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Yvonne Eadon: Courting a college campus

Hart High School Senior

Posted: November 17, 2009 8:53 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
When I first set foot on the campus, I was too nervous to notice the beauty of the school. My real purpose in coming to Pomona College was to interview — it is such a prestigious school, I thought, they must conduct interviews of an intensity matching that of the illustrious school.

I had agonized over what to wear, what to say, when to say it, and what questions to ask, but I had that awful feeling that I had forgotten something important. The waiting room certainly did nothing to dispel this foreboding. It was utterly silent but for a few whispered comments among families.

Students buried themselves in extensive class catalogues or hid behind large newspapers. I could tell these other interviewees were thinking the same thoughts I was: Would they ask what current events I was interested in? What thought-provoking books I had read lately? What specific courses I wanted to take here? And, what if I couldn’t answer a question? The already chilly room seemed to get even colder.

Finally, my name was called and I met my interviewer. Far from being the all-business admissions official I expected, she was young, a senior at Pomona, in fact. She led me to an office and, as if she could sense my anxiety, started off with telling me that the interview was designed to be casual.

We talked about virtually everything. I was instantly comfortable enough to let myself describe my ambitions without inhibition, and ask important questions about the college without feeling ignorant. We discussed study abroad, the advantages of the Claremont consortium, the different departments and majors, and various other aspects of the school.

By the time the interview was over, not only had I forgotten my previous qualms, but I also realized that, far from being an interrogation, the interview turned out to be more of a conversation. I would encourage any other senior going to an interview to certainly be prepared — be over-prepared — but also to relax, because it’s not as bad as you might imagine.

After the interview, I explored the college itself. The campus is small, intricate and beautiful. The architecture is varied: Some buildings look like they were stolen from Princeton, others look like Italian villas. This kind of variation is exactly what Pomona is all about.

The surrounding college town, or what little I saw of it, was strikingly reminiscent of Berkeley, complete with an independent record store and several small coffee shops. Hidden treasures dotted the campus as well, like an outdoor architectural installation, Divided Light, designed by James Turrell to make the patch of sky visible through a square hole in the ceiling change colors as the surrounding neon lights rotate on a spectrum.

The concert hall looked like the inside of an 18th-century church, a deep rectangular space that shone with varnished wood and had incredible acoustics.

I’m trying to resist falling in love with Pomona, because I want to avoid heartbreak if I don’t get in. Every venture requires taking a chance.

Yvonne Eadon is a senior at Hart High School. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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