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| Hampshire College is a joke. In theory the school is great, but in practice, it has been horribly implemented. |
There are very few academic and social resources. Of the ones that do exist, no one even knows about them because they hardly do anything, they don't publicize anything, and they are extremely disorganized. Career Options Resource Center is the worst resource on campus. It's not too early to start thinking about getting a job, as your freshman and sophomore year of college is really the time to start. Most colleges help you design your resum? and give you a list of jobs in the area or alumni looking for interns. At this place, they give you the link to a website that's the career equivalent of craigslist. Anyone can access it and the opportunities are located in a city half an hour away with no public transportation.
The facilities are run-down and broken. This is not an elitist concern - it's a concern for people who can't pay for facilities that actually work. For example, I don't mind that the dorm rooms are small and somewhat moldy. But I do mind that the campus printers never work and the staff in charge of fixing them always smiles and claims that they'll take care of it, but the problems never change. I don't own a printer, so I always have to use my friends' at 3am.
The classes are bad. 90% of the classes have an explicit agenda. If you don't agree with the professor that anarcho-communist societies are the only way to reduce poverty in the world or that women who aren't third-wave radical feminists are being oppressed by a societal illusion, then she'll treat you like the dreaded conservative kid and be a jerk to you and write immature, irrelevant, negative comments on your evaluation.
Completely homogeneous campus. Don't believe any claim that this place is diverse. It is the most homogeneous place I have ever been in my life. The huge majority of white people is not the biggest problem here - almost every student that I've met is liberal, upper-middle class, between 18 and 26, from a suburb near a city, owns a Mac, is really into "social justice," was an awkward misfit in high school and either thinks they're really cool for taking psychedelics or is intensely, awkwardly sub-free. DO NOT GO HERE - that is, if you actually have to think about getting a job someday, and not spend the rest of your life in grad school, with your parents paying for your social thought courses on post-modernism.
|Apr 27 2010|| 2nd Year Female --
Class 2012 |
|Not so bright|
| I wish I had access to forums like this before deciding on which college to attend. |
If you are far left-leaning, conform to anticonformism (hipsters, punks, vegans), able to bend shiftless professors to your will, not concerned with the school you are attending's reputation and opportunities, and you TRULY appreciate the Pioneer Valley (do your research, very few people can actually palate the place), then perhaps you should attend Hampshire College.
If you simply want to spend four years passing a joint around a drum circle, there are ways to do so without spending $40k/yr.
The administration of this school is a wreck. Do not be surprised if you never get to take a course in the field that you applied to study in, or if you are unable to find a professor in your field to chair your senior thesis work (an issue that will indubitably shatter any idealistic image you might have retained into your 3rd year at the school). Should you find yourself stuck at Hampshire, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to take classes at the other five colleges, but realize that administrative obstacles will stand in your way, and, if the thought of two all-girls schools in the vicinity is an attraction, consider that said schools don't tend to attract very attractive ladies.
Most importantly, WHERE you spend your undergraduate years is of great importance. And on that note, Amherst and Northampton are totally debauched localities. There is a week or so during the early autumn when the leaves turn colors, and the harvest occurs. It is very magical. Aside from that week, it is dismally cold and there is little to keep yourself occupied. Worse yet, the culture manifested by 'failure to launch' five-college graduates that occupy half the residences in the area is best described as grimy.Though Hampshire's image of being a "free-spirited, design-your-own-major, get treated like a grad student, bask in diversity, take-it-easy institution" may be a hollow vestige of a failed idea (looking back, I was a fool for thinking that such a place could actually exist) it has succeeded in attracting some brilliant and really cool students. SOME. For this I have to acknowledge and respect that I have met some of my closest friends at this school. To be united around having fallen for the same scam though, is unfortunate.
|Feb 09 2010|| 4th Year Male --
Class 2008 |
| Hampshire College is the institution of the black-sheep intellectual. It was founded under this ideal and it has remained as such. Though myself, and every other Hampshire kid, will occasionally bitch about Saga (the dining hall), the "latent racism of pub safety," and Hexter tacitly suggesting this or that, almost everyone who attends this school will defend it on etiological, epistemological, and pedagogic grounds whenever it is slandered by an outsider. This is a fundamental truth of Hampshire kids: we bitch, whine, and moan, but when it comes down to it, we love this place. We live in a completely supportive community which allows us the utmost agency to pursue our interests. Those who qualify receive generous amounts of financial aid (I'm currently on a $45,000 per year institutional grant/small federal loan plan). And the people here are remarkable, genuine, quirky, deviant, and god damned interesting. |
In terms of non-academic opportunity, Hampshire is very supportive. Certain study abroad programs cost no extra fees and Hampshire will basically get you into whatever grad school you hold interest in.
To address a couple of the common complaints about the school: I am damn proud that this institution doesn't respect traditional quantitative academic evaluation. Why? Because the American GPA is as inflated as the American Dollar. At what point will the American public recognize that the "A" is an entirely arbitrary mark which varies institution to institution? In my experience, Hampshire's qualitative evaluation system holds parties far more accountable than a fiat quantitative evaluation system ever could.
In regards to the campus aesthetic: no, we don't have the stately buildings. We are attached to four much older colleges that do (and obnoxiously so). Yes, we're the weird kids in the woods with the 1970's architect-was-so-hi buildings. However, the landscape here is gorgeous; we own three farms and hold 800 acres of woods. Early Springs are a bit damp, but early Autumn, Winter, and late Springs are amazing.
Honestly: if Harvard or Amherst or any other super-pretentious institution offered me a place at their college tomorrow, I wouldn't be interested in the slightest. I've met kids from all over the East Coast, from nearly every Ivy, from loads of small private colleges, and Hampshire people tend to be the most engaged, the most ready to call bullshit, the most pissed off and ready to do something about it.We are making the difference, living the dream, and creating a reality from remarkable individual visions...cheap weed, keg hunts, drag balls, and trip or treats included. :)
|Jan 28 2010|| 3rd Year Male --
Class 2011 |