James Baldwin Scholars Program

The James Baldwin Scholars Program provides scholarships to talented students from underserved communities who would benefit from a transition year before college in which to improve general academic skills and prepare for the rigor of college studies.

Baldwin Scholars receive a scholarship that fully meets the cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, and meals.

Successful completion of the transition year prepares students to apply for acceptance to Hampshire College with coursework already completed credited toward Hampshire's academic requirements. Students may also choose to apply to other selective liberal arts colleges.

Apply online via

Additional James Baldwin Scholars
program information and history

Application Deadlines

Common Application and Financial Aid Forms

Interview and Baldwin Personal Statement

January 15 (decision notification date is April 1)

February 1


Who can apply?

  • You must identify as a first-generation (first in your family to attend college for a bachelor's degree)
  • You must be a U.S. permanent resident or a U.S. citizen
  • Priority is given to students coming from low-income households

Required Application Materials

We do a holistic read of your application, meaning we look at everything. To apply, submit the following materials through the Common Application:

  • Common Application
  • James Baldwin Scholars Application Supplement (Interview and Baldwin Personal Statement)
  • Current transcripts
  • School report, including guidance counselor recommendation
  • Three academic letters of recommendation, including the guidance counselor recommendation. If you are not currently enrolled in school, we will accept letters from employers, coaches, religious leaders, or other mentors.
  • All financial aid forms are required for applicants.


Register here for a James Baldwin Scholars phone/Skype interview with a Hampshire College admissions representative. If you plan on coming to campus to do your interview, you can register for an on-campus interview time here. You can sign up on any of the following dates throughout the months of November-January. Interviews must be completed by February 1.

Dates coming soon...

We will contact you at the number/skype ID you provided on your registration form. If you have any questions about the interview or have scheduling conflicts with the dates offered, please reach out to Manuel Hernandez at or 413.559.5737.

*Supplemental Essay Questions

We like to geek out here at Hampshire, and our essay questions give you a chance to do the same. So here's a sneak peek at the questions you'll find on the Common App. We can't wait to read what you come up with.

The following questions get at some of our core values: inquiry, interdisciplinarity, and growth. Choose one prompt from the list below and respond (500 words max):

1. Hampshire’s motto is “to know is not enough.” People interpret this motto in different ways. What does it mean to you?
2. Think about two or more topics that interest you. Tell us about some issues or questions related to these topics.
3. Describe a time when you received feedback, academic or otherwise, that changed your thinking or behavior for the better.

Optional Application Materials

Some optional application materials can be submitted through the Common Application. You will also have the opportunity, after applying, to submit additional optional materials such as photos, videos, PDFs, Word documents, and music files through your online application portal with Hampshire College.

  • Video/media supplement: This could be music, dance, film, animation, monologue, etc.
  • Project sample: Submit an example of your independent or collaborative project work. This project can be creative, scientific, or otherwise showcase the type of work you've done in high school. Provide a link if necessary.
  • Additional letters of recommendation, up to three.

After Submitting Your Application

Once we process your application, we will send an acknowledgment letter that includes a username and password for you to check the completeness of your admissions file online. Hampshire College has entered the 21st century and now releases decisions online. To make sure that you receive your decision, we recommend not opting out of email communications.

  • Your application will automatically be considered for Regular Decision admission should you not be selected to the final round of the James Baldwin Scholars Committee.
  • Should you be selected as a finalist for the James Baldwin Scholars Program, your decision letter will state our offer of admission into the program directly. You will also receive a personal phone call from the director of the James Baldwin Scholars.
  • Should you NOT be selected to the James Baldwin Scholars Program but have been offered admission to Hampshire through our Regular Decision pool, the decision letter will include information on one of the other merit scholarships you have been awarded.


Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page, or contact us at

Common App Support

Prospective Applicants can get Common App online support through the Applicant Solution Center. From the Help Center, click the "Contact Support" tab to contact our support team.

Counselors/Recommenders with Common App questions or suggestions can contact them through the Recommender Solution Center.

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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