Hampshire College Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Alexandra

Everything you think about college life is all wrong, yet right at the same time. Yes, people love to party. No, you will not able to drown it out with a fan and sleep through it. Yes, there is a lot of work in college. No, you are not going to be up until 3am every night. Only some nights. Yes, the Freshman 15 is real! No, unfortunately, you will not escape it. I know all that I've said sounds kinda scary, but it's really not. You'll get used to the noise. If not, be the brave person in your hall that tells people to be quiet. People will love and hate you for this. For work, just make sure you do all the readings and finals are a piece of cake. And the weight gain... please, just eat less pizza. It's not as good of an idea as you think. But what makes all these annoying and scary things worth it, are your friends. Be more social than you normally would be. Remember to keep putting your neck out, and talk to people. Because those sleepless nights are worthless without your friends doing the same.

Miranda

Miranda, Three words (you may have heard them before) : It Gets Better. Trust me, honey, it does. You are trapped in a downward spiral, funneling you towards chaos. But that is not your way! That whirlwind tunneling down, down, is for the ignorant, stubborn, weak-minded idiots that surround you - do not let them take you along! Theirs is a future filled with disillusionment and disappointment; they will constantly be living between weekends, working boring, laborious jobs with a family chosen in high school that they will come to realize they do not love. Yours is a future filled with wonder, awe, love, and inpirational people; you will change the world, one student at a time. Your dream is to teach and inspire - you will do it! Just hang in there a little bit longer! As soon as you exit the premises of that rat-hole you've called home, the world will expand before you. Never forget who you are, and never let others attempt to tell you who that is. I love you, you'll do great things. Love, Miranda

Alishia

I would advise myself to stick with my commitments and not procrastinate. At the beggining of the year I attented many different clubs, but by the end of the year, I failed to go to the clubs anymore. In the first semester, I socialized too much and thus, reglected my studies. I handed in one of my papers two months late. This was a very bad decision and reflected poorly on my evaluation of the course. I did not go to the clubs I would have liked to because I hung out with my friends to often and could not finish my work, thus I did not have time to go to the clubs. That would be my advice to myself.

Danienne

Gateway Community College offered an easy transition for me as a single parent returning to school. Returning to school was a difficult task; however, at Gateway the teachers and organizations provided many forms of support. Gateway gave me the confidence that a degree was an attainable goal for me. Being able to receive free tutoring and easy class scheduling has put me into a fast track for a new career and brighter future.

Josie

While at Hampshire, I fell in love with learning. I had the freedom to engage with subject matter (psychology, more specifically psychoanalysis) that I was passionate about. I learned how to think and write analytically. I learned how to integrate theory and practice in my writing. Within the field of cognitive psychology, I learned how to conduct psychological research and even designed my own study. I developed skills in writing reflective introspective peices. During my fourth year, I conducted a year-long project called my Division III. The paper was over 100-pages and it provided a complex view of childhood, with reflections on my own childhood, interviews with others about important childhood artifacts, a discussion of the image of the "Romantic child" and psychoanalytic feminist theories. Through this project, I learned a great deal about the revising and editing process. More importantly, through this ambitious project, I really learned how to value my own personal voice. I couldn't have imagined a more fulfilling college experience than I had at Hampshire.

Summer

The one thing I would caution myself against is the overzealous spending of money. I had a job for two years during highschool so I got used to the idea of a steady income. I just assumed that I would easily be able to find a job on or off campus and continue to have money for, oh, the little things like text books, ink cartridges for my printer, and food. The economy and the fact that the area I live in has 5 major colleges, so the job market is flooded with college students and minimum wage part time jobs are a rarity, have proved me wrong and I am struggling on a daily basis to be here. While transitioning first year socially and academically and mentally was difficult, I learned so many valuable lessons that I wouldn't want to deprive myself of during my first year of college. So beyond financial advice, I would probably leave my high school senior self with a pat on the back and a hearty "Good luck! Stay safe!" before travelling somewhere else in time.

Christopher

The best way to find out if a college is right for a student is to find out how the students feels while visiting the college for a short period of time and combine that with how much the college can offer the student in terms of what they want to study. It is a very difficult decision, but descovering whether or not a college feels right can make all of the difference and just because a college is fun does not mean it will help if it does not offer the student what they want to student.

Colin

First look for schools which are strong in the area of study in which you are interested (obviously). If you're not sure what you want to study, look for schools that allow you more academic freedom to take many different classes and experience different subjects. I feel that the best of these even allow you to integrate several subjects and create an individual course of study. Small class sizes means it is easier to participate in class and ask questions. Smaller schools allow for greater contact with faculty. Talk to as many students as possible; the students who got there will give you the best picture of the school. Schools which require a lot of independant work and project-based assignments may be weird at first if you're more used to a traditional system of listening to a lecture, studying and taking a test; but there are major advantages to such schools. Independant work forces you to think critically about subjects, be creative and ultimately get a great deal more knowledge and experience out of your education. Bottom line: If you're not happy there you won't be able to learn as much.

Rachel

You know, I and a lot of students I know really didn't know where we wanted to go. I can say that, if you hated highschool, don't choose a college that seems like an extension of highschool. If you need some structure, choose a place that will give you that. Look at what students at the school have said, the resources available through the school and in the area. When you get there, take classes that will challenge you. In my opinion, college is not the time to work the system. Find professors that share your interests. Take classes from them and show that your invested. The more interest and determination you show, the more seriously you'll be taken. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to what you need to do for yourself to do your best. This might mean working late at night. It might mean taking a lot of breaks or exercising on a schedule. Nobody else can really tell you how to do well.

Tanya

Visit the school! Spend a night! Talk to the students! Don't make snap judgments! Sit in on classes!

Freya

To the students: Be selfish. Think only about what you want, and what will make you happy. Don't think about where your friend is going or where your mom went. Think about what kind of setting will make you happy for the next 2-4 years of your life. To parents: Let go. It's hard, I know. But it will be best for us students in the end to be left to our own devices in a place that has a support system already built-in. Let us fail in college first, not at life. When choosing a major, again, be selfish. The only time that I was ever unhappy at school so far was when I was doing things that I didn't love. This is the rest of your life we're talking about, here! If you love doing something, make it what you do. Don't go to business school because it will make you money. Don't settle for that. You know the saying "money can't buy happiness"? Now, do you remember the one that goes "If you are doing what you love, you'll never work a day in your life?" Truth.

Katrina

make sure that the cost is not going to break you so that you can enjoy your education without the stress of financial burdens. talk to the students and teachers on the campus, walk around, sit in the cafe's where students hang out, get a feel for the place. check the course listings and see how many of the classes look interesting to you. make sure that the surrounding area is stimulating and pleasing to you, it's hard to enjoy a school if the setting is dull or makes you feel anxious or depressed.

catharine

Go with your gut, not what people tell you.

Miriam

Be enthusiastic about the process. Consider taking time off - college is wonderful if you are open, willing and prepared for it. The experience that you will have is the one that you make. Remember that education is an amazing privalege. Be open and honest and remember to take the time to be friendly to everyone. Be aware of what is going on at school, get ivolved with campus sustainability and the farm program (if you have one). Make music, learn about what you love, love what you learn about. Keep in touch with your family. Appreciate your family. Be true to yourself.

Hilary

Your advisor may seem insignificant but they can make or break the academic program you are trying to give your self. If you are assigned to someone who is difficult to work with, unapproachable or doesn't seem to understand your needs or desires, don't feel abashed about switching.

Dashiell

Any college can provide a rich academic experience if you are truly committed to materializing it. If such is the case, and receiving an education is your undivided objective, the best thing you can do in your situation is find a school that is affordable for you, and one with reputable faculty in your fields of interest. For you other 98% of applicants... The truth is that the movies are correct in their portrayals. Most colleges are operationally designed to be four-year summer camps at which to live out your protracted adolescence. Yes, you might read Edward Said's essay on Orientalism, learn about Game Theory, take up the mandolin, or any other such mind-expanding undertaking. But if you are the type to enjoy Orson Welles films or Marcel Proust novels, chances are you will have done so already, or would do so sans college education. So, don't spend more money on your education than the opportunities it will provide (ie the reputation of the school) are worth, and make sure you're going to a school in a place you'll appreciate, because you're going to be living there for the next four years, plus.

Molly

Do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. Don't be afraid to talk to students who are not part of the admissions crew and really make sure you get the bare truth. You really don't want to end up some place you hate JUST because it was the first place you picked or because it was the school that gave you the most money. Have fun and learn a lot! <3

Hannah

I would advise students to search through the course catalog at the college they are looking at. Be sure that the courses the school offers will match your needs. Also consider the financial aid the school offers and the increase in tuition each year. Finally, carefully look at the facilities the school offers, including dorms, computer labs, library, etc.

Elias-John

KNow what you want to study, and take classes off campus, also drugs and partys are nice but dont get to distracted.

Damariscotta

Follow your passions and don't give up on the place you really want to go to. Also: your first choice might not actually be the best place for you, really look into the off-beat places that people recommend to you. If I hadn't taken advice from a close friend, I would have never found Hampshire College. Plus: first impressions are NOT everything. Talk to students, and not just your tour guide. Ask questions OTHER THAN "Is the food good?" (Your kid WILL find SOMETHING to eat) And... walk around the campus without a tour guide too, you can get a good feel of things without someone blabbing in your general direction. Statistics Are NOT everything. Good luck!

Jacob

The first and most important aspect to consider is how satisfied and happy you will be in your academic studies. This does not neccessarily mean you know exactly what you want to major in or do but you want to be comfortable in your learning environment and with college there is more of an opportunity to really find a place that suits you, unlike with traditional highschools. That said, it is not as simple as pure academic considerations, but also the social environment and location need to be take into account. I do not believe it is possible to have a good experience at college if you absolutely hate the social atmosphere or the location of the college, even if you are quite satisfied academically. So, you need to think about finding a balance there. However, to be certain, academics come first and I would think it rather silly to go to a college based on the social or location alone or above the academics, since in the end, you are not paying large amounts of money to socialize but to learn. The last thing to consider is the money. College is going to cost a lot of money.

Sam

I have found that my most important issues with my school is the range of extra-curricular clubs and activities and the academic structure. One must judge to what extent they can direct their own learning and choose a college with an academic program accordingly. I have also found that participation in extra-curricular clubs has truely helped me connect with my school and find my passions. I would say, find a school with a fitting academic structure and a school with a wide range of clubs and activities.

Sam

Take your time finding the right college, there is a college for everyone and its only a matter of time before they find the one they are looking for. I fell in love with Hampshire before i even took the tour but that wont happen to everyone either. just take the process one step at a time and try not to rush for a school without visiting it before or doing some research on it

Zack

Definately look at and ivestigate as many schools as possible. Try to find one that fits your academic needs as well as your environmetal and social needs. Visit the school beofre to accept.

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