How to Get Into Hamilton College|Acceptance Rate + Stats

How to get into hamilton college
June 4, 2024
7 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/4/24

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. 

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 Acceptance Rate: 11.8%

Hamilton’s admissions are increasingly competitive. The acceptance rate for their most recent admissions cycle was 11.8%. Out of 9,643 applicants, only 1,135 students were admitted.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 9,643 1,135 11.8%
2022 9,899 1,166 11.8%
2021 9,380 1,320 14.1%
2020 7,443 1,370 18.4%

Early Decision Acceptance Rate 

Hamilton College’s acceptance rate for Early Decision (ED) 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. Remember that it’s a binding agreement, so you’ll have to commit to enrolling at Hamilton if you’re accepted.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Hamilton College? 

Getting into Hamilton College is highly competitive. The 11.8% acceptance rate means that out of every 100 applicants, only 11–12 are offered admission. Calculate your chances of admission with this calculator

To be a competitive applicant, you need to have a strong academic record. You also need to show a demonstrated commitment to learning and community. 

Hamilton College Admission Statistics 

Here is the profile for Hamilton College's recently admitted freshman class:

Hamilton College Average GPA: 4.0

You should also have a minimum 4.0 GPA. Although there is no GPA requirement to apply to Hamilton College, the average weighted GPA is estimated to be 4.0. Strive for the highest GPA possible to bolster your application!

Hamilton College Average SAT Score: 1520

To get into Hamilton College, you’ll need test scores in the 75th percentile, with an SAT score of 1520. While submitting SAT scores to Hamilton College is optional, the total SAT score range of admitted students is 1430 to 1510. It’s up to you whether you submit your SAT score to Hamilton College. 

Hamilton College Average ACT Score: 34

If you prefer to take the ACT, you will also need a score in the 75th percentile as well, which is a 34. That said, the ACT score range of admitted students is 32 to 35. Like the SAT, you can choose whether to submit ACT scores to Hamilton College. If you’re applying to Hamilton College with high ACT scores, consider sharing them!

What Is Hamilton College Looking for in Applicants? 

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. 

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

Here are the components that the admissions committee deems least to most important, according to Hamilton’s Common Data Set:

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank x
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores x
Application essay x
Recommendation(s) x X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities x
Talent/ability x
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation x
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation or commitment X
Racial/ethnic status X
Volunteer work x
Work experience x
Level of applicant’s interest x

Key Takeaways From Hamilton’s Common Data Set

Hamilton looks at your academic profile above all other components. The admissions committee favors class rank, academic GPA, and rigorous coursework over standardized test scores. Your essays and recommendations are also important in the admissions process. 

Non-academic factors also play a role in the decision-making process. While your character/personal abilities are crucial, your geography, alumni relations, first-generation status, volunteer work, and work experience are also considered.

Personal Statement

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

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. 

The key to crafting a compelling personal statement is writing multiple drafts. Take a look at what Marina Lidow, an Alumni Admissions Counselor at UPenn’s Wharton School of Business and the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, had to say: 

“Drafting and redrafting your personal statement is crucial. Your first draft might not capture your ideas effectively, so keep refining it until it aligns with your vision. Remember, your first draft doesn't have to be your final draft."

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. 

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 Admission Requirements 

Ready to apply? Read on for a rundown of the application process and important dates to keep in mind. Here's a summary of Hamilton College's admission requirements:

Hamilton College seeks students who excel academically, engage in their communities, and demonstrate a passion for learning. To apply, students must have these requirements:

  • Earn a strong academic record, with a recommended GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • The Common App or Coalition App
  • Personal statement/essay
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors
  • Official transcript
  • SAT or ACT scores (test-optional)
  • Arts supplements (for students with exceptional talents in the arts)

Hamilton College uses a holistic review process that considers all aspects of student application. Prepare each of these requirements for submission.

Hamilton College Application Deadlines 

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

Application Step Deadline
Early Decision I applications due November 15
Early Decision I notifications released December 15
Early Decision II applications due January 3
Regular Decision applications due January 3
Early Decision II notifications released February 15
Regular Decision notifications released 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. 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Hamilton College 

Like Hamilton College, most colleges have an application timeline that guides you into when to begin your application. Make getting into Hamilton College easier with these expert tips! 

Prioritize Your Academics 

Hamilton College explicitly marks “rigor of secondary school record,” class rank, and GPA as “very important” selection factors. Class rank is also a great way to compare your academic standing to your classmates. If you’re unsure how your academic standing compares to your classmates, try out our  Class Rank calculator!

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. 

If you can’t determine which test to take, try your hand out our SAT vs. ACT Quiz to help you make a decision!

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. 

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. 

Don’t just take our word for it! Take a look at what one of our students, Piper, had to say about working with Quad Education:

“Quad Education motivated me to complete my college applications. With the help of my counselor, I had the ability to learn about myself, my strengths, and what I can bring to a college community. Through this program, I grew my interview skills, honed my storytelling abilities, and expanded my academic horizons. I was accepted into four great schools and am so glad Jacque was there to guide me along the way!”

Consider Applying Through Early Decision 

Are you confident that Hamilton College is your first-choice school? If so, consider applying through ED! Admission statistics do not always represent the right admission chances, 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. 

Instead, you may want to consider changing an RD application to ED II 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! 


A list of your extracurricular activities is pivotal to your Hamilton College application. Participation in clubs, sports, volunteer work, or other activities shows evidence of sustained commitment, leadership roles, and initiative. Keep in mind that Hamilton College seeks students who will actively contribute to the campus community.

Hamilton College Essay Prompts 

Applicants to Hamilton College must submit two college admission essays in the general application. Both prompts are Hamilton-specific. The questions help the admissions committee to learn more about you beyond your academic performance.

The Hamilton College essay prompts are:

  1. Please take this opportunity to write about your interest in Hamilton and why you believe it is a place where you can thrive. Be open. Be honest. Be brief. (200 words)
  2. We each bring different backgrounds and perspectives, and we teach one another about the world through our individual and shared experiences. How will Hamilton shape your perspective, and how will your perspective shape Hamilton? (200 words)

These prompts require you to be honest while sharing your interests and perspectives. If you’d like some inspiration before you start your own essay, check out our 190+ College Essay Examples Database

Hamilton College Interview 

After you've shared your grades and test scores, and written your essays, the next stage is the interview. Hamilton uses the interview to observe your personality and learn more about your “why.” You’ll be able to discuss your passions, ambitions, and experiences. You’ll also get the chance to ask any burning questions you might have about life at Hamilton.

Hamilton offers a video option or an in-person interview on campus for personal interviews. Keep a tab of your interview dates and prepare ahead. 

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 $65. 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; U.S. News ranked it the country’s #16 best liberal arts college

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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