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| Hampshire taught me how to think, read and write critically. When I graduated from Hampshire, I went into sales with a Fortune 500 company. I found that I was at a disadvantage in not knowing anything about business. If I had it to do over again, I would have studied business and placed a much greater emphasis on developing better quantitative skills.I highly recommend that high school and college students recognize the importance of taking courses that will prepare them for their intended vocations. |
|Nov 16 2007|| Alumnus Male --
Class 2000 |
| Hampshire is not for everyone. That said, the only way to know whether it truly is is to go there and try it for yourself. I grew a tremendous amount while I was at Hampshire, and was fortunately able to actually graduate (a lot of my friends didn't). What it takes to succeed at Hampshire is a little different than most other schools. I know a bunch of kids who really did well early on and got great evals from their professors (unlike me), but never graduated.|
My best advice about going to Hampshire is, don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole. For instance, when I went to Hampshire, I was an aspiring painter. After not getting a lot of love from the faculty in that area, I realized that the writing teachers really liked me. Well, after a while the writing teachers soured on me but by then the Journalism teachers liked me. I went from painting to the Cognitive Science department. I ultimately did my Div 3 on Child Development.
The marijuana thing was a real problem and socially this can be a major issue. If you don't smoke, and don't want to hang out with smokers, you can wind up feeling a bit isolated. I chose not to smoke but still hung out with some smokers. I dressed in a very mainstream manner and definitely was on the receiving end of some judgements from the general student population. I really enjoyed playing on the sports teams, which you only have to be not half-bad in order to participate. I wound up fitting into a couple groups; the minority guys on scholarship weren't so judgemental of me, and neither was the wacked-out drama crowd. It took a couple years but I did find my niche.
I really liked the professors and I followed the ones who really liked me. The others I left alone. Because of this I wound up with some great connections in high places that helped me a lot. I didn't do a lot of actual academic work but there must have been something powerful about the work I did do because I am in grad school now and the work seems pretty easy.
I guess I am in the minority here but I really liked the campus. It lacked all the pomposity of old "traditional" buildings and was nice and modest, reasonable. It was naturally beautiful around Hampshire. Also great to have the five colleges there because I made friends there. Even used the library a couple of times!
Most overrated part of Hampshire is the mods. I tried a couple of different mods and grew pretty sick of the craziness, would up moving back into the dorms. Peace at last! Most underrated part is the professors. These are people who really want to be there, be your friend and help you.Overall, Hampshire was a very trying but great experience for me. I developed a lot as a human being and began to form a powerful intuition about people. I'm really proud of the Div 3 and that part of the school was absolutely awesome. If you're someone who really wants to do independant work and make a contribution then Hampshire is for you... just stick through the boring years early on and get to the Div 3. It is an absolutely incredible experience.
|Sep 02 2007|| 4th Year Male --
Class 2003 |
| Just so you know, I'm transferring out of Hampshire so my opinion probably isn't the majority. But I've noticed that a lot of people transfer out of Hampshire. Basically, people say that it is "not for everyone" and that's definitely true.|
Atmosphere: almost everyone complains about the campus which has ugly seventies-style architecture. But if you can get over that, the area is pretty nice. Rural, though. You have to take a (free) bus to Amherst or Northampton to actually do anything. It's in a five-college consortium, though, so there's a fair amount to do.
I've found people to be pretty friendly. And extremely liberal. A lot of people here are hippie-ish. A lot of them seem to have gone to alternative high schools. There is pretty widespread drug use, especially marijuana, so if that bothers you, be warned. One thing that really bothers me about Hampshire is that there are a lot of people who don't take the work very seriously. Which brings us to academics.
Academics at Hampshire are...unusual. Basically, most of the courses are things like "consciousness considered" and "forest ecology," really specific topics. Even when there's a normal intro class they insist on doing it differently from other people. If you want to take a class that's broad and you know what you're getting, you have to go to one of the other colleges (you can take classes at them, which is a plus). Hampshire has very little in the way of science and math. They do have pretty good film and creative writing departments, as far as I can tell. (those aren't my major, just what i've heard) For music students, be forewarned that there's no orchestra or private lessons on campus, and no one was very helpful to me in finding things.
Hampshire expects you to be pretty independent, and I haven't found the advising to be that great. A lot of the faculty are really flaky. Also, there's a lot of bureaucracy, which is dumb, because most hampshire students want to do things their own way. There's a newish distribution requirement which got a lot of students really angry, since we're supposed to be "designing our own education" and instead we end up spending a year on the requirement. On the plus side, I guess, the science and math part of it can be met by classes that involve practically no science or math (if that's a plus for you).
|Mar 20 2007|| 2nd Year Female --
Class 2009 |