Hampshire College Student Architecture Presentation

FAQ: For Parents and Families of Prospective Students

Applying to college can be exciting, exhilarating, and, yes, nerve-wracking. This is true for parents as well, even those who may have previously experienced the process with older children. Every school is different, and things change. We hope this Q&A page eases the process a bit. Perhaps our best advice is to breathe and enjoy the experience with your child as much as possible. Remember, all of us at Hampshire are here to help!

Don't want to scroll through the entire page? Click on a question to jump to the answer.

Admissions

Academics

Life After Hampshire

Financial Aid

Campus Life

 


 

Admissions

Can we take a tour, schedule an interview, and attend a class in the same day?

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  • Absolutely! In fact, we encourage all of the above. Tours are offered throughout the year. You are welcome to visit individual classes and interview any day of the week that works for you, or you can do this through one of our on-campus events during the fall and spring semesters. More details can be found at visit.hampshire.edu.

We can’t visit during tour hours. Can you accommodate us?

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  • We only offer information sessions at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.; however, if you are unable to make the scheduled information and tour sessions, we welcome you to stop by. We have counselors you can speak to for information or to answer any questions. Students are encouraged to contact their regional admissions counselor directly.

How does my student start the process of applying to Hampshire College?

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  • A great place to start is to visit our application web page. Feel free to look around, and we hope can address many of your questions there.
     
  • Students can apply to Hampshire College via the Common Application and include all the materials required to complete the application process: Hampshire’s writing supplement, current transcripts, a school report along with a college counselor recommendation, and two letters of recommendation from teachers. It’s very important for students to ensure all their materials, both those they submit directly and those submitted on their behalf, are completed before the respective application deadline. College counselors and teachers are incredibly busy during the application season, so we encourage students to communicate frequently with them while their applications are being completed.

What are the deadlines for my child to submit their application?

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  • The deadlines for Fall 2019 at Hampshire College are:

    Early Decision I: 11/15/18
    Early Action: 12/1/18
    Early Decision II: 1/1/19
    Regular Decision: 1/15/19

Why does Hampshire no longer accept SAT or ACT scores?

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  • Institutional research suggests a student’s performance on standardized tests does not predict a student’s success in our academic program. Additionally, studies show that standardized tests are biased by race, gender, and/or economic circumstances. We take a holistic approach when evaluating students for admittance, including grades, academic performance trends, writing supplements, and examples of community involvement.

Academics

I know that Hampshire has a different structure; how does it work?

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  • Hampshire structures its academics according to the divisional system, a scaffolding to guide students along the way to explore, to customize, and to create. The divisional system prepares students with necessary skills in self-direction and self-advocacy to navigate their experiences in higher education and beyond. Hampshire’s pedagogy develops each student’s ability to question, research, analyze, write, negotiate, and undertake substantial independent projects, competencies that graduate schools and employers seek in their ideal candidates. The divisional system intentionally builds upon accumulated knowledge and abilities according to the following progression:

    Division I (Year One) is a year of exploration, guiding students into new subjects and introducing the skills of introspection and reflection. Students complete a minimum of seven courses that emphasize inquiry, including courses in four academic distribution areas. Students take 100-level classes meant to help them explore their various interests, both those identified and those yet to be discovered, and develop the skills needed for advanced work at Hampshire. Students also complete a tutorial course, an academic class limited to incoming first-year students and taught by their Division I faculty advisor. Through a portfolio review process at the Division’s end, students and faculty advisors reflect on the student's academic growth and direction and goals for the next phase of their Hampshire education..

    Division II (Years Two and Three) requires students to develop a rigorous academic major guided by their interests and goals rather than departmental requirements. They’ll work in close collaboration with at least two faculty advisors, meeting frequently with them to identify key questions to explore and to develop a written contract of their ideas. In addition to coursework at Hampshire and within the Five College Consortium, the major may include independent studies, internships, fieldwork, and study abroad. Students develop the depth of knowledge, direct experience, and skills necessary for the original work they create in their final year. A second, more extensive, portfolio review further develops each student's ability to understand issues across disciplinary lines and to become a more self-aware learner.

    Division III (Year Four) students gather the insights, skills, and knowledge gained over the past three years to create an independent project of their own design, much like a graduate thesis. Again, they work very closely with at least two faculty members. If the first year can be viewed as a bridge from secondary school to the work of Hampshire, the final year can be viewed as a bridge to the independence, initiative, focus, and creativity necessary to accomplish meaningful work in the world.

Why offer written evaluations instead of more traditional letter grades?

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  • In order to achieve the most from their individualized course of study, students need specific and insightful feedback relevant to their personal goals, something letter grades can never accomplish. Narrative evaluations provide students with a comprehensive understanding of their academic progress, reflecting how they learn in addition to what they learn. Hampshire graduates find their narrative transcripts beneficial as they apply to graduate school or seek employment since they communicate to future employers how students thrive in various learning environments. Rather than a grade based on the typical mid-term, final exam, and paper, a narrative evaluation reflects the student’s overall effort, participation, and learning throughout the entire semester. Professors carefully note how a student is learning in every class, and they offer thoughtful and meaningful feedback into the narrative evaluation they prepare for every student.

How will my child successfully navigate Hampshire's unstructured academic environment?

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  • The sense that Hampshire’s academic environment lacks structure is inaccurate. There is an academic structure in place at Hampshire; it’s just different from that available at most other colleges. Each division includes extensive advising and close mentoring for students as they customize the structure and direction of their own education. Div I students enroll in a tutorial course their first semester, and their professor for this course also serves as their academic advisor for the entirety of their first year, ensuring consistent contact with students. Div II and Div III students identify their own faculty advisors to create their advisory committees, and in close collaboration with their faculty advisors students customize their own concentration and work toward the final culmination of creating their final projects. We ensure students are supported at every level of their education, allowing them the ownership to dictate their own direction by learning how to ask the right questions.

Who will help my child navigate this system, especially in the first year?

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  • During the first year, students take a class known as a "tutorial." One purpose of the tutorial is to provide academic counseling to new students, as well as to acclimate students to Hampshire's expectations of them in the classroom. The professor of this tutorial serves as the student's advisor for the entirety of Division I. With only fourteen students in the class and designated advising days, the professor and student are in frequent contact.
  • An additional resource Hampshire College offers students to help them navigate the divisional system is the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA). CASA provides support and assistance to students and advisors to plan and achieve their academic goals and monitors students' academic progress while offering a variety of support and programming to faculty and students at all divisional levels.
  • The New Student Experience Office (NSE) is also available to help prepare students for their arrival and navigate their Hampshire experience to ensure all students make the most of their first year. Through new student orientation, special programs, and outreach, the NSE office will keep your student informed and connect them with resources to help make a successful transition to life at Hampshire.

Without grades, how do you know how a student is doing?

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  • The specific feedback provided in Hampshire's evaluations provides a more comprehensive sense of how a student is progressing more so than traditional grades can. In addition, the advising system ensures that students remain on their right track. Close advisor and mentor relationships between students and faculty are at the core of our advising mission, ensuring each student receives individual attention at every level of their education. The Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) also monitors students' academic progress and helps students and advisors plan and achieve academic goals.

What resources (besides the advising office) are available?

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How often do students take advantage of the Five College consortium?

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  • The Five College Consortium is a unique collaboration among Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students on average take six courses at one or more of the other institutions in the Consortium during their tenure at Hampshire, at no additional charge. The Consortium offers access to thousands of courses and more than 900 student clubs and organizations. The Five College library system, which holds approximately nine million volumes, is indispensable. In addition, students attend lectures, performances, sporting events, and various social gatherings at the other schools on a regular basis. Nearly five hundred companies recruit among the five colleges as well. All of the consortium campuses are connected via the PVTA Bus system, which is free to all students and offers extensive accessibility and frequent availability between all campus locations.

What is the study abroad program like?

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  • Hampshire offers a number of study-abroad programs to such diverse places as China, France, Central America, Cuba, Germany, India, and Mexico. Students can also choose from hundreds of programs offered by other colleges, universities, and organizations. A trip to the Global Education Office (GEO) on campus can help a student discover an opportunity appealing to them.
     
  • Hampshire tuition, room and board, and financial aid awards may cover the costs of these programs (including travel). GEO and faculty advisors, as well as the office of financial aid, can all provide specific information about arranging for the financial aspect of study abroad programs.

Is it difficult to transfer into or out of Hampshire?

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  • Hampshire College evaluates transfer students using the same criteria we do first-year applicants, looking for students who demonstrate a growth-oriented mindset, authenticity, passion for learning, motivation, discipline, self-awareness, maturity, intellectual bravery, interest in various passions, empathy, and dedicated interest in community building. Hampshire provides necessary resources for transfer students to help transition between undergraduate programs. Many successful and passionate students transfer in to Hampshire from other collegiate institutions.

 


Life After Hampshire

What do graduates do after Hampshire?

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  • Education at Hampshire College prepares students to excel beyond their four years here. Students graduate with the necessary skills of critical thinking, quantitative literacy, scientific reasoning, written and verbal communication, civic engagement, self-direction, and self-advocacy to enter either into higher degree programs or the professional world capable of adapting to change and navigating uncertainty. Nearly all of our graduates report receiving a an offer of employment six months after graduation, and 65% of our alums go on to earn degrees at either a master’s or doctoral level; Hampshire College remains in the top 3% of universities whose students go on to earn a research Ph.D. Graduates of Hampshire have, over the course of their academic careers, extensive experience in witnessing the practical application of education.

If my student doesn't have a major, what will my student write on resumes and job applications?

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  • Students graduate from Hampshire College with a bachelor of arts degree. As far as majors are concerned, because students customize their own, it is the student’s discretion to indicate their studies on subsequent professional documents such as graduate school applications or resumes.

How do Hampshire students fare when applying to graduate programs?

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  • Extremely well! Sixty-five percent of our students go on to earn higher degrees either at a master’s degree level or a doctoral degree level. Of that number, 85% are accepted into their first or second choice program. Top graduate schools to which Hampshire alums matriculate include Columbia, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, New York University, Harvard, and Yale. 
     
  • Hampshire College’s Divisional system closely models a graduate program; the curriculum is student-centered and student-driven, students work closely in mentorship with faculty advisors, research is conducted in collaboration with students, and students complete an extensive independent project necessary for graduation. Hampshire students make a natural transition to graduate school; 65% of Hampshire graduates advance to earn a higher degree at a master’s or doctoral level within ten years of graduation. Hampshire ranks among the top 3% of the nation’s colleges whose graduates earn a research doctorate.
     
  • Graduates of Hampshire College embody necessary skills that appeal to graduate school admissions, such as abilities in self-directed research and self-advocacy, demonstrated passion and creativity, and the resourcefulness to create connections across disciplines. The typical Hampshire student's transcript usually includes several letter grades from courses taken at the other colleges in the Consortium, indicating the student’s ability to thrive in multiple academic environments.

 


 

Financial Aid

Can our family afford Hampshire?

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  • Approximately 91% percent of Hampshire students receive some sort of financial aid from Hampshire. This means that the cost of attendance varies according to a family's ability to pay. For 2018, the average financial aid package (Hampshire grants, student loans, and work study job) was $40,087.

If we don’t think we qualify for financial aid, should we still fill out the forms and apply anyway?

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  • Yes! Although it does take time to complete the forms, we know many families who have unexpectedly received aid.

What’s the difference between the FAFSA and the CSS Profile?

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  • Completion of the FAFSA form is required for federal financial aid. The CSS Profile is necessary for eligible institutional aid. Colleges such as Hampshire offer this separately from federal aid, and it can really make a difference: The average need-based grant offered at Hampshire is $35,941.

Do you offer merit scholarships?

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  • Yes. We offer several different merit scholarships based on achievement, initiative, and service. Awards range up to $28,000/year for four years. There is no separate application process; admissions counselors nominate students for merit awards as they read their applications. Scholarships are meritoriously awarded, and award amounts are determined holistically based on the overall quality of the student’s application. We recommend each student complete the application as thoroughly as they can, including a detailed resume of extracurricular activities, instances of community involvement, and any supplemental materials that evidence a student’s particular interest or talent.

 


 

Campus Life

What do students do on weekends?

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  • Home at Hampshire is the best of both worlds, with weekends full of possibilities for students who love indoor and outdoor recreation. Through the Consortium, there are daily activities at each institution such as lectures, film screenings, and sporting events. The local area houses several venues, and there are more than a dozen museums in the Pioneer Valley. On Hampshire campus alone, each weekend provides a full itinerary of activities for students. Those who love the outdoors will find an array of options right in their own backyard. Our Outdoor Programs, Recreation, and Athletics program provides students with opportunities to swim, hike, climb, and kayak, and, in the winter time, ski and snowboard. With over 30,000 students in the surrounding area, students are never at a loss for something to do.

Is your campus easily accessible by plane/train/bus?

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  • Yes. The closest airport is Bradley International (BDL), located between Springfield and Hartford about an hour away from campus. Several companies in the Pioneer Valley shuttle students back and forth to the airport at reasonable prices. The Peter Pan bus system runs to all the major cities in the surrounding area, including Boston and New York. Locally, the PVTA bus system provides free transportation to all students in and around all the surrounding area. The closest Amtrak station is in Northampton, only twenty minutes away from campus.

Where will my child live?

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  • Hampshire is a residential college, and the vast majority of our students live on campus. First-year students almost always live in a dorm, either Dakin or Merrill, predominantly in single rooms with available options for students to live with roommates. Each hall has a communal space (the lounge), which houses a television and a refrigerator. In Merrill, the lounges also have a kitchenette. Div II and Div III students often live in our on-campus apartments, known as mods; living in a mod feels more like living in a house as they have a kitchen, a common space, and more private bathrooms.

Are there resident assistants?

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  • Each area is staffed by a live-in professional area coordinator, supported by student resident advisors (RAs). Each hallway and mod is assigned a resident advisor. RAs organize activities and help foster community. They also serve as a direct link between students and the professional housing staff. Each housing area also has an "area office" where students can get cleaning supplies (including vacuums), submit work orders, or hang out over coffee or hot chocolate.

Are cars allowed on campus? Will my child need a car?

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  • Cars are allowed on campus. There is a fee to buy a parking sticker, which will allow your student to park a car in one of our designated lots. While having a car can sometimes be helpful, our free bus system runs to the other colleges, the grocery store, the mall, and almost anywhere in between.

     

What is security like at Hampshire?

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  • The Hampshire College department of campus safety and security, located in the ground level of the Harold F. Johnson Library Center, provides services and protection to all members of the College community, including its visitors and guests, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    The main purpose of the department is to support the learning and work of the community by protecting life and property and providing services to support our campus students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Campus safety and security staff patrol the campus round-the-clock on foot, on specially-equipped mountain bikes, or in cruisers.

    The department's officers are trained professionals. Each officer is certified yearly in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and First Responder. Each also attends a training session on civil rights and diversity, and several officers have been certified by the state as sexual assault investigators. The department maintains close working relationships with the College and the Amherst and Hadley police departments, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Northwestern District Attorney's office.

What happens if my child becomes ill or has ongoing physical or mental health needs?

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  • Health and counseling services is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (except from 12-1 p.m.) when the College is in session. For physical ailments, students have the options of going to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center or the local hospital, Cooley Dickinson. For health emergencies, students are encouraged to ca11 Hampshire College campus safety and security, and the Amherst Fire Department ambulance will respond. 
     
  • Students should call health and counseling services at 413.559.5458, option 1 for after-hours mental health concerns. For after-hours medical care on weekends and evenings, students should call 413.559.5555. Campus safety and security will also respond to all EMT calls.
     
  • For after-hours medical telephone advice, students may call 413.577.5000. A trained registered nurse will assess their medical issues and either help with advice or direct your child to further care.

How’s the food at Hampshire?

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  • In most cases nothing can match the comfort of home cooking. Hampshire College dining is, however, fresh and plentiful, with several options available at each meal. Much of our food is locally sourced from our on-campus farm, ensuring farm-to-table freshness. In addition to our dining commons, students can dine at the Bridge and Kern Cafes. And for those times when students prefer to eat off-campus, Amherst and the other surrounding towns are only a free bus ride away.

 

 

Hampshire is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars

2016-17 Fulbright top producer badge

 

The U.S. State Department and the Chronicle of Higher Education have named Hampshire College a top producer of Fulbright Scholars for 2016-17. Hampshire is one of 11 bachelor’s institutions to receive the designation this year.

 

 

"There are two reasons why Hampshire graduates achieve so much. One is the kind of person the college attracts. The other is what the college does for them by equipping them to become their own wide-ranging explorers and connection-seekers."

Loren Pope, Colleges that Change Lives (2006)

Hampshire College is a member of Colleges that Change Lives, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process.

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