welcome to hobart and william smith!

Your first year at the Colleges will be a time of learning, discovery and growth. Each step of the way, you'll have the support of our award-winning faculty and staff. Leading up to your arrival on campus, you’ll have opportunities to engage with our community virtually, preparing for the transition to college-level coursework and life at HWS. Once you arrive, you'll familiarize yourself with HWS and the greater Geneva community through Orientation, First-Year Seminars, Spark! projects and peer mentorship. You’ll start on your path to creating a life of consequence.

Meet Us By the Lake

The Lake Effect series is comprised of 20-minute virtual discussions designed to introduce you to our community and help you learn more about the topics that are most important to you. Hear from faculty and staff on everything from life on campus to First-Year Seminars, the athletic experience to career preparation programs and more.


Traveling in the age of social media. Stealing art. Ethics in medicine. These are some of the interesting topics you can explore in your First-Year Seminar. Each course provides a foundation to develop your critical thinking and communication skills while helping you get familiar with academic expectations at HWS. The only course required of all students, you’ll create community among a cohort of peers, guided by a professor and supported by an upper level student mentor.

It's Going to Be Fun,

By the Way

Spark! Projects & Orientation

Orientation programming for incoming students spans the week leading up to the first day of classes. 

  • You’ll arrive on Sunday, Aug. 20, move in to your residence hall, meet President Mark D. Gearan and engage in team building activities with your new classmates.
  • Spark! projects will take place over the course of Monday and Tuesday where you will work in small groups on hands-on projects built around a topic of interest.
  • During the remainder of the week, you’ll meet with your academic adviser and gather with your First-Year Seminar. 
  • Communal meals and activities will be held each day of Orientation, including tours of Downtown Geneva, a talent show, food trucks and more.

schedule for aug. 20

Arrive on Campus
Location: Report to the Quad (Rain Location: Bristol Field House)
To facilitate a smooth check-in and shorter lines under the Matriculation Tent, Hobart and William Smith strongly recommends that all families arrive during the following staggered check-in hours:

  • 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m: Third and Fourth Floor Residents 
  • 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m: Second Floor Residents 
  • 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m: Ground-Level and First Floor Residents 
  • 11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m: International Students 

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. | Check-In and Matrictulation
Location: The Quad (Rain Location: Bristol Field House)
Check in with our friendly Orientation staff! Shake hands with President Mark D. Gearan on the Coxe Hall steps, the same steps you will walk across when you graduate. Meet your First-Year Deans and pick up your Orientation materials and residence hall room key on the Quad. 

8:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Move In
Location: Residence Halls 
Meet your roommate and move into your new home! The Orientation staff will be stationed at your residence hall to help you move your personal belongings to your room.

11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. | Complimentary On-Campus Lunch
Location: Scandling Center
Enjoy a “grab and go” bagged lunch at the Scandling Campus Center Café or a sit-down lunch in Saga Dining Hall. Vegetarian and vegan options will be available at both locations.
Off-Campus Lunch If time permits, families are welcome to travel off-campus to enjoy lunch at one of our beautiful downtown Geneva restaurants.

2:45 – 4:45 p.m. | Meet Your Orientation Mentors/Spark! Team Meeting
Location: William Smith Green (Rain Location: Scandling Center) 
Find your Orientation Group (your number is printed on your folder and your nametag) and meet your Orientation Mentor who will guide you to your first Spark! team meeting! 

5 p.m. | President’s Welcome Ceremony
Location: Stern Lawn (Rain Location: Vandervort Room)
Your official welcome to campus from President Gearan.  

5:30 p.m. | Family and Friends Farewell
Location: Stern Lawn 
Take advantage of this opportunity to say goodbye to family and friends as they depart campus. 

5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. | Dinner
Location: The Quad (Rain Location: Saga)
Get to know your peers while enjoying dinner!

7 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. | HWS Policies with Campus Safety
Location: Various Locations 
Get to know your Campus Safety staff to learn about policies and procedures on campus. 

8:15 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. | Illumination: Classes of 2027 Photo
Location: McCooey Field 
Get excited for your first official photo as the Classes of 2027! This traditional photo will be featured on HWS’ “This Week in Photos” website!  

9:15 p.m. - 11 p.m. | Community Activities
Location: Residence Halls

Please note: Some students will arrive to campus prior to Orientation. International students are asked to arrive on Friday, Aug. 18 or Saturday, Aug. 19 and Spark! Outdoor Adventure Program participants will begin their programming on Saturday, Aug. 19. Fall athletes will arrive according to their team’s schedule. Family members of these students are not required to return for matriculation and move in on Aug. 20.



and Events

  • Beginning of April: New student onboarding process begins: FSEM and Spark! preference forms available on New Student Onboarding Portal   
  • May 1: Enrollment deadline for accepted students
  • Beginning of May: Online Orientation, photo ID upload, housing preference, medical and other forms available on New Student Onboarding Portal  
  • May 19: FSEM and Spark! preference forms due  
  • June 5: Online orientation, disability disclosure, photo ID and housing preference form due  
  • Early June: FSEM assignments announced 
  • Mid-June: Advising and course selection 
  • Late June: Spark! assignments announced 
  • July 1: First semester bill available online
  • July 12: Medical forms due 
  • Mid-July: Housing assignments and course schedules available 
  • August 1: First semester bill payment due
  • August 19: Arrival for students participating in the Spark! Outdoor Adventure Program and for international students
  • August 20: Orientation begins 
  • August 28: First day of classes 

Resources for First-Year Students

Your college experience awaits you. Make sure you have all you need to be successful.

  • First Generation Initiative

    Are you the first in your family to go to college? This program provides resources, programming and support for first-generation students and their families.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    You have questions, we have answers.

  • International Students

    Learn more about the I-20 process and meet the International Student Coordinator.

  • Disabilty Services

    Do you have an IEP or 504 Plan? Do you receive accommodations? Learn more about Disability Services and the support available to you as you transition from high school to higher education.


    Spend time on campus this summer investigating environmental issues with HWS faculty.

  • Student Accounts

    Review the billing process and payment options before your first bill is due on Aug. 1.

  • First Semester Courses

    Browse the list of available courses before meeting with your advisor in June.

First-Year DeansMeet Your Deans

David Mapstone '93, P'21, Associate Dean of Hobart College

Dean Mapstone works primarily with first-years and juniors. He develops strong individual relationships with students as well as coordinating a variety of universal programs in his approach to help students make a successful transition to Hobart College. Dean Mapstone directs the Back on Track academic support program, spOArk, and the Short-Term summer study abroad program in Wales. Mapstone serves on the Committee on Standards, the Admissions and Retentions Committee, the Committee on Athletics, serves as the advisor to the Druid Society, and is engaged in research on college athletics, student-athlete identity, and youth sport culture. He lives with his wife, Kara, William Smith '92, and three children at Mapleton Farm, a small sustainable farm just east of Geneva.

Lisa Salter, Assistant Dean of william smith college 

Email: lsalter@hws.edu
Lisa Salter (she/her) is assistant dean of William Smith College, working with the Classes of 2023 and 2025 and looking forward to the class of 2027. As assistant dean she is fully invested in fostering students' academic and personal growth and success. She has had a broad range of experiences at the Colleges over the last fifteen years, including as a visiting faculty member in the psychological science and religious studies departments, the FSEM program, and study abroad terms. She serves on the Committee on Athletics and the Committee on Standards, and is the liaison from the Dean's Office to William Smith Congress. Dean Salter holds a Ph.D. in ethics from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in economics from Duke University, and a B.A. in economics from the College of William and Mary.



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