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.

Belonging at HWS

Join us for a series 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.


Monsters in American history. The chemistry of food. Birding. Archaeological mysteries. 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.

check out the fsem symposium

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. 18, 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.

and Events

  • Beginning of April: New student onboarding process begins: FSEM and Spark! preference forms, photo ID upload, housing survey, medical and other forms available on New Student Onboarding Portal for students who enroll by April 1.
  • May 1: Enrollment deadline for accepted students
  • Beginning of May: Online Orientation available on New Student Onboarding Portal  
  • May 22: FSEM and Spark! preference forms due  
  • Early June: 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
  • Mid-July: Medical forms due 
  • Mid-July: Housing assignments and course schedules available 
  • Early August: First semester bill payment due
  • August 18: Orientation begins 
  • August 26: 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.

  • Disability 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.

Hobart and William Smith Deans Office

The Hobart and William Smith Deans support first year students in a myriad of ways, including:

  • Academic planning
  • Support for academic progress and student success 
  • Building relationships with professors, staff, and peers
  • Academic recognition and ceremonies
  • Honor societies
  • Transfer credits 

meet your deans 

amy green 

Amy Green (she/her) has been working in higher education for over 30 years, including 25+ years in faculty/instructional roles and 10+ years in advising. Mentoring students, centering their experiences, and building one-on-one relationships with them has always been at the heart of her educational philosophy. In 2013, she became a member of the Writing and Rhetoric Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and for several years she has been affiliated with the department of Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice. Since 2019, she has served as Director of the Writing Colleagues Program where she has enjoyed working with students and faculty to build writerly communities in disciplines across campus. Dean Green enjoys teaching on topics that feature language as social action, such as her First-Year Seminar, “Writing and Resistance,” and courses such as “Literate Lives,” “Writing and the Culture of Reading,” and “Suffrage and Citizenship in American Discourse.” Dean Green holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in English from PennWest University, and a Ph.D. in American Literature from West Virginia University. Her research interests include 19th century American women’s literature and the history of activism and resistance in America.

david mapstone '93, P'21 

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. Mapstone earned his BA from Hobart, an MS in Education from the University of Rochester, and is finishing a Ph.D. in Cultural Foundation of Education at Syracuse University. He lives with his wife, Kara, William Smith '92, and three children at Mapleton Farm, a small sustainable farm just east of Geneva. 

joseph mink 

Dean Mink works primarily with sophomores and seniors. Dean Mink, who joined the HWS faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of political science, holds a B.A. from the University of Denver and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to courses in political science, he has taught American studies and first-year seminars at HWS. His scholarship focuses on constitutive tensions within the American liberal tradition, in particular on the ways that spatiality and embodiment trouble publicity and civility.

kelly payne

Dean Payne (she/her) has more than 15 years of experience in higher education, including several years in advising and in faculty/instructional roles. She joined the William Smith Dean’s Office in 2018 and serves as the academic dean for two undergraduate class years as well as the advisor for the Laurel Honor Society (for sophomore/junior students) and the Laurel Connections mentorship program. In addition to advising and mentoring students, Dean Payne has experience teaching first-year seminars in the humanities, surveys of American and African American literature, and professional development courses, she co-taught a study abroad course in Belgium and the Netherlands on political dissidence in the literature of the low countries. Dean Payne strives to support students by fostering an inclusive and socially just learning environment. Dean Payne is a proud first-generation college graduate and is the first person in her family to earn a doctorate degree. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a graduate certificate in Nineteenth Century Studies, and a B.A. in English from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana). Her research interests include nineteenth-century American literature and reform as well as topics relating to the history of higher education and civil rights protest. She also has published on first-generation students and the use of the student confessional narratives as a tool for promoting academic awareness and success.

Contact the Deans:



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