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Hampshire College

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Hampshire College is the epitome of the saying,Quite BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
Hampshire College is the epitome of the saying, "it is what you make of it." With that being said, there are definitely some things that Hampshire is better at than others. Organic farming, queer/race studies, and film production are the only areas in which Hampshire itself excels (some might say they are the only subjects that have adequate facilities). Outside of that, Hampshire itself is mostly well-suited for wandering around in the woods when it's warm and staying in your house when it's cold. Although Hampshire's nonrestrictive program of study and access to the neighboring colleges gives students a huge variety of possibilities, prospective students should not be led to believe that they can truly study "anything" and receive a great education. Furthermore, many of the neighboring colleges don't allow other colleges' students to take certain courses. So in that sense, Hampshire might be best for some students as a place to start their undergraduate education, but not necessarily to finish it. However... if you are a highly independent person who isn't relying on the college to furnish all the materials and resources you need to do what you want to do... if you're the kind of person who wishes you had more time to explore your interests... if you're the kind of person who needs a Bachelor's degree to progress further but doesn't want to have to major in a given subject as defined by institutional administrators... then Hampshire may be perfect for you. It really is a place where students are left to their own devices, in ways ranging from the grim winters to the single rooms that first years occupy to the lack of academic mandates. But Hampshire students are free in a way that almost no other college student is. You may not be able to find whatever it is you're looking for, but you will definitely be put in a position of having to become independent in your attitudes and actions. For someone seeking a place to achieve such independence, Hampshire is ideal.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Preparedness: C- Reputation: B
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If you are unsure about your academic futureQuite BrightOther
If you are unsure about your academic future and just want to "explore" and take a whole bunch of different classes to see what you like... don't go here. The program is deceiving. The lack of structure seems like it would leave room for exploration, but it just feeds to a massive amount of stress that will distract you from focusing on designing your major. That's what it did to me, anyway. I saw many people succeed at Hampshire. Most of those students already had experience in their field by the time they got to college, and had a very clear idea of what they wanted to do. If you are unsure, as a I said above, I would not recommend this school. It is simply too overwhelming. Socially, Hampshire is strange. Open and accepting in theory, but in reality many students experience isolation, judgment, and cliques. The parties are great, though.
2nd Year Female -- Class 2016
Scholastic Success: A, Education Quality: F
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Hampshire's program is designed to help self motivatedQuite BrightNatural Resources
Hampshire's program is designed to help self motivated and naturally curious students exceed in their fields. However the design of the program and reputation of the school attracts very unmotivated students who think a hippy school with no testing is just what they need. Additionally, the "free roam" self motivated design works really well for some students and not so well for others (some folks need someone to hold their hand through the undergraduate process, its more a personality thing than an intelligence thing).

As my time at Hampshire progressed I began to truely see the vast amount of academic benifits and really found ways to put them to use. The resources and fauculty available to me in the Natural Science department exceeded what I felt other schools had. There is also easy access to outdoor recreation with the 3000+ acre Mt. Holyoke Range State Park across the street and the on campus woods.

Becuase there is no outside force or motivation to push some students, many just "get by". I watched many friends and peers do this over my four years there. However, if you find your passion and are independently minded and motivated, Hampshire (and the 5 college area) will provide to you what you need and more to succeed. But really think this school through, IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! There are enough lazy, no-real-direction, partying potheads with wealthy parents at this school and it doesn't need more. If you're looking to push yourself in academics and real world skills without wasting your time on busy work and memorization/regurgitation, then Hampshire's unique program might work wonders for you in ways you can't even imagine until your done. I came with no direct and left with vastly more than I thought I had in me. For me, it was a fantastic success and I know my connections with knowledgable professors will span many years following my graduation. For others (many of my friends fall into this), it does not provide direct structure or direction and therefore does NOT work.

4th Year Male -- Class 2014
Individual Value: A+, Collaboration/Competitive: C
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