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Orientation Programs

Students sitting outside in a circle

Orientation is an important start to your experience as a new student at Smith. It introduces new students to the campus community and its resources, providing a solid framework on which to build your overall success at the college. The week before the start of classes, all first-year, transfer, visiting/exchange students and Ada Comstock Scholars gather to learn about the college and get to know each other. All new students are expected to participate fully in the entire Orientation program, which typically begins in late August each year.


Orientation Details

Important Dates

August 27
International Student Preorientation (ISP) begins

September 2
Central Check-In
Orientation Programs for all students begin

September 6–7
Key Pick-Up

September 7
Opening Convocation

During Orientation and the first several weeks of the semester, you can choose from a variety of academic, social, recreational and informational events: picnics, tours of campus buildings, a trip to a mountaintop, meetings with your classmates and academic advisers, conversations with faculty members, small group discussions on the summer reading, evening films and much more. By taking part in different types of events, you’ll get to know people with various interests and learn about many aspects of the Smith community. To help you become a respectful and responsible member of the college, Orientation also includes discussions about what it means to live in a diverse residential group and community.

What to Expect

We strive to make Orientation fun and relaxing. Expect to meet interesting and diverse members of the Smith community, including other new students, returning students, faculty, staff and administrators. You will also meet with your faculty adviser and receive valuable information to help you succeed here. By participating in a small Orientation group based on interests, you will find others who share your pursuits.

Smith Reads

All new students are required to participate in Smith Reads before coming to Smith in the fall; during Orientation they will join in discussion groups and other activities involving the reading, often including a presentation by the author.


Orientation Schedule

Orientation for fall 2020 will be held from September 2–7, 2020. Please stay tuned for the preliminary Orientation schedules. The 2019 schedules below will give you an idea of the typical timeline. Be sure to regularly check back for updated details.

Academic Advice Before & During Orientation

Smith’s advising website has useful information about course offerings and guidance for entering students from departments and programs.

The Orientation Program offers many occasions to gather information and advice about your course program for the fall:

  • A welcome reception on August 30 with members of the faculty from departments and programs
  • Conversations with faculty members, where you can ask questions about courses, fields of study and other academic programs and options
  • Meetings with your student academic adviser in your house and your liberal arts adviser
  • An individual meeting with your liberal arts adviser. You will register for courses later that afternoon after your meeting.

Orientation Groups

Each year incoming first-year students select orientation groups in which to participate. We offer a selection of fun and exciting options to accommodate a wide variety of interests, spark your curiosity and welcome you to the Smith community. Information on the Orientation Groups for 2020 is forthcoming. Stay tuned!

The sign-up for Orientation groups opens in August. Please have a list of 2 or 3 groups you are interested in when it is time to sign up in case your first choice is full. Once you sign up, you cannot change groups, so please think about your preferences ahead of time. 

We look forward to seeing you at Orientation!