Hamilton College ED Class of 2024

By the way, did anyone think that was rather sneaky of Hamilton not to disclose there was a supplemental essay until after you applied? I know they say it is optional, but is it really? Did anyone who got in ED to Hamilton not submit the supplemental essay?

Hamilton obviously eliminated the supplemental essay up front to increase the number of applications. So they bait you into applying without a supplemental and then hit you with an optional supplemental. I’m not sure it makes a difference for ED applications but does Hamilton do that for students who apply regular decision also?

A few years ago Colby eliminated the supplemental essay and the application fee just to increase the number of applications. And it’s worked. Their admission rate is now sub 10%. It’s such a game.

@4junior - that’s a lot of Jans. I do know that many many juniors, including my son, are studying abroad this spring semester, so there should be plenty of room for the incoming freshmen. I love that Hamilton really encourages study away programs!

If you ED to Hamilton and you get accepted only as a Jan, they turn into EA/nonbinding.

@HamilyDad While I hate that its a game - and I agree it is - frankly I am happy that Hamilton is playing. To hear people say “Colby is much harder to get into than Hamilton, look at the acceptance rate” is really untrue. And while it’s a naive comment (on that metric Colby, Bowdoin and Amherst would be about equal… hahahaha) it’s a reality that many applicants and people with multiple offers think that way. I think at Colby and other no essay no fee schools people apply just to throw their hat in the ring. I like that Hamilton has an optional essay for those who are passionate to convey their interest in the school.

@4junior While we didn’t mind the supplemental essay because my son had many specific reasons to write about why Hamilton was a good fit for him, I just think they should disclose the optional supplemental essay up front and not wait until you apply. As I said, they’re obviously playing a game and I’d prefer that schools be honest and not play games. The entire college application process is stressful enough.

@HamilyDad Yes, Hamilton had the “optional” essay revealed to RD applicants after submitting, too. Since Ham is known for its writing intensive program, it was surprising their wasn’t an essay…until surprise, there was. D20 applied RD, but back in October, since she was planning on switching to ED2 if her ED1 app wasn’t successful. She had a rough draft going right until getting her ED acceptance. I can’t imagine applying the night before and finding out about that essay!

My daughter applied RD last year. We knew about the Hamilton essay beforehand but we were happy to find out it wasn’t due until 2- 3 weeks after the application deadline. So she had plenty of time to work on it.

@HamilyDad re: the additional Hamilton application question, my daughter and I weren’t surprised. It was not the first or only school she applied to where, after submitting the common app, she received an email with login information. And then that login information directed her to one or more optional questions. She is a freshman this year and applied RD, but several of the schools she applied to included a question once you submitted. While she did not submit any binding ED applications she did apply EA to three schools and they also had an extra question post common app. submission. Fortunately, most questions were short and direct. She is the youngest of my four and we were all thankful hers was our last college application process. It definitely became more of a headache and more competitive with each child. BTW, she really seems to be enjoying Hamilton. Other than her first choice school, she would have been very happy at all the schools where she submitted an application, but the Open Curriculum at Hamilton was a huge draw for her and she got to take great classes this term.

@cdless, thanks for the reply. I wasn’t aware of any other schools that have the optional supplemental essay only after applying, so I guess it’s nice to know Hamilton isn’t alone. In the end it’s not a big deal. I’m sure if anyone ever asked a Hamilton admissions person if this practice was done purposely to increase the number of applications they would never admit it.

Note that by U.S. News methodology, which apparently considers several factors, Colby registers a selectivity rank of 8th in its category (tied with Hamilton), with Bowdoin following (closely, because of ties) at 13th.

@merc81 Huh. Stumped by that metric, and I do not have access to the details.

I can tell you that at D’s NYC private school literally 0% of the students, parents or counselours think that Colby and Hamilton are an easier admit than Bowdoin!

@4junior: The USN selectivity ranking apparently considers figures available through Common Data Sets, notably HS class standing (i.e., students from the top 10%, top 25%, top half) and standardized scoring ranges, in addition to acceptance rates. In using these metrics, it adjusts somewhat for the academic strength of the applicant pool, an aspect not always apparent through acceptance rates alone. Hamilton slightly exceeds Bowdoin in two of these three areas, so numerically Hamilton appears more selective than Bowdoin when multiple factors are considered. (With respect to Colby, however, the source for the underlying figures seems less clear, in that Colby has not released a Common Data Set in several years.) Even though the rankings provide only an approximation, they do offer an objective indication of the academic preparation of the students arriving on campus.

My D admitted ED as Jan for class of 2024. Very excited but worried about not getting to campus til January. Exploring options Hamilton offers - the London study seems most popular but the commuting and living arrangment seems a bit much to handle for a freshman. Any experiences or thoughts much appreicated!

Congratulations to your daughter on her acceptance, @Hammom24. She might begin by considering when she would like to graduate from Hamilton. If she would prefer to graduate in the spring of 2024, then she should consider an academic option (such as through — but not limited to — Arcadia, SEA Semester, or SFS) for this fall. If she appears flexible with respect to her graduation time, then she can broaden her choices for the fall to include any appealing activity. Alternatively, she can consider a non-credit activity for the fall, then plan to apply AP and summer credits to graduate “on time.” Regarding London, though the program seems consistently popular, its desirability depends on individual preference.

@Hammom24 congratulations on your daughter’s acceptance. My younger son was accepted ED 2024 also (my older son is currently a senior at Hamilton). My only knowledge of the Jan acceptance is through others.

A friend of my son’s currently at Hamilton was a Jan and went to London and very much enjoyed it. She was a little worried about getting to campus in January and not knowing anybody since most of the class already had a semester there but she said Hamilton did a very good job integrating the Jans into campus life and she joined a few clubs and made friends quickly. She felt the school gave her guidance and help to start in January so she wasn’t left on her own to figure everything out.

The son of a friend of mine was also a Jan and went to London. He loved his time in London and traveled all around Europe. He did say it was a little strange how little supervision they had. You are on your own for food so you either cook or eat out. They are also of legal drinking age there so they went out a lot. I think he said the school is not near their apartment so they had to take the Tube to classes. He did say the 40 of them that were there were very close since they were together all the time and they continued those close friendships when they got to Hamilton in January.

I can see how it’s a little scary to have your son/daughter start college with little supervision and structure so far from home in a foreign country. But the kids seem to adapt quickly and make it a great learning experience. They’re there with about 40 other students so you’re not going through it alone. I admit I would be a little apprehensive sending my son there but smart 18 year olds are pretty resilient and resourceful and I’m sure your daughter would be the same.


Congratulations! We think Hamilton is a very fine school, with great faculty, friendly students, and a conscientious administration.

My son was a Jan; he is now a junior and studying abroad this semester again. We were kind of confused by the Jan admission initially, but ended up thinking it was a good option for our student. We were so right! Our student learned a lot about being independent, made some truly life-long friends, got a semester of work done, and it cost less than a semester at Hamilton. The beginning of his first semester at Hamilton wasn’t hard socially, as he had a network of friends from London and they all quickly branched out. He absolutely loves Hamilton, but would tell you today that London was the best thing that happened to him. He really matured and it actually made him better prepared for regular college life. I am sure it doesn’t work so smoothly for some students, but I haven’t heard that from the people he shared the program with.

One caveat - if your student is majoring in math or computer science, being a Jan can set them back academically because the program in London is Humanities based, and many courses at Hamilton are sequential and only offered in either Fall or Spring.

Happy to answer questions if I can, so feel free to message me.

Note that entry level and gateway math courses such as calc I, calc II, statistics, multivariable calculus and linear algebra are offered in both the fall and spring semesters at Hamilton. In computer science, both halves of the basic introductory course sequence are offered in the fall and spring, as is discrete mathematics.

Thank you for all your comments and advice. My D has her heart set on Hamilton just trying to figure out the Jan- fall piece. Does the school give any guidance on options ? Does admissions met with kids to talk thru the fall process and options?

The AO to contact is on this page: https://www.hamilton.edu/admission/apply/january-admission/jan-about.

FWIW I loved Hamilton when I visited with D19, who ended up at a different NESCAC school.

In terms of starting in Jan/social life, I doubt that would be much of an issue…my D made some friends in first semester, but clearly still hasn’t met everyone from her class…I expect Hamilton frosh are similar, and will still be meeting many of their classmates (whether Fall or Jan starts) come second semester.
Good luck.

@Hammom24 , my son is a sophomore at Hamilton and was admitted as a Jan class of 2022. He spent his first semester in London. Had a blast. Please PM me if you would like any info.

Good morning! My daughter is a Jan admit and is thrilled to be going to London. Since I am new to CC, I am unable to PM, but would love to get advice. I don’t know if someone can PM me to get my private contact information, though. If so, please do and I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Many thanks!!