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Hamilton College 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Guide

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2019-20 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!

Hamilton College 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

Put simply: Hamilton is known for its writing program so don’t slack off! This supplement has laid a few traps with optional prompts, so think carefully about what you plan to submit. Because each essay is a choice, it’s all the more important for you to show admissions that you’ve put in the effort and your work is worth reading.

The Requirements: 1 essays of 250 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why

While the primary criteria for admission to Hamilton 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 to tell us about your interest in Hamilton and, particularly, why you believe it is a place where you can thrive. Be open. Be honest. Be brief. (250 word maximum)  
Hamilton’s short-answer essay, while optional, is strongly encouraged. You are welcome to move on without answering it, but please confirm that is your intention and that this section is completed to your satisfaction. (Select Yes or No)

Um, if you couldn’t tell from the passive aggressive instructions: choosing not to answer this essay would be a slap in the face! Fortunately, it’s our firm belief that optional essays are almost always not actually optional — and we would have told you to write it anyway. Here’s another piece of good news: this classic why essay is the ideal opportunity for you to enumerate the reasons you and Hamilton are a match made in heaven. Why wouldn’t you want to plead your case?

The core question is as follows: “why do you believe [Hamilton] is a place where you can thrive?” Maybe you already have a really clear answer, but if not, doing some solid research will help you develop a concrete, personal answer. Give yourself an hour or two to comb through the college website for information on your department, faculty, clubs, opportunities, special programs — really anything that strikes your fancy! As you begin to list the items that appeal to you, notice the patterns in your interests. How do Hamilton’s offerings live up to your ambitions? How do they fill your vision of yourself as a student?

Hamilton would like to give you the option to upload one document of your choice. This is in no way required, and you will not be at a disadvantage without it. However, should you choose to include an upload, please use the text box below to explain what you are attaching and why you feel it is important for us to consider. (Max 250 words)

This, on the other hand, is truly optional. If you don’t have a portfolio piece that is directly relevant to your academic interests, skip it. Don’t force yourself to submit something just for the sake of submitting it. As the prompt suggests, you should be able to clearly state why it is important work for admissions to see. So be self-aware and show that you respect their time.

If you decide to submit a piece, it should be your best work: an award-winning science fair report or perhaps a chapter from the novel you have been working on for the past year (and we mean really crafting, with feedback and edits). In some specific cases, this may be the best opportunity for applicants to showcases non-academic achievements, but proceed with caution before you share a 2-hour dance recital video. Think of your explanation as an artist’s statement. Why did you make this? Who is it for? Focus less on why you think admissions might want to see it and more on why you view it as an achievement in its own right.

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