making the most of division I

It’s your first year of college. You’re going to class. You’re getting involved. You may even have started planning for next semester. You know what you need to do to complete Division I, but are you making the most of your Div I experience?

On Monday, October 15, the office of new student programs invited Division I students to explore this question with a panel of Division II students from 4-5PM in the Merrill Living Room. Couldn’t make it? Read on for details about what you missed!

What Happened:
Three current students, all of whom are in their second or third year at Hampshire, shared stories of their Division I experiences with program attendees. Each brought a different perspective on their successes and struggles during their first year at Hampshire, and attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about how each student navigated their unique Division I experience. From stories of discovering interests in the least likely of academic fields, to the importance of asking for help, to understanding campus life resources, Division I students received plenty of insight on how to make the most of their first year at Hampshire.

Advice from the Panel:

  • Whatever you do, make sure to communicate with your faculty. Keep professors and teaching assistants in the loop, and make an effort to get to know them. By building relationships with professors from the very beginning, it will be easier for you to communicate your needs and academic plans to them later on. They want to hear from you! Need help? Check out our post on how to approach faculty.
  • If you haven’t already, start saving all of your work. You’ll need it when it’s time to create your Division I portfolio, so make a habit of keeping things all in one place until it’s time to get started on the Division I passing process.
  • Be mindful of the four cumulative skills that accompany the Division I distribution requirements. You’ll need to demonstrate proficiency in each of these areas, so be thinking about them as you move through Division I.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to start the CEL-1 requirement. Make sure to give it the time that it deserves — you’ll have a more meaningful and less stressful experience overall (and you’ll be more likely to pass Division I at the end of your first year)!
  • Find things you love to do outside of class (student groups, activities, programs, etc.). They can influence and enhance your academics and also keep you centered when things get difficult.
  • Keep an open mind. Division I offers an unique opportunity for you to explore different areas of study, meet faculty, and figure out what you really like. The thing you don’t think you’re interested in now might become the basis for your Division II or Division III work. Anything can happen!

Use These Resources:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are tons of resources at your disposal, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of as many of them as possible.

  • Need help with your writing? Contact the Writing Center to learn more about how they can help you improve.
  • Looking for research help? Visit the Johnson Library, and stop by the Infobar near the Circulation Desk for information on resources, special programs, and to ask questions.
  • Have questions about the academic program? Visit the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) in the Lemelson Building, or stop by the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC), located at the Infobar by the circulation desk in the library.
  • Looking to get involved on campus? Stop by the campus leadership and activities office (CLA), or browse the list of student groups. Subscribe to campus mailing lists to keep yourself informed about what’s happening on campus.
  • Have you started your CEL-1 yet? Learn more about the CEL-1 on their website, read the FAQ, and browse open opportunities. Still have questions? Send an e-mail to, or come to CEL-What? on Tuesday, October 23 at 4PM in the Dakin Living Room. You bring questions, we’ll bring snacks!

That’s all for now! Have questions, comments, or concerns? E-mail us at

people you should know: laura melbin-diniz!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Last week, I visited the Center for Academic Support and Advising’s (CASA) new offices located in the Lemelson Building to sit down with Laura Melbin-Diniz, the first year advising dean. This is Laura’s first year at CASA, but I’ve actually known her for quite some time; our first meeting was more than two years ago in a New York City coffee shop, where she interviewed me as a Hampshire College admissions counselor during my college application process. Laura worked in Hampshire’s Admissions Office from 2007 until this summer, and it amazes me that in the five years spent interviewing hundreds of students, she still remembers our interview. This time around, she answered my questions as the New Students Programs assistant, and it was clear to see how passionate she was about her experience at Hampshire. She broke her current position down to three main elements:

  • Negotiation of academic programs for students—she helps you plan an academic schedule and experience in your first year that works for you
  • Making sure students progress well during their first year at Hampshire—Laura will help ensure that you’re on the right track to successfully managing your Division I, and will intervene if and when you need academic help this year (this includes anyone considering withdrawing, transferring, or taking a leave from Hampshire)
  • Management of the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC)—currently located in the Johnson Library at the end of the Info Bar, PARC is co-run with Hampshire students and, among other perks, offers a cool resource library that allows students to look at sample divisional contracts and portfolios

Laura and I also talked about a few common issues first-year students bring up to her, and I’ve summarized some of the information she gave me. Having difficulty talking to a professor or advisor? Laura can play a supportive role by helping facilitate communication between you and any faculty members. She knows that every student transitions to college life differently, and it’s natural for some of you to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Do you feel you’re having trouble managing and adjusting to your academic workload? Feeling homesick and missing the familiarity of your home life? Talk to Laura about it—she’ll listen and give you tips. For many of you, the transition to Hampshire can be a bit of a shock, and she’s a tremendous resource because she works to help in any way she can. Even if you find yourself just needing a place to talk, go meet with her! She loves listening and talking to students, and she is honestly one of the friendliest people I’ve met during my Hampshire experience.

One of the best parts of our meeting was during the end of our conversation when she talked about her own transition from working in the Admissions Office to CASA. Laura has always enjoyed working with young people, but one of the best parts of being the assistant dean of advising is that: “I actually get to know students and see how Hampshire works for them, rather than how I thought it would.” Her passion and excitement was as clear now as it was during my college interview more than two years ago, and I strongly suggest getting to know her.

You’re free to schedule an appointment with Laura by calling CASA at 413-559-5498, and she also welcomes drop-in visits to her office. Have a question, but not sure you need an appointment? Feel free to e-mail Laura at She’ll also be collaborating with us at New Student Programs throughout the year, so stay tuned!

As always, please contact us at with any questions or comments!

all aboard the internSHIP!

Captains' LogsIn a voyage co-sponsored by the career options resource center (CORC) and the office of new student programs, the InternSHIP set sail on Monday, October 3 from 5-6PM in the Middle Room in the Dining Commons. Missed the boat? Never fear, mate, here are some highlights:

What Happened:
CORC staff members did an amazing job of carrying the theme through the whole event, from the fliers, to the Captains’ Logs, to decorating the space. The middle room was totally transformed (complete with sea life, waves, and portholes!) to get us all excited about the journey of hearing students’ first-hand accounts of their internship experiences. Six presenters, ranging from Division I to Division III, each had the opportunity to share highlights of their internship work, including details on how they found the opportunities, the application processes, and the ways in which CORC assisted them in securing an internship placement. Internship sites included an experimental city in Arizona, a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, a Philadelphia-based social change-focused design studio, a mentoring program with a focus on reproductive justice for young women of color in California, and the five colleges!

What We Learned:
There are so many internship possibilities for Hampshire students, and CORC provides a number of great resources for students at all stages. From internship search databases, to cover letter writing, to interview preparation, CORC is with you every step of the way. Some presenters found their internship opportunities through CORC’s resources, while others were connected through faculty members at Hampshire and through the Five College Consortium. Others, including a Division I student and a transfer student, completed their internship work prior to arriving at Hampshire, but were eager to pass on their opportunities to others in the Hampshire community. The logistics around internships can sometimes be expensive, but many of the interns who spoke were able to secure funding to make their internship experiences possible through a number of different grant opportunities. Presenters spoke about funding possibilities through CORC, Community Partnerships for Social Change (CPSC), and the Entertainment Industry Internship Program (EIIP).

The best piece of advice? Start early for the greatest range of options. You never know what you’ll find!

Use These Resources:
Interested in starting your own internship search? Want to read more about these and other internship opportunities? Here’s how:

Questions? Want more details? E-mail us at

what is newtohamp?

Great question! We’re glad you asked.

newtohamp is the tagline for the office of new student programs that connects all of our internet and social media outlets, and makes it easier for you to get the information you need. Trying to find us on Facebook? Add /newtohamp to the Facebook URL. The same is true for Twitter, our Hampshire College website, and our Hampshire blog site. Want to send us an e-mail? Send to See? Easy!

So, what is the office of new student programs? The office of new student programs is a super helpful resource for all new first year and transfer students. Our office exists to help ease your transition to life at Hampshire, and we strive to keep you as informed as possible. Our support extends throughout your entire first year at Hampshire, no matter what semester you begin here. Through outreach, programming, and resource sharing, we’ll help you to navigate the transition and make the most of your first year.

If you’re a new student, you’ve probably already encountered some examples of our outreach, but here’s a full list:

  • The New Student News is a monthly newsletter that offers information about important dates and deadlines and helpful hints about campus life. We’ll send it to your inbox when it’s ready, but it’s always available on our website.
  • Our Facebook and Twitter pages give up to date information about special programs and giveaways, and allow you to join in the discussion about life at Hampshire with other new students.
  • Our bulletin boards in Dakin and Merrill Houses highlight important topics to get you thinking about the first year program. Did you see “The Top Ten Things Aboit's fun to be div Iut Division I”? Look out for a new installation about the CEL-1, coming after fall break.
  • It’s Fun to Be Div I buttons are free to all Division I students, courtesy of our office. Because it is!
  • Wondering what we’re up to? Our logo will point you to all of our programming efforts. Look for the newtohamp logo on fliers to see which programs are sponsored by the office of new student programs. Stickers with our logo are available through our office. Want one? E-mail us at and we’ll send one your way.

Thanks for stopping by, and please come back often. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming programs!