General Information for Parents and Families

This general information for parents and families represents the breadth, but not the full extent, of questions typically asked by families of HWS students. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Colleges' website, and though prepared for parents of first-year students, often answers to general questions can be found in the Guide for Families regardless of your student's class year. At any time, if the information provided is not of help, please contact the Office of Parent Programs at (315) 781-4068 or e-mail your question to

Assistance for Students and Their Families

At some point you may need to contact the William Smith Dean's Office or the Hobart Dean's Office. Each Dean's Office provides information and advice concerning academic programs, academic standards, and co-curricular activities. The deans are available to talk with students about academic and personal problems or any other concerns they may have. The deans (with the Committee on Standards) consider exceptions to academic policies, review students' academic records at the end of each semester.

During the first year, the deans make an effort to meet every new student so that a relationship is established early. Students may also seek advice from their resident adviser, the chaplain, or a professional counselor. Concerns and questions voiced by parents are appropriately first directed to the deans. The Dean of Hobart College is Eugen Baer and the Dean of William Smith College is Lisa Kaenzig. Deans for first-year students are Kaenzig for William Smith students and David Mapstone ’93 for Hobart students.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar is maintained by the Office of the Registrar (315) 781-3651, which offers a wide range of academic and administrative services associated with records, registration, advising, graduation services, academic space management, and scheduling for students, faculty and staff.

Academic Performance

The deans play an important role in academic counseling and are available to assist students, make referrals, and talk with concerned parents. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the professor of the course in which they are having difficulty, and the student's faculty adviser may be contacted for guidance as well.

To recognize strong academic performance, Dean's Lists are calculated each semester. Students are notified of this honor immediately following the end of the semester. The Zeta Chapter of New York represents Phi Beta Kappa at Hobart and William Smith. Each spring, students from the junior and senior classes are chosen to become members. Other scholastic honor societies acknowledge excellence in various academic fields and awards are given each year to students in various academic disciplines.

Students who experience academic difficulties (warning, semester GPA less than 2.0 and probation, overall GPA less than 2.0) meet with the deans to identify the source of the problem and develop stronger study and time management skills. The deans also refer students to other offices that may help students improve their performance in the classroom, most often the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Career Guidance

Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education provides individual counseling to assist students with self-assessment, choosing a major, career exploration, and professional/graduate school and job searches. Interest inventories, a computerized guidance program, and various presentations are offered to help students learn about and explore career options. Parents, alumni/alumnae, and others participate in on- and off-campus panels and events to share their experience and knowledge of the "real world" and career options. A workshop series addresses choosing a major, career decision making, résumé and cover-letter writing, interviewing skills, professional/graduate school and job search strategies. A variety of internship and job shadow opportunities are available for students interested in gaining experience. Through the recruitment program and career/graduate school fairs in various geographic locations, students can interview with representatives from a wide range of organizations and schools.


Commencement takes place on the Sunday morning following Senior Week. The date is available as the academic calendar for each year is set. Residence hall accommodations and special campus meals are offered to parents and families of graduating seniors. In the spring semester of the senior year, detailed information about Commencement reservations and costs is mailed to parents. Questions may be directed to the Office of Parent Programs, (315) 781-4068.

Financial Aid

The director and associate director of financial aid are available to discuss aid eligibility with students and/or parents. Call (315) 781-3315 or visit their webpages.

Health and Wellness

The Hubbs Health Center (315-781-3600) and the Center for Counseling and Student Wellness (315-781-3388), at 119 and 91 St. Clair Street, respectively, provide medical and counseling services to students. Medical services provided by nursing staff are available weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and weekends 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; mid-level medical providers and/or a physician are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and are otherwise on call to consult with the nursing staff as needed. Counseling services are provided weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; in addition, an on-call counselor is available to address psychological emergencies 24/7, and can be reached by calling Campus Safety at (315) 781-3656. More details about the Colleges' medical and counseling services are available by visiting each department's website.

Intercultural Affairs

The Office of Intercultural Affairs oversees a wide range of programs and services designed to attract, support and retain a diverse population of students and to educate the campus about the rich and diverse cultures represented by students, faculty and staff.


The Office of Communications writes about academic events and achievements throughout the year. Members of the HWS community are encouraged to contact Communications to share news, events, photos and ideas for possible inclusion on the HWS Update and This Week in Photos. Communications staff can be reached:

Phone: (315) 781-3540


Roommate Changes

The Office of Residential Education staff encourages students to work out difficulties as part of the educational process. Students who have difficulty with a roommate should communicate first with their resident adviser, who will work with the roommates to support and encourage communication. Roommate conflicts are the most often seen problem for first-years in residence. If a student is having difficulties with his or her roommate, the student should be encouraged to communicate the challenges in a non-aggressive manner. If mediation is required, the student should contact the resident adviser. The mediation process often takes two weeks where the roommates will meet to discuss their challenges, develop a plan on how to improve some (not all) of the difficulties in the room. They will then come back to see how successful they were. After all attempts prove unsuccessful, only then will a roommate change occur. No changes will be made prior to the third week of each semester.


The Student Accounts staff is available to discuss payment options available to assist families in meeting the costs of education. They can be reached at (315) 781-3343 or

Unpaid Bills

No student is permitted to register for classes unless his or her bill has been paid in full or arrangements for payment have been made with the Office of Student Accounts. All tuition and other charges that are not paid when due will be subject to a late-payment charge. No penalty charges will be assessed where the institution, rather than the student, is in error.

A student who fails to pay the fees and other charges in accordance with our policies may be dropped from the Colleges' rolls and excluded from classes, laboratories, examinations, and occupancy of residence hall quarters until payment is made. The student will be held accountable for all absences incurred through the operation of this rule; and, for continued delinquency, the student will be dropped permanently from the Colleges' rolls. Enforcement of this regulation does not relieve the student of the obligation to pay the fees and other charges due. Until the outstanding accounts are settled, the Colleges will issue no transcripts or records.

Religious and Spiritual Life

The chaplaincy at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is designed to support and encourage people to practice and explore their own traditions, as well as to experience the traditions of others. The Office of Religious Life staff and faith groups are available to everyone, students and staff, religious and not religious alike. Weekly services are offered on campus in the following traditions: Buddhist, Episcopal, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Muslim and Evangelical Christian. In addition, the Newman Club, Hillel, Project Nur and their advisers offer regular social, educational, and service opportunities.

Find out more about religious life programs on campus as well as residential options at the Abbe Center for Jewish life.

Vacations and Student Residences

Residence halls generally open at 9 a.m. the day before classes begin and officially close at noon the day after exams end each semester. Closing of the halls may vary for individual students depending on their personal exam schedules. Students are to vacate their rooms completely 24 hours after their last exam or noon the day residence halls officially close, whichever comes first. The Colleges do not provide storage over the summer. If storage space is desired, there are several local mini storage companies in Geneva or Simply Storage (800-StoreIt) is a storage company that works with college and university students by supplying boxes and arranging a pick-up and delivery date. Any personal items remaining on campus after closing will be removed and donated to charity or disposed of immediately at the student's expense.

All requests for early arrival or late departure because of extraordinary situations must be submitted in writing. Early arrival requests are due three weeks before the beginning of the semester, and late departure requests are due three weeks before the end of the semester. All requests should be faxed to the Office of Residential Education, at (315) 781-4026.


Jennifer Murray
Director of Parent Programs
(315) 781-4068

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.