Hampshire College
Amherst, MA, USA

Reviews

Hampshire College
3.87 Average Rating

David from East Windsor, CT

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hampshire College provides a unique educational experience for independent students whose drive for higher knowledge takes them in directions beyond the societal norm. It's progressive nature and unconventional academic process gives it a cutting-edge in modern collegiate education over institutions whose processes follow a more classical mold. It is a crucial and striving beacon for the progression of how we look at college.
Tips for prospective students
Everyone here has something they are extremely proficient in. Find what drives you and embrace it. Disregard what society tells you, and do what you are passionate about. You'll be a perfect fit.
Academic Rigor
Just because we have no grades and no tests doesn't make this an easy school. The courses are in depth. Be prepared to experience a new way of teaching. For example, when you learn about art, you don't only learn about art. You learn the history, the math, the science, the politics. This is not your average college. However, the understanding you return with is far superior than memorizing a text book.
Dorm Life
All my closest friends live in my hall. My room is adequately sized. It's a dorm. Nothing too great, but nothing too bad. I have a roommate who I get along with, and I always feel comfortable to return to my room whenever I need. It seems pretty freaky at first when you arrive, but once you get settled in, it feels like home,
Food and Dining
The food is a lot better than expected. As a freshman, I have unlimited meals at the dining hall. They do a very good job keeping it vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc... friendly. Everyday there is something new. Pizza is really good, but what I look forward to most is the stir-fry. It is available every single lunch and dinner.
What to do for fun
North Hampton is where everything happens. A huge town, with numerous stores, restaurants, art galleries and more. On campus, the best thing to do is walk around the woods, visit the reservoir. Breathe in the fresh air Amherst has to offer, and feel connected with nature. You can join one of the numerous crazy clubs, or just hang out with your friends in someones room. Oh, and the parties are great too.
Bang for the buck
For my entire life I have been looking for a school which I genuinely fit into. For the first time, I was able to find a place where I can be me. It is an exciting, invigorating feeling. I am not rich whatsoever. However, I believe that the education I will get at Hampshire will triumph over any money value. The people I have met already have impacted my life so dramatically. I found what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I am learning the way I want to. I choose what I am interested in. It is worth every penny.
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Kahari from Springfield, MA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hampshire College has a beautiful campus, creative engaging students and a unique approach to education.
Tips for prospective students
Be creative, don't worry about SAT scores, be ready to use your entreprenuerial skills and have lots of fun.
Academic Rigor
Classes are rigorous, you have a core team of advisors, you get constant feedback and instead of grades you are assessed through narrative and critical analysis.
Dorm Life
There are dorms and apartment style housing complexes, both substance free and non substance free. Recycling is big here and lots of things are bio degradable. Energy saving lighting is required throughout.
Food and Dining
Food is pretty good, and any food not eaten is donated to local shelters and food pantries. That is totally cool.
What to do for fun
Hampshire College is part of a 5 college consortium, so if you cannot find a party, poetry reading or club on campus, you can get on the free bus system and travel to the center of Amherst, UMASS, Amherst College, Smith College or Mt. Holyoke College to check out the students and the action going on there. There is always something to do, people to meet, good food to eat, live music to listen to and a good time to be had.
Bang for the buck
Hampshire College is a private school and is a bit pricey, but they have a huge endowment and lots of grant and scholarship offers and opprtunities. They have been very generous to me.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Our semesters are broken up into Divisions: Division 1, 2 and 3. As a senior in Division 3, when you are done with your thesis and research project, you go to the middle of the quad and ring the Division Bell, signifying to everyone that you have successfully completed all requirements and are on your way to graduating.
Great for these types of students
Creative, quirky, different, unique, out of the box thinkers, alternative.
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Erin from Chicago, IL

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hampshire College was the perfect fit for me because it has allowed me to open my mind to anything and everything that I am interested in. Hampshire is a place of discussion, rather than just passive learning, and I have learned how to appreciate the knowledge I obtain due to the fact that we do not receive grades at Hampshire. Not only is Hampshire great academically, this school has also provided me with many tools and resources to find work, student groups, and excellent advising.
Tips for prospective students
If you are considering Hampshire, be prepared to participate a lot in class. It is important to not only hear what other students have to say but to give your input as well. At Hampshire, we learn from each other, not just from a textbook. Sometimes the lack of academic structure can be overwhelming, so it is good to meet with your advisor if ever you feel this way and take advantage of the academic freedom!
Academic Rigor
You must be prepared to work hard on your own at Hampshire. This school is very reading, writing, and discussion based. It is important to stay on top of your work to get the most out of what you are learning as well as to receive a good evaluation from your professors.
Food and Dining
Hampshire has fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm, gluten free and vegan options! However, I would not say the food is always super delicious.
What to do for fun
At Hampshire there are always a lot of events on campus. There are lectures all the time and a lot of different student groups offered for almost any interest you may have. If you are interested in something that is not offered, you can start it yourself! There are two big events: Hampshire Halloween and Spring Jam, which are both super fun campus events. There are also opportunities to get involved in sports teams!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
One unusual tradition is the ringing of the bell at the end of your Division three (Senior thesis). It is a tradition at Hampshire to ring the bell for the whole campus to hear in celebration of passing your final year. It is always so inspiring to hear.
One unusual location on campus is the woods. There is so much art and natural beauty to see in the woods. But it is also a place of social gatherings, which may seem unusual but is just another thing that makes Hampshire so unique.

Great for these types of students
Hampshire is great for students who are critical thinkers, activists, or interested in a non-traditional education. It is great for students who want to craft their own majors. It is great for students who want to meet students like them, but also like no one they have ever met before. Hampshire is great for students who are more than a major.
Greek Life
There is no greek life on campus, which is actually something I find to be a positive aspect of Hampshire because we are all such different people that come together with no need for a greek life.
Campus Safety
I always feel safest when I am at Hampshire. I feel safe around my peers because I trust them, but also campus police is always available to make sure it is a safe space. In the same way, I think everyone on campus (students, faculty, staff, ...) is available and willing to ensure that Hampshire is always a safe space and community for everyone.
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George from New York, NY

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
It is a great school. All types of people from all over the world attend this school. There is so much potential for amazing things to happen here and to you at this college.
Tips for prospective students
You need to be self-motivated. No one is going to push you here. It's all up to you
Academic Rigor
This academic structure here forces students to be creative and to think out side the box.
Dorm Life
The pre-dominantly mixed gender halls are at first a little weird, but great and just as valid as many single gender hall.
Food and Dining
The food is okay, but it is always there, and it is buffet style, which means as many servings as you need.
What to do for fun
You can do anything for fun, from playing music, and art, to hiking, adventuring in the woods, and so much more.
Bang for the buck
Hampshire is truly for the alternative student. Traditional academia and traditional college life doesn't really exist here. And, if it does, it is with its proper Hampshire twist.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There are bunch of secret and special things only accepted Hampshire Students are allowed to know about, but are completely worth knowing. Further more, Hampshire Halloween and Spring are college sponsored parties that are amazing.
Great for these types of students
Self-Motivated, Artsy, Forward thinking, open-minded, progressive.
Clubs and Activities
There is so much to do here, and if what you want to do isn't readily available, you can always make a club with little problems or resistance.
Greek Life
This doesn't exist here.
Campus Safety
Not much to say here, they are traditional Campus Safety officers.
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Nate from Washington, D.C.

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hampshire College gives you a life-changing academic program and community. I might even say you will learn as much or more from immersing yourself in the community as you will in your courses. It's not for everyone, but give it a chance.
Tips for prospective students
Figure out how you best manage your time and workload. Check out every event and campus group you can.
Academic Rigor
The relative lack of structure in Hampshire's academic philosophy makes it harder, not easier, at least for me. It is certainly different and will challenge you in ways you were probably not challenged in high school.
Dorm Life
The freshman dorms are not as bad as some might say. The mods seem pretty neat.
Food and Dining
SAGA is decent. The Bridge Cafe and the Night Truck and off-campus food are rather good.
What to do for fun
Go to every event and group you can on campus and in town. Go to Atkins for cider doughnuts.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
You can know these when you get here. ;)
Great for these types of students
The weird ones.
Greek Life
None.
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Joshua from Huntington Woods, MI

researching this school
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A great school that follows the New College Plan. Definitely a great school for the liberal arts. Reccommended for students looking for an innovative way to learn.
Tips for prospective students
Round out your test scores and GPA with extracurriculars and community service. Demonstrate your ability to learn.
Academic Rigor
You will have to learn because you love to learn, as opposed to learning for a grade.
Dorm Life
The dorms are of good size, and comfortable.
Food and Dining
Tasty meal plans, but only one option.
What to do for fun
Ultimate frisbee, basketball, chilling.
Bang for the buck
A great way to get an education, but the name value isn't entirely there.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Easter egg hunt. It's awesome.
Great for these types of students
Those that want to learn in interesting new ways, and gain knowledge, not just information.
Clubs and Activities
All of them. Metaphorically.
Greek Life
Not at all.
Campus Safety
I felt very safe, they have blue lights, and campus police.
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Urantia from Brooklyn, NY

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
hampshire college is a private and small liberal arts school with great programs. it is rich in diversity and is very unique.
Academic Rigor
classes at hampshire are great in my opinion. many of them are very focused and detailed which helps the student become very familiar with one thing instead of being slightly familiar with multiple. faculty and teaching assitants are very good to talk to and meet with as long as the students ask questions are attend those meetings.
Dorm Life
dorm life at hampshire has been a great experience for me being that majority of the dorm rooms on campus are singles. i was able to get a single and this has really taught me what it is to be independent.
Food and Dining
what i like the most about the food and dining commons is that there are always options and even if the students do not like the food that has been cooked, the students can cook things themselves. however, the food has improved. dining areas are usually always kept clean which is a bonus.
What to do for fun
there are plenty of things to do for fun based on someones interest. there are great things to do other than sports. it is as simple as going for a relaxed walk through the woods or getting on the bus into town where there are theaters, etc.
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Eliza from Columbia, MD

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
You'll be stressed, and getting through the Hampshire system does take a lot of work and patience, but if you put in the time you'll learn so much you can't even fathom it.
Bang for the buck
Hampshire makes their system an expensive education for a number of reasons, but you really should take that as a motivator to work as hard as you can.
Tips for prospective students
Don't be fooled by the overt Hampshire Stereotype. Hampshire may have roots in the hippie movement of the 1970s, but has really become more modern than you'd think.
Great for these types of students
Nerds, Creative Types, Creative Nerds.
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Rodrigo

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Hampshire College is a remarkable institution in which I have been able to explore my interests and discover new passions that I would not have otherwise discovered. Their innovative take on learning and teaching allows the student to pursue education on an individualized basis, making each experience idiosyncratic to each student. This, combined with their renunciation of the obviously flawed letter grading system, allows the student at Hampshire College to form their own curriculum, shaped according to their needs, and evaluated on the basis of human observation rather than blind mathematical computation.
Tips for prospective students
Use the structure given to you during your first year to really explore all the possible fields you can. You will be very surprised to find a plethora of new interests to which you had never before been exposed. You will see that the requirements needed to pass division one are more of an opportunity to really make sure you are pursuing what you want to pursue and less of a tedious government imposed set of mandates to be fulfilled.
Academic Rigor
Many might assume that Hampshire's evaluation and final project--as opposed to letter-grade assessment and final examination--process might lead to students slacking in classes because of the different structure and �lack� of assessment, but--and this I say from personal experience--this process has generally shown to actually give greater incentive for students enrolled in said classes, because their evaluations are more in depth and portray more of the specific accomplishments and shortcomings displayed throughout the course and because the final project provides a much more substantial method of retrospection on the semester's work than any test or letter grade could do. Of course, it also depends widely on the motivation of the student in these classes and the learning styles with which they are most comfortable. In addition, Hampshire's course work is reading and writing intensive to a degree that I have not seen in any other college so far. Perhaps most importantly, Hampshire's radical political stance will provide a challenging take on world issues that will cause its students to reflect on their own beliefs and rethink the hegemonic narrative carried through widely by the mainstream public educational system. Certainly there are plenty of institutions like it, but this shimmer deserves to be recognized as a challenge to the mass zombification effect of modern media, the single mindedness an educational system whose textbooks are written by corporations. And as if this was not enough, the college's participation in the area's five college consortium provides a space for students to explore 4 other pedagogical methodologies and philosophies, all of which include within them the own takes on education of each of these schools' professors and instructors. Hampshire's divisional system is also extremely worthy of notice, for it is, I would say, unorthodox and revolutionary. During their first year, students must take four requirement courses ...
Dorm Life
Dorm life is fun. Since Hampshire is a pretty small school you get a nice community vibe and everyone just kind of hangs out in the quad when its warm so far as I have experienced.
Food and Dining
The Dining Commons wears on you. I was kind of digging it for the first two weeks but not so much after that. Actually, one of the reasons most people say they want to move from the dorms to the mods is because the dining common food is so bad and expensive...
What to do for fun
One of the perks of being in a college town is that one is always surrounded by young people. There is usually something to see or something to visit if you go down to Amherst or North Hampton (both of which are a FREE bus ride away) Going to the colleges themselves is also fun on the weekends or during the week if you want to visit some friends. There are always parties going on somewhere and lots of cool people to meet.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Don't worry, there are plenty.
Great for these types of students
Self-motivated and open minded. Be willing to explore and ultimately take charge of your education.
Clubs and Activities
There are so many. You will certainly find most anything you are looking for. If not, it is easy to create your own.
Greek Life
No greek life..
Campus Safety
Its great. People really trust each other and people really trust campus police.
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Sakiya from Saint Louis, MO

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
An alternative learning environment for creative open minded students. The divisional system requires self motivation and direction but can be very rewarding. Faculty and staff are for the most part very understanding and enthusiastic about student work.
Tips for prospective students
Talk to your professors, take classes that sound interesting. Hampshire works best for students who's interest won't fit into a neat box so experiment as much as you can with inter-disciplinary work. One of the best pieces of advice a professor gave me was don't try and force connection right away. Go deep enough into your individual fields of study and the connections will make themselves.
Academic Rigor
This is largely up to the student. Getting evaluations instead of quantitative grades makes me personally want to try and do better, there is no limit to my growth. But it is also possible to just skate by and take 'easy' courses and do the minimal work load. Student designed tracks means you have to know yourself and the level of work you can/will do.
Dorm Life
Lived in Dakin my first year and was super great friends with everyone I lived with. When it was warm outside I'd come back from class to all my friends hanging out in the quad where we set up some hammocks. When it was cold we'd all sprawl out in the hallways talking and laughing. Majority single rooms is always a plus. I love the co-ed bathrooms, it just made more sense. Now I live in the Enfield mods (little apartment things), my mod-mates are great and my double room is big and warm. The housing lottery is bizarre and stressful but I got out of that by finding an RA mod through posting a self-ad on facebook. As a second year the likelihood of getting a mod with your friends is very slim though. And if you get one of the greenich mods that don't face the sun I've heard they're not the best. People don't always respect smoking policies and I'd say the majority of hampshire students smoke.
Food and Dining
Expensive but I always found something to eat, not sure about people with dietary restrictions though. I have a kitchen now, I didn't do this but if you can afford it I highly recommend getting a co-op from the farm. The dining commons uses all farm and local food I think. There are pick your own fields on the farm and apple trees all over campus in the fall which feels like a real luxury.
What to do for fun
Parties are fun if it's your friends' but there is not a lot of just show up open house style parties. If they aren't registered they'll get shut down pretty quick. If you like a more chill brand of fun, there's plenty though. I love going for walks in the Hampshire woods. There are lots of old art projects and secret structures to find.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Easter Keg Hunt. Tour de Franzia. The Spiral Staircase. The resevoir.
Great for these types of students
Nerds! Passionate people! Liberals!
Clubs and Activities
So many! OPRA sponsors tons of cheap outdoor activities. Lots of fun clubs and pretty easy to make your own.
Greek Life
Illegal in all the 5-colleges except UMass. We're pretty happy about it.
Campus Safety
White CisHeteropatriarchy is everywhere
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