Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 78.35

Hamilton College

Students at Hamilton College, as the liberal arts school loves to point out, study whatever interests them individually. Thanks to an open curriculum, the roughly 2,000 students aren't bound by a strict track of courses and prerequisites. That doesn't mean there aren't specific requirements to earn a degree in one of the more than 40 majors (the school refers to them as ‘concentrations’) offered at Hamilton, though. The college emphasizes strong critical thinking and communication skills, so all students have to complete three writing courses. Students also work with advisers to develop personal education goals, a task made possible by the college's high faculty-to-student ratio. Hamilton is one of a limited number of colleges that pledge to meet all of a student's demonstrated financial need. The college has increased its financial aid budget significantly in recent years to its current level of around $50 million. Despite Hamilton's small size, students can participate in more than 200 student groups, encompassing interests from beekeeping to conspiracy theories to sports. Every spring, students participate alone or on relay teams at HamTrek, a triathlon that calls for swimming 21 lengths in the pool, biking nine miles, and running five kilometers. The college encourages students to spend at least one semester off campus, and about two-thirds of students do so through study abroad programs or internships. Hamilton has a graduation rate of 93%, and the college says 83% of those graduating seniors leave with at least two internships under their belts.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$76,800
% of students who get any grants
56%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$25,300
Average price for low-income students
$8,810

Admissions

Acceptance rate
16%
Median SAT/ACT score
1450/33
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
2,000

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
100%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
N/A
Average merit grant
N/A

Student Success

Graduation rate
93%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$17,000
Early career earnings
$74,340
% earning more than a high school grad
81%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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