Five College Consortium: Amherst, UMass Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Hampshire

Lisa Bleich

Last month I had the opportunity to visit the 5 colleges in the Amherst area, known as Pioneer Valley, with other counselors and independent educational consultants.  The five colleges include Amherst, UMass Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Hampshire.  They form the Five College consortium and genuinely share resources, classes, and extracurricular activities.

For example students can take up to two classes per semester at any of the other colleges, students can attend any activity or event at another college and all students receive a Five College student discount.  There are buses that take students between the colleges every 30 minutes.  Some of the other programs offered as part of the Five College consortium are dance, film, and astronomy.

The Pioneer Valley is beautiful with plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventure such as hiking, kayaking, mountain/ice climbing, and skiing near by.  The largest town in the area, Northampton, is right outside the Smith campus.  It boasts numerous galleries, restaurants, shops, and music venues.  There are also several street performers scattered along the main drag of this artsy, funky, town.  Amherst has a smaller town next door and Mt. Holyoke has some shops nearby.

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