Hamilton found itself in a favorable spot on the 2006 U.S. News & World Report rankings of liberal arts colleges -- tied for 15 with Colgate University and Grinnell College. It marks the highest ranking ever for the College in the much-publicized listing. Hamilton, Vassar College and Colgate University are the only three New York institutions ranked among the top 25 liberal arts colleges.
Hamilton is also 26th among liberal arts colleges on the "Great Schools, Great Prices" list, up from 28 the year before. Some 56 percent of the entering class is receiving need-based or merit scholarship funds from the College. Admitted students were offered approximately $14.3 million in institutional grants and scholarships. The average annual student financial assistance package is $25,751 for an incoming first-year student.
Announcement of the recognition by U.S. News coincided with the arrival of the Class of 2009, the most academically competitive class ever enrolled at Hamilton as measured by SAT scores and class standings. Average SAT scores for the class are 1347, and 70 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
The first-year class of 501 students is 30 more than the target, which was a good sign, according to Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer. "Our yield (percentage of admitted students who chose Hamilton) was 33 percent -- the highest it has been in more than 10 years. Given that this is measurably the highest quality admit pool in our history, this is good news indeed."
First-year students also comprise the most culturally diverse class in the College's history. Eighteen percent of entering students are multicultural students from the U.S., and another five percent are international. Thirty-six states and 18 countries are represented.