While it's not unheard of for students at one of the Five Colleges to recommend another to younger siblings, Hampshire's current entering class includes three students from Pakistan, whose sisters all went to Mount Holyoke.
Nadir Khawaja 12F, Nauman Tazeem 12F, and Talha Sabri 12F all heard about Hampshire from their sisters, three friends who met at the nearby women's college.
"In March, when I was getting my decisions back and I was deciding where to go, my sister was very keen on me coming here," Khawaja recalls.
His sister, Nadia, graduated from Mount Holyoke College this spring. After taking classes at Hampshire through the Five College consortium, she thought that Hampshire would be a good fit for Nadir.
"I wanted to do architecture as a profession later on, but I was also interested in environmental psychology and how the environment has a real effect on people's behavior and thinking," Khawaja explains. "Hampshire was the ideal place to come and do something like that."
He says Hampshire's academic freedom was a major draw. Another important factor was the environment of a small liberal arts college.
Khawaja and Tazeem agree that their sisters' first-hand knowledge of Hampshire was invaluable. For international students, visiting campus is rarely possible. "What we have in mind is just on the website and the information that we are given," says Tazeem.
"Hampshire is difficult to describe."
While having a sister who studied nearby was helpful, Khawaja says having two other students who came to Hampshire in the same way wasn't much more than a nice surprise.
He, Tazeem and Sabri are friends, but he doesn't think they would have had too hard a time coming to Hampshire alone. "When I came here, during the International Student orientation, everyone was so helpful and friendly that that was enough for me," Khawaja recalls. "I felt comfortable when I came here."
Now that they've settled in at Hampshire, the three students can begin to take advantage of another reason that their sisters recommended Hampshire: the ability to take classes at other schools.
Of his sister, Khajawa says, "She can't wait for me to go and take classes at Mount Holyoke."
The Five College institutions are Hampshire, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts. Students at any college in the consortium can take classes at the other campuses with no additional charge.