using the consortium!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Power of FiveWith pre-registration looming, you’re probably in the process of assembling your schedule for next semester. You may have your eyes already set on a full schedule’s worth of Hampshire courses, but have you considered studying at any of the other four colleges? You have the entire Consortium to your advantage! Planning a schedule with this in mind, however, can sometimes feel like you’ve just opened the floodgates of knowledge. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by this process? Or just plain curious about how to navigate it? Here are some tips on why and how to personalize a successful schedule throughout the Five Colleges:

The Benefits of Using the Consortium:

  • Getting off campus! Ever feel like you want a break from Hampshire? Taking a Five College course is an excellent way to start exploring new places and meeting new people.
  • Meaningful and formative experiences! Aside from learning in a new environment, studying at different schools exposes you to different ways of learning among people with different kinds of perspectives.
  • With five colleges worth of courses to choose from, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a schedule that fits your unique needs. Want to study a particular topic from a specific academic area? Take advantage of the various resources the consortium offers, and find the courses that you really want.

Some Helpful Hints:

  • Wondering how to find courses at other schools? Talk to your advisor for course and faculty suggestions specific to your interests. They’ll most likely have contacts across the consortium, so take advantage of their help. Use the Five College Course Catalog! It’s a great and simple search system for finding specific courses and faculty members by their schools, subjects, and names.
  • Plan your schedule wisely! This means not only making sure that classes don’t conflict, but taking travel time into account before making any course decisions. The PVTA is a free and convenient system, but don’t be a stressful commuter. Be realistic about your availability and flexibility, and don’t over-exert yourself.
  • Reach out to Five College professors who interest you. Introduce yourself, and keep in touch — especially if they’re teaching a course you really like or you know to be really popular.
  • Go to the first day of your Five College courses. Certain courses may be overcrowded and the competition for enrollment may be stiff, so showing up is crucial. And if for some reason you can’t, make absolutely sure to contact the professor to explain your situation.
  • Five College faculty aren’t required to write evaluations for you, but it never hurts to ask. Make sure to ask early in the semester so that the professor can prepare to evaluate you fully at the end of the term, should they agree to do so.
  • If you’re planning to take classes off campus, make sure you still have a mix of Hampshire and Five College courses in your schedule. This will allow you to continue to cultivate relationships with faculty here at Hampshire and remain engaged in the community. The advice of Hampshire faculty will be invaluable as you continue to choose courses, and you’ll likely want to include many of them on Division II and Division III committees!

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You can request a Five College course on TheHub, but this does not mean you’re automatically registered. The registration process can take some time and isn’t always guaranteed until after classes begin! Check the status of your course requests frequently on The Hub—and be patient!
  • You don’t have to take courses to be involved at other schools. You can experience the culture of other schools in other ways such as joining a club or going to campus events. These are opportunities where you can meet new people and gain networking experience. Wondering how to find out what’s happening on other campuses? Make sure to check out the Five College event calendar, an excellent resource for curious students.

Hampshire alone offers so many different courses for students, and considering what the rest of the consortium offers can feel daunting. The process requires a significant amount of time searching, communicating, and planning—but don’t let this turn you away. Using the consortium can be a very rewarding experience, and can really help shape your experience as a Hampshire College student. It’s most definitely worth the effort!

Use These Resources:

Wondering how to register for Five College courses? The Central Records office offers a slew of great resources for students who are just getting started. Check out their course registration information page, or view screenshots of the Five College course request process on TheHub. Still have questions? E-mail Central Records at, or stop by their office in the Lemelson Building.

Questions or comments? E-mail us at We’re happy to help!

people you should know: bobbie stuart and central records!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F.

We recently took a trip to Central Records and spoke with director Bobbie Stuart, who gave us a rundown of the office and its services. As one of the most important academic resources for students (and particularly new students!), we thought you should get to know what its all about!

Bobbie pointed out that students’ first official interaction with Central Records (which at most other schools would be known as the “Registrar”) happens before they even begin at Hampshire, when they choose their course preferences over the summer. And once you’re here, the office staff works to ensure that your schedule is as complete at possible. Aside from Bobbie, the staff members that make this happen include:

  • Natalie Owen – office manager and division III coordinator
  • Rachael Graham – assistant director of central records, Division I and II Coordinator
  • Dorothy Grimm – registration coordinator
  • Isabelle Tremblay – senior transcript coordinator
  • Hannah Clements – records coordinator

How Can They Help You?
Some of the most important and common things include: Five College course registration (necessary forms, advice and more), transcript requests (for those potential scholarship or study abroad applications you want to complete!), and the general division process (meeting deadlines, filing and passing it all). The office also works very closely with transfer students, and can help them adjust to successfully navigating their way through the academic process.

Where is Central Records and When is it Open?
The office is located on the first floor of the Cole Science Center and open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Bobbie made sure to note that the office is not closed for lunch, so there’s always someone available to help when you need it!)

Get In Touch:
Check out their website — it’s filled with specific contact information, important forms and good tips about everything you’ve read so far and more. You can also e-mail them at, give them a call at 413.559.5421, or just pay them a direct visit! There’s usually a student worker who can point you in the right direction (plus, there’s free candy on the front desk).

Finally, Some Helpful Advice from Bobbie:
“Make sure to check your Webmail and pay attention to HC announcements. Keep an eye on deadlines and contact us when you have any questions!”

Have any questions or comments for us? Get in touch at We’d love to hear from you!