First Impressions: Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

My fall journey into Central and Western New York included a visit to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, located in the Finger Lakes, the Wine Country of the Empire State. I have gathered First Impressions and found many pictures of the Colleges’ beautiful campus to assemble for a Pinterest page.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate liberal arts colleges. Hobart, originally for men, was founded in 1822. William Smith, for women, was founded in 1908. While the coordinate colleges share the same faculty, administration, academic curriculum, residence and dining options (though some remain all male or all female) and student services, they each still have their own student governments, deans and athletic teams. As coordinate colleges, Hobart and William Smith have just over 2,200 full-time undergraduates. The academic programs are all traditional liberal arts majors, though many cross-disciplinary programs are also available.

The most similar schools, based on academics, location, culture and student body size are probably Connecticut College, Dickinson College (PA) and Gettysburg College (PA).  Hobart and William Smith considers these and several other selective liberal arts colleges to be peers, although the Colleges are less selective than most of these schools.

Sixty percent of the students who applied for admission to the class that entered in 2016 were offered admission; the majority of the applicants to most of the peer schools were turned away. However, 45 percent of this entering class at Hobart and William Smith had applied through Early Decision, very high for a private liberal arts school.

Like many peer liberal arts colleges, Hobart and William Smith is test optional. The Colleges appears to seek a B+  (3.5 GPA) student or better. It is test optional, but the average SAT for those who submitted their scores, is around 1240. The average ACT Composite was a 28.

But the strengths of a college come down to much more than numbers. This is one school where academic advising truly works to a student’s advantage in selecting a major and possibly a minor while completing the Eight Goals that comprise the College’s general education requirements. The Hobart and William Smith approach involves not only the faculty but also career development and other services on campus. The career development programs have some of the  best practice that you will find at a liberal arts college.

Choosing between Hobart and William Smith versus similar selective liberal arts colleges is difficult to do without visiting and spending one or two nights on campus with the students who are already there. Some prospective students might find the location too isolated or the Colleges more “campus centered” than they would like. But the same is true for many other selective liberal arts colleges. Graduates can leave with a very good degree and a future direction from any of these schools. But its also important to leave with a network of friends for life.

Report Card: Hobart and William Smith Colleges

  • Four-Year/Six-Year Graduation Rates: A/A
  • Freshman Retention: A
  • Costs: C
  • Curriculum: A
  • Community: B+
  • Comforts: A
  • Connections: A

Check out my First Impressions of Hobart and William Smith Colleges!

Check out my Hobart and William Smith Colleges Pinterest Page!

Visiting colleges? Daytripper University’s travel guides highlight the best restaurants and hotels as well as the most interesting attractions near the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Founded by Liora Yalof and Bonnie Klein and relying on a network of parents, locals and current students, this comprehensive website features guides to over 100 campuses and resources to help you navigate the college process.

Need help in building your college list, or comparing schools? Contact me at or call me at 609-406-0062.

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