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I love that I can do what I want, without having to go through general education. When I tell people that I go to Hampshire, ...
I love that I can do what I want, without having to go through general education. When I tell people that I go to Hampshire, they usually don't know what it is or they write it off as a hippie school. It is nothing of the sort. I work really hard there, and get the profits from it as a result. The area around it is really nice, there are 4 college in 10 miles and everything is connected, so even though its a small town, there is plenty to do. One thing I would change is the fact that if you are not sure of yourself when you begin school there, you get very lost. The kids are a little too convinced that their way is the only way. Being liberal does not always mean open minded. Everything is unusual about Hampshire. We are constantly looking at each other and laughing about the fact that we found a utopia, and whereas all of our friends from high school are working to pass English 101, we are taking trips to Peru to study shamanism.
Everyone is very accepting. In fact, they are so accepting that if you don't accept everything there is, you won't be accepted. Political Correctness is a pain in the ass there. There are cliques that go along with the issues. There are major class problems there, as some of the kids have more money than God and others are struggling to get by. There is a group of kids who are so obsessed about race and the horror of white privilege that sometimes I find them racist themselves. You are not going to be able to escape race fights on campus, they won't let you. And if God help you, you are straight, white, and male, prepare to feel guilty for the worlds sins for the next four years.
In spite of some of its faults, such as the fact that it is poor, there is a lot of hypocrisy, and you have to pull out your Political Correctness Dictionary anytime you are in a discussion, Hampshire was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I come from Richmond Virginia, where most kids stay in state and then live in Richmond when they grow up. I was always the odd one out in high school. I walked onto Hampshire Campus and never looked back. I have never felt more accepted in my life, because everyone was the odd one out. They all understand. I always had anxiety during tests. Not having to worry about that has changed the way I perform in class. I feel that I have increased my learning abilities and outcomes exponentially. Hampshire also allows me to study Naturopathy and Childbirth in ways that I couldn't imagine anywhere else. Internships and Abroad programs are countless, and I am very fortunate for that. Basically, if you were the odd one out in school, you excel when you are allowed to be completely self sufficient, and you feel that you can take the strong opinions around you and use them to make yourself more you, then Hampshire should be your home. You are the kind of person who will be smiling with us when we laugh in disbelief about how incredible our college years are.
Not at all. Hampshire is the most active place I've ever been to. There is drug use, but that does not define the college whatsoever
You call the professors by their first name. You email them weekly. They have you over for dinner at their house. Because of our division and committee system, you spend a LOT of one on one time with the teachers. It couldn't be better in that sense. There is no such thing as class ending. Most of the classes are discussion based and usually intense, so there is little chance that you are going to leave class and stop talking about the discussion. The requirements are interesting. The division system where you design your own major is incredible, but if you do not make it a point to badger anyone who can help you, you are going to be in the dark.
You don't go to Hampshire if you are not active outside of academics. Everyone is active in everything, its incredible. The atmosphere is very open and friendly usually. Most kids are gay or open to it, so the dating scene can be kind of confusing. There is no greek life. If you say the word fraternity, the students will give you directions to Umass Amherst and tell you not to come back.
That they sit around all day and smoke weed.
The best thing about Hampshire is definitely the eclectic, tight-knit community. The small student population (around 1500) i...
The best thing about Hampshire is definitely the eclectic, tight-knit community. The small student population (around 1500) in conjunction with the fact that upperclassman live in the mods (on-campus apartment-style housing) rather than off campus, leads to a very close community of students that aids in both meeting people, making friends, and getting help. There are so many interesting people with great stories to hear, and there's always something going on, ranging from circus practice to social justice conferences. If that wasn't enough, the campus is absolutely gorgeous- all the empty space makes for great places to picnic, read outside, or play a game of frisbee- whether it's the Yiddish Book Center garden or the library lawn, it is very easy to find a beautiful place to hang out. The best way to summarize Hampshire in a nutshell would be to say that it is a thriving environment that is so full of life, care, and fun. Overall, I think it's safe to say that both students and faculty alike love being a part of the school.
When I tell people I go to Hampshire College, I am first asked if I smoke pot. The next question is "are there really no grades? so, you can't fail?" to which I then have to explain how while there are no letter grades, I can still pass or fail and that I do at least as much work as any other college student. Overall, the reactions vary from pomp, subtle disgust or complete awe.
In terms of the student body, Hampshire is certainly a mix of all different types of people- from race to religion, sexual orientation to socio-economic status, we range between all possible extremes. In terms of groups on campus, I have found that they are extremely passionate and active and we strive to make everyone more aware about both the struggles and accomplishments of all types of people. Hampshire's campus is incredibly open to all types of people and all types of activities, and if you enter it as a close-minded individual you can rest assured that you'll either experience a change or feel pretty uncomfortable. This is shown on a large scale by all the various events on campus, but can also be seen in day-to-day life- you don't see many fake tans, ugg boots, baseball caps, or starbucks coffee cups- people are always sporting unique clothing and hairstyles- from parachute pants to dredlocks. In terms of financial backgrounds, most students are upper-middle class- tuition is an issue for many people here, and most people are on some sort of financial aid and/or have a work study job. Politically, the majority of the student body is active and are predominantly to the left of the political spectrum.
Not exactly. It is true that there's a lot of alternative style in the students, the majority of them are vegetarians and vegans, and a large part of the student body is passionate about things that may be considered "hippie" by the general public, and while it's safe to say that the campus is full of unique characters (and yes, people who have smoked weed in their life), the stereotype is certainly an exaggeration. In terms of doing work, there are no letter grades and typically no tests/quizzes, but almost any student would agree that we read and write much more than the average college student does. Basically, you give what you get at Hampshire- students put in the work that they want to, making everyone on campus happy to be there and passionate about their work.
Academics at Hampshire are split up into three Divisions, and it's set up a lot like grad school. Division I is your first three semesters- you take about four classes a semester and take anything that interests you- there's not a set of core classes that one has to take, though there are a few requirements that one must fulfill to pass their Division I. During Div I you have to take at least one class in each of the five schools of thought (humanities/arts/cultural studies, social science, natural science, cognitive science, and interdisciplinary arts (there is also a 6th, optional outdoor/recreational school)), and you have to satisfy all 7 learning goals (reading, writing, project work, presentation, multicultural, quantitative, and creative expression) through these classes. It sounds like more of a hassle than it really is, and still allows you to take the classes that really interest you. Next, Division II is where you start focusing on a specific interest and taking the right classes for that interest, while also performing community service of some sort. There are no set majors, so this period is a little challenging, as one has to choose what he or she wants to study- for some it's easy to combine their interests, for others it's a little harder. Finally, there's Division III, where you spend your time working on your final, big independent study project (that relates to the work you did in Div II). The Div III project is much like a final thesis in that the completion of it is what allows you to receive a degree. While all this work sounds like a difficult thing to handle, there's always plenty of help available and you work with either an advisor or a committee the entire time. The professor's at Hampshire are great- they are always eager to help or provide you with extra information, and they typically try to avoid treating the class as if it was theirs or as if they are in charge. Classes at Hampshire range in size from about 13 to 25 people and professors typically know your name after about two weeks. In terms of interests, there is something for everyone and you're given plenty of opportunity to explore academically- last year I took class about aliens! Classes are typically discussion based, so participation is always a huge factor. Intellectual conversation does not end outside the classroom- with all of the activities, speakers, and conferences going on, it's hard not to find someone who wants to have a serious talk about something, and you're guaranteed to learn something new every day.
People at Hampshire are typically very friendly and most students leave their doors open and are always open to a conversation or an adventure. It's very easy to get involved and meet people either through living with them, through classes, or through the tons of clubs you can join. In terms of having fun and partying, week days are pretty tame, though the smell of pot is pretty much always prevalent throughout the dorm halls. The weekend starts on Thursday, the low-key part of the weekend, and it usually involves drinking or smoking pot with small groups of friends in dorms (the doors DO get closed at this point, unless you want to get caught by an intern). Fridays and Saturdays are more high energy- there's always parties in the mods, and always at least one crazy-themed dance party. Of course, all the partying requires some relaxation- weekend brunch at the dining hall is always full of unkempt, tired-looking students who are nursing hangovers with tatertots and water. In terms of large-scale events, we have about three major traditions that happen every year. First is Hampshire Halloween- a huge halloween party with the slogan "trip or treat" that's full of dance parties, fireworks, and crazy costumes- it's the biggest and best party of the year. Next is Easter Keg Hunt which is pretty self explanatory. Kegs are hidden by upperclassmen throughout the woods on campus and people wake up incredibly early to go find the kegs- most people are trashed by noon. Last is Spring Jam, a fun outdoors event that's full of moon bounces, carnival food, and great, live music. It's a nice, relaxed time to hang out with friends and chill out before spring finals start to get too heavy. As for other events, athletics aren't really a big thing- our basketball and frisbee teams get small audiences during games, and we don't have greek life. There are plenty of other clubs and music groups on campus that get a lot of attention, though. Campus can get a little small sometimes, and there are plenty of things to do off campus- there's plenty of restaurants, shops, cinemas, and venues within a 15 minute radius, and tons of great places to explore on weekends in the surrounding towns. The PVTA bus (which is totally free!) takes you anywhere from Amherst center to Northampton, and if you can find a car, there's plenty to explore in the surrounding towns- from the butterfly conservatory in Deerfield to the Bookmill in Montague.
The most-heard stereotypes about Hampshire are that it's a hippie school full of crazy, rich stoners that don't do any work.
While there are plenty of people who do experiment with pot, the stereotypes are by no means true.
At Hampshire, all of the professors know your name two weeks into the class tops. In terms of
The stereotypical Hampshire student would be best described as a pothead, a crazy hippies, or a rich stoner who's parents are paying for them.
they are not as lazy as most people think, everyone I met there has been spectacularly intelligent.
they are not as lazy as most people think, everyone I met there has been spectacularly intelligent.
pretentious, lazy, potheads
To quote Ricky Bobby, if you ain't first, you're last. Hampshire is a binary place - either you're one of the motivated, pass...
To quote Ricky Bobby, if you ain't first, you're last. Hampshire is a binary place - either you're one of the motivated, passionate autodidacts who came here seeking a new world free from the persecution of a core curriculum...or you're here for an easy ride, and the chance to get a degree for sitting in your incense-laden dorm and smoking ganja. Hampshire's biggest weakness is our consummate lack of school spirit. Little to no investment in the school is manifest by the students, and many community institutions are brittle or simply non-existant. We have a fragile student government, no year book and only one athletic team to speak of (Red Scare, our Ultimate Frisbee team) although we actually have other athletic teams, and could easily form more. The trouble lies in the students, many of whom preach "community involvement" by touting hurricane relief programs or attempting to support local farming efforts, but won't do more than charge a Hampshire College Hoodie at the store to rep their own college. We have a ton of beurocratic red tape, but at times that can be a boon - if you can get your stuff together, and are relatively persistant, you can get what you want from the school, putting your 40,000 dollar education back in your hands. The little blurb at the top here says I should comment on the college town: Amherst rocks. It totally pwns. The food is awesome (Fresh Side, what!) and the town itself is cute. It's a fantastic nexus for the five colleges, and there's a comic book store. The only drawback is that everything closes pretty early - you're hard pressed to find anything open after ten - but I'm told this is somewhat typical of rural life.
Hampshire is with out a doubt the most politically, religiously, racially and economically homogenous community I have ever been a part of. With very few exceptions, we are a far left, wannabe-buddhist, white upper middle class school. Many students are from small towns, and have never been exposed to any kind of diversity. These people make up the majority of the student activist groups, which are probably the most prominant of our social blemishes. They are inept, ill-advised and often work entirely outside the proper process (both administratively and socially) for organizing anything, with the result that most "demonstrations" are ragtag cliques of attention seekers banging on pots and pans and playing inscrutable music from their boomboxes. Their level of preparation and structure call seriously into question the legitimacy of their devotion to whatever cause-of-the-week is stirring up trouble. Hampshire students are also, by and large, isolationist. They want little to do with the other five colleges, believing at least UMass and Amherst to represent the invented monsters of their childhood: "jocks" and "preppies." While I'm sure some Hampshire students (like everyone else in the world) have experienced some unmerited bullying, it cannot justify the abhorrance they hold towards any alien subculture. Hampshire students are generally an intolerant, opinionated and often ignorant lot, but we have a few real gems, and could certainly use more. Bottom Line: If you're brilliant, love to think (or love to do any one thing, really), capable of navigating social and administrative byways, and open-minded, you will find a place to fit in here.
Ken Burns, possibly our only famous alumn besides Danny Tamberelli, once referred to Hampshire as "the perfect American place." Nuff said.
To an extent. The wannabe-hippie culture is in full force at Hampshire, and many other students could be accurately described as belonging to the hipster subculture. The idea that Hampshire students are generally more unique or creative in some way than others is complete croque. The majority of students certainly represent bungled attempts at non-conformity. That said, there are plenty of extremely intelligent, motivated and creative individuals at our school (you just have to look for 'em), and we could always use more.
Hampshire's application form is exemplary of (the latter parts of) its pedagogic program: the essays permit you to give detailed responses, and represent yourself in a nuanced manner, which is probably for the best. The school, at least in the admissions phase, takes a great deal of interest in the individual student, and the student as an individual. Once you're in, you begin a career in Division One (the distribution requirement section of the program; a constant work in progress and arguably the weakest link in Hampshire's curriculum), then move to Division Two (which is more like a self-desigined major. For this section you select a committee of two faculty, theoretically involved in your chosen field, who help you pick your courses and guide you career wise) and finally Division Three (a giant project of your own design. You have a committee again, and it's a lot like a senior thesis at another school, except with fewer limitations - Blades of Glory status, if you can dream it, you can do it. Hampshire is unequivocally a phenomenal research college. Our professors are, by and large, pretty good, and you cannot match us for the amount of time they spend in direct contact with the undergraduates. Independent studies and tiny, specialized classes permit a virtually one-on-one learning environement, and your professors often become more like career-mentors. There are requirements, which Hampshire will try to hide from you before you get here, but they're not hard to deal with, and once you're out of Division One (at the time of this writing anyway - June, 2008) your only real requirements are that you fulfill a certain amount of community service (easy to do by working for a Div III, or TAing, or volunteering in Amherst), do some kind of multicultural perspectives thing (which is as vague as it sounds: you could take a Spanish immersion course for a month or you could go to Papua New Guinea for a year), get twelve courses related to your subject completed during your Division II (these are more heavily regulated for our most popular majors: studio art and music) and to complete two "advanced learning activities" during Division Three (anything from mentoring a noob in your subject to taking a 300 level class). Our course catalogue is spotty and heavily politicized - we have some really strong programs in what would generally be considered fairly random subjects (we are one of the best schools in the nation for animal behavior, for example) but are almost devoid of basic curricula items (like econ courses. We have like two, and they're both about the middle east). However, the presence of the five colleges makes up for this paucity in a lot of ways. You can (relatively) easily take a course at Smith, Holyoke, Amherst or UMass, and it will count in full (we don't actually have official credits) towards your Hampshire education. At the end of the day, a Hampshire Education is what you make it. Building the right program takes endurance, initiative and some blind stumbling, but if you can figure out how to fit yourself for it, you're guaranteed a personally tailored college education, with the full faith and resources of the institution at your back.
I hate to continue in such a negative vein, because Hampshire College really is awesome, and if you find the right people you can live it up pretty unfettered, but community and student life really are not our strong suites. There are a fair number of student organizations, and it isn't hard to start one. Most of them are political, some are special-interest (like manga clubs, anime clubs, japanese illustration clubs...) others are academic (like the right proud Hampshire Animal Behavior Group) and these permit upper classmen to help lower classmen arrange their programs, or keep posted on events, internship opportunities and the like. You can learn a lot from other students...provided you find the right ones. Students are generally pretty trusting, a byproduct either of our college's small size or its "hippie" nature. Doors are left open and most people are approachable. There are virtually no activities, with the exception of Hampshire Halloween (which is sick-nasty, and you should go even if you don't wind up at Hampshire), which encourage the student body to congregate in full. The party scene at the school is weak at best, and essentially a lot of New England Prudes Turned Hippies dancing in small circles by themselves, never touching a member of the opposite sex. This dismal report is not universally the case, however. Some parties are legitimately awesome. Again, it's a matter of finding people you like. Off-Campus events are a better bet. Whether it's a concert in Northampton or an Amherst event, you may be able to find your fragment of the five college community in their natural environment.
The obvious one; the Scooby canard, is that we represent the Shaggy element of the five college consortium. As such, we're supposed to be wannabe-hippies, stoners and hipsters. We have a reputation for being irresponsible layabouts, and for "thinking outside the box."
With very few exceptions, yes. Those few who come to Hampshire and are not such things, mostly drop out of college. Some t...
With very few exceptions, yes. Those few who come to Hampshire and are not such things, mostly drop out of college. Some transfer - but many of them say, whatever Hampshire has wrong with it, other colleges will have thrice so. So they leave school entire. Some very few of us remain, because it requires so little of our time and energy to secure a diploma that we may as well take the room&board. If only there were more of us in this latter group, we might be able to create for ourselves a learning community.
That we are all homosexuals. That we all smoke cigarettes. That we never leave our rooms. That we are all antisocial in general. That we are all stoners, & pursue intoxication beyond the intellectual and into the hedonistic. That we are poor test-takers. That we do not play well with others. That we are all desparately insecure. That we are unexceptionally intelligent. That we are all rich, & utterly disinterested in money. That we LOVE ANIMALS!
Hampshire is going through a very transitional time. It boasts small class size, and the flexibility to do independent work,...
Hampshire is going through a very transitional time. It boasts small class size, and the flexibility to do independent work, but these factors don't always turn into fact for every student. Every year Hampshire is accepting more and more first year students, but they are not increasing the faculty size. This means, more students per class, and less opportunity (especially in the first 2 years) for independent studies. In my opinion, this also means less student support, and a high first year drop out rate. I don't actually know the numbers, but I can tell you that at least 4 people left school during the first semester off my 10 person hall, my first year. That is a pretty huge number. On the flip side, many students choose to look at this as the weeding out process. My advice...If you are coming to Hampshire because you think it sounds easy, look else where. Just because there are no grades and tests, doesn't mean there is no work. In the average semester, I probably write over 100 pages. But, a Hampshire education is only as good as what you put into it.
Campus is extremely liberal. I have more often heard negative comments directed towards meat-eaters or conservatives than towards homosexuals, or people of color. With that said, Hampshire being the liberal institution that it is attracts many students who want social change. The breakdown occurs when students don't know the best ways to communicate their ideas. Anti-Racism has been a hot topic on campus this past year. Many students came away from the discussions quite offended, not because they disagreed with the principles of what the students were fighting for, but more because they disliked the way the students were "fighting." Socially, there tends to be something for just about everyone, especially when you look at the 5 colleges. The only students I have ever seen not fit into to Hampshire socially were 2 students who left my first year. They were both quite "preppy" and felt very out of place. the only other person i know who left for that reason was a spring transfer student. She told me that it was hard for her to find friends because everyone had already established their social groups, and no one was interested in expanding them to welcome her. Not being a transfer student myself, I can't vouch for this from personal experience, but social groups at hampshire are usually formed first year in the dorms and last all four years.
Hampshire boasts the freedom to study anything. This is true to some extent, but your studies are still limited by what your committee (Hampshire college faculty) can advise you in. Just because Hampshire has a department, dosn't mean that it's quality instruction. I study education, and have found the education department at Hampshire's to be seriously lacking. Some of the worst courses i have ever taken where through education professors at Hampshire. But, I still have the freedom to take courses off campus. Hampshire politics are also sticky and difficult to navigate. If you have a problem, there is probably a solution, you just may need to spend half of your time trying to figure out who to talk to in order to fix it. There is also an increasing feeling on campus that Hampshire cares more about future students than current students. It should also be noted that financial aid decreases after your first year. If you are not on work study, it is extremely difficult to get an on campus job. There are not a lot of on campus facilities. No great performance space, no student center, not a lot of dining choices on campus. Things like that.
Yes and no. The campus is mixed pretty 50/50. Half of the students are there because they love the independence a hampshire education provides, and the other half takes advantage of the no grades, no tests policy. There are drugs on campus, but there are also easy ways to avoid them. Many hampshire students are talkative and personable, but they tend to fall into the latter fifty percent. Many Hampshire students are a bit wierd or socially awkward, but this is pretty standard for most liberal arts colleges. Hampshire kids tend to be the nerdy kids in high school, so nerd culture is quite cool on campus, as is everything that goes with it.
Hampshire classes tend to be discussion based, and on a very narrow topic. The brilliance of Hampshire, is that you have the 5 colleges to draw from. Generally, I take most of my courses off campus. I have had some really great Hampshire classes, and some really horrific Hampshire classes. It's a small enough campus that you can generally find out what professors are good and which are not. Hampshire professors tend to be overloaded with work, so if you don't make an effort to become acquainted with them, and you are doing well, they wont make the effort either. As far as class discussion goes, again, it depends on the class. Hampshire kids try really hard for the most part to participate in discussion and make comments that are constructive, but it doesn't always work. Generally, with first years, there is a learning curve to this. Rarely have I seen a first year come in and engage in discussion at the same level as most of the older students, but that is o.k., so long as they are able to take constructive criticism. Hampshire is set up so that if you want to better yourself, for the most part, you have the resources to do so, but you have to take the first step.
Frizbee and circus tend to be the most popular activities. Circus is great. It's mostly a bunch of nice sub free kids who like to juggle and hang upside down. There are no frats etc on campus, but there are still parties. Housing at Hampshire is set up so that half the students live in dorms and the other half live in on campus apartments called Mods. The parties tend to be in the mods. Personally, i dont like to party, but i never have a hard time finding stuff to do. There is always something going on at one of the colleges. College clubs are usually open to students from all colleges, so if there is a club that you want to participate in, and Hampshire dosn't have it, one of the other colleges probably does.
They are pot smoking hippies. They are talkative and personable. They are wierd/socially awkward. They are self motivated.
A very liberal campus. Pretty homogenous in terms of race, but no more so than other schools like it. There was a big movemen...
A very liberal campus. Pretty homogenous in terms of race, but no more so than other schools like it. There was a big movement about race last semester, which got a lot of the student body involved and led to limited (some would say disappointing) changes. Financial backgrounds are more varied than I expected from such an expensive school. Big LGBT presence. All bathrooms are co-ed, even in classroom buildings. A lot students from the Northeast, but also a wide variety from all over the US and some international presence too. Clothes are pretty much anything goes, but there isn't much of the preppy style-- thats more Amherst. Salvation army is really popular. Quite a few 'hipsters.' Students as a whole are not as politically active as I expected-- there's a lot of apathy towards action, although just about everyone has an opinion. Politically active people can definitely get themselves heard, though, if they're motivated. A wide variety of interests & a lot of intellectual conversation outside of class. People are quite friendly although there is some separation between first years and everyone else, mostly because first years are concentrated in the dorms. Social groups definitely emerge, but I don't see them as competitive or particularly exclusive.
It really varies. There are a lot of drugs around, but once you get past orientation week (when smoking seems to be a big social activity) no one cares about what you do or don't do substance-wise. Definitely people who don't bathe, but very few 'hippies'-- more people who like to pretend they're hippies. Students are NOT lazy if they're working on something they're interested in-- in fact, normally they go way beyond expectations, especially with creative projects and work. Essays do get turned in late by some people.
5 colleges are key, both for courses (you get a break from the academic style of Hamp), more resources (more libraries and departments) and some social escape from Hampshire. 5 college teachers tend to love students who cross-register. Some teachers can be too lax for my liking, but there are plenty of tough teachers too-- Michael Lesy's literary journalism class is incredible if you like his teaching style. Teachers learn your name but you need to take the initiative to establish a relationship with them-- signing up for office hours, etc. If you do, they're happy to oblige you. Division one can be a little bit too focused on requirements and courses instead of the personalized, independent learning that Hampshire promises. They're working on reforming it, though. I want to work in the writing department, which is very popular and too small for the size of the demand. Courses are hard to get into during signup. But, like all Hampshire classes, persistence will get you a long way. Definitely geared toward and education on the student's own terms, that is, for learnings sake rather than a job. They're very open to students who have been on or will end up on unusual life paths.
Students are lazy and don't do anything on time. Tons of drugs, especially cigarettes and pot. Some acid. "Dirty Hippies."
The best thing about Hampshire is the freedom that you get. Unfortunately, some people are not self motivated and need more g...
The best thing about Hampshire is the freedom that you get. Unfortunately, some people are not self motivated and need more guidance and are therefore kind of disadvantaged by the structure. If I could change things at Hampshire, it would be many things, but Hampshire does not have a large endowment. Though everyone gets their own room at Hampshire, there is still housing shortages. I spend most of my time on campus in my room or friends' rooms. Usually people complain about things like food and housing and the number of professors per department, but it all really comes down to Hampshire not having a lot of money- which is unfortunate. The Hampshire administration seems to be non-existent. I don't know where to begin if I have a problem with something, and even then, no one is very helpful anyways. Hampshire is very fend-for-yourself.
Hampshire students are very accepting because they are all different in their own way. I find that people living in the dorms do not really interact with people living in the mods, which is unfortunate because first year students don't get to really form relationships with second-fourth year students. Students are very liberal and very outspoken and very active in their opinions and beliefs. They come from all different financial backgrounds, though most hate capitalism even though it pays for them to go to college. I find that Hampshire is admitting more people who I feel don't belong at Hampshire and are simply attracted by the fact that Hampshire has no grades. These are the people who are not intellectually curious, who do not care about thinking, and who are more interested in discussing how to seduce the hottie down the hall rather than Ionesco's use of existentialism in his absurdist plays. These are also the people who come to Hampshire for the drugs and who use drugs incorrectly. I find that generally Hampshire college students don't so much care about how much money they'll be making one day, but how much they will be able to change the world.
Hampshire is amazing, but not for everyone. You either love it or you hate it; it's either precisely for you, or not for you at all.
They are accurate in the sense that there are noticeable amount of these populations present, but Hampshire is also a collective of many different types of people who can usually be categorized as being individual and eccentric.
I really disliked Division I, I think that it keeps students from studying what they want to, even though they came to Hampshire to do exactly that. Hampshire has very interesting classes that approach subjects not necessarily from a textbook angle, but very theoretically and in ways that trigger your thinking, which I find wonderful. If you participate in class, professors will know you. If you don't, they probably will know you as well. Students are not very competitive in terms of academic performance, but they are very proud about their ideas and their opinions. This can result in some controversy in the class room, but always an interesting discussion. Hampshire students, from my experiences, also have intellectual conversations outside the classroom, which I believe that many colleges lack. Though Hampshire has no grades, it is extremely academically invigorating because it really makes you think and by the end of your second semester you think writing a 12 page paper is easy.
There are no frats or sororities, which is wonderful. People do leave their dorms open, for better or for worse. There is little athletics at Hampshire, let alone athletic events. The dating scene is normal, people find people and that's that. I met my closest friends sharing a cigarette with them. If I'm awake late during the week (ie: 4am), which I usually am, I'm doing anything from work to talking to smoking to painting. On Saturday night without drinking you can go out to eat at the local towns (Northampton, Amherst, Hadley, etc), you can go to concerts, which there are a lot of, or you can just hang around with friends and stay sober. There are also a lot of parties in peoples' dorms and mods (on campus apartments), which are sometimes busted by Public Safety but whatever.
The stereotype about Hampshire is that it's full of drug addicts, stoner, hippies, and hipsters.
Hampshire has created its own little left-wing commune in the middle of nowhere. The majority of the student body is incredi...
Hampshire has created its own little left-wing commune in the middle of nowhere. The majority of the student body is incredibly radical, and life at Hampshire doesn't even come close to reflecting life in the real world. The majority of the students stay in the area even after graduation. A big issue with Hampshire is the lack of money. The Smith College greenhouse has a bigger endowment than all of Hampshire College, and so Hampshire has had to resort to cutting back on staff and student activities, and they send out letters not only asking alumni for donations, but also current students. At the same time, Hampshire wastes the money that it does have on things that are unnecessary like the building of a new pavillion, the addition of a large screen television to the cafeteria, etc.
The Hampshire student body is incredibly radical and intolerant of dissent. If your opinions deviate from the norm, you will most likely feel personally attacked, or you'll just learn to keep your mouth shut. We apparently used to have a Republican club (which had a total of 2 memebers) which was eventually intimidated into disbanding (though I don't know all of the details of this story). Overall, though, the student body is pretty laid-back, and they are generally more open to meeting new people and far nicer than the students at many other schools. If you are looking for diversity, though, don't come here. The majority of the student body is white, and from either a farm, the suburbs, or New York City.
For more information about the college, go to youtube and search Hampshire College, or go to google and search "Action Awareness Week"
To a certain degree, yes. The student body is incredibly radical (I have a friend who claims that she'd work at Planned Parenthood, but its just not liberal enough), but at the same time, you have to do actual classwork. Many students are weeded-out (so to speak) in their first year because they think they can sit around and smoke all the time. That, and there are a great deal of students who are substance free.
Hampshire makes you think that your education is entirely up to you, and then you get there and realize that you've got a lot of requirements which essentially eat up at least one semester. While Hampshire has fewer requirements than most other schools, you will be stuck in at least one class that you really don't like because of the Div I distribution requriements. That is why there is a movement on campus to eliminate these requirements. Class participation is generally pretty big depending on the class itself. Obviously, literature classes are more discussion based than science classes, but the overall academic atomosphere is generally more hands-on and project oriented than most other schools. The classes teach you how to conduct your own research, complete your own independent projects, and generally will prepare you for a job more than most other schools. For example, I took a biology course called "Gene Cloning" and in one semester I got more lab experience than most undergrads, and am now going to spend my summer working at a lab conducting cancer research. The main issue with classes is that if you think about them enough, you tend to realize that a lot of what the professors teach is actually total BS. I've actually had textbooks which explain the differences between "lesions" and "pathologies" and I've met students who in their fourth year still didn't know what the sixth century was. Though at the same time I know students who have applied to grad schools only to be told that they already know enough to go straight to working on a PhD after leaving Hampshire. Really, your education is what you make of it. If you work hard, it'll pay off, but to a certain extent you can slack off for four years and still get a degree.
Any group you want to exist, you can work to start it. Theres everything from bellydancing, and live action roleplaying, to any social justice issue you can imagine. Sports is practically non-existant (soccer, basketball, and frisbee are the only teams I've heard of), but there are a lot of political speakers, and theatrical performances. Theres always something to do or someone to hang out with. I've gone for walks at 4 AM on a weeknight and have found kids hanging out. The towns nearby generally close down pretty early, with the exception of some pizza shops, and so many complain that there is nothing to do.
There is an overall image of Hampshire students as unwashed, radical, pot-smoking, hippies who never do any work.
Hampshire has money issues. We are a tiny new school with no dead alumni (yet) and have a 39 million dollar endowment (read: ...
Hampshire has money issues. We are a tiny new school with no dead alumni (yet) and have a 39 million dollar endowment (read: no endowment). This creates many problems - we can never get enough faculty, we don't have a student center, and the administration raises tuition at least 5% a year. The school also has problems keeping up the financial aid it gives to students. I have heard too many stories of a student who got a great package first year, then got increasingly more screwed over in years following. BUT if you can hang onto those scholarships and loans, Hampshire can be cheaper than a state school. The school has issues with race, with class, with sexuality, with identity, and with funding important things on campus. Basically all the issues that every college and university faces all the time. But at Hampshire, nothing ever seems to get done about these issues. Maybe it's because we are less than forty years old, perhaps it's because the school is desperately trying to reform itself every four years. Whatever it is, there is always A LOT of talk and not much action. But hey, at least we talk about this stuff. At Princeton, shit just doesn't get said and those disenfranchised groups just keep getting screwed because it is all written in stone (literally). Little Hampshire was forged in some brick and vinyl siding that gets rebuilt every couple years because it's falling apart...better to be locked into hundreds of years of tradition and be at a standstill or to be in a constant cycle of rotting and rebuilding? I don't know.
Some are awesome, some are not. We have everything from jocks to hippies to nerds and cool kids, but everywhere does. You will find someone you love to their toes, and you will find someone else you want to hip check off a cliff. Hampshire students are (again) full of extremes: a great many are very politically and environmentally conscious, but a great many are also apathetic to the core. The campus on the whole is very liberal.
As in almost all stereotypes, there are parts that hold true for some of the students on our campus. But all-in-all, I would say the stereotype is pretty far off, at least past first year. After first year students realize that Hampshire is a place where you have to be extremely self-motivated, you have to know what you want, and you have to be willing to work for it. Why else would we have a 62% retention rate? Some people come into Hampshire believing the stereotype, expect a free ride, then get dumped on their asses when they can't keep up.
Academics at Hampshire are up to the individual. I have seen everywhere on the spectrum: a stoner dude who doesn't do anything all four years, bullshits a Div III and passes, and never does anything with his life to a gifted scientist who works her ass off all four years, takes incredible advantage of not only Hampshire but the whole five college community and is now off to get her masters and Ph.D. at an Ivy. Anything can happen. I suppose the most important thing about Hampshire academics is that you can do anything you want. There are extremely motivated people, and there are not-so motivated people. Some students are super competitive, and others don't care at all. Learning at Hampshire is purely for learning. We are there to ask questions, find answers, and ask questions. And students and faculty totally hang out after class.
Political groups are very popular at Hampshire. Some groups: Students for a Free Tibet, Students for Justice in Palestine, Civil Liberties and Public Policy (mostly focused on reproductive freedom), a chapter of Amnesty International, Building Awareness Across Bars (focused on civil liberties of those incarcerated), the Feminist United Collective, and the Union of Progressive Zionists. We also have the less intellectually intense groups: Hampshire College Climber's Coalition, the Connoisseurs Club (meet and eat fabulous things), Hampshire College Red Scare (communist frisbee team), Spinsters Unite (spinning/yarn club), and The Society for the Creative Realization of a Weirder You (SCREWY...who knows...). There are no frats or sororities, but parties happen all the same. I would say there is probably a good dance party once a month, and people host everything from soirées to beruit tournaments. There are a lot of drugs, a lot of drinking...but these things can be avoided if you so choose. Also, there is a lot of sex.
There are bound to be stereotypes about college students - we need simple concise ways to put people in boxes and try to understand them. Hampshire is no exception. The school was founded during the sixties in a rural area to complement the four existing schools in the area (Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and UMass). So the stereotype most common about Hampshire kids is that they are pot-smoking, tree hugging, do-nothing liberals who are not smart enough or motivated enough to get in/do the work anywhere else.
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