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Why Hamilton?

April 15, 2006   

A close friend of mine just received her acceptance letter from Hamilton (!) and asked me how I chose to come here. I figured it might be an interesting topic of a journal entry.

I decided to enroll at Hamilton the morning deposits were due...being too late to mail in the deposit, my mom and I drove down to hand it in to the admissions office (my Mom hadn't seen it yet, so I like to think that we killed two birds with one stone).

I applied to a lot of schools. Each had small classes and strong government programs, but they differed greatly on setting and location- city, rural, and suburban. I’m not gonna lie, Hamilton was not initially my first choice, but it turns out Hamilton is a perfect fit, and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. I think it was a combination of four factors:

  1. No core requirements. My first year I took 8 classes in 8 different subjects. While my friends at other schools were stuck taking pre-determined classes for their first two years, we were allowed to choose classes based on our strengths and interests.
  2. Great academic and extracurricular opportunities. I founded a new club relatively easily, I have spent a semester in both Paris and Washington D.C., my French class was the first to ever translate 12 letters from a French Revolutionary War general, and my Lewis and Clark sophomore seminar culminated in an amazing 10 day trip traveling from North Dakota to Oregon...just to name a few highlights. 
  3. Faculty. Hamilton prides itself on close student/professor relationships.  By the end of the second week, most professors know students' names and personalities.  Exchange occurs out of the classroom as well- I have probably shown up at office hours for at least 80% of my professors.  Often professors will have the class over to their houses- Professor Cheng Li cooked our International Relations class an amazing Chinese feast, for example.  In DC, we just had our professor over for dinner- my apartment held a delicious Passover Seder, and Professor Eismeier joined about 10 of us to help us consume it.
  4. The community feeling. As a prospective student, I noticed that people held doors for each other. Guys still open the door for girls, and people will wait 20 seconds while you walk up a flight of stairs to let you into a building- it’s really amazing. The phenomenon was noticeably absent at all the other schools I visited.

Hamilton is a great place with great faculty, great students, great academics, and great opportunities. Admitted students, congratulations, and I encourage you to take a closer look so that you don’t miss out like I almost did.