Hamilton has always been and will continue to be a SCHOOL OF OPPORTUNITY. That's why Hamilton is now need-blind for all domestic applicants. Alexander Hamilton — the first secretary of the treasury and a tremendous success story — embodies this ideal and is the perfect namesake for our College. Today, in fact, our president, dean of faculty, and dean of admission and financial aid are all first generation to college. Remaining a school of opportunity is a matter we take seriously.
We still believe that EARLY DECISION (ED), when applied correctly, can serve both students and colleges well. While it is true that our acceptance rate for ED is slightly higher than Regular Decision and about 45 percent of any incoming first-year class may have applied ED, our ED applications represent only 12 percent of our total application pool and our ED acceptance offers represent only 17 percent of our total number of acceptances. We're upfront with families about our ED philosophy and welcome any questions you may have.
We are SAT OPTIONAL, but not test optional. There are three main reasons that we initiated this approach in 2001:
- We wanted to have every opportunity to attract, accept and yield academically talented students with a wide variety of strengths and from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds;
- Our faculty wanted to reduce the pressure on the Admission Office to admit or exclude students solely on the basis of test scores (given that they are a measure so many guidebooks and rankings weigh heavily);
- We intended to send a message to prospective families about what is important to Hamilton in the admission process. It was (and continues to be) our hope that de-emphasizing the SAT will reduce the number of families that invest emotional energy and financial resources in test prep and coaching.
Perhaps most compelling, since we launched this policy, our studies have found that Hamilton students who used tests other than the SAT to fulfill our testing requirement (and were admitted and enrolled) have slightly higher GPAs at Hamilton than their counterparts who submitted the SAT. So, you might ask, why require testing at all? Given that fewer high schools are ranking their students, and that there are great inconsistencies in grading practices and high school curricula, we still believe that standardized testing has a place in selective college admission. However, we continue to believe that our students are best served by being provided with a variety of ways to meet our testing requirement.
Hamilton decided to ELIMINATE MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS in fall of 2008. This is the result of an extensive planning effort to reallocate more dollars toward need-based financial aid, to ensure our ongoing commitment to meet the full need of all students we admit, and to remain a school of opportunity (see #1). We are fortunate to have a generous $24 million financial aid budget, but we are also aware that we will need more money in the future — and we will do everything possible to protect this legacy.
We still value the PERSONAL INTERVIEW. When possible, advise your students to come to the interview prepared to talk about themselves and their interest in Hamilton. Many of our interviews are conducted by our senior admission interns, and, contrary to popular belief, they do a better job than we do. (Really. They convert a higher percentage of students to apply than our admission officers.)
BLUE IS GREEN. In an effort to save money and be environmentally friendly, Hamilton no longer prints applications. Roughly 90 percent of our students applied online last year, yet we printed 40,000 applications. This year we're saving a tree (more like a forest).
We offer JANUARY ADMISSION to a limited number of first-year students, usually 25-35. We typically offer this option to students we'd love to have at Hamilton, but for whom we have run out of spots. Students who choose the January option can explore other opportunties in the fall, most of which include taking classes, and then join us here on College Hill for their second semester — not at all behind their classmates academically, and in some ways ahead (well, at least a little more worldly).
A key component of the Hamilton experience is the College's OPEN, YET RIGOROUS CURRICULUM. In place of distribution requirements that are common at most liberal arts colleges, Hamilton gives its students the freedom to choose the courses that reflect their unique interests and plans while also encouraging them to take responsibility — with lots of close faculty interaction and support — for their own education.
As much as we believe thinking for oneself is important (thus our curriculum), so, too, is the ability to communicate those thoughts effectively. Writing is the one skill we aren't flexible about. All students take three writing-intensive courses before they graduate — woven into the fabric of the curriculum across disciplines. AT HAMILTON, WORDS MATTER.
Need help demonstrating to your (and hopefully our) families that a liberal arts education is a good investment? Peruse this sampling of what some HAMILTON ALUMNI are doing today.
A longtime Hamilton professor once said, "IT'S A SMALL WORLD AND CLINTON IS AT THE CENTER OF IT." Hamilton is located in the quaint, New England-style village of Clinton, N.Y., in the foothills of the Adirondacks and just minutes from a variety of shopping, dining, recreational opportunities and outdoor activities. Several restaurants — Tex-Mex, BBQ, good Chinese food, a few (of course) pizza places, two coffee houses, a bakery and the best veggie ravioli money can buy … believe it or not, we have it all nearby. Amtrak is 20 minutes from campus, one international airport is less than an hour away (Syracuse), and another is just 90 minutes away (Albany).We're within four hours of New York City and Boston, and just three from Toronto. Clean air, a great view and easy access to the rest of the world. What's not to like?