Hampshire College to Admit a Spring 2020 Class in January

Hampshire College is now accepting applications for admission for its upcoming spring 2020 term that begins in January, returning to business as usual in admissions more than five months after it committed to remaining an independent College. Hampshire’s application is now live on the Common App for new and transfer students to apply to enroll in either fall or spring 2020, reinstating the College’s longstanding admissions practice of allowing students to begin or transfer in either semester.

The College’s leadership team and the Board of Trustees coordinated closely through the summer to restore full admissions, as the College filled staff positions in the admissions office and relaunched applications for its fall 2020 class last month. On Friday, September 20, the Board took an affirmative vote “to admit a class for spring 2020, moving forward immediately with the steps necessary to do so successfully.”

The vote reflects the Board’s continued commitment to preserving an independent Hampshire College, which it had established in a vote on April 5, at the same time voting against merging with any other institution. A month later in May, the Board voted to “resolve to admit a class for fall 2020 and proceed with the steps necessary to do so successfully.”

The results of Friday’s vote were announced to the Hampshire community today by Chair of the Board Luis Hernandez 70F, President Ed Wingenbach, and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Kevin Kelly.

Prospective students can now:
•    Apply for either spring or fall admission using the Common App.
•    Join the admissions mailing list.
•    Schedule a campus visit.

Hampshire’s spring admissions deadlines are:
•    November 15 for domestic first-year and transfer students, and
•    November 1 for international first-year and transfer students

Its deadlines to apply for fall are:
•    January 15 for early action, and
•    February 1 for regular decision

Under the guidance of Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Kelly, Hampshire has been restoring admissions and taking steps to recruit students as it aims to grow back to its full enrollment capacity within five years. On August 30, Hampshire announced it had raised its projection for its student enrollment this fall to 700–750 students, including an incoming class of 12 students, its size limited due to last spring’s uncertainty.

The College is projecting its student enrollment will likely remain 700–800 for the next three years, a sustainable size compared with many small colleges nationwide. In four years, its goal is to have four full classes again and enrollment of over 1,000.

President Wingenbach said two developments this year give him full confidence to the future of an independent Hampshire College: “One, our community has come forward with historic levels of support for Hampshire, and two, we’ve shown we have the will to launch an innovative new plan for Hampshire’s student experience and to commit to managing expenses, operating within our revenues, and exploring additional revenue sources.”

Hampshire to Reinvent its Academic Program This Fall

To start the academic year, President Wingenbach announced a major effort to reinvent the College’s pioneering academic program of study, engaging the campus and 12,000 alumni in ongoing meetings and promising to publish a plan by November. The initiative, “Hampshire Launch,” will result in a new academic model and financial plan, an effort critical to the College’s admissions recruiting and fundraising.

The plan will reinvent a Hampshire education while retaining what the College is renowned for: students designing their own program of study, leveraging Hampshire’s membership in the Five College Consortium, and culminating with rigorous capstone projects; faculty mentoring students and co-learning with them; and the Hampshire community living its values of social justice, diversity, and community engagement.

The effort is led by the president and supported by a campus planning group who are facilitating regular campus meetings, as well as virtual meetings open to all alumni and parents. These intensive community discussions will lead to Board of Trustees action on a plan in October.

In November, Hampshire will submit the plan to its accrediting agency, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which has asked the College to report on its progress. Hampshire is confident it will demonstrate it continues to adhere to its accreditation standards. The College will also submit its plan to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, as well as share with major donors and foundations, and prospective students and their families.

Hampshire President Ed Wingenbach began his tenure on August 6, succeeding Interim President Ken Rosenthal, one of the College’s founders.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Kevin Kelly brings four decades of administrative experience in enrollment management, with long tenures at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Boston University, and, from 2005 to 2015, as director of undergraduate admissions at UMass Amherst. 

Hampshire as a Pioneer in Higher Ed

Hampshire College was founded in Amherst, Mass., more than 50 years ago to offer a major departure from traditional colleges, rejecting passive lectures, exams, academic majors, and departments, and empowering students to follow their own questions, design their own program guided by faculty, perform serious independent work, and explore freely across disciplines. Hampshire was founded by its partners in the Five College Consortium: Amherst, Smith, and Mount Holyoke Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Hampshire’s mission includes the charge of transforming higher education, and over the years Hampshire has pioneered or propelled the use of many high-impact learning practices:

  • Student-designed learning,
  • Project-based learning,
  • Interdisciplinary studies,
  • Capstone projects,
  • Faculty-student co-learning and collaboration,
  • Independent and field study,
  • Community-based and service learning, and
  • Entrepreneurial learning.

Many of its innovations in undergraduate education have been adopted in some form at countless other institutions.
Likewise Hampshire has been a leader in replacing traditional passive grading systems with instructive written assessments, portfolios, and student self-reflection in assessment, as tools for reinforcing learning.


President’s Launch Plan

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