A look at how Hampshire College works

It's also true that they don't give grades

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – You’ve heard a lot about The Hampshire College flagpole, but what about the school itself? 22News gives us a look at the schools philosophy.

Hampshire College is a liberal arts college in Amherst. It’s part of the five college consortium and shares resources with UMass, Amherst, Smith and Mt. Holyoke. They have about 1,400 undergraduate students.

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Rather than offering majors, students chart their own 4 year academic journey by choosing a philosophy to concentrate in and then designing their own courses. They work closely with faculty academic advisors.

It’s also true that they don’t give grades, instead preferring narrative assessments of a students achievements.

John Courtmanche, Hampshire College spokesman said “People think that means it’s an easy college but really the difference is we use narrative evaluations. So for instance when you get an A or a B, that doesn’t tell you a lot about what your strengths or weaknesses are, but if you get a page of comments for your professor that says this is what you did really well. Your reasoning.”

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Courtmanche told 22News they are ranked 40th in the country for the number of students who go on to attain doctoral degrees. The college also made the Forbes top 10 list of colleges for entrepreneurs.

In their 4th year, the students focus on a yearlong project that combines multiple areas of study. Courtmanche also told 22News their job placement rate is very good.