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 advisor 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.


HWS News