To apply for admission, candidates must submit an application through The Common Application or The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success. Eligible students may also apply through their QuestBridge National College Match application. All applications, no matter which format, are treated equally.
This option is for students who have decided that Hamilton is their first choice. Hamilton has two Early Decision plans, with application deadlines on November 15 and January 5.
Hamilton’s Regular Decision application deadline is January 5. Applicants receive notification of their status in late March.
We embrace different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities and voices, and welcome students from over 45 countries. Roughly 15% of our students hail from outside the U.S. or hold an international passport.
We have collected just a few of the exceptional essays written by newly enrolled students. They offer a glimpse into the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our newest Hamiltonians.
What do you look for in a candidate?
Our goal is to admit the most able and promising mix of students who will contribute to the Hamilton community in meaningful ways. Although the primary criteria for admission are academic achievement and intellectual potential, we also value leadership and commitment to extracurricular and community activities, which may also include sustained work experiences. In forming the class, the admission staff seeks students representing diverse geographic, economic and ethnic backgrounds whose perspectives will enrich the learning community. Most importantly, Hamilton seeks to admit candidates who will thrive and excel in the programs and experiences that the College offers.
How do you assess who will thrive and excel at Hamilton?
First and foremost, we are going to look at your academic record and potential (rigor, transcript and test scores) to ensure you can be successful at Hamilton. To be honest, most of our candidates meet that threshold. From there, we are trying to figure out who would take advantage of the opportunities Hamilton offers and contribute to our community in meaningful ways. Much of this information is gleaned from interviews (optional, but encouraged), essays, recommendation letters, as well as other supplemental materials submitted with your application. In assessing how you spend your time (activities, community service, family responsibilities, work experiences, etc.), a long list of activities is far less important to us than having a commitment to a few things about which you are deeply passionate. Demonstrating that in an application can be difficult, but we promise that every application that we receive will get fair consideration and thoughtful review from our admission team.
How can I express my interest in Hamilton College?
The best way to express your interest in Hamilton is by submitting your application! Some students will choose to apply Early Decision, indicating Hamilton is their top choice and they will attend if admitted, but we recognize that option may not be right for everyone.
Many students wonder, beyond the application, how they might best express their sincere interest in Hamilton. There are many ways for students to do that ranging from visiting campus, interviewing, attending a virtual event, meeting with admission officers when we visit your high school (either in-person or virtually), or taking advantage of many other opportunities we give our candidates to connect with us throughout their search and our selection processes. While none of these options are required, we recommend you take advantage of these ways to enhance your candidacy and help us get to know you beyond the traditional components of your application.
Above all, though, the best thing candidates can do is to manage their application submission process well. That process does not end when you hit "submit" on your Common App (or Coalition or QuestBridge app). We will send you a follow-up email and link to a personalized applicant portal where you can make sure we have received all of your required materials, as well as monitor some optional supplemental materials (like arts supplements, interviews, or short answer essays) that you might choose to add to your candidacy, and to help us get to know you beyond your transcript. You should read all of our emails and pay particular attention to instructions and deadlines. Assembling a thoughtful and complete application that presents you in the best possible light to the admission committee is one of the best ways to take responsibility for your college search – and demonstrate your interest in Hamilton!
I’m working on my college application essay for Hamilton and am struggling a bit. Do you have any advice and/or examples of essays from the past that you like?
I have submitted my application but have not yet heard from Hamilton. Did you receive it?
Hamilton's Office of Admission begins processing applications in the middle of September. Once your application is imported into our database, you will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your application and providing you with a login name and password for our secure applicant portal, where you can manage and monitor your personalized checklist of Hamilton application materials.
Please note that during the peak processing times surrounding application deadlines (particularly in the first half of January), we may have a backlog for application processing, and it could take us up to two weeks for materials to be marked as "received" on your checklist. Thank you in advance for your patience.
I have submitted my application, but some of my materials won't be received by the deadline. Will this affect my application status?
We understand that some of your materials may not be received until after the application deadline. This is particularly true for teacher recommendations, test scores, and certainly your mid-year grade report. As long as your application is submitted by our deadline, and the remainder of your materials follow as promptly as possible, your application status will not be negatively impacted.
If I’m having problems saving my essay or submitting my application through The Common Application or The Coalition Application, what should I do?
Please visit The Common Application Support Center or The Coalition Application Help Desk to answer common questions, search for known issues and fixes, daily updates, and/or to submit a ticket for support. Both application teams work hard to be as communicative and responsive as possible in such instances, and they (and we) thank you in advance for your patience.
If you have an ongoing issue that is prohibiting you from submitting your application on time, please contact the Hamilton Office of Admission (email@example.com) so we can consider granting you an extension to our application deadline.
I am a school official and am having difficulty submitting my school forms through Naviance, The Common Application, or The Coalition Application systems. Can you help?
Please work with The Common Application, The Coalition Application, or Naviance directly to resolve your issues. If all else fails, you can email (a PDF) or mail your supporting materials to our Admission Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hamilton College, Office of Admission, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323.
Is there an advantage to applying Early Decision (ED) to Hamilton?
If Hamilton is clearly your top choice, we hope you will carefully and thoughtfully consider this option in consultation with your family and guidance counselor. Our ED program is designed for students who have done their research, know that Hamilton is their first choice, and have been thoughtful in considering their college options (academically, socially, financially, and otherwise). It allows admitted students to conclude their college search earlier than is typical. In addition to the earlier timeline, some students might be interested in applying ED because they think they have a better chance of being admitted. While it is true that Hamilton’s admit rates are slightly higher for those who have committed to Hamilton as their top choice, this is primarily because of the excellent quality of candidates and strong interest these students have indicated in attending Hamilton. Most successful ED applicants are not only an academic match but will contribute to our College Hill community in meaningful ways. Having said that, we are equally proud of our Regular Decision candidates who choose Hamilton, and the vast majority of our acceptances are offered to students who apply through that option.
This message, from Hamilton's Vice President of Enrollment Management, provides additional details on our Early Decision options.
I have submitted my Regular Decision application, but have decided I'd like to change to Early Decision. Is that possible?
First of all, we're pleased to hear that Hamilton is your top choice as expressed by your interest in making an Early Decision commitment. Provided that the Early Decision deadline (or conversion date in the case of Early Decision Plan II) has not passed, we would be happy to convert your application to Early Decision. Please fill out our Early Decision Agreement Form, collect the required signatures by the appropriate deadline, and submit directly to the Office of Admission.
Does Hamilton offer application fee waivers?
Yes. As a school with generous financial aid that promises to meet 100% demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, Hamilton wants to ensure that application fees do not pose a barrier for any students who wish to apply for admission. Please refer to our application fee waiver page for more information.
Does Hamilton require standardized exams?
How do I submit supplemental art materials (art, dance, music, theatre) ?
Instructions for submitting a performing or studio arts supplement will be provided in the checklist in your Applicant Portal. Access information for the portal will be sent via email after we have received your application.
How and when will I be notified of my decision?
Hamilton's policy is to release all admission decisions online. Follow-up packages will be mailed to accepted students only.
In the email acknowledging your application, you will be sent a login name and password for our secure applicant portal where you will manage your personalized application checklist and receive your admission decision. Our decision notification dates, also communicated in your email acknowledgment and in your portal, are based on your specific application plan (Early Decision Round I, Early Decision Round II, or Regular Decision). Any changes to decision notification dates will be communicated via email to the address you provided in your application, so please check it regularly throughout the application process.
I’ve been admitted and intend to enroll at Hamilton, but am interested in requesting permission to take a gap year. What are the deadlines and conditions for requesting a deferral of my enrollment?
We are generally supportive of gap-year requests and feel strongly that students should be encouraged to explore opportunities that are important to them before pursuing their Hamilton career. However, this option is not intended for students to further their admission options one year later. We are willing to hold a spot for a student in a subsequent year/class, but reserve this opportunity only for those who truly intend to enroll at Hamilton.
To apply for a deferral, you first need to be enrolled at Hamilton by having submitted your enrollment deposit by May 1. (If knowing whether your deferral request is likely to be approved is a factor in your decision to choose Hamilton, you are welcome to contact us in advance of submitting your deposit to discuss your potential options.)
Once enrolled (or concurrent with submitting your deposit), you should email Hamilton’s Dean of Admission, T. Peaches Valdes (email@example.com), with your reasons for requesting to defer your admission and your proposed plans for the gap year. All requests must be submitted by June 1. The admission committee will consider requests and get back to you by mid-June.
For more information on gap years, visit our Gap Year Request page.