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Family Orientation

August 29, 2014

Family Orientation is an optional, in-depth series of workshops, panels, and informational events designed to give families a deeper understanding of Hampshire College and its resources.

Family Orientation includes:

  • Panels on academic life, student accounts, financial aid, work-study, and the new student experience
  • Tours of the Farm Center and Longsworth Arts Village
  • Separation and Transition Workshop
  • Lunch

The Family Orientation Fee ($40 per person until August 1 or $55 after August 1) helps offset basic costs of catering and materials. There is no need to pay for your student, as your student will be participating in New Student Orientation. Please note that the College offers individual fee reduction based on financial need; contact alumni and family relations at 413.559.5701 before August 1.

Registration opens May 1.


8:30-11:30 a.m.

  • Check-in
    Franklin Patterson Hall, Torrey Courtyard
    Pick up name tags and lunch tickets.

8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • Family Lounge
    At any time families can take a break, enjoy light refreshments, relax, check email, read Hampshire publications, or talk with Hampshire staff and students.

9:00-9:45 a.m.

  • Division I: Creating a Strong Academic Foundation
    What is Division I? How is an individualized academic program created by a student and supported by an adviser? What does the journey to academic success look like? Discover how students create their own programs of study from the people who provide support and guidance throughout the first year.
  • Academic Panel: Focus on Transfer Students
    What is a Division II Committee, and how do students get one? How do students transition to Hampshire’s academic style? What are the requirements? Families of transfer students have their own specific questions and concerns. Academic support staff talk about how they assist transfer students in moving along the divisional path and help families understand everything from evaluations to graduation.

9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • New Student Orientation: Group Activities and Common Reading Discussion with Faculty
    New students participate in activities to introduce them to the College, and then participate in a discussion of the year’s common reading.

10:00-11:30 a.m. 

  • Farm Center Tour
    How does the Farm Center operate? How do students use the farm in their academic programs? How can students join its CSA? Visit the llama, sheep, cows, and other livestock as you learn about this vital part of the Hampshire community.

10:00-10:45 a.m.

  • Separation and Transition Workshop
    What can you expect during the student transition to Hampshire? What transitions are common to all families and what else might occur? No matter what stage you’re at, come laugh with the professionals from our counseling services as they help you prepare for this next phase.

10:45-11:30 a.m.    

  • The New Student Experience
    What happens outside the classroom? How are students supported in their adjustment to the residence halls? What opportunities do students have to build community and engage with their interests? How will students know about all of this? Staff on the front line will share the answers to these questions and more, as they help you get a sense of what to expect in your student’s first year.

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Family Orientation Lunch
    Enjoy lunch prepared by Bon Appétit. Note: Students will be participating in academic tutorials at this time.

12:30-1:15 p.m.

  • Identity Development and Social Well-being
    How does Hampshire College provide direct student support to different social identity groups? Learn more about the various centers in Community Advocacy: Center for Feminisms (for women’s services), Cultural Center (for multicultural and international student services), Queer Community Alliance Center (for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender and queer services), and the Spiritual Life Center (for religious and spirituality services). Community Advocacy provides awareness of and support for multifaceted and intersecting identities.

1-2 p.m.        

  • Student and Family Resource Fair
    Where can students get involved? What sports can a student play? What on-campus activities, resources, and programs are available? Students and families can explore offices and meet staff from around the campus.

2-5 p.m.

  • New Student Orientation: Engaging with Intellectual Life Session and Orientation Group Activities
    New students participate in a conversation, facilitated by a member of the faculty, about academics at Hampshire, including an overview of Division I. Transfer students will attend sessions specifically geared to their experience.

2-3 p.m.     

  • Student Accounts, Financial Aid, and Work-study Panel
    How do ID cards work? What jobs are available on campus? Does your student have to apply for financial aid again next year? Hear from the staff of student financial services about what you should know to make paying bills and securing financial aid easier.
  • Admissions Info Session for Siblings
    What should you expect when you apply to college? What makes Hampshire unique? High school–aged siblings can get the inside scoop from an admissions counselor.

3:30-4:30 p.m.    

  • Learning, Researching, and Creating
    What do students do when they’ve got a research paper, project, film, or other academic project due? How do students interact with source materials and create original content? Meet the professionals who help students with research and media production, using a wide variety of technologies and resources.
  • Alumni Reel
    What types of work are alums in film, television, and video involved in? Come watch this collection of one- to two-minute clips of work from 2012 showcasing the vision and creativity of our alums who work across these media.

5-7 p.m.         

  • Dinner
    Families can eat in the dining hall (pick up meal passes in the Family Lounge) or take their student off-campus.


If you have further questions about Family Orientation, please email or call 413.559.5701.

Family Feedback

"Wonderful! My husband and I drove away from Hampshire Friday even secure that our son would have not only an amazing academic opportunity but would have strong accessible support for all aspects of student life. The sense of community was evident throughout. Thank you!"

"The fact that Hampshire College hosted a family orientation at all was another example of the college setting a higher standard than the norm.  Thank you for helping us feel welcome to stay more than a few hours beyond what was needed for move-in.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending two days on campus."

"I felt lots of enthusiasm and friendly, warm welcoming and received useful information."

"This was a great experience. At my other son's college, the orientation was all about the students, with no attempt to answer questions or establish lines of communication with the parents. You did a wonderful job of making families feel welcomed to the community."


Contact Us

Office of Alumni and Family Relations
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

© 2014 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600