Malia Pope stepped onto the Cal Poly Pomona campus and knew she had found the place where she would pursue her college education.
The Sacramento resident had a list of colleges she was considering, and she and her parents had already visited some of those schools when her father, Will Pope, suggested they visit Cal Poly Pomona. Their visit last summer was a game changer.
“I realized this is where I want to go,” she said.
Cal Poly Pomona has a great deal to offer students, beginning with the university’s learn-by-doing approach to education, which aligns perfectly with her preferred method of learning, Malia said.
“The program is very, very hands on,” she said. “It’s more important to experience things rather than sitting in a lecture.”
Malia, who plans to major in business administration with an emphasis in management and human resources, will be part of Cal Poly Pomona’s incoming freshman class starting in the fall 2020.
Will Pope, who assisted his daughter as she researched colleges, said he suggested visiting Cal Poly Pomona because, like him, Malia is “very task oriented and very goal oriented.” He added the university offers an environment where his daughter will thrive.
Malia and her parents made two visits to campus, one of which included her grandparents, who live in Southern California. For the first visit, they went on a tour of the campus with a student as a guide.
“Our tour guide knew a lot of the information,” Will said. “I don’t think there was a question he couldn’t answer.”
The guide answered the family’s questions, showed them the campus and had them look inside the home of the College of Business Administration. He shared what it’s like to be a student at Cal Poly Pomona.
“Our tour guide not only talked about himself and his experiences but about others — his friends,” Malia said.
Looking back, the tour was critical in Malia’s decision making, Will said. “I think that cemented it.”
Malia and her parents left campus pleased with what they. But her father thought they should visit the university a second time when classes were in session.
They returned on a Thursday afternoon in early October and found a vibrant campus with students engaged in conversation as they walked to and from classes. They watched students sitting, eating and studying together. Interaction was taking place throughout the campus, and that made a positive impression.
Other campuses didn’t seem to have the same level of student interaction as Cal Poly Pomona, Malia said. “We saw a lot of people and hustle and bustle, but they were not interacting with each other.”
The incoming freshman also liked Cal Poly Pomona’s wide open spaces that makes it feel as if the university is outside of a busy metropolitan area.
“Having that open space made me feel I wasn’t contracted,” she said.
Malia is now looking forward to all the opportunities that Cal Poly Pomona has to offer — living on campus, being active in student organizations, making new friends, starting classes and beginning to prepare for her future career.
“I’m really excited about the new doors that will be opening,” she said. “I’m just really excited to transition.”