+ Orientation FAQs – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \


FSEM students
When will I move in to my residence hall?
All new students move in on Thursday, August 18th. Getting your room key is one of the stops on your journey that day!

*If you are arriving early to campus for POAP, you will pick up your key according to those instructions.

How do I know which textbooks and other course materials I will need?
While viewing your course schedule in the PeopleSoft Student Center, click the yellow button that reads ‘Barnes & Noble – Buy Books.’ This will take you to a list of the textbooks and materials required for your courses and the options to purchase or rent them from the College Store. Complete the transaction online and you will have the option to pick up your materials at the store or have items shipped to your home address. Not planning on purchasing from The College Store? No problem. ISBN numbers are provided so you can search elsewhere.

Which parts of Orientation are important for students to attend?
All incoming students are expected to be here for all of Orientation, which will take place on Thursday, August 18 – Sunday, August 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (International students will arrive on Sunday, August 14, with their Orientation beginning the following morning.)

When will I know about my room assignment and my roommate?
This information will be posted on the Orientation and myHousing website in July.

If I select sub-free housing or single-gender housing, how will that impact my courses? Will I be able to live in special housing and still have the courses I want?
The Office of Student Engagement takes a variety of factors into consideration when assigning first-year students to their first residential community. While not all preferences can be met, preferences for substance-free lifestyle communities, preferences for same-sex or co-ed residence halls, roommate preferences, and learning-community preferences are all taken into consideration.

What will I need to bring to campus?

Past Orientation Coordinators have created a list of items that will make students feel more at home and more productive on campus. Their suggestions are listed on the right side of this page.

Each student is provided with a desk, chair, dresser, closet or wardrobe and bed, as well as window shades. Because campus storage space is limited, you will not be permitted to remove these furnishings from your room.

You may use posters, pictures, and other decorations to make your room feel like home. Please note that materials that damage the walls, such as transparent tape, adhesive stick-on cork board, nails, and screws, are not permitted when hanging pictures and posters. Poster putty and masking tape are acceptable. Tapestries are prohibited.

What appliances will be available in the residence halls?
Small kitchen areas or microwave ovens are provided in many residence halls. These areas are intended for cooking snacks and occasional meals only. Each student will be allowed a small mini fridge (3 cubic feet large maximum) in their dorm room. More information about leasing a MicroFridge will be mailed to your home in June. For safety reasons, cooking appliances in student rooms is strictly prohibited, though single-serve coffee makers (like Keurig brand) are allowed.

Will I be able to see my room if I’m visiting the area over the summer?
Renovations, housekeeping, and occupancy by our summer programs prevent the previewing of rooms. Campus tours are available through the Admissions Office and usually include a typical room.

What will my mailing address be?
All students are assigned new post office box numbers in mid-July. You can access your mailing address from the Peoplesoft portal. After logging in, go to your campus personal information and you will find your Scandling Center address there. All letters and packages should be addressed to you at:

(Box #) Scandling Center
Geneva, NY 14456

Please note: Do not mail to P.O. Box (Box#). It will slow your mail and make sorting it more difficult for the Postal Service.

Is it OK to send boxes of belongings ahead of my arrival?
We strongly encourage those who must rely on shipping to delay their shipments so that they arrive the week of August 15. Sending packages ahead is discouraged because storage space is extremely limited. If you must send packages prior to your arrival, please send no more than two boxes, via UPS, to your campus mailing address. The UPS Office will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 18 and Friday, August 19, and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21.

Will there be computer access in my room?
All student residences offer WiFi access.

Do I need to have my own computer?
Computers are an increasingly important tool for students at the Colleges. While the Colleges offer several public computing labs, having a personal computer is a significant convenience, especially toward the end of semesters when demands upon computer labs are high. All student residences offer WiFi access. In case you do not bring a computer, there are multiple computer labs around campus. Most serve as multimedia classrooms during the day and become open labs evenings and weekends.

How will I know when I have to leave my room before each semester break and when I can return after each break?
Residence Halls generally open the day before classes begin. Residence halls close 24 hours after your last final exam or by noon (whichever comes first) the day after exams end each semester. Special opening dates are arranged for athletes and residence staff. Requests for early arrival due to extraordinary situations must be submitted through myHousing by way of the Early Arrival Request form.

Residences opening and closing dates are:
Fall Semester 2022
August 21 – On-Campus Residences open for all returning students
Oct. 8-11 — Fall Recess (halls remain open)
Nov. 23-25 — Thanksgiving Recess (halls remain open but students must register to stay)
Dec. 10 – On-Campus Residences close at noon for Winter Break

Spring Semester 2023
Jan. 22 – Campus residences open
Mar. 20-24 — Spring Break (halls remain open but students must register to stay)
May 13 – On-Campus Residences close at noon for Summer Break
May 21 – Commencement

Will there be cable connection in my room?
Basic cable is available in the lounges of all residence halls.

How can I grant my parent or guardian access to view my academic information?
Please visit the Share My Info page for instructions and more information about the academic information sharing service provided by the Registrar’s Office.



I have not received my HWS username and password yet.
If you have submitted your matriculation form and deposit but have not received a username and password, please contact the HWS Office of Admissions at 800-852-2256 or admissions@hws.edu.

I am trying to log in to the Orientation website, but the page isn’t coming up.
Our Orientation system infrequently experiences down time. If you have logged into the system previously, but cannot log in now, please try again in a few hours. If the problem persists, contact the IT Services Help Desk at helpdesk@hws.edu or call (315) 781-4357.

When I try to log into the Incoming Student Housing Form section, it says I don’t have an account.
If this occurs, please notify the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@hws.edu or call (315) 781-4357. They will be able to reset your account within 24 hours.

I submitted an online form before it was complete. How can I make changes or reset the page?
Please contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@hws.edu or call (315) 781-4357. In most cases, they will allow you to re-access the form. Unfortunately, we cannot allow students to re-access the math placement test once they’ve submitted it.

I cannot download the Student Employment forms (I-9 and W-4).
If you have a popup blocker installed on your browser, you may have trouble downloading these forms. Please turn your popup blocker off and try again. If you still cannot access the forms, e-mail orientation@hws.edu, and we will email you the forms.



What is Math 888 / Chem 888?
Math 888 and Chem 888 are not courses. They let the Registrar and your adviser know that you took and passed either the mathematics or chemistry test and are eligible for an upper-level math or science course.

How do I get transfer credits for AP or college courses?
Transfer credits are decided on a case-by-case basis with your First-Year Dean. If you took a college course or received a 4 or 5 on an AP exam, contact Dean Kelly Payne at (315) 781-3467 or Dean Joe Mink at (315) 781-3300.

How will I get textbooks? Should I rent or buy them?
More information about textbooks will be available on the College Store website in August. Visit the textbook homepage to learn more about the College Store policies for buying, renting and returning textbooks.

When will I get to meet with my academic adviser?
Your academic adviser is, typically, your First-Year Seminar professor. He or she will email you at the end of July. Additionally, you’ll meet face-to-face during Orientation Weekend and have an opportunity to talk about the upcoming semester and resolve any concerns about your course schedule.

Can I change my classes?
The Deans will place you in three courses (your FSEM + an two additional courses), but you will register for your fourth course during Orientation in August. It is not possible to change your First-Year Seminar, but it may be possible (though difficult) to change your second and third course.


Computer purchasing guidelines

If you experience any other technical problems while using the Orientation website, please contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@hws.edu or call (315) 781-4357.


  • Alarm clock
  • Athletic clothes or equipment
  • Bookbag or backpack
  • Calculator
  • Clothes hangers
  • Computer (see computer purchasing guidelines)
  • Desk supplies (tape, stapler, etc.)
  • Fan
  • Flashlight
  • Laundry bag or basket & detergent
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pictures, posters or decorations
  • Pillows & pillowcases
  • Raincoat/umbrella
  • Extra long sheets, blankets & comforters
  • Single serve Keurig machine
  • Surge Protectors
  • Poster putty
  • Toiletries basket or bucket
  • Shower shoes (flip flops)
  • Towels


  • Candles/open flame devices
  • Incense
  • Extension cords/”Octopus plugs”
  • Multi-plug adapters
  • Cooking appliances (toaster ovens, hot pots, electric drip coffee pots, Foreman grills)
  • Microwave ovens (except for Colleges-approved micro-fridges)
  • Large refrigerators (above 3 cubic feet)
  • Fireworks/pyrotechnics
  • Building lofts and other wood structures
  • Firearms and/or weapons (including air guns, bb guns, paintball guns, pistols, knives, etc.)
  • Any pets (other than fish)
  • Any fish tank that holds 10 gallons (or more)
  • Tapestries
  • Curtains