Frequently Asked Questions
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. Lastly, Hamilton seeks to admit candidates who are a good fit with the programs and experience the College offers.
How do you assess who is a good fit with 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, and assessing how you spend your time (activities, community service, family responsibilities, work experiences, etc.). A long list of activities is far less important 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.
Yet 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 that range from visiting campus, interviewing on or off-campus (or via Skype), meeting with admission officers when we visit your high school or area, 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, because we--like you--care about fit and community, we recommend you take advantage of them if at all possible.
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 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 or 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 and test scores. 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 and letter acknowledging receipt of your application and providing you with a login name and password for our secure My Hamilton applicant portal, where you can manage and monitor your personalized checklist of Hamilton application materials.
Please note that during the peak processing times and surrounding application deadlines (particularly the first half of January), we may have a backlog for application processing, and it could take us up to two weeks to acknowledge your application or for materials to show up 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, tests scores, and certainly your mid-year grade report. As long as your application is submitted by our deadline, and the remainder of your materials follows 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 I’m 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. But if all else fails, you can email or mail your supporting materials to Hamilton's 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 early in the senior year. 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 ED, this is primarily because of the excellent quality of candidates and strong interest these students have indicated in Hamilton, given that fit is one of the many thing that matters in our evaluation process. Most successful ED applicants are not only an academic match but also fit the culture and community we are building on College Hill.
I have submitted my Regular Decision application, but have decided I’d like to change my application plan 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 Round 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 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?
While Hamilton does require standardized testing, we believe that our applicants are best served by being provided with a variety of ways to meet our requirement. Please visit our testing requirements page to see what exams will satisfy our requirement and to learn more about why and how testing will be used, along with many other factors, in the holistic review of your application.
Please note that Hamilton accepts official or self-reported scores as part of a student’s application for admission.
How do I submit supplemental art materials (art, dance, music, theatre, creative writing) ?
Candidates wishing to submit an arts supplement will be directed to Hamilton's SlideRoom web portal when completing the Hamilton specific supplemental questions on The Common Application or The Coalition Application. The applicant will be responsible for a $5 fee for each submission. If you applied to Hamilton and received a fee waiver, please email the Hamilton Admission Office (email@example.com) to ensure that you also receive a SlideRoom fee waiver. This fee waiver will cover up to two (2) submissions. For more information, including instructions for submitting a creative writing supplement, please visit our Arts Supplement page.
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 letter and/or email acknowledging your application, you will be sent a login name and password for our secure My Hamilton portal where you will manage your personalized application checklist and receive your admission decision. Our decision notification dates, also communicated in the letter and in your My Hamilton account, 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. Once enrolled (or concurrent with submitting your deposit), you need to contact Dean of Admission T. Peaches Valdes with your reasons for requesting a gap-year and your proposed plans for the year.
The deadline for deferral requests is June 1.
Once approved, the conditions of your deferral are that you:
- may not enroll in a degree program at another institution during the interim. (It’s okay to take college classes on a part-time basis, but the Admission Committee will, of course, review your grades in any college courses and revisit your candidacy based on your performance.)
- will send us (by January 1st of your gap year) a personal essay describing your gap-year experiences to date.
- will submit (by January 1st of your gap year) an additional $500 deposit to hold your place in the following year’s class.
If you are applying for financial aid, you must also file the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before February 1 of your gap year.
What are Hamilton’s policies and resources for undocumented students, as well as those impacted by executive orders regarding immigration?
Hamilton has created an Immigration Resources webpage that should answer questions, but please contact us directly if you have additional concerns that are not addressed on this page.
What is Hamilton's policy on students and social activism?
Hamilton College and the Office of Admission supports students' rights to respectfully express their opinions, and would never penalize applicants who high schools discipline them for peaceful and responsible protests.