Getting Ready for the School Year

Getting Started: The New Student Checklist

New students and parents can keep track of important forms and deadlines using the New Student Checklist. Be sure to keep on top of important tasks before coming to campus. Contact Registrar Heather Mechare if you have any questions.

A List of What to Bring

What to Bring to Campus

Clothing & Shoes

As the Northwest corner of Connecticut weather varies from an average high of 78°F with sunshine in August to an average low of 14°F and significant snowfall in January, it is important to consider a wide range of clothing. The most important clothes and shoes you should pack:

  • Academic day (see page 45 of the 2017-18 Almanac, entitled "DRESS CODE")
  • Active wear: socks, sneakers, sweats, t-shirts, athletic shorts (specific athletic wear and gear may be sport-dependent)
  • Weather-appropriate casual wear: shorts, sandals, jeans, sweaters
  • Outdoor wear: work or hiking boots/shoes, windbreaker, water-resistant jacket
  • Winter wear: sweaters, turtlenecks, boots, winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves
  • General: underwear, socks (lots), sleepwear
  • Optional comforts: bathrobe and shower sandals
  • Other: bug spray and sun protection

Students are responsible for laundering their clothes. There are laundry facilities in most dorms. There is also a service that offers laundry services. Visit a list of contacts and services.

It is strongly advised that you clearly mark all clothing, linens, and other belongings with your name.

School Supplies

All items below, with the exception of backpacks, are available in the Campus Store on the lower level of the Main Building. It is a good idea to bring the following on your first day:

  • binders (2)
  • graphing calculator (see Mathematics Requirements).
  • hi-liters
  • loose-leaf paper
  • notebook(s)
  • paper clips
  • pencils and pens (10-plus)
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • tape
  • backpack

Envelopes and stamps are available in the Campus Store and Post Office. Students are welcome to bring their own athletic equipment as appropriate. Supplies may vary by class.


  • bedspread or quilt (Size: Twin Extra Long)
  • blankets
  • pillow
  • pillow cases (at least 2)
  • sheets (at least 2) (Size: Twin Extra Long)

Personal items & toiletries

  • alarm clock
  • desk lamp (not halogen, not multi-head)
  • flashlight
  • batteries
  • first aid items such as Band-Aids
  • bath towels, wash cloths (2-4)
  • hairbrush or comb
  • moisturizer
  • nail clippers
  • shower caddy for shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and other toiletries
  • over-the-counter medications (prescription medications and psychotropic drugs must be stored at the Health Center)
  • tissues
  • cup/mug, eating utensils, plate and bowl (Hotchkiss dining hall dishware is not permitted outside the dining hall)
  • other personal care items to consider: feminine hygiene products, hair styling tools, razors.

Other useful items to consider

  • bike, lock and helmet
  • fan (no air conditioners)
  • hangers
  • headphones
  • reading lamp for bed
  • room decorations: small rug, posters, dry-erase board, bulletin board
  • small duffel bag
  • storage bins (to fit under bed; students can bring one set of bed risers to aid in under-bed storage)
  • snacks (must be stored in enclosed bins)
  • surge-protected power strips (also available in our campus store)
  • water bottle

Please do not expect overflow storage as most of our dorms do not have the capacity. Summer storage is offered through the UPS Store for a fee.

What Not to Bring

  • additional furniture
  • coffee makers with hot plates
  • extension cords
  • electric heater
  • halogen lamps or lamps with more than three heads
  • holiday lights (approved battery-operated string lights are sold in the campus store)
  • hot pot or hot plate
  • iron, ironing board
  • light bulbs
  • microwave
  • refrigerator (proctors may have a refrigerator up to 3.2 cubic ft. and other students may request permission from the school physician for a refrigerator up to 1.7 cubic ft. for documented medical reasons only)
  • stove
  • toaster or toaster oven
  • X-box or other gaming equipment (proctors are exempt with parent permission)
  • Screens larger than 27"

All rooms are supplied with a bed, desk, desk chair, dresser, overhead light, trash and recycle can. These items may not be removed from the room, so please do not bring a lot of extra furniture. Anyone who brings extra is required to remove the furniture. Microwaves are provided in the common room of each dorm. All students are assigned a laptop computer, however should a student wish to have a monitor, it must be no larger than 27 inches.

Local Shopping Available for Supplies and Necessities

The Campus Store offers both necessities for the dormitory and classroom, as well as Hotchkiss gear and personal supplies. The main store is located on the lower level of Main Building. A second store is opened during home games on the main level of the MAC. Contact us via email at

The Campus Store
(860) 435-3670
8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Saturday, when classes are in session

The Athletic Store
(860) 435-3273
12 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays

Order your textbooks
The store can also assist with online orders.

In addition, the following local stores also carry necessities you may need:

  • LaBonne's Market in Salisbury offers groceries. Turn left out of the Main Gates, turn left on Rt. 41 at the flashing red light, and follow Rt. 41/44 into Salisbury. LaBonne's is at 22 Academy Street, off Rt. 41/44 in the center of town.
  • There is a Millerton Market (grocery store) and a CVS (drug store) in Millerton, New York, roughly five miles from campus. Millerton also has a hardware store, several restaurants, a bookstore, a movie theatre, hair salons, and Saperstein's, where one can find clothing. To get to Millerton, take a right out of the Main Gates. At the second stop sign, take a left onto Route 44 West, which will take you into the center of Millerton.
  • Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wal-Mart, Kmart, BJ's Wholesale Club (bulk food), and Staples (school and office supplies) are located in Torrington, CT, about forty minutes southeast of Lakeville. Below you will find general directions to Torrington as well as street addresses and phone numbers for the stores.

1922 E Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 618-4008

Bed, Bath & Beyond
1914 E Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 482-0116

BJ's Wholesale Club
1288 East Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 496-8810

15 South Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 489-3686

970 Torringford St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 496-8653

General directions to Torrington
Turn LEFT out of the Hotchkiss Main Gate onto Route 112 East.

4.7 miles At the intersection of Routes 112 and 7, turn LEFT onto Route 7 North.

5.1 miles Cross the Housatonic River, go through a stoplight (Housatonic High School is on left).

5.3 miles Turn RIGHT onto Johnson Road at "Y" intersection (small paved road next to the Mountainside Restaurant).

7.1 miles At the "T" intersection with stop sign, turn RIGHT onto Route 126 South.

7.9 miles At the "T" intersection, turn RIGHT onto Route 63 South toward Goshen.

18.3 miles The traffic circle in Goshen is the intersection of Routes 63 and 4.
Go three quarters of the way around the circle to get onto Route 4 East.

25.1 miles In Torrington, at the intersection of Route 4 (North Elm Street) and Main Street:

Turn RIGHT to go to Staples. Go through the center of downtown Torrington. Staples will be on your left in a shopping plaza.

Turn LEFT to go to Kmart (roughly half a mile on your left in a large shopping plaza).

Go STRAIGHT through the intersection to go to BJ's (roughly three miles from this point). You will drive underneath Route 8, and then should look for East Main Street/Route 202. Turn left on 202, headed east. BJ's will be on the right.

Wal-Mart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond are further down Route 202 on the right.

Learn more about the Study Skills Program and other academic support.

Visit Academic Support

For International Students

Twenty percent of our students come from outside the United States, and our community is enriched by the stories and perspectives that these students bring to campus. At the same time, moving from one culture to another often involves significant adjustments — and, in many cases, complex arrangements for travel and accommodation. The Office of International Programs works with the faculty and administration to make the transition to Hotchkiss as smooth as possible.

The spring before you arrive at Hotchkiss, you will begin receiving information to help you prepare for the academic environment. In addition, our team of international student mentors will reach out to you over the summer and check in throughout the school year.

The Office of International Programs is always available to help.

Contact David Thompson, Director of International Programs

Advice about Adjusting

Give yourself time to adjust.

You may need some time to adjust to a new academic system before you can demonstrate your best work. Do not be discouraged if your first semester's work at Hotchkiss doesn't meet your personal standards.

And remember, other students are adjusting too. Feel free to ask others for help or reach out to a faculty member.

Choose your courses carefully.

During your first semester, do not take more courses than necessary. In particular, avoid taking too many Advanced Placement classes. Choose a combination of courses, paying particular attention to the amount of reading involved as well as the pacing of each course. When arranging your schedule, be sure to talk not only with your academic advisor and class dean, but also with fellow students and teachers.

Do your best to hit the ground running.

Do not wait until halfway through the semester to begin studying or participating in class! You may have quizzes, papers, or exams within the first few weeks of class. The more you participate in class discussions, the more dynamic and interesting the class will become for you.

Get plenty of sleep.

The excitement of being at boarding school and making new friends, combined with a large amount of school work, can make it tempting to stay up later than usual. But not only do we work less effectively when we are tired – an assignment that takes half an hour when you are fresh can take two to three times as long when you are tired – but lack of sleep can have negative effects the next day in class.

Especially at the beginning of the year, when there are many more lengthy reading assignments in English than new students may be accustomed to, it is important to plan ahead to ensure that you'll be able to complete all your work. Talk with your teachers if you are struggling to finish reading assignments. Y

our teachers and the Study Skills Office can help you with strategies for reading large amounts of text and taking notes so that you get the most out of your assignments – and get the sleep you need.

Don't be afraid to ask your instructors for help.

Our teachers expect students to ask questions in class or immediately afterward. They also expect, and reward, class discussion and student participation. They assume you will consult with them if you have questions or problems. If you do not speak up about your difficulties, the teacher may think that either you are doing well in class or that you do not really care about the class. If you are confused, find a way to see the teacher outside of class. Although you should always be courteous and ask if it is a good time to talk, at Hotchkiss it is easy to stop by a teacher’s office, or talk to a teacher/coach after practice, in the dorm, or on the way to the dining hall. If your paths still don’t cross, send an e-mail to ask about setting up an appointment during a shared free period or over a meal.

Develop study strategies for each subject.

From your experience in your own academic system, you may have certain expectations about how particular subjects should be learned. You may assume, for example, that it is important to memorize large quantities of information to be reproduced during exams, or that you will only need to know a great deal about a very limited aspect of a subject.

You may find that memorizing material is less important than analyzing and synthesizing ideas from several different sources. Your teachers may require you to read the works of scholars that do not seem related to the class.

Familiarize yourself with testing formats.

Exams frequently will contain multiple choice questions, short answer sections, essays, or a combination of all three. Before a test, if you explain to a teacher that you are unfamiliar with American test formats and procedures, he or she will usually be willing to go over the type of test used in that particular class as well as his or her expectations. You may even be able to review old tests as an example.


What we hear from international students often is that the strict time limitations for completing tests, particularly essay questions, can be challenging. You may ask your teacher for more time on an essay test, but don't assume it will be granted, especially if you ask at the last moment. Try writing practice answers to possible questions before the test; you may ask your teacher for help with this, too. During the test, be sure to ask the teacher for clarification if you do not understand words or even the grammatical structure of a question. Most importantly, you should budget your time carefully throughout any exam, especially if it involves writing an essay. The Study Skills Office can you help you with test-taking strategies.