How to Get Into Hamilton College

Man using laptop researching how to get into hamilton college
November 23, 2023
7 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/23/23

If you want to attend a highly-acclaimed liberal arts college, Hamilton could be the school for you. Read on to learn how to get into Hamilton College.

How to get into Hamilton College info

Located in Clinton, New York, Hamilton College is one of the oldest colleges in the United States. It was chartered in 1812 and named for Alexander Hamilton, America’s first Secretary of the Treasury.

Its motto, “Know Thyself,” encourages students to pursue programs that excite them and help them hone their unique strengths. Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Hamilton strives to foster an environment where students and faculty of all backgrounds can succeed. Read on for information on how to get into Hamilton College.

Hamilton College Admission Requirements 

To get into Hamilton College, you’ll need test scores in the 75th percentile, with an SAT score of 1520 and an ACT score of 34. You should also have a minimum 4.0 GPA. To make your application really shine, Hamilton encourages applicants to participate in admission interviews and submit engaging supplemental essays.

Knowing how to get into Hamilton College starts with learning more about its requirements.

Hamilton College Campus
Source: Hamilton College

Hamilton College SAT Requirements 

Submitting SAT scores to Hamilton College is optional. While there are no requirements, the total SAT score range of admitted students is 1440 to 1520. It’s up to you whether you submit your SAT score to Hamilton College. 

Hamilton College ACT Requirements 

Like the SAT, you can choose whether to submit ACT scores to Hamilton College. That said, the ACT score range of admitted students is 33 to 34. If you’re applying to Hamilton College with high ACT scores, consider sharing them!

Hamilton College GPA Requirements

There is no GPA requirement to apply to Hamilton College, although the average weighted GPA is estimated to be 4.0. Strive for the highest GPA possible to bolster your application! 

Tests & Transcripts 

Hamilton’s primary consideration for its applicants is academic accomplishment. It describes high school achievements as “the most important piece of your application to Hamilton.” You’ll submit your high school transcript through the application portal. 

In the application portal, you can self-report your standardized tests or forgo submitting them entirely. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit the results of an English Language Proficiency test. There’s a section in the application portal to submit these scores. 

Personal Statement

Although it regards grades highly, Hamilton recognizes that the numbers don’t share an applicant’s story. The personal statement is your opportunity to share more of your story. 

Student typing on laptop

The essay section is vital because it contextualizes the rest of your application. It’s an opportunity to stand out by grabbing the reader’s attention with a great hook, telling a story with descriptive language, and doing it all in your authentic voice. 

For further guidance, Hamilton provides examples of essays that worked. These are standout application essays from admitted students that impressed the admissions committee. 


The Common Application requires a school report and a teacher recommendation. Personal recommendations aren’t required, but the portal allows up to two. The Coalition Application requires a counselor evaluation and a teacher evaluation. It also permits but doesn’t require two general recommendations. 

Student with professor

Although personal and general recommendations aren’t required, it’s always a good idea to include them. Recommendation letters can go a long way in solidifying your place at Hamilton. They offer insight from people who can speak to your academic potential, traits, and community involvement!

You can also have your recommenders submit their letters directly to the school. In this form, there’s a section to indicate whether the recommender is an alum, parent, or member of the Hamilton College community. 


Hamilton College strongly encourages applicants to participate in a personal interview. While it isn’t a requirement, it helps the admissions committee get to know you and see how you might fit into the community. This is your opportunity to show Hamilton why you’re a great applicant. 

The “why?” is what matters to Hamilton. The admissions council can see your accomplishments; the interview’s purpose is to hear the stories attached. This is your chance to discuss your passions, ambitions, hopes, and, more specifically, why you want to pursue them at Hamilton.

Hamilton emphasizes that it’s a conversation, not a formal interview. There are no trick questions or scripts to follow. As long as you come into the interview with confidence and you’re prepared to talk about your interest in Hamilton, you’ll do well. The most important thing is to be yourself!

Hamilton College Acceptance Rate 

Hamilton’s admissions are increasingly competitive; the acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was 11.8%. Out of 9,899 applicants, 1,167 students were admitted, according to the most recent admissions stats.

Early Decision Acceptance Rate 

Hamilton College’s acceptance rate for Early Decision (ED) in the 2026 cycle is 32.4%, almost three times higher than Regular Decision (RD). ED is a great option if you’re sure that Hamilton is the school for you. It’s a binding agreement, which means that you must commit to enrolling if they accept you.

How to Apply to Hamilton College

Ready to apply? Read on for a rundown of the application process and important dates to keep in mind.


Review the deadlines and keep them at the front of your mind as you pursue your application.

Category Application Deadline Decision Notification
Early Decision I November 15 December 15
Early Decision II January 3 February 15
Regular Decision January 4 Late March

Source: Hamilton College, Hamilton College

Students who apply through RD can convert to Early Decision II if they decide to make Hamilton their top choice. If you choose that route, you have until January 28 to indicate your decision by filing an Early Decision Agreement.  

You can choose to apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Both are centralized portals that allow you to send applications to multiple schools. Eligible applicants can apply through QuestBridge, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income students attend college. 

All applications are treated equally by Hamilton. You’ll begin by creating an account and filling in your personal information. There are sections for your grades, test scores, essays, and recommendation letters.

Tips to Get Into Hamilton College 

Make getting into Hamilton College easier with these expert tips!

Tips for Getting Into Hamilton College

Prioritize Your Academics 

Hamilton College explicitly marks “rigor of secondary school record,” class rank, and GPA as “very important” selection factors. For context, the application essay and recommendation are ranked as “important,” taking a backseat to your academic performance. 

Armed with this knowledge, you should do your best to pursue the most rigorous curriculum available to you. If your school offers honors, AP, or IB classes, it’s worth enrolling in some to challenge yourself. However, don’t bite off more than you can chew—your GPA also matters! 

Consider Whether You Want to Submit SAT/ACT Scores 

While Hamilton College is test-optional, you can choose to submit your SAT or ACT scores. We recommend evaluating the score ranges above and determining whether your score could help or hinder your application. If your score is closer to the top of these ranges, we recommend reporting them. 

Participate in a Hamilton College Interview 

Although Hamilton College interviews are optional, the school states that “because the admission committee works hard to ensure ‘fit’ with Hamilton when determining admission decisions, personal interviews are strongly encouraged.” 

Video interview appointments open at the beginning of February, so don’t miss out on your chance to schedule an interview! Although the interview is conversational, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. 

student life at Hamilton

The best way to elevate your interviewing skills is to practice with a college admissions expert who can provide you with actionable feedback. Learning more about Hamilton College’s interview style, common questions, and how to demonstrate your fit can strategically position you as the ultimate applicant. 

Consider Applying Through Early Decision 

Are you confident that Hamilton College is your first-choice school? If so, consider applying through ED! Admission statistics certainly aren’t everything, but it’s worth noting that ED applicants have much higher acceptance rates than RD candidates at Hamilton College. 

However, this may also be in part due to the strength of early applicant profiles. With that said, we don’t recommend applying early if it will negatively impact your application’s quality. 

September calendar

Instead, you may want to consider changing an RD application to EDII if your mind changes before the end of January or Hamilton College suddenly becomes your first-choice school. 

Put Time and Effort Into Your College Application Essay 

Your essay is a crucial part of your application. Hamilton College lists numerous essay writing tips you should read to better understand what the admissions committee is looking for. 

For example, you should write about something that isn’t included in your application and begin your writing with a hook to capture the reader’s attention. Hamilton College also suggests using anecdotes to “show” rather than “tell.” This is solid advice for any college essay you write!

FAQs: Getting Into Hamilton College

Still have questions about how to get into Hamilton College? Here are some common questions answered. 

1. How Much Does It Cost to Apply to Hamilton College?

The application fee is $60. Hamilton College believes finances shouldn’t be a barrier to entry, so students with financial needs can submit a request for a fee waiver.

2. What Should I Do If I’m on the Waitlist at Hamilton College? 

Being waitlisted means you’re a promising applicant, but there wasn’t enough space to admit you. Some people choose to withdraw their waitlisted applications from consideration, but you can remain on the list.

May 1 is the deadline for students to accept or decline their admissions offer. It’s after this date Hamilton has a sense of how many students it can admit from the waitlist. If you’re on the waitlist, it’s a good idea to pursue other options while you wait to hear the final decision. 

3. Can I Get Into Hamilton College With a 3.5 GPA? 

Hamilton College doesn’t have a GPA requirement, so you can certainly apply with a 3.5 GPA. Although the average GPA at Hamilton College is estimated to be 4.0, you still have a fighting chance if you’ve taken the most rigorous curriculum available, achieved high test scores, and crafted a compelling application. 

4. What Does Hamilton Look for in a Student? 

Hamilton College seeks students with track records of academic excellence who are flexible and ready to collaborate with other students and faculty on campus. 

Hamilton students learn to think independently, embrace difference, write and speak persuasively, and engage issues ethically and creatively;” show you’re capable of growing at Hamilton College! 

5. Is Hamilton College a Good School? 

Yes, Hamilton College is considered a good school; it’s ranked as the country’s #15 best liberal arts college by U.S. News. 

6. What Makes Hamilton College So Special? 

Hamilton College is one of the few U.S. schools offering an open curriculum. The open curriculum “allows you to choose courses based on your interests and skills. Most colleges have a core curriculum or distribution requirements; Hamilton does not.” This means you can take courses that genuinely interest you at every step of your journey. 

7. Is Hamilton an Ivy League? 

No, Hamilton College isn’t an Ivy League school. However, Hamilton College is considered to be a “Little Ivy.” 

8. Where is Hamilton College? 

Hamilton College is located in Clinton, New York.

Final Thoughts

Hamilton College is a competitive and well-respected school that values rigorous academic study and community-building. It offers students the opportunity to study what excites them through its open curriculum. Students love the campus, the opportunities it provides, and the lifelong friends they make along the way. 

Now that you know how to get into Hamilton College, you should apply if it feels like the right fit!

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