Most Hamilton students are from the northeast, with an inordinate percentage from Westchester County. As such, their socioeconomic class is generally high, and I can attest to definite culture shock coming from a lower middle class family. That being said, the students here are generally not snobby about their prep-school backgrounds, and it is not difficult to become assimilated. (If you happen to dislike Ugg boots, however, you will very quickly tire of seeing them.) Conflict on the basis of race, religion, or sexuality is-- in my experience-- extraordinarily rare. The community is very accepting of these differences, and everyone is willing to take a joke. If you are politically conservative or a particularly devout Christian, there is rather less tolerance; but there are numerous outlets on campus and places to meet like-minded people. The Alexander Hamilton Institute, for example, offers some organizations embracing and encouraging political, intellectual, and religious diversity. Similarly, the Christian Fellowship and InterVarsity will make the religious feel more at ease.
Hamilton is known for ahavinga lot of rich kids, which I suppose, considering the price tag, is true. Not all rich kids are snobs though, and there are several programs promoting bringing lower income students to campus. There have been some issues with racism in the past, but those incidents are few and far between. People will stick to their own cliques, because thats what ppl do in general, but everyone is friendly, and if you come to Hamilton you are sure to have at least good aquaintances, if not friends who are from different backgrounds than yourself. The gay community here at Hamilton exists, but its small and tight-knit, I would imagine Hamilton isnt the best choice if you're homosexual, though everyone seems very tolerant, there just arent many gay people around, at least not many out ones. I'd say Hamilton isnt for city kids though I know some here. It gets cold, and is pretty rural. Also, if you have seasonal affect disorder, this isn't the place for you.
There have been many issues on campus lately on how to make minority students feel more welcomed on campus because Hamilton is admitting more students of diverse backgrounds but we don't yet have the resources to necessarily make all groups feel included. We are working on it, though. Since we are a small community, however, different types of students interact regularly in classes, sports teams, campus organizations, and socially. The vast majority of Hamilton students come from NY, MA, and CT, but almost every state is represented and there is a large percentage of internation students hailing from Mexico, Norwary, Tanzania, India, China, etc. Many students come from a privledged economic background, but Hamilton offers a very good financial aid package, so that allows students of less financial means to attend Hamilton, and as one of those students, I have never felt excluded due to my financial situation.
four tables in the dining hall: -the sports table: all of the sports teams go to dinner together after practice and sit together...ranging anywhere from track to rugby. -the frat/sorority table: self-explainatory -"core" group of friends: your main group of friends at hamilton usually go to dinner together...attach any stereotype you want...preppy/rich girls/guys, nerds, potheads,etc. -financial background: since hamilton is so expensive, a lot of wealthy kids go here...many of the kids do not show off their wealth in their style of dress or material items. there are also kids who are on financial aid, but they are not isolated or left out of the community at all. -good mixture of political views...the liberals are seen more because they express their views more than conservatives...you will definitely meet conservatives at hamilton, however
There are a variety of racial, religious, and socio-economic groups on campus. Coming from a diverse high school, I sought interaction with many different types of people on campus. Unfortunately, some students on campus do not seek out diversity and tend to isolate themselves among people similar to them. This is not necessarily typical, but it gives rise to many of the stereotypes about Hamilton. In general though, I think only an extremely introverted student would find themselves out of place on this campus; everybody else can find their niche. The majority of students here are from the North East, but I have friends from across the country, from states such as Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missippi,Tennessee, and Alaska not to mention international students from Pakistan, China, India, South Africa, Singapore, and Botswana.
I think that anyone can feel welcome on campus at Hamilton. It is very interesting to note that there is no "code" of what goes on at Hamilton. If you walk into any classroom you might see one person all dressed up adn one person in sweatpants. I think that most students at Hamilton are from New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Students are very aware and active we have a lot of clubs and activities that make it that way. Hamilton is left centered definitely liberal. However, many people who are conservative come to school here and thrive. My roomate is very conservative and she is always seen on the Hamilton website or local papers for doing something amazing. I don't usually hear people talk about what they will earn one day except for maybe occasional seniors who do.
Sometimes too many groups are trying to make a difference. You try to support and help out where you can, but I can only go to so many hunger/genocide/tolerance speakers. Expect to feel out of place if you don't drink. It's not that people won't except you, but it's what the majority of campus is doing on any given Friday or Saturday. The bands and speakers are great, but there's always an after party. Lots of New Yorks, Connecticutians, and New Jersey-ites, but you'll run into a number of internationals and non-Northeasterners too. Not everyone at Hamilton is rich or even middle class, but there's very few students who don't learn to look like they are. There's a wide range of dress, from pretty hippy to uber-preppy, but none of it is out of place.
The student body is weirdly divided into preppy and hippy (or crunchy). Hamilton used to be two schools, Hamilton College and Kirkland College. Kirkland was a very liberal woman's college that became a part of the all-male Hamilton in the late 70's. Kirkland's liberal legacy has lived on and attracted students who are very far from Hamilton's preppy image. Of course, you can't really draw an even line and say that there are only two types of students. There are certainly some who are easily classified as preppy and those who are without a doubt crunchy, but most people, like myself are somewhere in between. I move happily among all types of students and believes that Hamilton is a stronger school for being able to draw two such different types of people.
There definitely could be more racial and religious diversity on campus. As for socio-economic diversity, it's rather hard to tell someone's financial standing unless topics such as vacations, cars, or financial aid come up. Students certainly don't brand people differently if they know they are on financial aid. However, students come off as wealthier rather than poorer. Students wear a spectrum of clothes to class, everything from sweats to designer jeans to hoodies to flannel shirts. It's easy to determine the "hippies" from the "prepsters" in any class. Most students are left politically, though I've seen more right-wingers as the 2008 Presidential Race has wore on.
I still maintain that there is no typical Hamilton student. A wide variety of students interact with one another, and while there are students who only seek out the same type of people they went to high school with, I don't think this is the norm. Political activity is high on campus, and has grown markedly over the last four years, particularly with the arrival of the 2008 election. Diversity, in contrast to some uninformed stereotypes about the College, is a reality of Hamilton. Some of the less well-represented groups have concerns about the level of attention accorded their concerns, but the College seems to have been very responsive, all things considered.