Looking for a small school where you can make tight-knit connections, but still want to explore a world of opportunity? Welcome to Hamilton College, your dream school. Once you nail down the grades, volunteering and leadership experience, head straight to the mailbox for that acceptance letter.
Check out College Magazine’s Guide to Hamilton College.
A small liberal school with traditional roots
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Hamilton feels like home — students leave one family only to join another. “Professors were very supportive. Occasionally we [students] would go to professors’ houses for dinners. They truly cared about us, and many of my professors have helped guide me through selecting my major and progressing towards my future career,” said Katie Guzzetta (‘17 Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, with a minor in Environmental Studies). Let your personality shine; whether an athlete, brainiac or hipster, fitting in shouldn’t concern you. With an atmosphere of community that doesn’t detract from the high academic achievement, this college provides many volunteer opportunities to not only serve the on-campus community but also the surrounding area.
Hamilton’s 22,000 alumni boast a range of professions including Fortune 500 CEOs, entrepreneurs, Wall Street executives, authors, journalists, entertainers and Tony Award-winning playwrights. Peter Falk attended Hamilton College before starting his well-known career as an actor. He played in many films including “The Princess Bride,” “Columbo,” “Murder, Inc.” and even “Shark Tales.” He was nominated for an Academy Award twice and won the Emmy Award on five occasions and the Golden Globe Award once.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner more commonly recognized in psychology textbooks as B.F. Skinner also graduated from Hamilton. He attended to pursue a career as a writer and wrote for the school paper. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1926. Most famous for studying behavior with the creation of the “Skinner Box,” he became a household name for psychology.
Paul Lieberstein, an American actor, screenwriter, and television producer, graduated from Hamilton in 1989. Most famous for playing Toby on The Office, Lieberstein served as a co-executive producer for 25 episodes in season six of “The Drew Carey Show.” His first Emmy Award was as a producer, sharing a 1999 Emmy for “Outstanding Animated Program his work in King of the Hill.” While at Hamilton, he joined Chi Psi and majored in economics. Lieberstein received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from Hamilton College on May 22, 2011.
Where We Hang
Options vary depending on your taste. The Opus room tends to host the coffee drinkers, focused on their laptops doing schoolwork or just online shopping. For the outdoorsy students, take walks and enjoy the sounds of nature at Root Glen. The area contains some 65 species of trees, dozens of shrubs and scores of varieties of flowers inside the Hemlock Enclosure where students can relax outside and maybe do some studying. While not located too far from the hustle and bustle of campus, you can escape the stuffy classrooms to experience the greenery space. If you want an indoor space focused on the adventures of outside then the Glen House represents the Outdoor Leadership Center. The fourth floor of Root Hall creates a quiet place to read that showcases fully stocked bookshelves for you to peruse. Overall, Hamilton provides many hidden gems for students to explore.
- How much are students partying?
“Hamilton is already a small campus, so there are not a lot of party options. I have learned most of the typical songs played at parties but I prefer the POC parties. Yes, students are partying but we are not as wild as larger schools. There may be one “big” party a weekend (that usually gets shut down by campo). Also, because the school is so small most students already know each other,” said sociology and African studies major Ashley Ramcharan.
- What will you get in trouble for at your school?
“At Hamilton, you can get in trouble for a few things. Plagiarism is a huge offense at Hamilton, and there is a student court that deals with these cases. At Hamilton, you can also get in trouble if you are caught drinking underage, or giving drinks to minors/hosting parties with alcohol if there are students under 21 present,” said sociology major Christina Plakas.
- How much sex are students having?
“I have no idea. I know there is a “hook-up” culture but that’s about it,” said an anonymous junior.
- What would you tell incoming freshman about your school?
“I think I have two things to tell incoming freshmen; one is community-based, and the other is academic-based. Firstly, get involved with clubs! I almost waited until second semester to get involved in organizations because I wanted to get used to college living, but I’m glad I got involved immediately. I found such great friends who were dealing with a lot of the same problems and confusions that I was. You may not stay with the organization, but getting involved early is a good idea because you’ll meet new people, including fellow freshmen, doing something you all have a common interest it. The academic-based thing is that classes are about more than the grades. Yes, you obviously want to do well and get the best grade you can. However, if you get a B in a class that changed your worldview (I’m looking at you, Intro to Existentialism), that class was worth it. Taking a class simply because it’s an easy A is a waste of time,” said creative writing graduate Eleanor Green.
- What surprised you about your school?
“I’m amazed at how much I’ve been able to travel. I never imagined that Hamilton would provide me the means to travel to four continents and five countries during my three and a half years. During my first year, I applied for and received internship funding to research lemurs in Madagascar that summer. After my second year, I conducted nanoparticle research with my Hamilton professor and three other Hamilton students in Taiwan. Also, my field hockey team flew to Spain and Portugal to play a few local teams, work with children, and experience new cultures. During my third year, I studied abroad in New Zealand. Now, given the experiences that I gained through Hamilton, I am doing my Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Anatomy at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland,” said Guzzetta.
5 Student Reviews
“Hamilton is an incredible school. All around were people with passion and drive to succeed in school and life. However, it never felt like there was competition between students. People often formed study groups, collaborated, and helped one another. I think this helped build the sense of community you feel at Hamilton,” Guzzetta said.
“My overall experience at Hamilton has been wonderful. I was really worried going in because Hamilton is known for its very rigorous curriculum, and as a first-generation student from a public school, I was very intimidated by my classes and the workload. I soon found out that I had nothing to worry about because while the curriculum is very rigorous, Hamilton provided me with all the resources I needed to succeed in my classes. Thanks to my attentive advisor, the writing center (where upperclassmen help other students revise their papers), and my friendly professors, I was able to have an amazing first year,” Plakas said.
“I honestly love my school (a lot more than I thought I would have). I am in the HEOP program and this really prepared me for college and helped my adjustment process. I am a first-generation college student and I didn’t have anyone to go to for advice. I formed a very close friend group early on in college and I owe them so much. Hamilton definitely has its issues (being in the middle of nowhere) but I think that finding friends and making the community yours was a vital part of my experience. I am in lots of clubs on campus and I enjoy being involved on campus,” Ramcharan said.
“My college experience was overwhelmingly positive. I got so many opportunities at Hamilton College, like internships and studying abroad, as well as the freedom to design my academic experience through an open curriculum. I got involved in organizations freshmen year that I ended up leading during my senior year. I made amazing friends through so many different avenues. Yes, there were plenty of challenges, but I learned to deal with them myself and make decisions without freaking out (too much),” Green said.
“So far I have absolutely loved Hamilton. Not only have I had amazing professors, but Hamilton’s campus cultures are a great living and learning environment. Most people are more than willing to help you and it is quite common for students to form study groups. I’ve been a part of quite a few myself and I’ve met some of my best friends this way. In addition to the supportive and collaborative work environment, Hamilton is doing a good job of attracting people of diverse backgrounds. Before coming to Hamilton, I attended a rather homogenous high school and it has been a great experience meeting and learning from people of all different cultures and backgrounds,” biology major Acacia Bowden said.
Top 3 Majors
- Research and Experimental Psychology
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
“I originally got involved because I was interested in helping the local area. I am from Schenectady, NY and see a lot of similarities with Utica and home. I think it is popular on campus because Hamilton students are nice people. I have had great interactions with most people on campus. There are so many genuine people on campus who actually care about issues and the local area. I’m happy that I can be a member of the Hamilton campus and serve a role in the community,” said Ramcharan.
2. On The Move
“On the Move is a popular club because I think its goal: to maintain a strong relationship between Hamilton and the Utica refugee community resonates with a lot of people. The topic of refugees has been in the news a lot lately, and I think students are becoming more aware of how important it is to get involved with clubs that address pertinent issues like this,” said Plakas.
3. Humans of Hamilton
“Humans of Hamilton is the result of Katherine O’Malley’s ’19 Levitt Leadership Institute Commitment Project and I helped her with the project from the beginning. (The Levitt Leadership Institute is an intensive two-week leadership-training program and upon completion, participants can receive aid to start a project that gives back to the community in some way. This community can be Hamilton or one of their choosing.) The mission of the club is to help the Hamilton students feel more connected to each other,” said Bowden.
The first hurdle to go over to get into this college? Standardized testing. With accepted students’ SAT scores range from 1350-1510 and ACT scores from 31-34, you can say that academics take top priority. However, you don’t need to put all of your focus on that. Hamilton College specializes in leadership and community so volunteer work shows them that you will fit right in. Get involved early on in your high school career because of long term dedication and proactive students standout in the piles of applications. Another important fact, Hamilton prides itself on the fact that financial need does not factor into their acceptance criteria as a need-blind school. No need to fret about your bank statement holding you back.
Location: Clinton, NY
Tuition & Fees: $55,970 per year
Total Cost on Campus: (with Room & Board) $70,330
Undergrads Enrolled: 1,850
Acceptance rate: 21%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 32%
Percentage of Male Students: 49%
Percentage of Female Students: 51%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 52%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: (Pell Grants) 9%