Hampden-Sydney believes that college should help students find direction. The Compass program guides students by capitalizing on two of H-SC’s greatest strengths—its immersive, engaging learning environment and the strong relationships between faculty and students. The program combines active learning experiences with faculty-guided reflection to help students connect what they are learning with what they can expect to do beyond college.
The framework is simple. Every student must complete at least three experiential learning courses; at least one of them must have a significant off-campus component. Students can choose courses from a broad menu of options—internships, study abroad, research, service learning, and hands-on classroom courses. For qualified students, funding is available to support their experiences. This year’s freshman class—the Hampden-Sydney Class of 2023—will be the first to graduate under the new Compass requirement.
Compass courses have included summer internships at the Hatteras Island Ocean Center, a semester abroad in Muenster, a summer internship in New York, and community service in the local region. But they also enabled students to experience their world right here on campus. Students created art with materials found on campus trails in Art and Ecology class, wrote grants and were awarded up to $10,000 to address needs in the local community in Philanthropy in Theory and Practice, and formed a delegation to debate and negotiate in a diplomatic simulation in Model Organization of American States. In all, seventeen classes were offered in the first semester of the program.