See our updates on planning for Fall 2020.

Hampshire College Students Walking

New Student Orientation Program

The focus of orientation, like academics at Hampshire, is on the small group experience and student-led activities. You won't have to sit in auditoriums and listen to long lectures. Instead, most of your time during orientation will be filled with interactive sessions, small group activities hosted by student orientation leaders, and occasional special guest presenters or performers.

With the new option for students to study remotely (and not live on campus or commute), we're moving much of orientation online to make it available to everyone. There will still be interactive in-person activities for students who are on campus. 

Fall 2020 Orientation

New students will arrive on campus on Thursday, August 20 and participate in orientation activities through Sunday, August 23. You can view the schedule online here, and pick up a paper copy at check in! All students, including commuter and 100% remote students, should plan on attending orientation activities, most of which will be online. Commuter students will participate in New Student Check-in and COVID-19 testing on Thursday, August 20 (see your email for details).

Before You Arrive

As you prepare for your arrival, check out our list of things to do before you arrive. And don't forget to check your Hampshire email periodically to make sure you're up to date; this is how we'll be in touch with you.

When to Arrive

Each student has been assigned a specific check in/move-in time slot, and will take a COVID-19 test before moving into their room. Refer to your housing assignment email for your assigned move-in time. All new students were assigned to either 9–11:30 a.m. or noon–2:30 p.m. It is incredibly important that you adhere to your move-in date and time in order for our staff to accommodate your arrival and follow necessary testing protocols. Contact with questions about your arrival time.

Move-In Guidelines

Massachusetts has announced a new travel order that will apply to all visitors and returning residents entering the state, effective August 1, 2020. Unlike previous travel instruction, the new policy is mandatory. The new order limits who can travel to our campus and help you move in, which will vary depending on where you are traveling from. Be sure to read the latest Hamp Forward news for important details on what this new travel order means for you and any friends or family accompanying you to campus. If the state revises the travel order or other guidelines, Hamp Forward will be updated accordingly and an email will be sent to all students.

New Students: What to Expect

student with bean bag chair moving inThe first days of your Hampshire experience will be guided by orientation leaders. They are returning students who are committed to helping new students make a smooth transition into Hampshire life. After you've settled in on Opening Day, you'll meet your orientation groups in the afternoon. This group will be your home base for small group activities, where you'll get to know each other and have a chance to express your hopes and fears about college. Your orientation leaders will be available to answer your questions, hear your concerns, and share your excitement about Hampshire. They'll give you tips and take you on tours and adventures.

First-year students: Your small groups will include fellow first-year classmates along with two or more orientation leaders.
Transfer students: Your small groups will be composed of transfer students and two or more orientation leaders, and you will also have the opportunity to meet all of the other transfers during orientation.

These formative days are not only meant to be educational; they're also meant to be fun. Our creative orientation leaders design innovative and entertaining activities for new students to learn more about each other while familiarizing themselves with Hampshire. See the Orientation Activities page for an overview of potential sessions.

Mission Statement

The College's orientation program is designed to support new students as they begin their journey at Hampshire. We aim to create opportunities and offer experiences that are directly informed by the educational philosophy and practices of the College, and through which students will be able to engage their passions, challenge their beliefs, and continue to grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

Goals and Methods

The primary goal for new students is that they feel supported by and connected to the people and resources in the Hampshire community. Specifically, we aim for the program to:

  • Promote engagement with the values of our community
  • Establish and care for students' basic needs
  • Provide accurate and relevant information about life at Hampshire College
  • Explore what it means to "live together well" in a community
  • Begin difficult and important conversations that arise from living and working together in diverse communities
  • Offer opportunities for new students to connect with each other and build friendships
  • Provide students with time to process and reflect, and to share their fears and anxieties in a supportive environment
  • Lay the groundwork for continued learning, exploration, and social networking through the first-year program
Stay In Touch
With New Student Experience Office
Snail Mail
New Student Experience Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002