New Student FAQ


What will I do during orientation?

New Student Orientation programming is designed to help acclimate you to college life and introduce you to the students, staff, faculty and place you’ll spend the next four years getting to know. Orientation involves two parts: 4-day Adventure Trips (AA, OA, or XA) that take place primarily off-campus, and are focused around a theme such as arts, service, hiking, canoeing, music, and much more.  On these trips, all new students join a group of 5-9 peers and two student leaders to explore the region and many opportunities surrounding Hamilton, learn more about our community, and get to know one another in a small-group environment.  Trips are followed by three days of on-campus orientation, which includes time to meet with your academic advisor, a chance to adjust your fall source schedule, information about the Hamilton community, resources, values, and policies, and continued opportunities to connect with your fellow new students and student leaders.  See this year’s orientation schedule for more details.

What are AA, OA, and XA?

Adirondack Adventure (AA), Outreach Adventure (OA), and Exploration Adventure (XA) are the three types of orientation trips that students can choose between. AA trips involve excursions to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, and typical activities include hiking, canoeing, mountain climbing, and biking.

OA trips may include serving in a meal program for the homeless, working on a Habitat for Humanity construction project, helping with a summer program for local refugee children, or performing environmental service work. Most OA groups stay together in a community center or church “camping inside” in the area where they are volunteering.

XA trips are theme- or subject-based that explore a variety of topics for just about everyone. Trips may include learning how to beekeep or sampling the finest cheeses that the Finger Lakes region has to offer.

For descriptions about each orientation trip, please visit the orientation trips webpage.

I’ve never camped before. Is AA for me?

Certainly! Lots of people go on AA who have never done this kind of stuff before (about 25% of participants, in fact). There are experienced leaders and probably some others in your group who will be happy to show you how to do things. Most of the trips are designed with beginners in mind. There are no lions, less spiders than live in your house but, we suspect, more live bears. Did you know that the only bear attacks in the Adirondacks have been on people foolish enough to be deliberately feeding a bear? We don’t do that; you’ll be fine.

Does every student have to do an orientation trip?

Orientation trips are mandatory for all incoming Fall admission students. They’re a wonderful and fun opportunity to meet new friends and learn more about student life at Hamilton.

When will I find out my orientation trip assignment?

You will receive an email with your orientation trip assignment in early July. This email will provide more information about your trip and expectations.

When will I find out who is on my orientation trip?

You will meet the members of your orientation trip on move-in day at the football field!

How long is each orientation trip? When do the trips start?

Each orientation trip is four days and four nights. Trips leave campus between the second and third day of orientation, and return Sunday morning.

Are my parents allowed to attend orientation events?

Parents are encouraged to attend orientation events on move-in day before 3 p.m. Students must say goodbye to their parents before the 3 p.m. Outdoor Games on Steuben Field. Parents are encouraged to attend parent session events after their goodbyes.

What do I need to pack for my orientation trip?

You will receive an email from your orientation trip leaders with a specific packing list for your trip in early August.

Am I allowed to bring my phone on my orientation trip?

Phones, laptops, and other technological devices are not allowed on orientation trips. Orientation trip leaders will have cell phones for emergency purposes. We want to minimize distractions and focus on group cohesion.

Residential Life/Housing

When will I find out my housing assignment?

Housing assignments are typically released in early August. The information will be posted on My Hamilton.

Can I store my items at Hamilton before orientation starts?

The College does not have any storage areas on campus. A list of local storage companies can be found on our website. If you’d like to ship some of your belongings during the summer, you can do so by using the following address:

Student Name
Hamilton College
Mailbox # (your mailbox number can be found under the Tools tab on My Hamilton)
198 College Hill Rd
Clinton, NY 13323

The mail center will hold your boxes until you claim them when you arrive on campus.

When can I arrive on campus?

You can arrive on campus starting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Residence halls will open for new student move-in at this time.

Can I move in early?

No. Because we use our halls all summer long, we need to make many last-minute adjustments to the rooms before students arrive. Your room will be ready for you on August 20 when New Student Orientation begins. In case you need to come to the area early, view the list of local b&b’s, hotels and motels for accommodations.

Can I hang a tapestry in my room?

No. Tapestries violate Hamilton’s fire code policy and cannot be hung in dorm rooms.

Can I bring a TV? Do I have to pay for cable?

Yes, you can bring a TV for your dorm room. Hamilton provides cable in all dorm rooms which you can connect to using a coaxial cable.

Will my dorm have an elevator?

First-year dorms on campus do not have elevators. Skenandoa is the only dorm on campus to have an elevator.

What are the dimensions of my dorm room?

First-year students are placed in quads, triples, and doubles. Most quads are two room quads measuring 12' x 9' and 20' x 8'. Triples are approximately 16' x 22'. Doubles are approximately 16' x 10’. To view each dorm’s floor plans, please visit your residence hall's webpage.

What size sheets should I buy?

Dorm room beds are twin XL size (39 x 80 in).

What does my room come furnished with?

We provide each student with a bed, dresser, desk, desk chair, mirror and a small closet or wardrobe. Additionally, each room has cable and computer network jacks. See the New Student Housing Guide.

Academics and Courses

Do my AP and IB credits transfer to Hamilton?

Yes. For specific information regarding which credits transfer, please visit the Registrar's webpage.

When will I receive my course schedule?

You will receive your course schedule in early August. Once available, this information is posted on WebAdvisor. Learn more about WebAdvisor.

Who is my academic advisor? When will I meet them?

You will receive information about your academic advisor in early August. You will meet your academic advisor during new student orientation, and will have an opportunity to discuss your academic goals and possible changes to your fall course schedule at that time.

How can I find what textbooks I need for my courses?

You can find your required reading materials on My Hamilton. Under your course schedule, there is a link which states “Buy books for this term.”

How can I add or drop courses for the Fall semester?

You can add or drop courses at the beginning of the Fall semester by filling out a Course Change Form. This form requires the signatures of your academic advisor and the two professors whose courses you are dropping and adding. You will receive more information about this process in an email from the Registrar’s Office once the school year begins.

General Information

When will I receive my Hamilton email?

You will receive your Hamilton email in mid-May. Please check this e-mail account regularly throughout the summer, as you will receive information about necessary pre-orientation tasks.

How can I find my mailbox number and combination?

You can find your mailbox number and combination on MyHamilton. This information in the “Retrieve mailbox number and combination” page posted under the “Tools” tab.

How can I find my Student ID number?

You can find your Student ID number on My Hamilton and on your Hamilton Student ID Card (HillCard) which is issued to all students during orientation.

What are the swim and fitness tests? When are they?

The swim test involves swimming four laps across our 25-yard long pool, and is held during the first week of orientation. The fitness test requires running a mile and performing other physical activities, and is held at the beginning of your first physical education course. As a reminder, all students must complete the swim test, the fitness test, and three physical education courses in order to graduate.

Can I have a pet on campus?

No. Certain exceptions are made for students with medical reasons, but these pets must be approved by the College.

How do I apply for on-campus jobs? What materials do I need?

You can apply to on-campus jobs using Handshake, Hamilton’s one-stop shop for on-campus jobs, career workshop information, and exclusive internship postings. You must submit a cover letter and resume for each position you’re applying for. For help with these materials, or for more information, please contact the Career Center at 315-859-4346 or email ccadmin@hamilton.edu.

Can I have a car on campus?

First-year students cannot bring cars to campus. There is limited parking available at Hamilton and overcrowding is a major issue on the Hill. 

Student Life

What is First-Year Experience?

The First-Year Experience (FYE) aims to create spaces and opportunities for new students to connect with the campus, explore a new interest, and interact with a variety of people and ideas.  FYE programs include student panels on exploring identities and getting involved, a dinner and discussion series, off-campus outings, financial workshops, de-stress events, and more. You can also earn prizes simply for attending events!

The 2019-20 FYE Leaders are Jada Langston, Monica Dave, Acacia Bowden, John Dennis and Ashley Thayaparan. They are available as a resource for all first-year students and coordinate FYE Core Sessions, social events, and off-campus outings.

Students will earn FYE points for attending FYE hosted programs, dinners, social outings and FYE-eligible events, and can redeem those FYE points throughout the semester for prizes like Opus and other gift cards, FYE swag and giveaways.  Our dinner series will create opportunities to mingle with other first-years, upper-class students, and faculty and staff, learn about opportunities to become involved, and of course, enjoy dinner and conversation. In addition, we encourage you to take advantage of the wide variety of other events on campus by attending those, too!

Who is my Career Advisor?

Each student is assigned a Career Advisor who serves as a personal mentor to aid with the strategic elements of the career exploration process, including networking and internship searching. You will receive a postcard with more information about your Career Advisor in late July. For more information, please contact the Career Center at 315-859-4346 or email ccadmin@hamilton.edu.

Contact Information

Tessa Chefalo

Director of Orientation and First-Year Programs
315-859-4846 tchefalo@hamilton.edu
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