Hobart and William Smith Colleges rolled out the welcome mat during our early November visit. Lake Seneca sparkled in the background during the admissions information session, the 195-acre campus sported green grass and lovely foliage, and our student tour guides went out of their way to answer our myriad of questions. It was one of the most energetic and useful tours we have taken.
After visiting a dozen colleges that each promise to deliver a life changing educational experience it is easy to get a little jaded. Hobart’s student tour guides quickly overcame our doubts by exhibiting genuine enthusiasm for their studies, professors and the college community. Where some tour guides seem to walk through the script, our two guides were clearly engaged.
The coordinate colleges share the theme of Community, Confidence, Clarity. Community refers to a strong culture of civic engagement and collboration led by President Mark D. Gearan, former Director of the Peace Corps. The Colleges encourages their 2000+ students to participate in service learning both locally and abroad.
Simultaneously, the colleges are successful in launching students into careers and graduate school. We were impressed to hear about the Career Center as being just as focused on jobs as on internships and appreciated the Career Pathways programs that begins working with students as early as Freshman year. About 60% of the student body goes abroad at some point.
Confidence and Clarity refer to the education and character gained from a highly interdisciplinary curriculum taught by an engaged faculty that is active on campus and make student mentoring a priority. HWS is located in the small town of Geneva, NY and many of the faculty live locally – adding to the strong sense of community.
Housing and dining services got solid reviews. The dorm rooms were decent size. We found all the buildings and grounds were well maintained.
The school has an active varsity and intramural sports program and greek life is well represented. Overall, HWS felt like it is hitting the mark when it comes to the mix of academics, community and service that #1 Son is looking for. It is definitely on his application list.