My youngest son is a rising senior at Hamilton College: a highly selective, small liberal arts school located in the quaint, central NY town of Clinton. No, Hamilton College is not in Hamilton, NY. That’s where its rival Colgate University is situated!
Hamilton College began as an all men’s college more than 200-years ago. During the late 1970’s the college absorbed Kirkland College: a progressive women’s college that bordered Hamilton’s campus. Today, the traditions and philosophies of both schools are integrated to give the 1,800 undergraduate students a broad liberal arts college experience.
The campus has a mix of gorgeous stone buildings on the “light side”(the original Hamilton campus) and more contemporary buildings on the “dark side” (the original Kirkland campus). Each side of campus has a balanced mix of academic and residential buildings. The two newest buildings are the Wellin Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center for Theater and Studio Arts, which includes a gorgeous new black box theater.
Hamilton believes that students should explore their interests and ultimately study what they love. Although there is an open curriculum with no distribution requirements, all students must complete three writing intensive courses, a quantitative course, and physical education requirements. Hamilton requires all students to develop strong writing and critical thinking skills. Hamilton has particularly strong programs in foreign languages (the Chinese program consistently ranks among the country’s top five), economics, writing, and the physical sciences.
Experiential learning is highly encouraged. Research opportunities are plentiful in both the physical and social sciences. There are many study abroad and study away options. Students may study domestically in Washington, D.C. or New York City or spend a semester or year in such places as China, Spain, India or France. My son spent a semester in Paris in an immersion program.
Although I have visited the Hamilton campus during all four seasons, the majority of my visits have been during the winter months to cheer on the Hamilton swim team. Its central NY location, 20 minutes from the small city of Utica and 60 minutes from Syracuse, guarantees some subzero winter days and lots of snow. The frigid temperatures don’t seem to diminish students’ stamina and enthusiasm. Hamiltonians are a hearty bunch!
The student make-up has a preppy, athletic and artsy mix. More than 95-percent of students live on campus all four-years. Students are involved outside the classroom and are passionate about their activities. Student-athletes participate in the division III NESCAC athletic league, and hockey is a popular spectator sport. Approximately one-third of students join Greek life, but there is no Greek housing. Performing arts groups are plentiful.
Admissions and financial Aid Admissions is highly selective. Students must submit standardized testing, but have test options, which means students are required to submit a verbal or writing/essay test, a quantitative test and the third test is the student’s choice. They may submit three individual exams from the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP or IB scores. Admissions is need-blind and Hamilton meets full demonstrated need. It does not offer merit aid.
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