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Mount Holyoke College Application Essay


About the Region Mount Holyoke is located in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in the Pioneer Valley--one of the most beautiful areas in New England and one of the most intellectually and culturally vibrant regions in the United States. The Pioneer Valley, in western Massachusetts, is home to the Five Colleges--Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Hampshire, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. This community of more than 30,000 students offers an extraordinary range of activities, including concerts, films, theater and dance productions, athletic activities, and museum exhibitions. Across the street from the main campus, the Village Commons, designed by award-winning architect Graham Gund, is home to shops, restaurants, a coffeehouse, movie theater, and the renowned Odyssey Bookshop. The nearby towns of Amherst and Northampton--both reachable by a free bus--offer a combination of cosmopolitan and small-town charm. You'll find great coffeehouses, bookstores, clubs, movie theaters, galleries, restaurants, and specialty shops. The area also offers malls, flea markets, and farm stands. Nearby Skinner Park on Route 47 offers spectacular views of the valley and the Connecticut River's famous oxbow from atop Mount Holyoke, the mountain for which the College was named. For hikers, there are miles and miles of nearby trails. Water lovers will find opportunities to boat, swim, kayak, tube, and canoe. In the winter, you can downhill and cross-country ski. And for the truly adventurous, the region offers diversions like hang gliding, skydiving, and rock climbing. New York City is just three hours away by car; Boston is 90 minutes.

Campus Facilities & Equipment

Outstanding Resources The College's abundant academic resources comprise more than 25 academic buildings, including a 700,000-volume library, with dedicated science and music libraries, and computerized access to five million volumes through the Five College Consortium; state-of-the-art science facilities; computer and language centers; outstanding dance facilities; botanical center; and proscenium and black box theaters. Mount Holyoke is fully committed to using emerging technology tools that enhance the teaching and learning experience. Tools currently used include wireless networking, video conferencing, and interactive, multimedia-based, curriculum-enhancing Web software. There are ongoing training opportunities for students to learn emerging technologies. The College recently invested $12.3 million in the expansion and renovation of its music and art facilities, which include the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, one of the nation's leading collegiate art museums with an active teaching collection. The newly renovated and expanded Blanchard Campus Center is a meeting place for the entire Mount Holyoke community. Home to the campus store, student art gallery, campus information desk, mailroom, ticket box office, and student organization office, Blanchard offers food and drinks at the Uncommon Grounds coffee bar and at a fully equipped caf . Dances, intimate concerts, lectures, and shows are held in the main caf area, and larger events take place in the adjoining 5,000-square-foot Great Room, which offers a two-story glass wall with views of Lower Lake. Other facilities include five cultural houses; kosher/halal dining hall; Japanese teahouse and meditation garden; health clinic and counseling center; Eliot House, a center for the spiritual life and community service; and the Career Development Center, with extensive career counseling services. Kendade Hall, a multistory "green" building connecting several laboratory facilities, features a three-story atrium where community members can gather. Superb New Science Facilities The College's new $34.5-million unified science complex includes Kendade Hall, a multistory, 40,000-square-foot, certified "green" building according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. Kendade connects four science-related buildings and serves as the nexus for the science center. It features a three-story, 3,000-square-foot atrium that provides a gathering place for all members of the community, benefiting the entire campus. The science center houses the departments of astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth and environment, mathematics and statistics, and physics, as well as the College's programs in biochemistry and in neuroscience and behavior. This state-of-the-art science center is outfitted with exactly the kind of advanced scientific equipment found in professional research laboratories. The science center is also specifically designed to complement MHC's interdisciplinary approach to science and math. Within the center's interconnected spaces students are exposed not only to the full range of their field but to related subjects as well. They gain research and laboratory experience and are provided with the foundations essential for success in careers ranging from teaching and research to environmental protection and public policy.

MHC welcomes questions from prospective students and their families. Don’t see the answer you’re seeking? Feel free to contact admission.

Does Mount Holyoke accept the Common Application?
Yes, we accept the Common Application and require applicants to complete the MHC Common Application supplement. Should you experience any difficulty submitting the Common Application, please contact admission. More about how to apply...

What are the application deadlines?
They vary depending on the type of application. For instance, Mount Holyoke offers two Early Decision deadlines and a special admission program for nontraditional students. Check our deadlines...

How is an application read?
In reading applications, the Office of Admission looks for students whose talents, interests, and aspirations match the programs and opportunities offered by the College. We begin with a student's transcript, as this reveals her performance over time. Next, the student's essay is examined along with her short answers. Then, activities and involvement and letters of recommendation are reviewed. More about how we read applications...

How can I assess my chances of admission to Mount Holyoke?
It is impossible to make a prediction about an applicant's admissibility. Keep in mind that many nonobjective factors contribute to admission decisions and that there are no "cut-offs" for grade point averages or test scores. A couple of resources: check out Who Studies at Mount Holyoke? and also How We Read Applications.

How important is rigor?
Mount Holyoke looks for evidence that a student has sought challenge rather than the easy way out. If your school offers advanced courses, you should consider taking them. More about A.P....

What standardized tests are required?
Standardized tests are not required for admission. However:

  • Home schooled students who feel that their overall evaluation for admission may be enhanced by traditional measures like standardized tests may choose to submit an SAT or ACT. While not definitive in the review process, scores, like grades in college level courses, may add information and context to a student's file.
  • Students whose native language is not English or whose primary instruction throughout secondary school was not in English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. More about international applications...

Are admission interviews required?
Interviews are not required but are strongly recommended. While interviews are not required, the Office of Admission does reserve the right to reach out to applicants to request additional information or an interview after the application deadline. Learn more about interviews...

Does an alumna interview carry the same weight as an on-campus interview?
Yes! Learn more about scheduling an alumna interview...

Is Mount Holyoke “need-aware” or “need-sensitive”?
Need-aware, also known as need-sensitive, is a policy in which a student's financial resources are considered along with her other admission criteria. Mount Holyoke College employs this policy for students who fall at the margin of the admitted applicant pool. Because there are occasions when the level of required institutional support must be considered, students must indicate their intention of applying for financial aid at the time they submit their admission application.

Are students who identify as transgender welcome to apply?
Yes. Mount Holyoke remains committed to its historic mission as a women’s college, yet we recognize that traditional ideas of gender are being challenged by those whose identity does not conform to the biology of their bodies. We review applications from students who are female, as well as from individuals who identify as women.

What is required of home-schooled students?
Mount Holyoke welcomes applications from students who have been schooled at home. In addition to completing the standard Common Application or Coalition Application forms, home-schooled applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation that speak to the candidate’s academic and personal qualifications. Standardized test submission is optional (see Standardized Test question above). We advise home-schooled candidates to contact the admission office with any additional questions about the application process. 

Can I apply to Mount Holyoke with only three years of high school?
Yes, the Office of Admission will consider an early entrance application, but the student must demonstrate exceptional maturity (both personally and intellectually). More about early admission...

If I am admitted, can I defer admission?
Yes, every year some students decide to defer their admission because they want to travel, perform community service, or take time to explore an activity of their choosing. Be aware that students are not allowed to defer admission in order to study at another institution where they will receive academic credit. More about deferring...