortium population in a less than pleasing way. Very anecdotal report however..

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

Arizonamom, glad your son is having such a great experience at Pomona. I know another boy there who is a freshman whose reaction is the same as your son's--"awesome and amazing" are the quotes I am hearing. I also agree with you that our experiences at Pomona were wonderful, in contrast to Mini's--that the kids were really nice and the parents very friendly and delighted with their children's experiences there. Son spent a weekend there, and then he and I both went back for a day in the spring right before decision time. Mini may be talking more about the administration or admissions offices, so perhaps his perspective is a bit different.

I can't comment on the degree of closeness or cooperation among the consortium members at an organizational level. I do know that there seemed to be a lot of social mingling among the students from all the colleges. And, the schools combine for their athletic teams: Pitzer with Pomona, CMC and Harvey Mudd (I think).

PR just named Pomona #1 for "happy students". But the average SAT is quite high (1500 I think for this year's class) so I think it is one of those schools where academic excellence and happiness coexist nicely.

My son chose Stanford but Pomona was his second choice and I think they are quite similar in many ways, just that one is a larger research university and the other a smaller LAC.

So glad that your son is happy!

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 11:07 pm: Edit

Thanks Patient!Good luck to your son at Stanford!

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 11:43 pm: Edit

Thanks! Freshman orientation is still 3 weeks away--but we are all loving the late start and having him home!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit

If you read the fine print about the consortium, you quickly discover that the ability to take classes in other schools is somewhat limited. Looking over the five-school course schedule, it appears that Pomona has quite a few courses closed to outside students, especially at the upper levels. That's probably the catch in thinking you can enroll in Pitzer and get a Pomona education.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 01:13 pm: Edit

Yup. That's what we discovered (it was a concern with upper division music courses). Found things very free among the other four. (It didn't turn out to be major, however, as my d. did discover she could take courses at the Claremont Grad. School if she went to Scripps. Didn't end up there, though.)

By Patient (Patient) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit

BTW, I got the same impression about cross-registering from the Amherst tour guide. It sounded like taking courses at the other schools was possible on paper but possibly impossible in reality. I recall that she mentioned Italian and some music courses as examples of courses that were open to all, but priority was given to the students at the college offering the course so that in reality one could never take it as it was popular and filled by students from the school. Perhaps these issues exist in any college "consortium"? I'd be curious to hear as I have no knowledge of this issue at any of them.

Carolyn, good point about reading the fine print.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:40 pm: Edit

We visited several of these last year. At the end of the visit, I summarized the negative aspects of each school's reputation (going a bit overboard, of course, in order to make a point with my offspring) as: Pomona students are snobs, Claremont-Mackennas are money-grubbers, Pitzers are feel-good hippies and Harvey Mudds are nerds.

Of course, there are all types of students at all of these schools. The admissions rep at Pomona was definitely a snob (justifiably, she felt) but the student tour guide seemed far from it.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit

Not really sure (about the Amherst tour guide's comments). My d. sat in on Austin Sarat's law and society course at Amherst (he's probably the hottest prof there), and it was her impression that more than a third of the students were from elsewhere - mostly Smith, Hampshire, UMass. Smith's dance classes are filled with men - obviously not from Smith. Last term, one of Amherst's best known world music profs taught his course on the Smith campus, probably to increase enrollment (there just aren't that many music folks at Amherst.) Conversely, the opera workshop course at Amherst has lots of folks in it from Smith. Photography at Hampshire, and ceramics at UMass are popular with folks from the outside. Julius Lester at UMass at least used to attract a big crowd. Pointe ballet is taught only at Mt. Holyoke, and students go there. Arabic, too, I think (though that might have changed.) The data at Smith from last term was that they had in-migration of about 420 students, and out-migration of about 175.

However, I will bet that the comment about Italian is true. Other than maybe Yale, Smith has the best known intensive Italian department in the northeast, and an Italian graduate program. But it comes with a price tag. Smith has an 80-year-old JYA program in Florence, and their first priority is to fill it up - with Smith students. Y chromosomes can't go. And Smith - unlike some other colleges -- requires a full two years of language study before you can attend their JYA programs, which demand the use of the host language at all times. The result is that to sustain the program, Smith will have to give priority to its own students first, beginning in their freshman year. So I could easily imagine students from the other schools being shut out. (Otherwise, to use a real example: if my d.'s place in intensive introductory Italian as a first-year was given to an Amherst male, she couldn't attend the Smith JYA program in Florence, and neither could the Amherst male. So there would be losers all around.)

I do know that the studio arts courses and, especially, the architecture courses at Smith are oversubscribed, even for Smith students.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit

(P.S. Why in the world would one choose Amherst with the aim of studying Italian?)

By Monydad (Monydad) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

When my daughter was considering Wellesley we heard that apparently MIT has changed the time schedules of their classes somewhat recently, in a way that conflicts with the Wellesley schedule. As a result of these schedule changes we heard some concerns that it is much more difficult for Wellesley students to take courses at MIT than it used to be.

They are still managing to do it I think, since there are actually buses that run between the two campuses. Possibly in reduced numbers though.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:45 pm: Edit

It was one of the things we found "interesting" in our info session at Amherst....they went on and on about the advantages of the consortium(as a reality that distinguished them from other small LAC's). When asked how many classes they had taken away from Amherst the Ad com ( a recent grad) said 1 over 4 years, the student helping him out (rising senior) said none, but maybe one this year. Why did they spend 15 minutes talking about it then????

It would appear that the realities of many of these exchange type situations are quite different than the possibilities, and require a lot of flexibility and sometimes initiative to make happpen...the one that we looked at that semed easiest to do was Haverford/Bryn Mawr where the courses are cross listed, etc, etc, and the schools are very close. Also, my son asked very specifically about CMC/Pomona and was given the honest answer that it would depend on the level of the course- but it was very doable. Hmm.

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:13 am: Edit

When we visited CMC 2 spring ago my impression during the information session was that in reality it would be hard to get into courses at the other schools and that the good ones would fill up. I have been surprised however as we have walked around and talked informally to students, and they all are very chatty and willing to talk to parents , at how many take classes at other colleges. We spent a lot of time last spring talking to a gal from CMC who takes lots of classes at Scripps and Pomona. I will let you know however after this year what my son experiences. I know that for the first semester they want you to take all classes at Pomona with the exception of languages and classes they don't offer to get students acclimated/ Then they can crossregistar.

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