Hobart & William Smith Colleges - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
"At Hobart and William Smith, you will not only be expected to ask questions,...

Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Geneva, New York

Worlds of Experience. Lives of Consequence.

Hobart and William Smith are small, residential Colleges where learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door. Nearly all of the 2,200 students live on campus and many live in learning communities and theme houses that focus on community-building. Students hail from 45 states and 17 countries, speaking, in total, more than 30 languages. Nearly 60 percent of students study abroad. As a result, the HWS community is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive student body.



With an average class size of just 17 students and an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, students develop rewarding one-on-one partnerships with faculty mentors, often resulting in published papers or presentations at national conferences.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
2,421 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
48% male — 52% female
60% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
202 full-time faculty
22 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Highly residential: 90% of students live on campus.

School Location

Hobart and William Smith are located on a spectacular 195-acre campus along the northern tip of Seneca Lake in the City of Geneva, New York (less than an hour to Ithaca, Syracuse and Rochester).

Retention Fall 2014

87% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

79% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 5%
White 68%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 12%


NCAA Division III, Liberty League.  22 varsity sports (11 Hobart: Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse (Division I, ECAC), Sailing, Soccer, Squash, Tennis); 11 William Smith: Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Sailing, Soccer, Squash, Swimming and Diving, Tennis), 11 club sports and 17 intramurals.

Other Information

Founded in 1822 (Hobart for men) and again in 1908 (William Smith for women), Hobart and William Smith have a rich and unique history that spans nearly 200 years.

More Distinctions

  • In 2004, Julia James (class of ’04) was awarded one of only 32 Rhodes Scholarships nationwide,the highest accolade an undergraduate can achieve. She studied biochemistry at Oxford and then completed a joint Ph.D. program at the NIH (National Institutes of Health).

  • HWS is one of only two colleges nationwide that has a research vessel on a large body of water.

  • Opportunities for research abound with an unusually large number of student research that are published and presented at professional meetings every year.

Under the mentorship of faculty and guided by a curriculum grounded in exploration and rigor, Hobart and William Smith students are transformed. Through carefully designed academic, service and study abroad programs, and an extensive array of internships, HWS students hone their skills and gain the necessary clarity to be competitive when seeking employment. They win prestigious fellowships like Rhodes, Fulbright and Gates. They gain admittance to the best graduate programs in the world. They go on to lead lives of consequence.

Majors and Minors

Adhering to the liberal arts tradition, HWS provides a broad educational experience. This is realized through the requirement that students declare both a major and a minor (or two majors: one in a disciplinary and one in an interdisciplinary area of study). There are 46 majors and 68 minors to choose from. Additionally, 61 percent of HWS students work in consultation with faculty advisers to create an independent course or major to fit their academic interests. Many courses provide service-learning experiences, internships, and job opportunities.


While only two percent of students nationwide study abroad, 59 percent of HWS students do so on every continent except Antarctica. Hobart and William Smith have one of the strongest abroad programs in the country. HWS were among only five colleges recognized in 2010 by NAFSA: Association of International Educators with the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.

Career Services

As early as their first semester on campus, HWS students explore how their interests, values, and skills can translate into a career. When students are ready to further their studies or seek job placement, they can get support from the Salisbury Center for Career Services via Pathways, a comprehensive four-step process designed to prepare students for their professional endeavors. The HWS Alum Network spans the globe with more than 4,000 community members providing students with advice as well as shadowing and internship opportunities.

Community Service

With a former Director of the Peace Corps as their president, Hobart and William Smith Colleges are committed to providing extensive service learning and community service opportunities. In addition to local and national service, service-learning opportunities are offered in Ireland, Wales, and other study abroad locations. HWS support both curricular and co-curricular opportunities through which the Colleges are able to respond to community needs and harness student capabilities. The HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) helps students become civically engaged and active, global citizens. Each year, HWS’ this commitment accounts for more than 139,884 hours of student service and engagement to local, national, and international communities. It also generates approximately $80,000 in fundraising efforts that are directed to non-profit organizations. The Corporation for National and Community Service named HWS to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

The Senior Symposium at HWS

The Senior Symposium at HWS is an exciting event which reflects and honors the depth and breadth of engagement among Hobart and William Smith students in a diverse spectrum of academic and creative interests. It provides an opportunity for students, under the guidance of faculty advisers, to engage each other as teachers and learners. The day-long Symposium features presentations by Hobart and William Smith Seniors, arranged in panels and organized around a variety of research and experiential fields.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges have a long and proud history of academic success. Faculty members work in collaboration with students in classrooms, laboratories, studios, and in the community to foster a broad range of intellectual interactions and interests.


At Hobart and William Smith, the low student-faculty ratio of 11:1 means students get individual attention from professors who are experts in their fields. Students get to know professors beyond the classroom, building rewarding personal and academic relationships.  Whether in the classroom or over coffee in the café, the faculty pilot HWS students through a rich, interdisciplinary curriculum that requires critical thinking.


In all, HWS offers 46 majors and 68 minors and confer Bachelor of the Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees as well as the Master of Arts in Teaching (for HWS graduates only). HWS students are able to create independent courses or majors to fit their academic interests.

HWS offers special advising programs in pre-law, pre-health, and pre-business. The Colleges also offer joint degree programs in architecture, business administration, and engineering.

First-Year Seminar

All first-year students take a First-Year Seminar taught by an HWS professor. The options for this seminar are designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity, introduce academic expectations, and engage first-year students without regard to future major or minor choices. Topics faculty develop vary by year, but examples include “America in the 60s: Talkin’ ‘Bout that Generation,” “Bird Obsessions: Beauty of the Beast,” and “You Are Where you Eat.”

The Rosensweig Learning Commons

The Rosensweig Learning Commons at HWS supports complex, deep exploration and rigorous intellectual pursuit. It is an environment that cultivates the research and technical skills for lifelong learning. It provides many resources, offering resources with the help of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, Information Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching and Learning

Hobart and William Smith Colleges have built an educational experience around seeing the world from multiple perspectives. The academic culture is enriched through the constant exchange of personalities and questions.


The newest residences have been recognized nationally for providing innovative social spaces for enhanced community living. There are a variety of living options at HWS, from single-gender and coed residence halls, to townhouses and homes at which residents share an interest in a theme or a cause. At HWS, more than 90 percent of students reside on campus.

Fresh, Renovated Facilities

The Colleges feature a number of new and recently-renovated campus facilities including the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and the Center for Global Education, and the Scandling Campus Center, which has a café, the main dining hall, and a student activities space.

Student Activities

HWS students participate in more than 90 student-run activities and clubs. Students can choose to take part in a variety of student media such as yearbook, newspaper, student and literary magazine, and student radio. The Colleges also host a number of student performance groups in voice, instrument, theatre and dance. Activist and service clubs currently in operation on campus include Americans for Informed Democracy, Campus Greens, Habitat for Humanity, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Make-A-Wish Club, PRIDE Alliance, and the Women’s Collective, among others.

Guest Speakers

Each year, dozens of speakers visit Hobart and William Smith to bring the world to Geneva. Most speakers visit classes and chat with students, and all engage the community in conversation that is both interesting and thought-provoking. Through the President’s Forum Series, the college community is introduced to important politicians, intellectuals, and social activists. Additionally, the Genocide Series brings guests to campus to improve understanding of life-annihilation processes in the modern world. The Fisher Center Series explores issues of gender and sexuality in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences in an effort to foster mutual understanding and social justice.

Diverse Learning

The Committee on Inclusive Excellence is a group of students, faculty, and staff members who work together to create an intellectual and engaged community that values and celebrates a wide spectrum of differences. The Commission advocates for a campus culture that goes beyond tolerance to become one of inclusive excellence that is guided by the principles of equity, social justice, and engaged citizenship.


Solar baking, Recyclemania, Zipcar services, and eco-friendly lighting are just a few of the ways that HWS looks at “green” a little differently. The Colleges have made a commitment to be a sustainable part of America’s future. In its September/October 2011 issue, Sierra Magazine ranked Hobart and William Smith 67th in its list of “America’s Coolest Schools,” the annual list of the greenest colleges in the United States.

HWS students find success in every facet of the modern culture. From education to business, there are no limits to what one’s mind can do.

Career Services

The Salisbury Center for Career Services helps students assess their strengths and goals, works to identify potential career opportunities, and maps pathways to desired careers. The career services staff assists students who apply for prestigious fellowships graduate programs. In the past 10 years, HWS students have won Rhodes and Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Goldwaters, Fulbrights, and numerous other academic scholarships.

Pathways, a four-year, individualized career-development program, enables students to explore their interests and talents, develop career goals, and gain experience.


Experts say that nearly 65 percent of all first jobs come from internships or networking associated with internships. Students are often profoundly transformed by what they learn during these career previews. They return to campus inspired and prepared to take the next steps after graduation. Recently, internships have been held with such organizations as ABC, Bank of America, ESPN, J.P. Morgan Chase, Kenneth Cole Fashions, New York Stock Exchange, Smithsonian Institute, Sony Pictures, Yahoo!, Inc., and more.

Postgraduate Success

Recent graduates have gone on to master’s and doctoral programs at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the University of Chicago and UC Berkeley, to name just a few.

HWS grads have careers in nearly every field at companies such as American Cancer Society, Apple, Inc., Clinton Foundation, Conde Nast, DFS Hong Kong, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fidelity Investments, Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, MGM Studios, Inc., The New York Times, U.S. Department of State, and Walt Disney Studios.


Admissions Fall 2014

5,104 Total Applicants
2,426 Total Admissions
643 Total Freshmen Enrollment

47.53% of applicants admitted

First-year students entering from high school should present, at minimum, a course of study that includes

  • Four years of English;
  • A three-year sequence in math (algebra, geometry, and trigonometry are recommended, and trigonometry is required for those who expect to major in the natural sciences);
  • Three years of science, two of which must be laboratory sciences;
  • Two years of social studies/social sciences (three is recommended);
  • Two years of a foreign language, either classical or modern (three is recommended); and
  • The remainder of units from the field of social studies and additional work in mathematics, science, literature, and languages.


  • Common Application or the Universal College Application submitted online or on paper.
  • Submission of the HWS Supplement.
  • School Report form completed by your guidance/college counselor.
  • Official transcript (including current-year grades to date), along with a secondary school profile.
  • Teacher Evaluation / Recommendation form from one 11th or 12th grade teacher in one of the following disciplines: English, history, math, science or foreign language.
  • Completed Mid-Year School Report, which should be submitted by your guidance/college counselor after completion of the full first semester or first term, if on a trimester calendar.
  • A non-refundable $45 application fee (fee is waived if application is submitted online).

Please note: Standardized test scores from either the SAT or ACT exams are optional for most applicants (see policy) 





Tuition $46,852
Fees $1,056
Total $47,908
Room and Board (on campus) $12,126
Room Only $6,541
Board Only $5,585
Estimated Total On Campus $60,034


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

88% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
52% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$23,968 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$7,754 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates


In addition to need-based financial aid, Hobart and William Smith offer numerous merit-based scholarships recognizing academic, artistic, service and leadership excellence. For details on these scholarships, need-based financial aid and yearly costs, visit our website at www.hws.edu.

Trustee Scholarships ($20,000 annually): Trustee Scholarships are awarded to 50-60 students each year and winners are selected by the Admissions Committee.

Trustee Scholar winners are invited to campus for a recognition day and from that group the full-tuition Hersh and Wood Scholars will be selected. The Trustee Scholar recognition day will be held in late winter 2012.

Students must meet at least one of the following criteria to apply for this scholarship program:

  1. Combined SAT scores of 1250 or higher (critical reading and math)
  2. ACT composite score of 28 or higher
  3. Rank in the top 10 percent of class
  4. Cumulative GPA of 90 percent or equivalent on a 4.0 scale

In addition, all Trustee Scholar candidates must have had an admissions interview with a member of the admissions staff or an alumni/alumnae representative by January 23.

The Trustee Scholars Program requires the submission of the Trustee Scholarship Application, application for admission and all supporting materials by January 1, 2012 (postmark date)

Hersh Scholarships, awarded one each to a young man and a young woman, are based on an exceptionally strong academic record and substantial extracurricular involvement and community service. Candidates are selected by the Admissions Committee from the Trustee Scholars winners who attend the recognition weekend. Renewal requirements: a 3.2 GPA and completion of Honors work in the senior year. Hersh scholars earn full tuition and fees.

The Wood Scholarship is awarded each year to the most academically outstanding student. The recipient is selected by the Admissions Committee from the Trustee Scholars winners who attend the recognition weekend. Wood scholars earn full tuition.

Faculty Scholarships are awarded to students who have a combination of a cumulative GPA of 90 or equivalent in core academic subjects and rank in the top 15 percent of their class. Recipients are selected by the Admissions Committee; no separate application is necessary. Faculty scholars are awarded $17,000 each year.

President’s Leadership Awards are awarded to students with strong academic records, demonstrated and sustained leadership credentials and high motivation. Recipients are selected by the Admissions Committee; no separate application is necessary. Awards are $15,000 annually.

President’s Service Awards go to students with strong academic records and significant involvement in service/civic engagement activities in their schools and/or communities. Recipients are selected by the Admissions Committee; no separate application is necessary. Awards are $15,000 annually.

Arts Scholarships are awarded by the fine arts faculty in dance, music, creative writing and studio art. Students must submit a separate Arts Scholars application (PDF) along with all HWS application materials by January 1. Winners are selected by the arts faculty and awards range from $3,000-$15,000 annually.

Blackwell Medical Scholarships are awarded to students who can demonstrate a commitment to a career in medicine. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be from a rural background, or from an underrepresented minority, or be the first generation in his or her family to attend college. Students must submit the Blackwell Medical Scholars application (PDF) and all HWS application materials by January 1. Scholars receive full four-year tuition to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a reserved seat at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine if all program requirements are met and the student has an MCAT score of 30 or higher.

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