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Hamilton College

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What is your overall opinion of this school?

The campus is absolutely beautiful..the friendships students make are amazing and the relationships with the professors are very close. There is nothing unusual about Hamilton, and there is a lot of school pride.

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The best thing about Hamilton is the strong interpersonal relationships students form with both faculty and other students. The community is supportive and the faculty is wonderful at cultivating young minds.

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Hamilton is fantastic; I love it here. I think the size is perfect, and we have a really great community feel. Although people often complain about the weather, it is by no means a deal breaker.

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Small rural community with an emphasis on community. The faculty are outstanding and committed to making your academic experience as good as you care to make it.

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To be honest, Hamilton is not at all what I expected. I've been here for almost 4 years now, and I still feel like I do not fit in with the majority of the campus because of the obnoxious attitudes that are fostered and allowed to continue. Many students are coddled by the administration in that there is no sort of responsibility on the student to figure things out for him/herself, and as such, the administration treats the rest of us (who are functioning adults in society) like little children. For instance, I have had many conversations with the dean, campus safety, and other administrative groups on campus regarding many issues I've had with being treated like an adult here. When, after 2 months of not getting the parking spot I WAS PROMISED as a senior with a great lottery number I talked with the person in charge multiple times, I was actually yelled at and told that I was an ungrateful person who had no right to parking in the first place. I'm sorry, but my mother raised me with a great attitude, patience, and positive behavior, and for someone to accuse me of being rude and ungrateful is disgusting. I went to talk to the dean about this issue, and still nothing was done. When my father ended up talking to the dean, OF COURSE immediately the issue was resolved. The school is maybe not too small, but because we are on a hill, 1.5 miles away from the town, away from all other forms of life, it is very restrictive and uncomfortable. If I didn't have a car, I think I would have had to transfer a long time ago. No one has ever heard of Hamilton where I'm from (Pennsylvania), so I basically explain that it's a very small liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere in NY state. As I explained above about the cheerleading team getting no support, there is no school pride in terms of people going to activities and being proud of Hamilton. There is lots of interest from the people who drink all the time and don't do their work that "Hamilton is awesome!" but this does not translate into people being interested in improving the well-being of the students on campus; it translates into self-interest.

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I absolutely love being able to chat with my professor at the campus coffee shop without feeling like I'm intruding on his time. My instructor is interested in my opinions on this literature, really? And these current events? Teaching is always a two-way street at Hamilton, and professors make learning a real pleasure. Chances are, if you hook up with someone, you'll see this person on the central walkway through campus, if not in a class or the dining halls. On the bright side, a majority of the campus has had this awkward experience, so you can play it off without too much trouble. People in the Northeast know about Hamilton, but south of Pennsylvania Hamilton could just as well be a community college as a top liberal arts school. Clinton is a scenic little village that is set about a mile away from campus. This is perfect because students can get off the hill on foot for the cafes and Cider Mill (amazing donuts, ice cream, and apple-related products depending on the season) but don't annoy residents on weekends because the village is too far for a drunken ramble. Students complain about the seven months of winter but still embrace the hibernation period as a valid excuse to be too drunk to walk on weekends. I'll always remember meeting one of my best friends in my new student orientation group. She was interested in journalism, the equestrian team, and intended to major in government. Nothing could be further from my interests, and I viewed this Southerner skeptically. Almost two years later, this Independent, college newspaper columnist, equestrian team quitter, mathematics-and-comparative-literature majoring, moneyed, Light-Sider is my Republican, alumni relations intern, ESL tutor, french-and-comparative-literature majoring, financial-aid-receiving, Dark-Sider self's best friend on campus. This place is too small to be snooty over small things. Fraternity brothers and sorority sisters are friends with everybody on campus; to limit yourself to only jocks or only musicians would make your pool of friends too small.

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The big thing about Hamilton is that you are really independent and they respect that. You make your own decisions bout classes (no curriculum), what activities you can and and basically you can chose whether to drink or not, etc. It's all your choice and through that, I think it makes Hamilton liberal. I hate the fact that it's on the Hill, everyone complains about that. Unless you are fit and pro-torture, it is murder to have to go back to Hamilton through hiking up the Hill. The campus is divided into two parts which actually used to be two schools- the Light side and the Dark Side. The Light Side is more preferred since it's near everything, but the Darkside is more notorious for its waffle ceiling, extremely bland cement buildings and with every building on the Dark Side known for its problems while it's the opposite for the Light side. Oh, and by the time you start classes here, the Honor Code will be seared into your brain. They make you feel like you will get the death sentence if you EVER think of cheating. There is no "college town." The town mostly consists of bars and pizza places and not very good ones at that. There is the notorious China Sea Restaurant, the only Chinese restaurant in tow that is so greasy and bad that it's constantly empty. Therefore, the campus life is boring and off-campus life as far as the town is boring. You have to go far to get to some good malls. When I said I ways going to Hamilton (since I'm from Los Angeles, CA), besides my friends wondering where the hell and what the hell Hamilton was, they thought I was going to develop a New York accent, haveso much more fun than them (since they stayed in LA in public Colleges) and thought I would get a better education and job opportunities. They were ignorant for the most part. I don't have a New York accent, my intelligence is at par with most people at my year and I am SO not having that much fun here.

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-Best thing about Hamilton: I have made some awesome friends, and the teachers (and ALUMNI!) really do care about us individually, as long as we put in the effort to get to know them. -One thing i would change: To have a bigger community atmosphere...there is a lot of extracurricular clubs and activities going on, but not a whole lot take advantage of them and I wish everyone would. -My school can be too small sometimes....you pass the same faces on the way to class, a lot of people will find out about your personal business w/hookups and dating. -Most people know hamilton by name, and they think it is a good school. -Spend most of my time on campus...basically everywhere...my room, friend's room, commons dining hall, the diner, the gym, etc. etc...the campus is very accessible and you can find a friend in every corner (and some corners where you can just be alone). -what college town? the people in clinton either love us or hate us...they can't live w/out us because we support many of their small businesses, but we can also be a typical drunk college kid peeing on their lawns and such...since we are on a hill we tend to stay away from the clintonians for the most part...there is a big rivalry between the "townies" (clinton kids our age/high schoolers)--they like to come up to party but usually start fights or act sketchy -unusual: there is a streaking team...and it's pretty well organized...enough said. -one experience i will always remember (or parts of it): class and charter day. the last day of classes everyone wakes up really early to party and celebrate the last day of school basically. everyone dresses up (it's also always beautiful out), there is a cookout on the main quad, and then live music at g-road, some upperclassmen apartments down the street. it is by far one of the best party days/nights at hamilton.

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Hamilton is unusual in its small size and lack of course requirements, which I really like. We focus a lot on writing here, if thats your thing, and have a fantastic new fitness center (though our sports teams are generally less than stellar). Teachers really love what they do here, and take the time to reach out to individuals, in small, usually discussion based classes. Hamilton is truly the epitome of a great liberal arts education, and I've never had a professor I really didnt like, while I've had several I absolutely adored. On the downside, Clinton, though it tries, is no serious college town. Though all of the essentials are here, go a mile or so away from Hamilton and you are in the middle of cow pasture nowhere. Its pretty, if you're the outdoorsy type. Controversy on campus tends to center around a liberal/conservative dichotomy, because there are strong elements of both here. For example, the closing of the Alexander Hamilton center and the Ward Chruchill incident a few years ago, both partisan arguements that made national headlines. A frequent complaint is that there is nothing to do here but drink. Greek societies aren't that dominant, except in the party scene, because they throw the biggest all-campus parties. The only thing I think I would change is that there is not enough to do, and that makes Hamilton students pretty into drinking. There is no where interesting to really go off-campus, especially when it gets super cold in the winter, so booze is a pretty big factor in social life here.

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The best thing about Hamilton is the open curriculum. There are no specific classes that you are required to take, only a few petty academic requirements that are easily fulfilled. However, once you begin classes, you have only one week to register for a new class if you decide to drop one. I would like this one week "shopping period" to increase to a two week period. Hamilton's size (around 1700 students) is just right for me. I went to a public high school that was substantially smaller, so it felt like a larger community when I first stepped onto campus. When I say I go to Hamilton, many people say something like, "Oh, isn't that in Minnesota?" It is nice living in a college town (Princeton) where people are educated about the different colleges that are out there, otherwise that type of response would be all that I'd hear. People who are familiar with the school, however, know of its excellence. Clinton, in stark contrast to Princeton, is lacking in many aspects of your typical college town (variety of restaurants, a Starbucks, different banking options, movie theatre, etc.) It's main fault is its distance from campus: 30 minute walk there, a 45 minute walk uphill back to campus. Frequently, students complain about the disparity throughout the on campus housing offered at Hamilton. Housing can range from loud, dirty dorms in bad locations to regular "Taj mahal" dorms located near everything important.

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