Learn more about the special faculty-student bonds that flourish at Hobart and William Smith

Students have an advisor from the moment they step on campus. Their initial advisor is the instructor teaching their first-year seminar. Eventually, they will have an advisor for each of their major(s) and minor(s). Pre-professional advisors support students in terms of Health Professions, Pre-Law, Engineering, Pre-Business, and the Teacher Education Program.

Academic choices and decisions intersect and are influenced by a student’s co-curricular and extracurricular activities, job responsibilities, peer relationships, mental and physical health, and a myriad of other factors. We recognize that advising occurs both formally and informally, and can happen in the classroom, during office hours, in hallways, and many of other locations. Being an effective advisor at a residential liberal arts college requires an understanding of the institution, campus resources, our curriculum, students, and how to best support student development. As we know, different students require different approaches and types of support. Therefore, it is incumbent on the advisor to decide which strategies or approaches to use, and when, and to understand that that student needs vary over time and from one student to the next.

Advising is central to what we do at HWS. Advisors think about their role from at least three different perspectives. First, they are knowledgeable about the institution, the curriculum, and how and where to find specific information. Second, they work to understand the challenges students face when transitioning to college. Many advisors have spent a significant amount of time working to understand the developmental phases that undergraduate students experience and how to support students in ways that are equitable and inclusive. Finally, advisors at HWS are here to listen to, help, and encourage their students. They employ a myriad of strategies intended to help students navigate their college experience in ways that support their personal and professional development. At HWS, students are our priority and effective advising is essential.

At the same time, students have specific responsibilities as well and responsible for their own decisions. The student's role is to explore academic, career and personal goals. Doing so requires the student to:

  • contact and schedule regular appointments with your advisor each semester as required or when in need of assistance
  • prepare for advising sessions and bring appropriate resources or materials. This includes maintaining your own educational plan and other details
  • come prepared to your advising sessions with one or more potential schedules for the forthcoming semester
  • become knowledgeable and adhere to institutional policies, procedures, and requirements