Mount Holyoke + Amherst + Smith + Hampshire colleges + UMass Amherst = Five Colleges!
10. The mind-blowing opportunities! Tried, tested, perfected.
The Five College Consortium is one of the oldest—and most robust—alliances of colleges in the country. Through it, Mount Holyoke students can—and do—take courses, join clubs, and socialize on all five campuses. Think 36,000 students, 700 clubs, and more than 6,000 classes. Plus an eclectic mix of lectures, conferences, and performers. All within a six-mile radius. The idea of linking access to resources, first hatched over a century ago, really works. The vibe at clubs? Welcoming. Registering for classes? Easy. Professors at other institutions? Encouraging. Events, films, parties, and music festivals? Frequent and popular. The nine million volumes of books in 14 libraries? Online orders are delivered daily.
9. To have your cake (M&Cs). And eat it, too.
Mount Holyoke students have the best of both worlds: A tight-knit campus 2,200 strong. A diverse community of thinkers and doers. Collaborative classrooms marked by intellectual rigor. The excitement to be here, learning from and among changemakers, is real. Traditions such as Convocation, Mountain Day, and M&Cs—milk and cookies, a study break served most nights in residence halls—build community and bonds. The icing is pretty sweet: seamless social and academic access to the Five Colleges. At no additional cost. As Donari Yahzid ’19 explains, “I chose to be at Mount Holyoke, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. But if I need a new experience, the Consortium is there.”
8. Catch a free—and beautiful—bus ride.
Navigating the Five Colleges is, according to Phoebe Blaisdell ’19, “incredibly easy!” The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) connects the member campuses, which are nestled in the camera-ready valley. With the PVTA’s schedule online and posted at the bus stops, there’s no worry about missing the bus. And if you do? Another one is coming—they run about every 20 minutes from 7:00 am to 2:00 am. Service is reliably efficient, which students especially appreciate come winter.
7. Access to—and insight on—almost any class imaginable.
Can you wrap your head around 6,000+ classes? Absolutely—with the help of Mount Holyoke advisors who know you personally. When Cassidy Anthony ’17 was interested in taking a film studies class off campus, her film studies advisor pointed her toward specific classes and professors. “She was so knowledgeable about the film studies departments at the other colleges, and the information she gave me was absolutely vital,” Anthony said. When Taylor Hough ’17 needed a fifth class, her advisor suggested taking it off campus. “He helped me find the perfect class that is also required for the graduate program I hope to attend,” she said.
6. The Consortium has buzz. And bite.
It’s one thing to hear about Five Colleges for a few minutes during a tour or information session. But once you actually arrive on campus? You’ll begin to realize the endless ways that Five Colleges can enhance your Mount Holyoke experience. Students confirm that when you take the leap and try your first opportunity off campus, you’ll be bitten by the Five Colleges bug: you’ll just want to keep trying more!
5. Five Colleges fits your schedule.
The ability to pursue opportunities off campus enables students to precisely tailor their schedules with the best fit of extracurriculars, classes, and academic settings. This may include very specific classes and diverse research opportunities, plus chances to hone skills that are relevant to your field. Do you prefer an intimate class of seven students or a seminar of 150? It’s your call.
4. The faculty factor
The 2,200 professors within the Five Colleges know their colleagues well, especially those in the same field. They are also in the know about what’s going on at other schools: faculty members frequently organize trips or offer extra credit opportunities to students who attend a Five College lecture or performance. When it comes to registering for Five College courses, Liana Ghiron ’17 said, “all of the professors I have approached via email have been very friendly and encouraging of my interest in taking their courses.”
3. Scene and heard: social options abound
Five Colleges is a socially brilliant way to get many college experiences in one community. Attend a German film screening at Smith College. Shuffle en masse to a football game at UMass Amherst or see a performance of Legally Blonde. Bring some hardware and ideas to Hamp Hack. Meet a celebrated spoken-word artist at Amherst College. Return to behold a T. rex skull, Ice Age mammals, and one of the world’s largest collections of fossil dinosaur tracks at the Beneski Museum of Natural History—or visit one of the Consortium’s other eight museums. To explore beyond South Hadley’s shops and restaurants, hop the bus to Northampton or Amherst and their downtown offerings.
2. Meet friendly people—and make friends.
This often starts as soon as you get off the bus. But a “Can you help me find X?” usually leads to a friendly conversation that guides you in the right direction. And with so many niches woven into Five Colleges, it’s virtually impossible not to find yours. Maybe community-based learning is your thing? It is for 1,000 Five College students who take part in it each semester. Dig field research? Travel to Belize with classmates from a tropical field biology course at UMass Amherst. As Donari Yahzid ’19 has met other Five College students, she said, “they’ve become part of my social life. I can go to my friends or they can come to me, but there is always something to do.” Most important to Julia Lankin ’18? “Being a Five College student means a plethora of connections and alums that I have the potential to meet and network with.”
1. Branching out: it’s universal.
Spotted? Five College students also come to MHC, adding perspectives, ideas, and energy. They come for classes, organizations, athletic events, symposiums, library access, and parties. And for cultural events such as Korea Night, Himalayan Night, Mushaira, and Mooncake Showcase. Five College students also organize many big events together, including HackHolyoke, the Five College Poetry Slam, the Five College Faculty Dance Department Faculty Concert, and the Five College Model United Nations Conference. As Javeria Kella ’19 noted, “There are so many opportunities for Five College students to mingle. There is a sense of community within each campus but there is also a bigger sense of community within Five Colleges.”
Have it all.
The photos below and the second photo above are courtesy of Five Colleges.
Mount Holyoke, a women’s college, is for ambitious, independent students from around the world who embrace complexity, cultivate curiosity and resolve to become agents of change. The tight-knit community is academically rigorous, intellectually adventurous and socially conscious. As one of the most diverse research liberal arts colleges in the United States, Mount Holyoke prepares students for leadership and cultural awareness on a global scale. Mount Holyoke graduates thrive in all fields, on all continents and in a vast array of languages.