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How to Write the Hamilton College Essay 2016-2017



“Know thyself.” This phrase, coined by Alexander Hamilton, is one of the primary guiding philosophies at Hamilton College, and defines the student experience of self-discovery. Hamilton follows a set of educational goals and purposes closely, and they look for these qualities in the students it accepts.


Hamilton College is private liberal arts school located in Clinton, NY, with a small enrollment of 2,000 undergraduates and an equally minute acceptance rate of 25%. The school emphasizes an education in writing and thinking critically, so that students become contributing citizens of the world.


With excellent facilities and dedicated faculty and resources, students are able to receive a personalized approach and work closely alongside their professors. Despite lingering complaints about the heavy workload and heavier snowfall, students are genuinely very happy with life at Hamilton. There are a plethora of summer research and internship opportunities, and over 42 majors to choose from across 51 areas of study.


If you believe Hamilton is the place for you, be sure you understand the following guidelines as you tackle their sole supplementary prompt.


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Hamilton College Application Essay Prompt


While the primary criteria for admission are academic achievement, intellectual promise, and community engagement, Hamilton also seeks to admit candidates who are a good fit with the programs and experiences offered by the College. Please take this opportunity (in 100-250 words) to tell us about your interest in Hamilton and, in particular, why you believe it is a place where you can thrive. Be open. Be honest. Be brief.


As the prompt itself says, the college already takes into account your academics and ability to engage with the community that have been communicated elsewhere in your application. Therefore, you should use this essay to discuss more in depth how you fit into the Hamilton community.


Note that they are looking for candidates that are a good fit with the programs and experiences offered ­– they want you to be specific, and recognize that this is a true “Why this school?” essay. Chances are they will notice you are being generic if you say something along the lines of “this place has great academics and a beautiful campus,” so be specific, do your research, and give candid reasons as to why you are a strong fit for Hamilton.

Hamilton is a selective liberal arts school, which, among other defining characteristics, is extremely small and very cold throughout the year. This environment might not be for everyone, so recognize the unique environment Hamilton provides and convey how you see yourself fitting in.


Although you don’t have too much space to elaborate, and they do specifically request a brief essay, be sure to mention specific programs and classes at Hamilton you would take a part in to show that you have invested time in learning about the school. In addition, address how the campus and area will enrich your student experience, how you might take advantage of the Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center, how you might join an Off-Campus Study, etc.


Finally, address how you will thrive at Hamilton, given the resources you will have at your disposal and the kind of mission the college follows. Like the prompt says, be open and honest, but also be concise, specific, and know why you would like to attend Hamilton College specifically, not why you want to go to a liberal arts school in general.


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