Take five esteemed institutions of higher education — Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Hampshire, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — located within a 6-mile radius in one of New England’s most picturesque valleys. Connect them with a free bus service.
What do you get?
Five College Consortium, n., informal Five Colleges
- A hot spot of activity — intellectual, cultural and social — in the stunning Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.
- A source of limitless opportunities for Mount Holyoke students.
The top 10 reasons to be a Five College student at Mount Holyoke
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 38,000 students, 700 clubs, and more than 6,000 classes. Plus an eclectic mix of lectures, conferences, and performers.
Linking access to resources really works:
- easy class registration
- encouraging professors at all five institutions
- nine million volumes of books available throughout 14 libraries with online orders delivered daily
- nine museums
- frequent events, films, parties, music festivals and more.
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. Traditions such as the study break known as M&Cs build community and bonds. The icing is pretty sweet: seamless social and academic access to the Five Colleges. At no additional cost.
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. 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 am – 2 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.
6. The Consortium has buzz. And bite.
There are 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. Head to a football game at UMass Amherst. Bring some hardware and ideas to Hamp Hack. Meet a celebrated spoken-word artist at Amherst College. 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.
1. Branching out: it’s universal.
Five College students also come to Mount Holyoke, 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, West African Music concerts and the Five College Model United Nations Conference.
- The Five College Women's Studies Research Center, located on the Mount Holyoke campus, hosts internationally recognized scholars and activists in the field of women's studies.