This liberal arts college with a student body of less than 2,000 students now has national bragging rights.
It may not have the cache or name recognition that schools like Harvard or Yale do, but their students are in the same class.
"A lot of students here got accepted to Ivy League schools. We applied. We thought about them. They were options for us, but Pomona just fit us better," said Marisol Diaz, a sophomore at Pomona College.
Among the reasons Pomona got the top spot? Its 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and its partnership with five other schools in the Claremont University Consortium.
The No. 1 ranking won't change anything at the school, other than give it more attention.
"Our admissions staff, I put them on notice. They're probably going to be seeing some extra applicants this year," said David Oxtoby, president of Pomona College.
Forbes' top colleges:
- 1. Pomona College
2. Williams College
3. Stanford University
4. Princeton University
5. Yale University
6. Harvard University
7. Swarthmore College
8. Brown University
9. Amherst College
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Other California colleges on the list:
- 33. California Institute of Technology
35. University of California, Berkeley
45. University of California, Los Angeles
57. Harvey Mudd College
71. University of Southern California
80. Scripps College
85. Santa Clara University
94. Occidental College
121. University of California, Davis
128. Pepperdine University
147. University of California, Irvine
For a full list, visit www.forbes.com/top-colleges.