Hartwick College campus view of pergola on Founders' Way

Academic Information for Families

It's no secret that academic expectations and processes in college are often radically different from high school.


The college classroom is different from the high school classroom. Many classes are discussion-based, with fewer lectures, and there are expectations for in-class engagement. In-class topics may or may not directly correspond to out-of-class reading assignments. Homework is not always assigned on a daily basis, but is often more long-term in scope.

The course syllabus is available to help students plan for the semester and know what to expect in terms of exams, assignments, and the overall course. At the beginning of the semester each professor provides a syllabus, which is the official course outline. It typically includes professor contact information, office hours, information about attendance expectations and grading policies, and assignments and due dates.

Because so much course work is expected out of the classroom, a helpful rule of thumb for time
management purposes is to plan on devoting two to three hours of weekly study time out of the
classroom for every hour of time spent in the class.

Hartwick students receive evaluation grades for classes after the fourth and seventh weeks of the semester to help them gauge their performance in each course to date. New students who receive poor grades will be required to meet with their ’Wick 101 instructor to identify better study strategies and may be required to attend a study skills workshop.

Each faculty member hosts open office hours to meet with students as needed. We encourage students to take advantage of this face time to develop relationships with their instructors. Students who are unavailable during particular office hours should make arrangements to meet with their professor as needed at another time.


Now that your student is in college, don’t expect a report card to be sent home at the end of the semester. Grades are issued to the student only through the personal online Self-Service account (unless the student requests in writing that grades be sent home – this request is different from the Student Release of Information Form).

Self-Service gives each student access to grades, course schedules, advisor information, and the degree audit program evaluation. Your student is considered an adult now, and privacy of grades is protected by law. Read about FERPA, the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act, in the College catalog.

Some students will share their grades with parents; others won’t. This is a great opportunity for an open and honest discussion with your student. If a student earns failing grades, try not to panic. Work with your student to identify the factors that contributed to the failure and determine the resources to help. In this way, you can encourage your student to take responsibility for his or her education.

Note: Policy Regarding Phone Conversations with Parents

Regardless of whether or not a student signs the Student Release of Information Form allowing Hartwick to discuss academic information with a parent, Hartwick officials do not discuss grades or registration information that could lead to personal identification over the phone. We simply cannot verify that we are speaking to the parent for whom we have a release.


Kimberly Hastings
Director of Alumni, Parent & Family Relations