Hamilton College, NY
Hamilton College, NY: For the independent thinkers of tomorrow
Hamilton College is an outstanding liberal arts institution that gives students the opportunity to learn how to think critically and analytically about the world. In addition, students learn how to effectively and clearly express their thoughts, and develop lifelong skills that will help them succeed in any field or career they wish to pursue.
Hamilton is constantly ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the US and while it sets very high academic standards, it also gives students the freedom and responsibility to craft their own academic program, since it has no distribution requirements. This lack of a core curriculum means that from day one students may select only the courses they like and they can work towards a unique course choice to suit their own academic needs and interests. The course selection is done with the assistance of a friendly and very helpful academic advisor, who guides students through the course catalogue so they fulfill all the requirements needed for their selected major(s). Hamilton's strongest departments include Economics, Government, and English, which are the college's largest majors in terms of the total number of students enrolled and faculty members. Other majors, with fewer students, include Chemistry, Psychology, Mathematics, and Geology. They have a lot of resources for research and independent study, making the academic experience at Hamilton a good mix.
The learning environment, while rigorous, is more one of cooperation than of cut-throat competition. Students are encouraged to consult a variety of helpful resources, mostly run by other Hamilton students. The Writing Center allows students to consult writing tutors on their papers and essays and get valuable tips to improve their writing skills. The college emphasizes good writing as a fundamental skill to a successful academic career. Sometimes, however, oral presentation and rhetoric are just as important. To that end, Hamilton has an Oral Communication Center, where students can record practice speeches and receive feedback from student tutors. In support of this endeavor, oral communication courses assist students in developing the fundamentals of rhetoric, in order to deliver powerful speeches. Finally, the Quantitative Literacy Center hires students to act as advisers and lend a helping hand with homework on a variety of quantitative subjects such as Chemistry, Economics, Physics, Mathematics etc. All of these tools enhance students' educational experience and bring the community closer together. Cooperation in academics is governed by Hamilton's honor code, which makes sure ideas are acknowledged properly and that no cheating occurs on examinations.
There is also a myriad of opportunities for students to develop academically outside the classroom. Research grants are available for the most talented students. These grants not only cover living costs throughout the entire research program, but also leave students with enough money to cover other expenses. Doing research under the guidance of faculty is excellent preparation for graduate school and gives students their first opportunity to do independent and ground-breaking work. For those that would rather take a look at the professional world, alumni funding allows students to engage in a variety of paid and unpaid internships that complement the academic experience in the private, not-for-profit, or government sector.
The social scene at Hamilton is great. While the campus is fairly isolated in terms of proximity to the nearest metropolis, students design their own social life and with such a beautiful campus, one hesitates whenever it is time to take a trip off it. There are numerous student groups that organize events, from theatre plays, dance offs, pizza parties, concerts, and all-campus parties, to debate competitions and Model UN simulations. Many of these student groups receive funding from the college to pursue their ideas and interests so that the whole campus has a lot of fun and participates in enriching activities. Newcomers can join these groups and experiment with ideas so that everyone has a great time. A lot of the social scene also revolves around athletics. In terms of sports there is a bit of something for everyone: whether it is soccer, running, basketball, hockey, swimming, or another athletic endeavor, Hamilton's facilities can accommodate it.
My final reason for liking Hamilton is its people. Everyone is very open and looks forward to meeting new people. During my first days at Hamilton I met many new friends, since everyone was smiling and had no hesitation in introducing themselves and opening up a conversation. It is this atmosphere that makes Hamilton one big family that one always looks forward to coming back to.
My fulbright experience
Students at the advising center