I was fortunate to be accepted to both colleges and now I'm having great difficulty choosing one. My question to current students, recent grads, and alumni is - what can you tell me about the schools that the guidebooks don't? Any help is much appreciated!
I can't speak to Colby. I went to Hamilton during the Carter Administration, so you will take what I say with a grain of salt.
The most salient aspect of the academic experience at H is that you will learn to write. You think you know how to write well now, but you don't. You suck at writing. (I'm not making this appraisal based on your post--I'm assuming you are a typically gifted Hamilton admit), You will have marvelous professors at Hamilton who will ensure that you learn to write well.
The other bit of geezer advice I wish to pass along is that, wherever you choose to go, it will be your second home. I've never been to Colby, but it looks like a beautiful place. I can assure you that Hamilton is, too. Each time you return to your alma mater throughout your life, you will be returning home. That's not a marketing slogan--it's just the way you will feel. I wish you luck as you make your choice, but I think you have the happy case here where there is no wrong choice--only two good ones.
Take it from someone who went to a prestigious LAC in central NY, New England is the preferred venue for school. Plus Colby is closer to the other Maine schools in the same athletic league. Hamilton is enjoying relatively recent popularity due to new building construction.
Location: Middle Earth, north of Lorien and east of Hobbiton
Visited both schools, who are both in the NESCAC for athletics-went to Bates(of course) and had friends from Colby who were in training(Internship and residency) with me, current colleague is a Hamilton grad(also a doctor)
I would rank them as similar. Both are in out of the way places, both have excellent faculty and a personal touch. I think Hamilton wins on recent facilities, but it has a bit more of a hard-drinking reputation. Did you visit both? Is one cheaper? I would in your case go by price and convenience of travel for where you live now. I don't think you can make a mistake choosing one over the other.
I could go on and on for ages about how great Hamilton is - but all I will say now is that Hamilton has absolutely nothing to hide from "guidebooks". I was a tour guide and the only thing we were told regarding what we should say is to be honest. This policy was the best way to tell people how great the college is.
Also, my friend who now studies at Cambridge (in the UK) is considering transferring back to Hamilton.
Another friend, who transferred to Upenn in their second year (which was apparently easy given the reputation of Hamilton) came back after 6 months. They chose Hamilton over Wharton. This also says a lot about the extremely great quality of teaching that is taking place at Hamilton. It is simply top notch. Best of the best. And then we have not even mentioned all the extracurricular and social options Hamilton has to offer.
The point about choosing your next home is spot on—do you want to have a home in Maine or upstate NY? I think these schools are similar enough to let it come down to a “feeling” rather than a pro/con list.
I graduated from Hamilton in ’10 (my first choice from the start and a perfect four years). I also applied to Colby (rejected!) and can’t deny that I’m a little jealous of my friends who went to school in Maine and are now able to find meaningful work up there through friends and past professors/employers. That’s not to say you can’t find work wherever you’re determined to find it, rather that after four years, you will feel as at home on campus as you do in your hometown.
Assuming both schools have the academics you anticipate needing, go with wherever feels “right.” I knew as soon as I drove up College Hill Road at Hamilton that I wanted to stay a while.
My son is in the same position, having been accepted to both schools (among others). When we visited last summer, he preferred the feel of Hamilton and seemed to connect more with the students and the overall environment than Colby. However his brother, who is one year younger and likes snowboarding and the outdoors, strongly preferred the feel of Colby over Hamilton, and may apply ED1 to Colby in the Fall.
At this point, my son is strongly leaning towards going to Hamilton. He really likes the fact that there are no distribution requirements (he is planning on double majoring) and the school feels "right" to him.
I agree that the schools are pretty comparable and one really can't go wrong either way.
We just visited both schools recently and gave a slight edge to Hamilton, although both schools are fantastic. Hamilton has a brand new science center that is really impressive. Colby's facilities are fine -- very good for an LAC -- but not on the same level. Even though both Hamiton and Colby are in remote locations, Hamilton's location is slightly less remote because it is so close to Utica and downtown Clinton is an easy walk away. At the same time, Colby's campus is beautiful and the academic programs seem very strong. We were very impressed by the students at both schools and the general friendliness of people we met. Can't go wrong at either school.
I was also accepted to both Colby and Hamilton, though I dissed Colby pretty quickly (there were several other schools that I preferred it over). I ended up at Hamilton and I'm very happy. I really think that Hamilton is an unique place with lots of traditions and a wide range of people (not to say Colby doesn't have these qualities too).
As far as why Hamilton over Colby:
- Colby is about 7 hours from home while Hamilton is 4
- Colby's a tad colder and snowier
- Hamilton feels less isolated, and I really didn't like Waterville
- Most people that I talked to seemed to think Hamilton was better academically, even though they're ranked similarly
- As a pre-med student, Hamilton had really good acceptance rates to med school and the science center is GORGEOUS
Interesting comparison! I agree with the others here that these two colleges are very similar. its gonna be more about you. I think Hamilton has nicer bldgs and is a bit more athletic while Colby is more crunchy. Both are awesome though!
Hamilton. We've seen and explored both schools and feel it's a pretty easy decision. The academics seem slightly stronger, the campus is spectacular, the food is great, the kids are smart and driven. It's a beautiful area of upstate NY and it provides easy transportation options. Also, it's more difficult to get into Hamilton, so congratulations!