Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Mount Holyoke College. The following information is designed to provide quick answers to big questions about settling into Mount Holyoke College.

  1. What is Orientation and why do I need to attend?
  2. When do I need to be there?
  3. What do I do during Orientation? What events happen during Orientation and what they are like?
  4. Where do I get my keys? Where can I get a hard copy of the final Orientation schedule? When will I find out about my academic schedule? When do I find out about my advisor?
  5. What do Orientation Leaders do?
  6. Where can my parents stay for Orientation?
  7. How long should my family stay? What events can they attend?
  8. When do classes start?
  9. Where can I buy books for my classes?
  10. Do I need to take any tests?
  11. What should I pack?
  12. I want to mail some of my belongings to myself. How do I address the package? When can I receive mail?
  13. I really want to bring my car to campus. What do I need to do?
  14. Are there co-ed bathrooms?
  15. What should I think about when inviting guests?
  16. How do I make phone calls?
  17. How do I get off campus if I don't have a car?
  18. What can I REALLY do with this little piece of plastic called the OneCard?
  19. What is the First-Year Common Reading?
  20. Where can I find resources for students with disabilities?
  21. I need to contact an office. How do I find their contact information?
  22. What if I have more questions?

1. What is Orientation and why do I need to attend?

Orientation was created to assist you in entering College life at Mount Holyoke. It will help you get acquainted with the College community and the resources available on campus. During Orientation, you will become familiar with the College, attend informational meetings, and get to know fellow students. You will also have a chance to speak with your academic advisor, meet College faculty and staff, and become acquainted with the academic facilities and the College offices. It is also a great time to set up your OneCard account, telephone, cable, and banking services.

2. When do I need to be there?

The residence halls open for new fall entrants on Wednesday August 28, 2013. It is best to plan to arrive between 8:00am and 12:00pm, but if you must arrive later, DON'T WORRY. We'll still be waiting for you! International students traveling directly from abroad should plan to arrive on Monday, August 26, 2013 starting at 10am and continuing throughout the day.  .

3. What do I do during Orientation? What events happen during Orientation and what they are like?

Orientation is a time for you to acclimate to the campus, meet your peers and ask questions. Some Orientation events are required and others are optional; at all of them, you'll explore the resources, traditions, and opportunities available to you with the help of upperclass student Orientation Leaders. There will be everything from floor meetings in your residence hall to dialogue with your orientation leaders to programs about multiculturalism. The schedule of events will be posted on the Orientation website a few weeks before you arrive.

4. Where do I get my keys? Where can I get a hard copy of the final Orientation schedule? When will I find out about my academic schedule? When do I find out about my advisor?

Once you arrive on campus, head straight for your residence hall. Your keys and a schedule of Orientation events will be available when you check in. You will be able to access information online about your class schedule and advisor before the start of classes.

5. What do Orientation Leaders do?

Some of the first people you will meet when you arrive at Mount Holyoke are Orientation Leaders. They are upperclass students carefully chosen to assist in Orientation. Think of them as your ambassador to the MHC community. They can answer many of your questions about academic, residential, and extracurricular concerns. They will assist you in every way possible in adjusting to MHC life.

6. Where can my parents stay for Orientation?

Please refer to Lodging.

7. How long should my family stay? What events can they attend?

On official move-in day—Wednesday, August 28, 2013—activities for families will take place until 7:30pm. All activities after this time are for students only; families are strongly encouraged to depart on Wednesday evening to allow students to adjust to their new surroundings.

8. When do classes start?

Classes begin on Wednesday, September 4, 2013. The first few days are usually spent "shopping" for classes.

9. Where can I buy books for my classes?

The Odyssey Bookshop sells all textbooks for Mount Holyoke classes. They are located across the street from the College in the Village Commons.

Monday - Friday, 10:00am-8:00pm
Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, 12:00-5:00pm

There are also online book retailers that sell both new and used copies of many academic books. In addition, the College has a newsgroup for selling many items, including textbooks. You will be able to access this group when you pick up your computer account information.

The College Campus Store will not be selling textbooks; however, you can find helpful supplies there, as well as MHC clothing, gifts, personal care items, snacks, and more.

College Campus Store hours are:

Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, 12:00-5:00pm
Sunday, 9:00am-5:00pm

10. Do I need to take any tests?

All students who wish to study German or Spanish at Mount Holyoke must complete a Language Proficiency Questionnaire. This information is needed to place you in the course that is most appropriate for you. If you wish to study French, German, Latin or Spanish, be sure to take the appropriate placement exam. The MHC mathematics assessment is for students planning to begin the study of calculus at Mount Holyoke. The chemistry placement exam is for students who are interested in enrolling in Chemistry 201. Students should refer to the First-Year Program for detailed information about necessary placement exams and questionnaires.

11. What should I pack?

A packing list can be found on the Office of Residential Life website.

12. I want to mail some of my belongings to myself. How do I address the package? When can I receive mail?

Please refer to New Student Services and related sections of the Auxiliary Services website for information on mail services and policies.

13. I really want to bring my car to campus. What do I need to do?

Please refer to the Parking Office website for related information, especially on the system for parking decals.

14. Are there co-ed bathrooms?

There are co-ed bathrooms located on different floors in each hall.

15. What should I think about when inviting guests?

The first thing is to discuss your plans with your roommate. Remember she shares a room with you, and her opinions should be respected. Other than that, there is really no "set" advice we can give you.

16. How do I make phone calls?

Please refer to New Student Services and related sections of the Auxiliary Services website for information on telephone services.

17. How do I get off campus if I don't have a car?

The College is part of The Five College Consortium, which offers a free bus service (PVTA) between the Five Colleges. You can access the Hampshire Mall in Hadley via the PVTA. Additionally, the College offers off-campus services to Holyoke Mall and the Big Y grocery store regularly. You can also apply for the Lyonshare Program offered through the Fleet Office.

18. What can I REALLY do with this little piece of plastic that they give me called the OneCard?

Here's a few things that you can do:

  1. Enter buildings
  2. Swipe into meals
  3. Laundry
  4. Buy snacks and beverages from vend machines
  5. Buy food at Blanchard Cafe
  6. Present a picture ID when necessary (such as picking up mail or for student discounts). See Card Services for more information.

19. What is the First-Year Common Reading?

The Common Reading was started in 2000 to stimulate intellectual exploration among students through a common reading experience. As a part of the Orientation program, all newly enrolled students receive a book which they discuss upon their arrival on campus.  This Common Read for the 2013/2014 academic year is "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz. 

20. Where can I find resources for students with disabilities?

Students who require accommodations are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students immediately upon acceptance to ensure timely provision of services. Information regarding AccessAbility Services and the accommodations that Mount Holyoke provides can be found online.

21. I need to contact an office. How do I find their contact information?

See the Directories page, which provides links to contact information for students, faculty and staff, and College offices. Or, click on the "Offices" tab at the top of every College webpage.

22. What if I have more questions?

Don't panic. Your Orientation Leader will be on hand as soon as you arrive on campus to answer all of your questions.