Welcome to HCC! We are excited about the new school year, and we want you to have a great start. New Student Orientation (NSO) provides you with information about academics, requirements, and student life that will help you make a successful transition. As a new student, it is mandatory to attend one full NSO session.
New students taking online and/or evening classes are required to complete their NSO online in Moodle. You will receive an email with the information to complete this requirement.
Note: At the educational planning session, the advisor will register you for your assigned NSO session. If there are extenuating circumstance that will prevent you from attending your assigned NSO session, please email email@example.com as soon as you can.
- NSO dates and times are located below and listed by major. Check the NSO Agenda to get a breakdown of events.
- All sessions begin in the Leslie Phillips Theater/Forum of the Fine & Performing Arts Building.
- Students with disabilities or who require special accommodations should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services at 413.552.2417 as soon as possible.
- Student ID is required. Please also bring your driver's license and vehicle registration in order to get a parking sticker. It’s recommended that you bring your class schedule.
- Check out the Successful Student Checklist (posted here soon!) to make sure you are fully prepared for your first week.
- HCC at A Glance is a quick reference guide about all of HCC's support services and programs that are available to you. It is always available online.
New Student Orientation is mandatory for all new and transfer students, regardless of when and where their classes will take place (day, evening, online). We want to make sure you are able to access support programs and resources that will help you succeed. After your advisor registers you for your NSO session, you will receive an email with further instructions to access your NSO online.
wednesday, august 23 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Foundations of Health
thursday, august 24 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Environmental Science
- Health, Fitness & Nutrition
- Natural Resources
- Sustainability (all options)
friday, august 25 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Communications, Media & Theater Arts (all options)
- Creative Writing
- Deaf Studies
- Education (all options)
- Electronic Media
- Graphic Arts
- Visual Arts
monday, august 28 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Business Administration (all options)
- Computer Information Systems (all options)
- Sports Management
- Culinary Arts
- Food Service Management
tuesday, august 29 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Forensic Science
- Human Services (all options)
- Gender & Women's Studies
- Criminal Justice
friday, september 1 (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
- Liberal Arts
- ESL (scheduled by ESL office)
Who should attend New Student Orientation?
How long is NSO?
When is NSO?
If I'm only taking online classes, is NSO mandatory for me?
How do I look up my major?
Do I need to register for NSO?
What if I'm unable to attend NSO?
Is NSO required for non-matriculated students or those taking non-credit courses?
What happens if I leave NSO early?
Where is NSO?
Where do I park?
What should I bring?
Will Dining Services be open?
Can I purchase Cougar Cash during NSO?
Will there be PVTA transportation during NSO?
What is FERPA? Can I sign the student information release form at NSO?
NSO is mandatory for all new students, including transfer students. Adult family members and other support network members are welcome to attend special programming offered in both English and Spanish. Please make childcare arrangements for the duration of the NSO programming, as HCC is unable to provide childcare. Please refer to the NSO Agenda for a detailed breakdown of each session.
A day session is about three-and-a-half hours long. Plan on participating in your mandatory NSO program for the length of the session to which you are assigned. Please use the tabs above to find the day assigned to your major. For further details on the length of the session, check out the NSO Agenda.
NSO dates and times differ based on your major. Please use the tabs above to find out when your orientation will be. Check your HCC email regularly for invitations and reminder notices.
Yes. As an online student, you are required to complete your orientation in Moodle. We have prepared an orientation course to help you be a successful online student at HCC. After you register for NSO, you will receive an email with instructions to access your orientation course in Moodle. Please check your HCC email regularly.
To find your major, please visit Online Services. You will find this information under Student Program & Advisor. If you do not have an assigned advisor, you can receive advising through the Advising, Career & Transfer Center. You can also contact Academic Affairs (Frost 315) at 413.552.2770.
Yes. When you meet with an Academic Advisor to schedule the classes for your first semester, one of those classes will be your New Student Orientation session. You will receive more information regarding your mandatory NSO session via snail mail and email. Students will be expected to check in a half hour before each session begins.
We encourage all students attend their assigned session as you will be meeting with faculty from your direct major. However, we understand that conflicts may arise. If you are unable to attend your assigned session, please call the Student Affairs office to make other arrangements at 413.552.2100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome students who are non-matriculated to attend NSO, but it's not mandatory.
Please arrange your schedule to allow complete participation in the entire program. If a student leaves early, their attendance will not be considered complete. Please call the Student Affairs office at 413.552.2100 with any questions.
Check-in will take place on campus in the Leslie Phillips Theater on the second floor of the Fine & Performing Arts building, which is located in the center of the campus between Donahue and Kittredge. After the welcome and a general presentation of the college, academic sessions will take place at various locations across campus. If you require special accommodations, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities & Deaf Services at 413.552.2582 as soon as you can.
Visit Online Services to print out a temporary parking pass. If you are unable to do so, you may park in student lots (A, B, C, D, M, N, O, P, Q R, and S). Bring your vehicle registration in order to obtain your parking pass at HCC Express Services.
- Your HCC student ID
- Your schedule
- Your driver’s license and vehicle registration
Yes. The food court will be open during NSO from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dining services will be available at the Forum Café during the NSO, and you will be able to purchase Cougar Cash, which works just like cash at any dining location on campus. This allows you the convenience of not having to carry cash or having to incur any credit card fees when you make a purchase. You will need your HCC ID to purchase Cougar Cash. Read more.
The P11 bus will be operating during NSO. More details on PVTA arrival and departure times coming soon.
The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education rights. Holyoke Community College considers all students to be independent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code. The College will not disclose non-directory information of any student except where the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act requires or allows disclosure without consent. Students can request that their information be released to a third party (parents, state agency, etc.) by completing the Student Information Release form. Forms will be available at NSO.
Students must sign the forms in front of a staff member of the Welcome Center, Student Records, Financial Aid Office, or Student Affairs; otherwise the signature will have to be notarized. A notary is available for free in the Administration and Finance Office, Student Accounts, and Student Affairs.
Being a college student comes with a set of expectations that includes your responsibilities as a student, the way communication and information is handled, and the format and frequency of your classes. Keep the following in mind, and you will be better prepared to succeed in college.
- Student is responsible for following the course syllabus, organizing study time, completing assignments, and taking examinations.
- It is up to the student to read and understand assigned materials.
- Student must be aware of their own progress in the course.
- Attendance is student's responsibility. Student accepts consequences of non-attendance according to attendance policy in course syllabus. Attendance may not be based on "excused" or "unexcused" absences but upon maximum number of absences allowed. It is the prerogative of the instructor in cases of extended illness or serious accident whether or not the student will be allowed to continue in the course.
- Student is expected to be aware of sources of help and obtain help as needed.
- Correspondence, including academic information and deadlines, bills, financial aid information, grades, and disciplinary issues are addressed with student. Student may inform parents of content.
- College communication is directed to the student unless a FERPA Waiver Form is signed.
- Classes will meet at least once a week or more according to course requirements.
- Online classes require students to be organized and self directed.
- Students must seek out instructors during office hours for extra attention and support.
- Student arranges own schedule.
- Most work is done outside of class.
- Student must obtain and pay for course books and materials.
- Student is expected to obtain work missed from other students or make request of instructor.
- Exams are usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
Civility in the Classroom
Getting along with people in the classroom is a key to college success! So, what is civility?
The college respects and defends the right of each member to exercise free speech and assembly; however, their rights are properly exercised only when due respect for the rights of others is assured. Therefore, at HCC, students and faculty are expected to maintain a free and respectful learning environment.
How can I get my viewpoint across if it is controversial or different from others?
- Present your ideas in a respectful manner and at an appropriate time and place.
- In a debate, remember to focus on ideas, not on individuals.
- If you are unsure how to express your ideas while respecting others, discuss your concerns with your instructor or an advisor.
Reach out to the division dean or dean of students:
- Arts & Humanities (DON 374): 413.552.2270
- Business & Technology (KC 402): 413.552.2274
- Distance Education (MRB 229): 413.552.2272
- Health & Natural Sciences (MRB 223): 413.552.2467
- Science, Engineering & Math (MRB 318): 413.552.2405
- Social Sciences (DON 272): 413.552.2278
- Academic Affairs (FR 317): 413.552.2770
- Dean of Students (FR 224): 413.552.2390
What are the consequences if I do not behave in a civil and respectful manner in my classroom?
Students are expected to follow all college policies while in the classroom. Students who violate college policies or detract from the learning environment may be directed by a faculty member to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. The faculty member may also contact campus police if there is a disruption. Further exclusion from the classroom may occur after a complaint is filed by the faculty member through HCC's Student Code of Conduct.
How do I know what kind of behavior is expected in my classroom?
Listen carefully to your instructor's classroom guidelines. Expectations about how you should interact with others may also be published in your course syllabus.
Classroom expectations might include such issues as attendance, punctuality, respect for diversity, rules for discussions, academic integrity, respectful behavior, use of personal electronic devices, eating or drinking in class, or other guidelines.
By stating guidelines in the course syllabus, your instructor is alerting you to the importance of respectful conduct in the classroom and assuring you that everyone's right to learn will be protected. If misconduct occurs, you will have received adequate notification of any disciplinary response.
What are some behaviors I should avoid in the classroom?
You should avoid any actions that interfere with teaching or learning during a class session. A few examples of behaviors to avoid during class are:
- Use of electronic devices
- Cheating or plagiarism
- Dominating discussion
- Speaking out of turn
- Poor personal hygiene
- Offensive remarks
- Verbal or physical threats
- Computer abuse
What are Holyoke Community College's policies about behavior?
According to the HCC Student Handbook, all students are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of the college and local, state, and federal laws. HCC is committed to providing a collegiate atmosphere that is free of any conduct that could be considered harassing, abusive, disorderly, or disruptive. The College recognizes and will endeavor to protect the rights of all students, faculty, and staff members to be treated with respect, courtesy, and tact.
What are the consequences if I violate the college's rules and regulations?
Disciplinary proceedings may be brought against any student against whom a complaint for violating the college's rules and regulations has been made. Disciplinary proceedings are fully described in the HCC Student Handbook. Student disciplinary sanctions may be imposed if a violation of the college's rules and regulations is clearly established. Sanctions can range from a warning to expulsion.
What should I do if I have difficulty controlling my behavior or getting along with others?
HCC has many resources to help students succeed. Always discuss any classroom concerns with your instructor first. If you need help in resolving personal issues, the WellConnect Student Assistance Program is available to you and your family free of charge.
- Advising, Career & Transfer Center: FR 273; 413.552.2722
- Campus Police: Public Safety Building; 413.552.2400
- Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS): DON 240; 413.552.2584
- Dean of Students: FR 224; 413.552.2390
- Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services (OSDDS): DON 147; 413.552.2417
- WellConnect Student Assistance Program (24 hours a day/7 days a week): 866.640.4777
- Student Health Services: FR 105; 413.552.2401
- Student Handbook: A reference guide with resources and support for students, policies, procedures, and code of conduct. It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with college policies and procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook. If you do not have access to a computer, you can request a hardcopy from Student Services (FR 224).
- Student Supportive Services
- HCC At a Glance
- Student Success Checklist
Remember your first days on campus? Want to help new students feel welcome and comfortable as they begin their journey at HCC? We're looking for current HCC students who want to become Orientation Leaders and join the New Student Orientation Leader program!
Orientation Leaders facilitate New Student Orientation (NSO) activities and provide guidance to incoming students. As an Orientation Leader you will have great impact on new students' first impression of HCC as well as their successful transition to college. You will also have the opportunity to develop skills like leadership, effective communication, and teamwork, among many others.
Orientation Leaders are current Holyoke Community College students in strong academic standing (minimum GPA of 2.5) who have completed at least 24 credits and exhibit strong leadership and public speaking skills.
Working as a team with other Orientation Leaders, you will be expected to successfully complete responsibilities related to each program activity you are assigned to. In all tasks and interactions with incoming students and their families, excellence in customer service is a top priority.
- Engender a positive attitude and sense of enthusiasm about HCC
- Acquaint new students and families with academic support services, education opportunities, policies and procedures, and campus services and resources
- Lead activities that will help students become better acquainted with the institution, such as serving on a panel discussion
- Serve as a role model for incoming students
- Engage with new students and their family members/guests in a professional and positive manner
- Attend and be active participants in training and development activities
- Abide by and reinforce all college regulations
- Perform other duties as assigned
- Event set-up: Assist with setting up balloons, signs, and other items before event is scheduled to begin
- Indoor & outdoor greeters: Greet guests upon their arrival either outside of a building or inside as assigned. Provide directions to check-in based on your location
- Check-in assistants: Aid with crowd control in lobby of Fine & Performing Arts building; announce different check-in lines and encourage guests to have their photo ID ready
- Usher: Inside the theater, greet guests and guide them in filling available seats from closest to the stage to the back of the auditorium
- Escort: Bring individuals from/to the theater and to/from the academic breakout sessions throughout campus; assist in ushering (filling all available seats) once groups have arrived at the classroom
- Academic session aide/presenter: Introduce academic speakers and inform group/presenter of length of session; stay throughout academic breakout session - take notes of information covered and keep a copy of any handouts provided; if the presenter concludes his/her session before scheduled time, use the opportunity to share your experiences at HCC, your reasons for attending the college, and the activities you're involved with on campus; allow for a question/answer session regarding academics, involvement and other items covered throughout orientation
- Student panel participant: Participate in a 20-30 minute panel discussing different ways new students can get involved on campus and take their college experience beyond the classroom. You will be trained for this.
Your time commitment
- Orientation Leaders are required to attend an intensive training session over the summer, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Orientation Leaders will commit to at least four (4) out of six (6) orientation session dates in the fall and ALL 3 sessions in the spring.
Dates: Refer to the above sections for more information about the next New Student Orientation Dates.
- Morning session times: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- Afternoon session times: 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (spring)
- Orientation Leaders should anticipate participating in the entire scheduled Orientation programming (including setup and breakdown) unless otherwise arranged in advance with members of Orientation Team.
What's in it for you?
While not a paid position, students are provided with the following for their participation in Orientation:
- Certificate for Leadership Training
- HCC shirt to be worn on days they are assisting with programming
- Name badge to be worn on days they are assisting with programming
- Lunch prior to or at the conclusion of programming (depending on timing of event)
Position can and should be referenced on resumes under school involvement/leadership. A letter of recommendation will be drafted on your behalf regarding your involvement in the programming to be used for employment, transfer applications, or scholarships.
Ready to apply?
You have a couple options:
- Fill out the application online
- Stop by Frost 224 and fill out the Orientation Leader Application.
- Email Veronique Leroy at email@example.com to schedule a meeting for more information.
We'll contact you soon to let you know more about trainings and meetings.
College means different things to different people, but the encouragement of family and friends is key to student success! Younger or older, students will have to learn how to balance college with other responsibilities. Wonder what to expect and how you can help? Read our Family & Friends Guide!