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Hamilton College vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three students walking in the school campus.

Hamilton College vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

Deciding where to go to college can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s important to consider your priorities and find a school that meets your needs. In this article, we’ll compare Hamilton College vs Amherst in the Northeast to help you determine which one is the best fit for you.

Location and Campus Environment: Hamilton College vs Amherst

Both Hamilton and Amherst are located in the Northeastern United States, with Hamilton situated in Clinton, New York, and Amherst located in Amherst, Massachusetts. Hamilton’s campus is known for its stunning natural beauty, surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests. The campus itself spans 1,300 acres and features traditional architecture and well-manicured lawns.

Amherst’s campus is similarly picturesque, with 1,000 acres of land and a mix of historical and modern buildings. The campus is located in a small, charming college town that’s bustling with energy. The town is home to a vibrant arts scene, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants that cater to college students.

Both Hamilton and Amherst offer a unique campus environment that fosters a strong sense of community among students. Hamilton’s campus is known for its close-knit community, with a student body of just over 2,000 students. The small size of the campus allows for personalized attention from professors and a tight-knit community of students. Similarly, Amherst’s campus is designed to encourage interaction and collaboration among students, with a variety of communal spaces and student organizations that promote engagement and involvement.

Academic Programs and Course Offerings: Hamilton College vs Amherst

Both Hamilton and Amherst are renowned for their rigorous academic programs, with a strong emphasis on the liberal arts. Hamilton College is particularly well-regarded for its Creative Writing, Environmental Studies, and Neuroscience programs.

Amherst College also has a wide range of academic programs, with some of their most popular majors being Economics, Political Science, and Mathematics. Amherst boasts a strong commitment to interdisciplinary studies, allowing students to explore a variety of fields and connect them in meaningful ways.

Political science on a keyboard

In addition to their traditional academic programs, both Hamilton and Amherst offer a variety of experiential learning opportunities. Hamilton College has a robust study abroad program, with options in over 20 countries. They also offer internships and research opportunities, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in their field of interest.

Amherst College has a unique program called the Center for Community Engagement, which connects students with local organizations and community partners. Through this program, students can participate in service projects, internships, and research that address real-world issues and make a positive impact in the community.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity: Hamilton College vs Amherst

Both Hamilton and Amherst are highly selective in their admissions processes. Hamilton College has an acceptance rate of around 12%, while Amherst’s acceptance rate hovers around 7%. Both schools require competitive GPAs, strong test scores, and impressive extracurriculars and essays to be considered for admission.

Additionally, Hamilton College places a strong emphasis on demonstrated interest in the school, with campus visits and interviews being highly recommended. Amherst College also values demonstrated interest but places more weight on academic achievement and intellectual curiosity.

It is important to note that both schools have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements. They also have need-blind admissions policies, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into account during the admissions process.

Cost and Financial Aid Opportunities: Hamilton College vs Amherst

Attending either Hamilton or Amherst can come with a significant financial burden. However, both schools offer generous financial aid packages to help offset the cost of tuition. Hamilton’s tuition and fees for the academic year are approximately $65,740, and Amherst’s are slightly higher at around $67,280.

It’s worth noting that both schools have a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that a student’s financial situation is not taken into account when evaluating their application for admission. Furthermore, both schools are committed to meeting 100% of a student’s demonstrated financial need, ensuring that even those from low-income backgrounds can attend their dream college.

In addition to need-based financial aid, both Hamilton and Amherst offer merit-based scholarships to exceptional students. These scholarships can cover a significant portion of tuition costs and are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and other factors.

It’s also important to consider the long-term financial benefits of attending a prestigious college like Hamilton or Amherst. Graduates of these schools often have higher earning potential and greater career opportunities, which can help offset the initial cost of tuition.

Student Life and Extracurricular Activities: Hamilton College vs Amherst

Both Hamilton and Amherst have lively campus cultures, with a variety of clubs and organizations catering to a wide range of interests. Hamilton is known for its active outdoor recreation scene, with hiking and kayaking clubs that take full advantage of the school’s stunning natural surroundings.

Amherst, on the other hand, boasts a thriving arts community. The campus is home to a renowned art museum, as well as a theater department that produces several plays and musicals each year. Additionally, Amherst has a strong athletic program, with 27 varsity sports teams.

Students doing some community service and volunteer work

Both schools also offer numerous opportunities for community service and volunteer work. Hamilton has a dedicated community service office that connects students with local organizations and projects, while Amherst has a variety of service-oriented clubs and initiatives, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Amherst Survival Center. These opportunities allow students to give back to the surrounding communities and make a positive impact beyond the campus walls.

Athletics and Sports Programs

As previously mentioned, both Hamilton and Amherst have robust athletics programs. Hamilton College is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and has 29 varsity teams. The school’s basketball and football teams are particularly strong, with numerous conference championships under their belts.

Amherst College is also a member of the NESCAC and has a total of 27 varsity teams. The school’s men’s basketball team has won three national championships, while the women’s soccer team has won two national titles. Amherst is known for its rigorous academic standards but also places a strong emphasis on athletic achievement.

In addition to varsity sports, both Hamilton and Amherst offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. These range from ultimate frisbee and volleyball to more niche sports like quidditch and broomball. These programs provide opportunities for students to stay active and involved in sports, even if they are not at a varsity level.

Furthermore, both colleges have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including fitness centers, swimming pools, and outdoor fields. These facilities are open to all students and provide a space for them to exercise and stay healthy. Additionally, the colleges host various sports events throughout the year, including tournaments and games against rival schools, which create a sense of community and school spirit.

Alumni Network and Career Services

Both Hamilton and Amherst have strong alumni networks that can help students land internships and secure jobs after graduation. Hamilton’s Alumni Career Network connects students with alumni mentors, while Amherst’s The Works program offers career counseling and skill-building workshops.

Additionally, both schools have robust career services departments that provide students with resources such as resume and cover letter reviews, job search strategies, and interview preparation. Hamilton’s Career Center offers career fairs and on-campus recruiting events, while Amherst’s Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning hosts networking events and alumni panels.

Furthermore, both schools have partnerships with local and national companies, providing students with opportunities for internships and job placements. Hamilton has partnerships with companies such as JPMorgan Chase and the New York State Assembly, while Amherst has partnerships with organizations such as Teach for America and Goldman Sachs.

Faculty and Student Diversity

Both Hamilton and Amherst are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community, both in terms of their faculty and student body. At Hamilton, 36% of students identify as domestic students of color, while at Amherst, the number is slightly higher at 45%. Both schools have also made a concerted effort to diversify their faculty ranks, with about one-third of professors at Hamilton coming from diverse backgrounds.

Portrait of five smiling students

In addition to their efforts to diversify their student and faculty populations, both Hamilton and Amherst have implemented programs and initiatives to promote inclusivity and equity on their campuses. Hamilton offers a variety of multicultural and identity-based student organizations, as well as a Bias Education and Response Team to address incidents of bias or discrimination. Amherst has a similar Bias Response Team, as well as a Center for Diversity and Student Leadership that provides resources and support for underrepresented students.

Furthermore, both schools have taken steps to ensure that their curricula and academic programs reflect a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. Hamilton has a requirement for all students to take at least one course in a non-Western culture and offers courses in African American Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies, among others. Amherst has a similar requirement for students to take courses in non-European cultures, and offers majors and minors in Black Studies, Latinx and Latin American Studies, and Queer and Sexuality Studies, among others.

Campus Safety and Security Measures

Both Hamilton and Amherst have robust campus safety and security measures in place to ensure the well-being of all students. Hamilton employs a full-time director of campus safety and security and has its own campus security force that provides 24/7 coverage. Amherst has its own police department, with officers on duty around the clock to respond to any emergencies that arise.

In addition to these measures, both Hamilton and Amherst have implemented various safety programs and initiatives to promote a safe and secure campus environment. Hamilton offers self-defense classes for students, as well as a campus escort service for those who feel unsafe walking alone at night. Amherst has a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan in place, which includes regular drills and training sessions for students and staff.

Furthermore, both campuses have installed security cameras in key locations to monitor activity and deter potential criminal behavior. Hamilton has also implemented a system for students to receive emergency notifications via text message, email, and phone in the event of a campus-wide emergency. Amherst has a similar system in place, as well as a mobile safety app that allows students to quickly and easily report suspicious activity or request assistance from campus police.

Campus Housing Options

Both Hamilton and Amherst require students to live on campus for their first year, with a variety of housing options available to suit different needs and preferences. Hamilton has a variety of traditional dormitory-style options as well as theme houses, where students with similar interests can live together. Amherst has a mix of traditional dorms, suites, and apartments available for students.

Hamilton also offers a unique housing option called the “Wellness Housing Community,” which is a living-learning community focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and wellness. Students in this community have access to resources such as yoga classes, healthy cooking workshops, and mental health support.

On the other hand, Amherst has a program called the “Residential Life Project,” which allows students to design and implement their own living-learning communities. These communities can be centered around a particular academic interest, cultural identity, or social issue, and provide students with a more personalized and immersive living experience.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Both Hamilton and Amherst have extensive study abroad programs, allowing students to explore other parts of the world while earning college credit. Hamilton offers programs in countries like China, Spain, and Kenya, while Amherst has partnerships with schools in almost every continent. In fact, Amherst has the highest percentage of students who study abroad among all liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students, as it exposes them to new cultures, languages, and ways of thinking. It can also help students develop important skills such as adaptability, independence, and intercultural communication. Both Hamilton and Amherst offer a variety of study abroad programs that cater to different interests and academic disciplines.

Additionally, students who participate in study abroad programs often report higher levels of satisfaction with their college experience and increased confidence in their abilities. They also tend to have better job prospects after graduation, as employers value the skills and experiences gained from studying abroad. Overall, studying abroad can be a valuable and rewarding experience for college students.

Research Facilities and Opportunities

Both Hamilton and Amherst provide ample opportunities for students to engage in research and independent study. Hamilton’s Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center offers research support and resources to students, while Amherst’s Office of Student Research provides funding and mentorship for student-led research projects. Both schools also have well-equipped scientific laboratories and computer facilities available for student use.

In addition to the resources provided by Hamilton and Amherst, students can also take advantage of research opportunities through partnerships with local organizations and businesses. For example, Hamilton has a partnership with the nearby Colgate University, which offers additional research facilities and opportunities for students. Amherst has partnerships with various organizations in the surrounding area, including hospitals and research centers, which provide students with access to cutting-edge research projects and mentorship from industry professionals.

Internship Programs and Industry Connections

Both Hamilton and Amherst have robust career services offices that can help students find internships and make connections in various industries. Hamilton’s Career Center hosts job fairs and networking events, while Amherst’s Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning offers employer site visits and alumni panels.

the words 'interns wanted' written on a clipboard

Additionally, Hamilton and Amherst have partnerships with various companies and organizations, providing students with exclusive internship opportunities. Hamilton has partnerships with companies such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, while Amherst has partnerships with organizations like the United Nations and the Smithsonian Institution.

Furthermore, both schools offer academic credit for internships, allowing students to gain valuable work experience while also earning credits towards their degree. Hamilton offers a course called “Internship: Learning from Experience,” while Amherst offers a program called “Field Work Practicum.”

Community Engagement and Service Opportunities

Both Hamilton and Amherst encourage students to become active members of their local communities and engage in service projects that make a positive difference. Hamilton’s Days of Service program connects students with local nonprofit organizations, while Amherst’s Center for Community Engagement helps students find volunteer opportunities in the surrounding area.

Additionally, both colleges offer courses and programs that focus on community engagement and service. Hamilton’s Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP) provides students with the opportunity to work with local organizations and government agencies to address community issues. Amherst’s Community Engagement and Social Change (CESC) program offers courses that explore the intersection of social justice and community service and provides students with hands-on experience through internships and service projects.

Student Support Services, Resources, and Counseling Services

Both Hamilton and Amherst offer a range of student support services, resources, and counseling services to ensure that all students are able to thrive academically, physically, and emotionally. Hamilton offers individual counseling services, wellness programming, and a student health center on campus, while Amherst provides similar services through its Counseling Center and Health Services Center.

In addition to individual counseling services, Hamilton also offers group therapy sessions and workshops on topics such as stress management, mindfulness, and healthy relationships. These resources are designed to help students develop the skills and strategies they need to navigate the challenges of college life.

Similarly, Amherst provides a range of resources to support students’ mental health and well-being. This includes a peer counseling program, which allows students to talk to trained peers about a variety of issues, as well as a variety of workshops and events focused on topics such as self-care, resilience, and coping with anxiety and depression.

Graduation Rates and Post-Graduation Outcomes

Both Hamilton and Amherst have high graduation rates – 89% and 85%, respectively – indicating that the vast majority of students who enroll ultimately go on to earn their degrees. Furthermore, both schools have strong post-graduation outcomes, with a significant percentage of alumni going on to attend graduate or professional schools or secure jobs in their desired fields.

graduating students

Additionally, Hamilton and Amherst have implemented various programs and resources to support their students’ success both during and after college. Hamilton offers a Career Center that provides students with career counseling, job and internship search assistance, and networking opportunities with alumni. Amherst has a robust alumni network that offers mentorship and career advice to current students. These resources contribute to the high post-graduation outcomes of both schools and demonstrate their commitment to their students’ long-term success.

Student Reviews, Testimonials, and Feedback on the College Experience

One of the best ways to get a sense of what attending Hamilton or Amherst might be like is to read reviews and feedback from current and former students. Social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter can provide valuable insights, as can college review sites like Niche and College Confidential. Many students have praised both schools for their rigorous academics, engaging campus cultures, and supportive communities.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all reviews may be accurate or representative of the entire student body. It’s always a good idea to read a variety of reviews and to take them with a grain of salt. Additionally, it can be helpful to reach out to current students or alumni directly to ask specific questions about their experiences.

Another factor to consider when reading reviews is the location and campus environment. Hamilton and Amherst are both located in small, rural towns, which may be a significant change for students coming from urban areas. Some students may find the lack of city amenities and nightlife to be a drawback, while others appreciate the peaceful and scenic surroundings.

Prospective Student Checklist: What to Consider When Comparing Hamilton College vs Amherst College

As you prepare to make your college decision, here are some key factors to keep in mind when considering Hamilton and Amherst:

  • Location and campus environment
  • Academic offerings and course options
  • Admissions requirements and selectivity
  • Cost and financial aid opportunities
  • Student life and extracurricular activities
  • Athletics and sports programs
  • Alumni network and career services
  • Faculty and student diversity
  • Campus safety and security measures
  • Campus housing options
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • Research facilities and opportunities
  • Internship programs and industry connections
  • Community engagement and service opportunities
  • Student support services, resources, and counseling services
  • Graduation rates and post-graduation outcomes
  • Student reviews, testimonials, and feedback on the college experience

By considering each of these factors carefully and weighing your priorities, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which college is the best fit for you.

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