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Application Process

Transferring to Hamilton

Transfer admission is an important component of our admission process and transfer students are important members of our community. There are many reasons students are transfer candidates—sometimes financial, sometimes academic, sometimes they have refocused their interests and educational path. Some transfer applicants were unsuccessful in our freshmen admission process, but would like another chance to be considered for admission to Hamilton. Regardless of the reason, the unique perspective and appreciation for their education that transfer students bring to Hamilton is welcomed into our community.

Each year we seek to enroll approximately 10-20 transfer students in the fall, and an additional 5-10 transfer students in the spring.  Occasionally, we are over or under-subscribed with our freshmen enrollment and will adjust these targets accordingly.

Transfer Application Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions About Hamilton's Transfer Application Process

When can I transfer to Hamilton and what are the application deadlines?
Students may apply for admission for either the fall or spring semester. The application deadline for the fall semester is April 1; the deadline for the spring semester is November 1.
How do I apply?
The transfer application is accessible through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. This link provides a checklist of all required documents.
How do I know if I am a freshman or a transfer applicant?
A transfer applicant is any student who is a high school graduate and has previously enrolled as a degree-seeking student at another institution. This includes students who attend community college and/or are currently enrolled in an associate degree program. Students who have taken college courses through or during high school, or on a part-time basis, will normally be considered first-year applicants.
If I applied to Hamilton before, do I need to reapply?
Yes. All students who would like to be considered for transfer admission must complete a transfer application and submit final high school and new college transcripts, as well as a mid-term grade report for courses in progress, if applicable.
Students who applied for freshman admission and were denied need to complete at least one full semester of college coursework before reapplying.  This is to ensure that we have enough new information to reevaluate your application. 
Students who applied for either freshman or transfer admission and were admitted, withdrew their application before a decision was made, or were wait listed, may reapply immediately.  
What happens after I apply?
All applicants should receive email confirmation of their application. This email will also include a username and password. Applicants may use their ID and password to track the receipt of required documents and access their decision, once available.
What is the maximum number of times that I can apply?
The maximum number of times a student can be considered for admission to Hamilton College, including first-year admission, is three.
How will I find out if I'm admitted?
Applicants will receive a decision a few weeks after the application deadline. Decisions will be available online and accessible with a username and password. Only admitted students will receive an acceptance packet by mail.
Is financial aid available?
Hamilton meets the full-demonstrated financial need of all admitted students.  However, the total amount of financial aid available to transfer students is dependent upon how much is spent on the first-year class and, therefore, financial need maybe be a factor that is considered during the transfer admission selection process.

Students who wish to be considered for financial aid must apply by the posted deadlines.  Financial aid applications for transfers candidates will not be considered after admission decisions have been made and, barring unforeseen financial hardship, those who do not qualify at the point of admission will not be eligible for financial aid while enrolled at Hamilton.

What kind of grades are you looking for in a transfer applicant?
There is no minimum GPA that a prospective student must have earned to be considered for admission. However, successful applicants have typically earned a college GPA of 3.33 or higher.
How will my credits transfer?
Once admitted, our Registrar will evaluate each of the college classes you have taken and accepted students will receive a credit evaluation as soon as possible after receiving their letter of acceptance. 

General guidelines for credit transfer are as follows:

  • Credit is granted only for courses in the liberal arts.
  • Credit is not awarded for the following:
  • Pre-professional courses, e.g. business, engineering, criminal justice, computer application, journalism, etc.
  • College-level coursework completed during secondary school or courses in which a substantial portion of the class consists of high school students.  [Some departments will allow you advanced placement in an area in which you have already completed college-level coursework.]
  • On-line courses.

  • Credit is awarded only for courses where the grade received is C or higher.
  • Hamilton course credit is based on a system where one Hamilton unit is equivalent to four semester hours.  Credit from other colleges is transferred proportionately based on this ratio.
  • Students who have had more than four semesters of full-time course work must fulfill our two-year residency requirement by completing four full semesters at Hamilton. In other words, no more than two years of credit will be transferred.
  • Many disciplines require that students complete at least half of their academic major courses at Hamilton. Students who come in with more may still get general credit for those courses, but may need to take additional courses for their major at Hamilton to fulfill this requirement. In such cases the opportunity to have the wide-ranging distribution of courses that we hope to see in a well-rounded liberal arts graduate is jeopardized, and we encourage students to be mindful of this when considering the possibility of transferring institutions.
As a transfer applicant, do I still need to submit a high school transcript and test scores?
All transfer applicants are required to submit a high school transcript and test scores, regardless of the length of time enrolled in college or out of high school.
Can I substitute a recommendation from a high school teacher or guidance counselor for the College Instructor Evaluation?
Although we realize that at an early stage of your college career, you may feel that your academic dean or college instructor may not know you as well as individuals in your high school, recommendations from high school do not replace recommendations from college officials. However, recommendations from high school may be submitted as additional information, if desired.
How important are my high school transcript and test scores?
The best predictor of success at Hamilton is your most recent academic work in a college setting. However, the secondary school record of every applicant is reviewed and will be considered. The longer a student has been in college, the less important the high school record and/or standardized testing becomes.
Do I need to schedule an interview?
While a personal interview is not required, it is strongly recommended. The interview is informative for both the student and the admission committee. We encourage transfer students to interview on campus.  Students who would like to interview but are unable to make it to campus can arrange a phone interview by contacting James Walsh (jcwalsh@hamilton.edu).
Can transfer students live off-campus?
Hamilton College is a residential campus. It is the policy of Hamilton College that all students live in campus housing. This applies to transfer, returning and first-year students.
Can international students apply to transfer to Hamilton?
Anyone can apply to Hamilton College, but there is very little financial aid available for international students; as a result, international students with financial need may be at a competitive disadvantage.
Whom can I contact if I have more questions?
James Walsh, Assistant Dean of Admission, serves as Coordinator of Transfer Admission. Please contact James with any additional questions by phone at 1-800-843-2655 or e-mail at jcwalsh@hamilton.edu.  
The following students transferred to Hamilton and are willing to answer questions about their experience: Jessica Zhu (mzhu@hamilton.edu), Charles Dunst (cdunst@hamilton.edu), and Jichen Huang (jxhuang@hamilton.edu).

Transfer Application Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions about Hamilton's Application Process