looked at Hartwick when I was in high school.
The tour guide had described this school as a loving,
supportive environment where the students were friendly, the faculty were
accessible and helpful, and the overall community was supportive.
When I went to a college fair, I was told
by the representative that we would have the chance to
go above and beyond what is expected of us in
the classroom, that we would be “connecting the classroom” to
the world and putting our knowledge to practice instead of
completing endless busy work. Everything about this school sounded
perfect: it sounded like it had everything I was
looking for: a nice community, helpful professors, a strong
performing arts department, and friendly, creative, kind-hearted, open-minded students.
The town of Oneonta was described to me as a
“fun college town,” with a “thriving social life” and “lots
of collaboration with SUNY Oneonta.” All of this information
from the admissions office made Hartwick my first choice school,
so I was very excited when I was admitted and
offered a generous scholarship. When I arrived, however, I
was very dismayed to find that none of this information
First of all, the students were anything but
friendly. Instead of being the welcoming, nurturing, open-minded environment
which admissions had described, Hartwick's community was very, very cliquey.
Most of the social life revolves around sports or
greek life. Hartwick is great if you are interested
in either of those things, but I was not, so
it was very challenging for me to find my place.
Hartwick was described to me as an artsy school,
not a sports school. I was told that sports
were not a big part of the social life, and
that greek life was small and that there were “only
three sororities and three fraternities.” One thing I didn't
realize is that for a school as small as Hartwick,
three sororities and three fraternities is a lot of greek
life, and there are a lot of academic fraternities as
well. I was looking for a school with a
very limited amount of greek life (if any) and a
very small emphasis on sports, so I was very upset
when I saw that the information admissions had given me
on Hartwick's social life was not true. There are
a large amount of students that do not participate in
sports or greek life, but most of the students have
“in” with a certain sports team or a sorority.
Hartwick is probably a very fun school if you are
on a sports team. If you're interested in greek
life and join one of the sororities or fraternities, you
will have a great time. But if this type
of culture doesn't interest you, you might want to look
into a different school.
I was also very alarmed at
how mean some of the students at this school really
were. During my time at Hartwick, I was bullied,
harassed, and humiliated. I had people talking about me
behind my back, calling me stupid, labeling me as a
slut and a c**t (this word is used very frequently
at Hartwick). I felt very alone, scared, and unwelcome.
Never in my entire life had I received this
kind of treatment until I came to Hartwick. I
was to the point where I stopped attending my classes
because I felt so depleted and uncomfortable in this environment.
Many of the students were horribly judgmental and racist.
I had heard the “N” word pretty frequently, and
other derrogatory slurs and commentary as well. Many students
are overly concerned with “popularity,” and are very apathetic to
academic and social issues.
did not feel supported at this school. I ended
up having a large amount of absences during one semester
due to illness, and even with a doctor's note I
received no expression of concern from any professors or staff.
Instead, I received anger, and was humiliated in front
of an entire class by one of my professors.
Some professors at this school are great, but some have
big egos and are very immature, and many staff members
are extremely apathetic. My roommate and I were having
some problems, and the Residential Director in the dorm showed
no interest in helping either one of us. When
I was being bullied, I had talked about it with
a couple of staff members, and instead of showing concern,
they simply brushed me off and told me that the
treatment I was receiving was just “personal opinion.” I
was very frustrated and angry with the staff at Hartwick.
Bullying is serious. It causes many students of
all ages to stay home from school and even switch
schools, and it can do horrible damage to a person's
self esteem and mental well being. Even after leaving
Hartwick, I am still recovering psychologically and emotionally from the
treatment I received. This was clearly not the “friendly,
loving, supportive” environment that was described to me by admissions.
Academically, Hartwick was very disappointing. Many of the students
are simply there just to get a degree and move
on with their lives, so that is the type of
student the school caters toward. I was excited to
start college and have the opportunity to put my knowledge
to practice, question what I was being told, and develop
a new way of thinking. But all I received
was endless busy work for homework, reading quizzes, and no
opportunity to question. There was no opportunity for us
to use our knowledge or think deeply. The attitude
from most of my professors was “go to class, do
the reading, answer reading questions, and come to class tomorrow
to take a reading quiz.” What is there to
gain in a practice like that, besides just doing your
homework? I found many of my classes to be
very dull, and I felt as though I was not
growing or gaining anything from my studies, which was very
frustrating. This type of learning approach may work for
some people, but if you are interested in discussion based
classes where you can think critically, creatively, and outside the
box, then Hartwick is not the place for you.
You're not really going to be “connecting the classroom to
the world.” Some departments are very good. The
nursing department is phenomenal, the anthropology department is fantastic, and
all of the science programs are wonderful. Arts and
humanities, on the other hand, is not so great.
It seems as though Hartwick is more of a science
school than an arts school. This is fine, but
I wish they had advertised it in that way to
me on the tour since I had no interest in
being a science major.
Also, the town of Oneonta is
not a “thriving college town.” Most of Oneonta is
actually in a terrible state financially, and the amount of
alcoholism and heroine abuse is very high. There are
some very nice coffee shops and restuarants, but most places
are closed by 6PM except for the bars, Walmart, and
one or two pizza places. That being said, there
is not really much to do except party, drink, and
do drugs. Many Hartwick students party hard, simply because
there is not much else to do in this town.
The party scene was fun sometimes, but it gets
old after a while, and the only other thing there
is to do besides partying is sit in your dorm
room and watch movies (which is also boring). The
area which Oneonta is located is very pretty, and the
view from campus is beautiful, but the weather is terrible.
Most of the days are cloudy, cold, and rainy,
and the winters are freezing. There are very few
sunny days, and many people become sick physically and/or mentally
as a result. Living in Oneonta is a very
hard adjustment if you are used to being in a
city or suburban area. Also, there is no “collaboration”
between Hartwick and SUNY. Many SUNY students do not
like Hartwick students, and refer to the school as “Hartwick
High School.” I was very angry that admissions was
not honest with me about the culture of Oneonta.
terms of being admitted to Hartwick: Everybody is admitted,
regardless of academic ability. Even a Down Syndrome student
was admitted into the school, so you don't have to
worry about not getting into college if you apply here.
Also, almost everybody receives a scholarship. The scholarships
do make Hartwick more affordable for students that might otherwise
not be able to afford college, but just because you
receive a scholarship, it doesn't automatically mean that you're going
to be one of Hartwick's top students, or that they
really want you to attend their school. That's what
I thought when I first received my scholarship. I
had felt so honored and grateful, but I was very
disappointed when I realized that everyone else received a scholarship
too, if not multiple scholarships. The retention rate is
very low. 50% of students transfer after their freshman
year, and another 25-50% transfer after their sophomore year.
Most of the classmates you had as a freshman are
going to be gone by the end of your senior
I am not writing this review to bring Hartwick
down. Hartwick is a great school but it is
not a fit for everyone. Many students attend this
school thinking they will be in a supportive environment with
kind, open-minded students, and instead those students end up being
bullied, mistreated, and unsupported. I am now attending a
large University, and I feel much more supported by the
students and staff here than I ever felt at Hartwick.
If you're looking for a supportive school, it's not
size that matters, but culture. It is important to
question the things that the admissions office of any school
tries to sell to you, and be sure to have
a good understanding of the culture of the school.
Read the reviews on this website. Click on the
reviews and find out if the students writing the reviews
value similar things in a school to you. Most
importantly, make your own judgment of where to attend college,
and trust your intuition because your intuition will never let