Do not go to this school! Apparently the professors really hate when you miss class, even if you tell them that you had to go to the hospital. Two of them failed me because of it, and another gave me 24 hours to resubmit a brand new 25 page final paper or I'd fail that class too, resulting in withdrawal. When I contacted the administration to complain about how ridiculous that is, they accused me of "plagiarism" and kicked me out anyway. At Hampshire, what the professors say goes. And if you protest, they make something up as an excuse.
it's not for everyone. if you don't like arguing, the general spirit of activism, the smell of marijuana, really smart people who do too many drugs and manage to write insanely good essays anyway, or woodland creatures, and if you do like a whole lot of direction in your academic work, you'll be better off elsewhere. there are a lot of problems, mainly bureaucratic ones. we have no money. but the idea of a self-guided education is kind of addictive.
I absolutely love Hampshire College. My favorite thing about Hampshire is definitely the people. The majority of Hampshire students are friendly, hip, and smart, and the quality of the professors is way above average. My least favorite thing about Hampshire is the food, but if that's my biggest complaint then that means Hampshire is a terrific school. Plus, only first year students have to be on the meal plan, so it's basically a moot point.
Great college, awesome Consortium with UMASS, Amherst, Smith, and Mt.Holyoke - great benefits with all five libraries and being able to take classes at all the other colleges. One thing I would change is that some of the teachers are very lax about due dates for them, they sometimes don't give an Eval for several months. Also, theHub (our internet place for courses etc...) is a bitch, especially during add/drop or pre-registration.
Good size, near Amherst and Northampton which are great college towns. Pretty loose in terms of requirements. Good bus schedule, and you can take classes at 4 other schools. Professors are mostly really cool. Dining sucks but you only have to deal with it for one year. A lot of activism and things on campus regarding race and class. A lot of passionate people. sometimes too passionate.
Most people haven't really heard of Hampshire, but when I tell them there are no grades or tests they think it's a major joke. Then I explain that I transferred from one of the new 'ivy league' schools, and that I found Hampshire MUCH more challenging. Everything is put on the students, its their responsibility to finish work... You get what you put in.
The best thing about Hampshire is its flexibility. Staff, courses, majors, the administration are extremely flexible and willing to work with you to get the results you desire. It is a great school for people who are willing to take a cut on the brand name school benefit for a greater, integrative learning experience.
There is a lot of pride, those who dont like it leave or transfer. Hampshire has its difficulties and not enough endowment, but overall i am very happy it is a place that stimulates creativity and new ways of looking at things. Everyone is into something and often willing to help or collaborate.
Hampshire's administration uses lack of finances to not do anything they don't want to do and they don't put student needs as a priority. Housing sucks (and some isn't even up to fire code), there is no student center, and the administration refuses to be actively anti-racist.
It's how the world should be. As long as people are comfortable with themselves they aren't judged for things the outside world might ridicule them for. People are open and passionate. You do have a lot of freedom academically but there are more restrictions than they let on.