All my professors so far care about each individual student and actively promote students' academic success and learning experience (I'm a second semester freshman, so the sample size is admittedly limited). I have found this to be true both in a course where I struggled and where I was so enamored of the subject that I did further readings independantly.
The party scene is also very strong, with regular parties every day (except Monday and Sunday, don't know of any parties on those days, but really, who parties on Mondays anyway?) The weekend parties in the five college community can best be described by the word "epic." The parties are huge, quite fun, and non-exclusionary (the colleges put most on, so you don't need an in with whatever frat is throwing the weekend party, like at some bigger schools). The typical party is a dance party, although there are others. However. while there are activities available for non-drinkers, on some weekends the venues for people who are bothered by alcohol can be somewhat lacking (movies and concerts are pretty regular, and there's alot of various one-shot activities that fluctate greatly in quality).
The location is weak. Claremont is a suburban upper-middle-class town. It is extremely safe and has some ammenities, but it pretty darned boring. Getting into LA is harder than one might think: there is terrible public transportation around here (non-existent might be a better word than terrible). Problems here are less severe if you have a car (about half the class does).
Anything anyone tells you about the difficulty and/or workload of the college is meaningless. These fluctate wildly based on what courses you choose to take. The workload from one of my courses last semester is equal to that of three of mine this semester. Pomona can challenge you to your limits or be a cake walk depending on your course selection. If you care, do your research.
I cannot begin to sing the praises of the sponsor group system. It's probably on Pomona's website and they can probably give it more justice than I can.
The average student is friendly and laid-back (or at least as laid back as people at this acaddemic level get). It is hard to characterize the average student socially as there is a tremendous amount of diversity. Everyone can find a niche. There's alot more cross-group socialization than most places probably have, at least in Freshman year, due to the sponsor group system.
The need-based financial aid here is amazing, but there is no merit aid offered, which sucks when combined with the high tuition.
Housing is excellent unless you are a) a sophmore not in oldenborg, the language-dorm (about half the class) or b) a junior returning from fall study abroad. In these cases it is the opposite of excellent. Food is very tasty for a college cafeteria, but it could be a little less greasy. The campus is visually stunning, and the weather is what you would expect in SoCal.
- cares about individuals (yay LAC)
- SoCal weather
- competition with oneself, not others
- Top-notch education in almost all fields
- massive parties
- nice, happy, student body
- beautiful campus
- sponsor groups
- not in a big city (and a city like LA with such weak pub. trans. is more like a really really dense suburb than a real city)
- cannot hide amongst the masses in class (if that's your thing)
- While elite employers and grad schools have heard about Pomona and think very highly, average Joe on the street has no clue. Your degree will pull its weight when it matters, but do not expect to drop the college's name with the average person and have them be wowed by it -- they probably have never heard of it (the flip side is that those who have have a very high opinion). If you care about prestige independant of the job/grad school placement you can get with it, you should probably be going to Standford or Harvard.