I have one semester remaining at Hamilton and I have absolutely loved my time there. Even before I got there, I knew I was going to love it when I interviewed. My interviewer had been away from Hamilton for decades, yet she remembered so many details of her experience and spoke very highly of it. I think the best thing about the school is simply the people- students, faculty and staff. Every student gets along if you give them the chance, and professors are extremely helpful if you see them outside of class (something I definitely recommend doing). And believe it or not, the custodial staff are probably the kindest people you will meet on campus. I like the open curriculum with a stress on writing and oral communication, as it lets students truly explore the liberal arts (which I have done) while building a solid writing and speaking base. However, one thing I would change would be to strengthen the writing requirements because there are no actual course requirements. It seems like students can sneak through the writing requirement without actually improving (if they choose to) over their time at Hamilton. Coming from a graduating high school class of 70, Hamilton is the perfect size for me. It seemed huge when I got there, starts to seem smaller over time but I still meet new people every semester and even every week. Hamilton has an excellent reputation, so people usually seem to be very impressed when I say I go to Hamilton. Coming from Pittsburgh some people haven't heard of it, so I am also used to explaining "it's a small liberal arts school in upstate New York." I spend most of my time in KJ, which is the academic building housing economics, government, sociology and anthropology. It also doubles as a social student center with comfy chairs and tables and a friendly atmosphere, so it is a great place to spend time. Hamilton is located in Clinton, NY and I couldn't ask for a better college town. It is small, has just a few restaurants, grocery store, liquor store, etc... and the rest is residential. Some people have asked me about safety at Hamilton and in Clinton, and I paused because I have never even had to think about it, which is one great aspect of Hamilton. Having dealt with the administration personally, I think less highly of them than most. I feel like Hamilton preaches a tight-knit community all around, and I do not feel that the administration offers that in some circumstances. In terms of controversies, there was a student who used racial slurs at a recent sporting event against a visiting player. I think the school has taken appropriate action in notifying the campus multiple times the potential ramifications of such an action, and they certainly are doing everything they can to prevent anything like that from happening again. Regardless, tons of school pride from most, if not all, of the campus. Sporting events are usually littered with students and it's great to see professors at them too. I often see students painting faces and chests buff and blue (even in our cold winter), which speaks a lot about how much we support each other. I think the fact that there are no strict course requirements is pretty unique, but I have found it to be one of the best aspects of Hamilton. One experience I will always remember was painting chests with friends to attend a swim meet. The team loved it, and the coach even sent us personal thank yous and we have continued to support the swim team since. They might not get as big of a crowd as other sports, so we find it a really fun thing to do. I have heard students complaining about the workload, but it is certainly manageable, especially if your high school has prepared you well for it. It is incredible to look back and see how much progress I made year to year, and I really think the key is to develop relationships with professors. It benefits both student and professor, during class and down the road, and their main purpose is to help students.
The best thing about Hamilton would have to be the interesting professor you come across from time to time. Last semester I had a history professor that I really enjoyed and this semester I am taking a geology course and I think the professor is great. If I had to change something I would probably change the size and location of Hamilton. With a maximum of two thousand people and an isolated campus it feels way too much like high school. I have had friends tell me that they feel like they are in boarding school all over again, because its really almost the same thing. Especially as a freshman when you are not allowed to have a car. Most people from Atlanta have no idea that Hamilton exists and is actually a good school. Most of my time is spent on campus and in my dorm. Clinton is not anything like any college town I have ever been to. There is no downtown scene and nothing that comes with the stereotypical college town. I feel like I am missing out at times. I don't have much of an opinion about Hamilton's administration. They seem fair and concerned about the students' needs. I can't really remeber too many controversies. The last one that was anything more than high school drama was when racial remarks were written on someone's car. No, there is next to no school pride. At least that is what I have found. None of our atheletic teams are very good, so I can't blame anyone for not showing school pride. I think there may have been more people at my high school's football games than at Hamilton's games. The streaking team is pretty unusual. I don't think I have had any unforgetable experiences at Hamilton. The most frequent complaints are about the size and location of Hamilton.
Hamilton College can really be whatever you make of it. If you choose to limit yourself, it can feel like the smallest campus on earth, but if you extend yourself it can feel like there is always a new person to meet and a new club to join. When I tell people that I go to Hamilton they either smile and say "wow that is so great, blah blah blah I know someone who went there, I went there ect." OR they look at you like you are dumb and go to some special school for idiots and go "ohhh...that's so great..." Overall, we like to refer to Hamilton as resort Hamilton. For the most part, students are on a 21 meal plan with several great dining halls serving whatever you ask for, and a completely vegan hippie station that is to die for, a diner open until 5am Thursday-Saturday that serves amazing breakfast sandwiches to drunks (they are included in the meal plan) and a pub on campus. There is definitely a lot of academic pride at Hamilton, doing poorly and not caring about your studies is really looked down upon. As far as sports teams go, if a team is good and made up of cool people they get a lot of support. If they are not good, and the people are jerks, no one could care less. For the most part people stay on campus to party, but older students take our free jitney down to the bars and back which are full of Hamilton students.
I love Hamilton, and so do most of the students. It's so small that it really feels like a strong community. Hamilton professors really care about the students and will make themselves available to meet, and I have friends at Ivy League schools who can't say the same. Yes, living in the village of Clinton can make you a little stir-crazy, but you will make some amazing friends because everyone stays on campus. Hamilton is a school of incredible tradition. We just had our bicentennial, so yeah, we've been around for awhile. Class & Charter day is probably every student's favorite tradition, and it is the highlight of the year. On this day, the last day of class in the spring semester, afternoon classes are cancelled and the entire campus celebrates. Other fun student traditions include the Silent Disco every semester. I'll always remember this one time during freshman year, when I was walking to the dining hall behind some football players, and one started excitedly speaking about how excited he was about a paper. That's Hamilton for you...
Hamilton has a phenomenal faculty. They are always available for students whether it be for extra help, an independent study, or a coffee break. Faculty consistently go above and beyond to ensure every student is happy academically. The facilities are fantastic, and the food is amazing. Not many college students in upstate NY get made to order sushi and pasta stirfry every day and the all you can eat policy is golden. Downers: Hamilton is tiny, everyone knows everyones business (or thinks they do) and by the time I reached Senior year I was dying to meet some new people. There is a frustrating sense of entitlement on campus; students who think they deserve (grades, internships, job offers, travel opportunities) just because they are them rather than earning it. Clinton is cute. That's about all you can say about it. You can enjoy a trip to the local cider mill or bistro but don't expect much else. There is a constant duel between the two local bars and aside from the fact they are our locals there is nothing special about them.
I love the size of Hamilton. It's about 1,800 students. Some people would find this too small, but I wanted a community campus where I would see people I know or recognize every day. I wanted small classes where I could develop relationships with my professors and have in-depth discussions and debates during class periods. I have certainly found everything I was looking for and more. Hamilton was my first-choice school and I'm thrilled to be a student. They also have an interesting program for a select group of freshmen. I was one of them: a January Admit. My year, about 28 of the "Jans" went to Ireland and 5 did their own things (like take night classes at Harvard or journey through South America). It was such a fantastic experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. I formed such close bonds with my fellow Jans in Ireland and I'm still close friends with most of them today.
Hamilton is an amazing school for students that know that they want a small liberal arts college. I think we could work on creating more informal diverse interactions among students. I love the faculty student relationship at Hamilton and the fact that Hamilton has resources available to students. The scholarships, grants, prizes, writing center, career help, and other services available to students are amazing. I think diversity should be a top priority for Hamilton. Hamilton's unique curriculum is a huge benefit and this should be kept and should be highly valued. I think Hamilton could improve its study abroad counseling and options for students. Students complain about the lack of school spirit and I think if Hamilton moved to a NESCAC schedule and created a centralized store on campus and better apparel this could be remedied.
The best thing about Hamilton are the really good teachers. Not all are good but when you get a good one they are great. You get very very personalized attention. If I could change anything, it would be the location. The weather is very depressing and makes kids unhappy sometimes. I think the school is really the perfect size. I would not want any of my classes being any bigger. When I tell people I go to Hamilton, they think I am very smart and react by saying "Oh that is such a good school, you must love it." I spend most of my time either in my suite, at the gym or in the science center. I think Hamilton is really a great school and the personal attention I get makes it really worth it. The biggest problem in my opinion is the weather. It makes you want to stay in doors and honestly sometimes drink too much.
Big-picture-wise: I absolutely love Hamilton. We are such a small, tight knight community with a lot of strengths. We are located in a small village (Clinton) so we usually cling to each other for our social lives. We are definitely not a "suitcase school" where the campus is deserted on the weekends. I always feel like I miss out on so much if I have to leave for a few days, especially for sports. I have made relationships with people and faculty members which I know I will maintain after graduation. The environment is very rewarding if you choose to put effort into it. There is a lot of school pride, but not necessarily for all of the sports teams. If I could, I would change the amount of snow we receive in upstate New York, but I would not change anything else.
Hamilton is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and while the town is quaint, there's not a lot to do. Utica isn't exactly the greatest city for activities either -- in fact one Saturday afternoon trying to find something to do we noticed that every single store and restaurant was closed. In the middle of a Saturday afternoon. The most recent controversy was over someone writing "N*gger Lover" on the car of a white girl who was dating a black boy. Not much was done by the administration. This occurance however, I believe is fairly rare, and everyone who heard about it was shocked and disgusted, but not much was done to do something about it.