Amherst, MA
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Reviews 565 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: I LOVE Amherst and Northampton. I go to Amherst for the coffee shops and restaurants. I go to Northampton to walk around downtown, grab a bite to eat, get coffee, go to music venues, and go shopping. The atmosphere of both is so lively and welcoming, there's always something going on (especially with so many colleges in the area). Everyone I've met is very friendly and helpful towards students (since we're a majority of their business) and a lot of them actually employ student workers. There's also an indoor soccer league in Northampton I'm a part of.

5 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Hampshire parties have great DJs. Enfield has the best parties because they have the largest common spaces (whereas Greenwich parties are more cramped because the living rooms in Greenwich are smaller) and therefore more of a dance floor. You can also go off campus to parties at any of the other schools. On weekends, the buses run until about 2am, so you'll have a safe, free way to get home. There are also several bars for people 21 and up.

4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: There's no typical person at Hampshire, especially when it comes to dating. That's up to everyone's own tastes, but Hampshire definitely has a wide variety. The great things in terms of dating on campus is that there are tons of free sex supplies and sex education pamphlets available for students. Hampshire is a huge advocate of safe, consensual sex!

4 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: I think Hampshire is very fair in terms of school policy. Academically they are quick to intervene if a student is falling behind (because who doesn't want some help when they're struggling?), and your advisor or the Center for Academic Support and Advising will schedule a meeting with you. Socially, campus police will intervene if you're doing something dangerous to yourself or someone else. They also technically have to break up parties after quiet hours (2am), but if it's a registered party, campus police aren't going to break it up early (unless something dangerous is going on, but that's never happened when I've been to a party. It's always just happened because it was after 2am).

5 College Sophomore

Majors: There are 1,400 students at Hampshire and 1,400 majors. Everyone's major is what they want it to be. I came in studying Creative Writing and at the beginning of my second year I decided I wanted to look at ways people communication with one another. The transition was easy because that's the way Hampshire is set up.

There are some areas of study that tons of people are interested in, such as Creative Writing, Film/Video, and Theater. Those classes can be harder to get in to, but there are so many extracurriculars you can get involved with that a lot of your education happens outside of the classroom. One of the guys I live with is in two film courses this semester, but has worked on six different people's independent projects. Same goes for theater folks; there are at least three dozen plays on campus over the course of a school year.

5 College Sophomore

Majors: I guess this questions is hard to answer because my specific program at Hampshire is specific to just me. I get to choose my classes and demonstrate how they relate to what I'm studying. There's no cookie-cutter requirements I have to fulfill. If I want to take a class and I think it will further my education, I will. And my advising committee will be there to suggest classes, different paths I could take, and to point out possible road blocks in my curriculum.

One of my favorite parts of my program (and all Hampshire's programs) is that the school doesn't just include academic courses as being a part of your education. They look at the extracurriculars you're involved in that relate to what you're studying and the different independent projects you've taken on and see all of that as a part of your education, too.

4 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Hampshire is very vocal about alcohol and drug safety on campus. At the beginning of every school year they have information sessions, and throughout the school year they have posters, pamphlets, etc. out for students to review.

The Student EMTs have a one-time medical amnesty policy where, if a student is really intoxicated, they can get the help they need no questions asked. If it happens again, they receive immediate help from the EMTs and they also are referred to alcohol and drug information resources on campus. Hampshire wants to make sure everyone is safe.

5 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: I love Hampshire. I actually wish I could attend over and over and over again because there are so many things I'm interested in and not enough time to do them all! I love being on the soccer, basketball, and Ultimate frisbee team. I also love the entire OPRA staff and program.

The professors here are so accessible to students. They're always there to help and meet with you, and they're open to altering assignments based on your ideas, suggestions, and visions. For a final paper in one my literature classes my professor let me write a short story in place of the research essay because I wanted to explore different character voices. It was such a great learning experience. In general, actually, I've never done so much writing and it is making me not only a better writer, but a better learner; I'm discovering how to make things clearer to audiences, what questions are intriguing to ask, and how to do in-depth readings of texts.

Getting narrative evaluations over grades is so much more helpful. I'm able to see point by point what I need to work on and possible ways to improve myself, as well as looking at what I do well. There's no competition amongst peers because we're not gauging one another based on numbers, but there is a great internal competition against yourself to work harder and harder on what you're passionate about.

The 5 College Consortium is a wonderful resource. Not only are there over 5,000 classes to choose from, but you get to experience different campus cultures and meet SO many different students.

5 College Sophomore

Transportation: I love the PVTA Bus System. It's free for students and takes you into town, the four surrounding colleges, to the theater, to grocery stores... I think it's incredibly convenient and reliable, especially when I compare it to MARTA back home in Decatur, Georgia. The PVTA can also get you to bus and train stops that will take you further, such as out of state.

There's a shuttle that can take you to the airport called Valley Transporter. I can always find someone willing to drive me to the Hartford Airport though. It's just a 40 minute drive and if you offer gas money or food someone's game. You just have to post on the Facebook page or the Student Daily Digest e-blast that goes out.

4 College Sophomore

Computers: There are computers available for students to use in the library on the main floor and also in the computer lab. There are computers equipped with photography and film editing software in the Film/Photo computer labs, the Media Basement, and in Adele Simmons Hall (which has two computer labs, one with special software for animation). There are computers in the Airport Lounge which is open 24/7 for students and a designated quiet, study zone.

Students get $25 worth of printing for the year. I just use the school printers, which you can also use via flash drives, not just printing from a school computer, but there a couple of my friends who have personal printers in their rooms.

There is wireless available throughout the campus (the public wifi switches between Wallace and Gromit, which I appreciate so so much; each residence has their own wifi as well). I've never had a problem with the connection being slow.

College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: I don't live off-campus myself, but several of my friends do and the rating I listed are how I feel based on going to their apartments and houses. There are only a certain amount of students who can live off-campus, but I don't know anyone that's been denied living off campus, especially since a lot of people who live off campus do so for financial reasons. And Hampshire's not going to make you live on campus if you can't afford it. A lot of students who live off campus will use the PVTA bus to get to campus, so typically student housing is found along the bus routes (but there are plenty of bus routes, so there are quite a few options). Parking passes for students who live off campus are the same price as passes for students who live on campus.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: While Hampshire doesn't have a very high percentage of Students of Color or International Students (when you look at the percentages), it'd be absurd to say it wasn't an accepting environment. I feel like Hampshire is one of the most liberal, open-to-everything campuses in the country. Sexuality is discussed freely amongst students and nothing is held against anyone for simply being who they are. We introduce ourselves with our preferred names and what pronouns we use. There's a Spiritual Center for students of all denominations to visit and use, and there are also some religious-based student groups. We also have a Multicultural Center where tons of students spend time just hanging out.

5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Living between two college towns - Amherst and Northampton - is AMAZING! There are endless food options. I can get pizza by the slice, Greek food, sushi, burritos, diner food, Moroccan, frozen yogurt -- whatever I want. Hampshire doesn't have an off-campus meal plan set up or anything, but a lot of the restaurants in the area know they're catering to college students so their prices are very reasonable. Since the buses take you straight into downtown Amherst and Northampton, it's super easy to access food. Also, loads of places deliver to campus, and if they don't deliver themselves, students can use Delivery Express to have it brought right to their door.

I suggest going to The Black Sheep Cafe, Oriental Flavor, and the Route 9 Diner in Amherst and Pinocchio's Pizza, Bueno y Sano, and Rao's Coffee in Northampton.

4 College Sophomore

Parking: A parking pass per semester only costs $50, which is totally reasonable. Students can have cars as early as their first semester. Campus police is picky about parking permits, so you will get ticketed if you don't have a sticker on your car. There's always an open space on campus (except maybe at the bus circle where visits and delivery people always park), especially in the residence lots.

Honestly, I don't find much need to have a car on campus. There's the PVTA bus system which is free for students and can get you to Amherst and Northampton very easily, as well as grocery stores, the Hampshire Mall, and surrounding cities after a transfer or two. Peter Pan buses also come to campus so it's easy to get to Boston, and other buses come that can get you to New York or Connecticut. Also, you'll most likely meet someone who has a car and everyone I've met has been very friendly about giving me rides to places I need to go.

College Sophomore

Scholarships: I didn't receive financial aid my first year at Hampshire because I didn't qualify for it. I did get a merit scholarship, though, and I didn't have to fill out any extra paperwork because Hampshire automatically considers students for merit scholarships.

ong story short: I can't answer this question or give a rating because I've never been a part of the process.

4 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Campus police are very present on campus. While our Health Services could be much better, I actually prefer the help of the Student EMTs. Hampshire has one of the only student-run EMT programs in the country and the best thing about it is that every student involved wants to be there. They're there because they actually want to help you. A lot of the EMTs are actually studying pre-med, so it's part of the field they're going in to. EMTs have to adhere to confidentiality as well, so it's a totally trustworthy relationship.

I've never felt unsafe on campus. I do think there could be more Blue Lights, but I've never personally felt the need to use one. I also want the sidewalks to be lit better, but that's because I don't want to twist my ankle (I'm far too clumsy for my own good).

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Living on campus is great because there's always something happening. I lived in Dakin (one of the dorms) last year and I got the best of both worlds. I lived in a single (which is common because 80% of the rooms on campus are singles), so when I wanted to get work done all I had to do was close my door; when I wanted to hang out with my friends or meet new people who were walking up and down the halls, I kept my door open and called out to them.

Now I live in Prescott (one of three on-campus apartment communities) and I love having a full kitchen and living room. It's also great to have all my friends living in the same space (we all went into the housing lottery together) because it's super easy to meet up with everyone and when any of us invite other friends over, we have a big common space to hang out. There's also the Prescott Tavern which is just twenty feet away. They host open mics, movie screenings, screen printing on t-shirts. Each of the communities (Dakin, Merrill, Prescott, Enfield, and Greenwich) has tons of events like this, which is great because you get to meet your neighbors as well as people that live on different parts of campus (because everyone's invited, obviously)!

5 College Freshman

Majors: I absolutely love NS and the faculty I work with. I feel motivated, inspired, and well cared-for. The curriculum is challenging and rewarding.

5 College Freshman

Majors: I am 100% confident that I will be able to acheive my goals and find success and that Hampshire will help me do that.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: I love the hippie food around. God bless the Haymarket.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: The PVTA is great. Although it is late or canceled a lot.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: Either it works out for you or it doesn't, people get really angry but I think Financial Aid does a good job.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: We have some pretty hilarious sports teams - frisbee and basketball, mostly. Maybe also Lacrosse?

5 College Freshman

Academics: I love studying Natural Medicine at Hampshire - I get to focus on research in my field while fulfilling basic pre-med requirements!

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Computers: My dad does the networking, so I love it! He's very good at what he does. Just call him if you have a problem. :)


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Hampshire College Library
Hampshire College Library

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Tal Schechter
Stamford, CT
Health, Science, and Technology
View all previous student authors

It’s true, Hampshire students have no shortage of complaints about the place, but the harshest critics are also likely to be the most vocal advocates of the College. There are few, if any, places quite like Hampshire, and the love-hate relationship many have with the College is based on the passion with which they view alternative, experimental education. Criticize they may, but most students would be quick to defend the College if someone dismissed it. Hampshire students don’t have a reputation as talkers for no reason.

This is a place where you get your hands dirty, whether that is out on the farm testing sustainable farming practices, out in the field researching or developing new technology, or embroiled in a campus debate over the College’s policies. To mirror the idealism that runs through this campus, Hampshire is place where people learn to make a difference in their immediate surroundings and the broader world. This is not a place for everyone, but it is home to serious academics turned off by the ivory tower’s strict disciplinary boundaries. Students are dedicated community organizers merging intellectual investigation and practical activism, the innovative and experimenting artists craving a safe haven for their expression, the brilliant slackers from high school who thrive in unconventional environments, and the self-described geeks looking to create the next big video game. Hampshire draws a weird, quirky bunch, and the result is never boring. Hampshire students may come to the College with a variety of different expectations, but they will definitely leave with experiences unlike any other.

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