Hobart William Smith Colleges Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Alexia

Dear Alexia Sereti of May 2014, Congratulations on choosing a Hobart and William Smith Colleges! I know... you're currently terrified that you chose the wrong school. You're worried that you won't fit in, that you aren't academically prepared enough to thrive in a college setting, and that the student loans you're bound to rack up by 2018 won't be worth the experience that HWS can offer. It’s normal to be nervous, but I’ll tell you why you don’t need to be. The key to having an amazing college experience, wherever you go, is being open to the unfamiliar. Your goal during these four years should be to learn and grow, not to prove yourself. Approach every opportunity you are presented with as a chance to learn something new about the world and about yourself. If you go into college this coming Fall with an open mind, there is no way you will regret your decision. - Alexia Sereti of December 2014

Lauren

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I'd say, "Lauren, quit being so nervous." I realize it takes some time for everyone to get comfortable in their new surroundings, but there is a marked difference between that first year feeling of "I'm new and everyone knows it" and that college senior feeling of "I own this place, I'll do as I please, and I don't really care too much about what other people think." Guess what, high school senior me, no one really knows what year you are in college (unless you always wear your High School Senior Class t-shirt). I'd tell myself to be myself, not be afraid to laugh at the professors' jokes, and not to worry so much. Be one of the freshmen everyone thinks is a senior because you're so comfortable with yourself and who you are. Also, allow yourself to grow and change, because honestly I think that's one of the most important parts of college - growing up and setting the stage for who you're going to be when you get out.

Kelly

Going to HWS is the best decision you have every made. The biggest thing that would help with the transition is speaking extensnively about scholarships and other financial aid that you might be eligible for from HWS besides the standard federal aid and HWS Grant.

kristen

I have been able to mature into the best person that I can be. My college believes in giving back, working to help in the community and to protect the global community we live in. So while taking courses that I am interested in and seeing events both locally and globally , I have been able to volunteer to teach schoolchildren the importance of recycling, help clean up a local riverbank and collect trash from the local park. I have been exposed to arts, dance, politics and most of all shown how and why I should be active in all of these endovers. I have made life long friends in my roommates and teammates and now have the skill to get along in our very diverse population. I love William Smith College!

Nicholas

If i had the option of returning to my High School senior year, I would do many things differently. As a senior, I applied to schools based on reputation, online reviews about the shool, and personal opinions from friends and families. These schools were small private colleges that essentially offered the same experience. In order to save time and money, I did not visit the schools until i knew i was accepted, and had a chance of attending. Looking back, I wish that i had never based my decision on other's opinions. The college experience is a personal one that differs for each person and i regret not realizing this a year ago. Also, i would have kept more options open and wish that i had not limited myself of options, and that i applied to a variety of schools. When making the transition to college life, i learned to just be myself, and let others accept me for who I am. Do not let others affect who you are as a person and alter the way you live your life. Each individual is unique and different and a new setting and group of faces should not change that.

Katie

I would tell myself to be more open to change and allow myself to get more involved in campus activities. Meet as many people as I can and know that I will not be best friends with everyone. I would tell myself to get to know the professors very well. At Hobart and William Smith College the professors really care about you as a student and they want to see you succeed. Begin to develop relationships with them early and take advantage of their office hours. In college you will figure out who you are as a person. Many challenges will come your way, do not back down from them, they will most likely become the best things you have ever done. Let go of high school quickly, but keep the memories always and never let go of your best friends. If you keep your mind open and never be afraid to try something new, college will be the best time of your life and it will be an experience you will never forget.

Danielle

The advice I would give myself about transitioning to college would be "no matter what, do not procrastinate." It is so easy for students to get carried away with time for important class assignments, and there is nothing more stressful than running out of time to complete an assignment. I personally loose track of time for assignments that may make or break my final grade. Procrastinating is a serious problem that many students face, and it is hard to break the cycle once it is started. I wish I would have taught myself time management, and I would have learned how to exercise the need to prioritize. I think that having a planned schedule for papers, and readings would help me defeat my issue with procrastination. If I could go back in time, as a high school senior, I would purchase a planner for myself. I would use the planner religiously to ensure that I kept track of everything required of me.

Aviva

There are things that we all revert to when we are feeling unsure, or disoriented by being in a new place, whether it be a certain book, a certain food, or maybe a certain attitude. During my transition from high school to college, my default reaction to change turned out to be the adoption of a certain despondent, pensive mood. I suddenly became very introverted, exiling myself from normal social activity with my oldest friends, and had only the desire to think, and observe. It was as though i wanted to crystallize what the last 17 years of my life had meant, and make some sort of sense of it before falling into the fathomless abyss of the future that would begin with my first day at college. Looking back, i regret that i was quite so serious about this transition. I still think it is a change that should be taken with gravity, yet also with joy. What i didn't realize the summer before departure was that it was not a one-way train leading into dark, unknown territory that i was boarding, but rather a magnificent locomotive meant to carry me through a magnificent life.

Sarah

1) Be the big fish in the small pond. An employer will not care what size college a prospective hire attended. He/she is much more concerned with what the person accomplished as a student/ how involved the person was as a community member. 2) Do not immediately settle into a specific career path unless it is absolutely necessary. Focusing on pre-med or teaching as a primary background will limit ultimate opportunities. Your interests and desires will undoubtedly change over the next four years. 3) Step outside of your comfort zone. This is one of the best (and last) opportunities you will have to experiment with new activities, meet new people, and study new subjects. Who knows who or what you may connect with? You certainly will not know unless you try. 4) It is much better to get a "B" in a class by truly engaging in the topic than to get an "A" by cramming and cutting corners. Your GPA might look better but you wil not retain any of the information from the course. For the most part, as long as your GPA is higher than a 3.0, you will find occupational success.

Jamie

Students and Parents -- I'd highly advise you both to visit the campus together, have a tour as well as attend a sporting event just to see how the campus interacts with one another. Playing a college sport definitely heightened my experience so if you are on the fence about that I'd highly advise you to do it. Although it's hard to balance academics and sports, the experience is extremely rewarding allowing you to meet some great friends, keep your academic life focused and have fun playing your sport!

Emma

pick by what the kid wants, don't let parents influence them.

Katie

Find a place where you fit in. Make sure you visit and can see yourself going to the school. Ask a lot of questions, not just to admissions tour guides, but also normal students walking around.

Ya

The best advice I would give to a parent or student about finding the right college would be to simply visit it. Go to the college you have in mind and talk to some of the sudents there and absorbe the atmosphere. Ask yourself are these the kind of people you would want to make friends witha and will this place be a comfortable and encouraging environment to be in to study. Some colleges also offer interested students to stay over for a night with a volunteer student from the school so they can experiance first hand what it will be like to dorm there. Dont be afraid to say "This is not what I thought this college will be like" if you feel like the school is not what fits you than definitely look else where and keep your options open. Simply, puyt in the effort to get to know as much about the school as you can and always explore your options even when you think you have found the perfect school, becasue you might just find another one that is much better and suitable for you.

Bryan

Stop worrying about the ivy leagues or name brand schools. Let your kids decide where they want to go based on what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. Liberal arts is good for well roundedness, but if your kid wants something more focused that requires graduate studies, then go for more specialized fields like science and math. Bigger Universities are probably better for that matter. But for having a good experience without a lot of distraction, a small, out of the way, liberal arts college is a great place to be, especially if they have a study abroad porgram.

L

GO WITH THE CHEAPEST OPTION!

emily

Take a tour, do an overnight, talk to as many students there as possible

Lelde

Visit the campus and stay over night.

Kailey

As a recent graduate I would say that when picking a college, you should choose a place that you feel comfortable at, in your room, at the library, in class, with other students and with faculty and staff. You should also choose a place that will challenge you; to learn new and different skills (Mandala Painting, Linear Algebra, Men's Studies, Music, Philosphy, etc). A college with community outreach and public service programs, as well as a strong study abroad program also present new and unique experiences for learning about yourself and the world we live in. It is important to choose a school that you can experience everything that you want, as well as things that you never knew you had interest in like tutoring kids in reading, or speaking a new langauge. The best thing you can do is go to a college that offers a wide variety of choice, because ultimately exposure to different ideas, people, places and opportunities are what makes the learning in college worthwhile.

Jesse

Everything truly depends on what you're looking for in college. When I started, all I cared about was playing college hockey. After a year, seeing how my grades suffered, and realizing what I actually wanted to do in my life, I did a complete 180 and made school my number one priority. I created my own major, knowing what I wanted to do after college within the global financial realm. The liberal nature of the school provided me with the intellectual capacity to pursue my interests aggresively. I was able to stand out, focus on my economic and social interests and interact with Professors in a way many never witness. I liked my experience because of this, and I enjoyed the school for allowing me to mature at the level and speed at which I did I do however, wish the weekends were more eventful and exciting. I felt restricted in terms of having a social-life that I was comfortable with. Friends in beautiful locations out west or down south appreciated their locality, whereas I regreted cold and isolated upsate New York. Nonethless, I made the most of my experience and am more than content with decision.

Julien

Simply put, you need to know not just what your interested in but what is an absoulte nescecity to your happiness in college.

Phylicia

Although Hobart and William Smith Colleges wasn't my first choice to pursue my undergraduate degree, it by far was divine intervention that I attended such an amazing institution. When searching for a perfect fit be not limited to the environments one is accustomed to. College is a place where one doesn't find themeself but rather begins a journey to create a new person. Take advantage of every experience even those that seem difficult to comprehend. Look for a community of leaders, a faculty of support and a school of potential friends and connections to further education. Good Luck!

Jillian

Feelings of fit and comfort are important. You cannot just look at the rank of the school and the programs offered. Even if on paper the school looks perfect, you need to go look at it. Sometimes you can tell a school is not right for you even if you cannot tell why. You need to listen to that. Otherwise, you may be going to a great school but you'll be miserable. Pick the slightly lower school if you feel comfortable there. You'll do better in the long run and you'll enjoy your time, which is important.

William

If you're an athlete, the best way to decide the right college is to ask yourself, "If I blew out my knee the first day of practice and could never play sports again, would I still be happy at this school?" If you can't find any other redeeming factor about the school, besides sports, then you really schouldn't attend that school.

Christina

Pick a school that has the right undergrad program for you. Also consider the location. Do you really want to live 6 hours away from home? Think about it.

Lauren

Take a variety of classes your first few semesters. This includes intro classes in areas you've never heard of as well as some that you may consider as a major. You might find an interest in a field you've never considered, and it's better to figure that out as early on as possible. Also make sure to communicate with professors. They are truly interested in your experience and want to help you do as well as you can in the class. If you make an effort to work hard and communicate with them from the beginning, they are more willing to be easy on you if you struggle later in the semester. Also, join a variety of clubs and organizations from day one. It's easiest to join from the beginning, and you can always drop out, so consider an excessive amount to begin with. The more clubs you join the more people you'll meet and potential life friends you'll make.

Julie

You can make any college the right college once you're there.

Marilyn

The most important thing to remember is that choosing the right college is all about fit. The right fit will not only be based on personal background and interests, but other considerations such as geographical and finanacial. Although it sounds silly, making an Excel bar chart with all of the contributing factors may help to clarifiy the situation. This not only quantifies each school, but also gets you thinking about which factors have more or less draw. But choosing the school with the right fit is only the first step. Much more important is making the most of your time while you are in school, no matter where you wind up. Being involved in campus life not only connects you to your campus, but also looks great on your resume. Less officially sanctioned goings on are another great opportunity to really experience college life, as long as you use good judgement in what aspects of these events you choose to participate. Choosing the right school is overwhelming. So is making the most of your time at your chosen institution. Be as open and spontaneous as you can without sacrificing your academics. Good things will follow those who look for them.

Nicholas

Send your kid somewhere they will be happy! That way it will be easier to learn, and be academically successful.

Elizabeth

Make sure you and your son or daughter know what kind of location, social environment, academic and extracurricular activities are best suited for him or her. Also, look for a school that allows the student to be flexible with their course of study/major because interests often change once the student takes a class in the area and you can't always predict what will work best.

Sarah

There is a feeling. The one that makes your stomach turn, but also makes you feel happy and excited. For many this is the feeling one feels after visiting the "right" college. It has the right setting, class sizes, morals, professors, and academic integrity. So this is the moment to take the leap. Interview (scary but incredibly worthwhile), network, sit in on a class, have lunch with current students (many are excited to talk to parents and prospective students), talk, talk, and talk some more. In order to get a fulfilling college experience, I encourage students to take risks and challenge oneself in college. This is a great opportunity to not only increase one's intellect but to also learn more about oneself so why not try something new. Say you have always had your heart set on being a doctor and are strictly going that route. Why not take an art class? Maybe you have never been an artist, but gaining a different perspective could be extremely beneficial. Life is so built around expecting the unexpected. With the ability to appreciate the unexpected, won't life just be that much better? I definitely think so! Always follow your gut!

Carolyn

see what majors they offer and what the social scene is like ie what kids usually do for fun

Brittany

The search for the right college is very important. The decision will change (the students) life. It is important to let the student decide because it will determine their happiness, success, and is the building block for the rest of their lives. I chose my school because I got the feeling that it was the right fit for me. The people, the staff, and the scenery sold me from the very beginning. My advice to the students is make sure that you can call the colleges you are looking at "home" for the next four or so years of your life. It is not something that you can take back but rather something that you can create an independent lifestyle and a solid ground to a bright future.

Doug

Take as many campus visits as possible. The last thing you should worry about is the cost of the school. Choose the place where you feel most comfortable and you could see yourself attending for the next four years. Take the risk that you are going to get out with your degree in 4 years and be able to get a job immediately or go on to grad school. Your loans may look intimidating at first, but they can be paid back relatively easily. Make sure the college fits your personality and your agenda.

gregory

In this time of tight budgets and frugal ways, it is important to understand as parents the importance of valuable higher education. While it is important to recognize the financial aspect, do not let that be the deciding factor nor a criteria for a desired school for your child. Parents should always have the best interest of their child, and should understand that the best college for your bank account may not be the best suited for you child. An Education is an investment that will last, perpetuate and encourage others to do the same. Let your child express themselves at the best school they see fit, with your guidance of course, so that they can better enjoy the time and effort spent at, what will become, THEIR school. Good luck and best wishes. -G

Mavreen

Choosing where you'll spend 4 years of your life is a huge decision. While academics, money, and extracurriculars are all important, make sure where you end up makes you happy. If you don't love where you are, it'll be the most miserable 4 years of your life.

Alex

You need to absolutely love the college that you choose. It is the first step towards a successful college career.

Heather

I would advice them to take their child and visit the school. Simply walking through campus and getting a "feel" for it is more valuable than any amount of information. Go there and talk to people and experience it firsthand. They say that when you walk on campus you immediately know if it's the place for you, it's true, try it.

Stephanie

My advice is not to choose a school solely based on a major they offer. Select a college with many options, perhaps even a liberal arts school. You will learn more outside of your field of interest and gain a well-rounded education while also having other programs available if you change your mind. Visit the schools you are interested in before deciding where to attend. Often several colleges appear the same until you step onto the campus and see how it fits you specifically. Talk to current students on campus to get opinions about aspects of college life that an organized campus tour might not provide. Make a chart of what you are looking for in a college and map each school on the chart so you can compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, choose a school that you feel is the right fit for you and make the most of your time once you arrive by getting involved and truly becoming an active part of the campus community.

Bailey

Finding the right college is often a compromise between the college that you just know is right and the one that is the most affordable. Although it is difficult to make this decision, I believe that there is no wrong college as long as you are motivated. Getting the most out of your education is very important, and it is important to become an advocate for yourself no matter where you go. Don't always assume that you know every opportunity available to you. Branch out and ask for advice from friends, professors, and career services. You may be surprised at what summer jobs and internships these people can help you find! These four years may be the last time you can do something truly different over the summer, so find something fun and interesting. Although education is the most important part of college, it is also when you will meet some of the friends you will have for the rest of your life. Work hard, but have fun too. And don't forget - the degree is only what you get at the end. The real point of college is your experience.

David

Visit the school, attend a few classes while the school is in session and stay a weekend to experience the social life.

Danielle

You can certainly follow your heart, take endless personality surverys, and visit campus after campus. But in the end it's perspective that matters. If you have a positive attitude while searching for a school, that attitude will not only win you points in adimissions interview but also help you make the best of whatever situation you end up in. Your disposition will attract other upbeat people, and you will recognize the similarity at the place that is right for you. If you have to transfer, remember the lessons you learned about yourself in the process and move on with a smile. You can change everything in your life with only a change of perspective.

Ross

It sounds cliche, but really the best thing to do once you get on campus is to go broad and sign up and do as many things as possible. After a while you'll be able to see what you want to continue with and what doesn't fit you but at least you'll ahve friends from all of it. Also, find time to balance schoolwork and social life. College is about an education but it is more than that- you learn so much more outside of the classroom than you would think. Finding the right school is also stressful. For some, they feel it as soon as they walk on the campus. For others like myself they didn't ever get that feeling and it was a choice. Basically I offer this: go with your gut. Don't let money play too large a role in the decision (although it is a huge factor, you usually have about 20 years to pay down student loans). Go with your gut and know that you can always transfer if it just doesn't fit right.

Gregory

The biggest mistake parents and students make during the college search is finding and researching schools based on prestige and name. That is NOT why we go to college. My advice to you is to explore colleges that are out of the mainstream. It will enable you to choose a school that best fits the student. I had never heard of HWS until a representative came to my high school. I was considered an "Ivy League" student and throughout the application process and my research, I came to realize the ivy league was not who I am. I was drawn to those schools based on a dream. The only problem was that dream turned out to be pressure most high school students feel rather than my own. When selecting my higher education program, I went with the school that best fit my needs. I strongly encourage you to follow the same.

Alex

visit colleges until you find somthing that feels right then go with it because you can always transfer

Rebecca

I would advise parents to be intimately involved in the college search process with their child. It is important to understand the needs and wants of your child when choosing the right college. I would therefore advise parents and students to decide what type of school they are looking for before visiting colleges by considering such characteristics as class sizes, accademic standards, campus activites, available financial resources, social life, distance from home, surrounding community, etc. This requires a fair amount of research to answer these questions. However, by taking into account all of these characteristics you can ensure that the choice that you make is the right one. Once the choice has been made, I would advise students to make the most of their college experience by being open and accepting to change. Entering the college environment can be scary and exciting at the same time. It is important to get involved and experience the resources that your college has to offer you. Many of the relationships made in college both socially and accademically will last a lifetime. Therefore it is important for parents to support their children and encourage them to explore their college environment to the fullest.

Dillon

Don't worry about not being able to find a school, there's a school for everyone and it'll appear before the search process is done. You may have a rough transition at first, but the most important thing is to stick it out and turn lemons into vodka cocktails and have a good time. Remember you can only go to college once, so don't get hung up on not knowing everyone at first, you'll inevitably find a solid group of friends (or brothers/sisters if you go greek) that will effectively change your life forever, and definately for the better!

Hannah

I would suggest visiting whatever college interests you. And never refuse to look at a college because of the price. Once you are there get involved and meet people. College is an amazing atmosphere where one can excell not only academically but socially. The next 4 years of your life will be a roller coaster ride for sure, but take everything you can from it and learn from the experience,

Joshua

To find the right school: Always visit, and go with your gut instinct about the place, don't have to be convinced. Your gut will know more than your brain. Check for what you want, and make sure the schools you're visting have it. If you don't know, go to a liberal arts school, and take everything that piques your interest, you can find what you like most that way. Getting the most of your experience: do everything your freshmen year. It always happens, you take too much on, then sift through to find what you like, it's natural. Do it your first year before you're overwhelmed with major requirements, internships, and graduation. Do everything and talk to everyone, you never know who you might meet. Also live in a dorm if possible, nothing is more enlightening than living with a large group of strangers in a small space.

matthew

Finding a college is very difficult. It doesn?t matter if the college is ivy league or has division one sports, its about how the college can help you as a student and an individual. Figure out what really makes you happy or what you may become interested in over time, see if the college offers it and it what standing the organization is. I have found the best thing you can do is to fully emerse yourself into the college. I am in an a capella group, varsity crew, a fraternity and am a Resident Assistant. It was not difficult to handle all of these and keep a 3.4 GPA because I loved everything I was doing. Find a place that you love that offers things that you love, and you will love that college or university.

Jennifer

Ask everything on your mind. Talk to students. Spend the night. Attend a class.

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