Freshman Forward -- Before the Hill Summer Programs

Venable Hall

Fostering learning, growth, and maturity, Hampden-Sydney College has lived its mission of "forming good men and good citizens" since its founding in 1775. Starting with the Freshman year, we prepare our men to meet the challenges and opportunities of the world in which they live.


The Four Pillars at H-SCThese "Before the Hill" programs to be held in July are open to freshmen who wish to have a unique leaning experience, while also forging the bonds of brotherhood with fellow students and alumni. Participants will also be introduced to the College's "Beyond the Hill" Service and Adventure program and the network of hundreds of BTH alumni. Further details regarding these programs, along with the forms for Application, will be available by March 1, 2017, for any enrolled student in the Class of 2021.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
July 14-18, 2017
Participants will explore the rugged ridges of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, learn about environmental stewardship, and practice Leave No Trace principles.
Enrollment will be capped at 8.

Fly Fishing in Western North Carolina
July 24-28, 2017
Participants will hone their casting skills in the irresistible rivers and streams of Western North Carolina and will stay in cabins and prepare meals family style.
Enrollment will be capped at 8.

Song Writing and Music Making
July 14-18, 2017
Men who already have moderate proficiency in the study of music will further develop their songwriting talents. Classes and overnight accommodations will occur at Hampden-Sydney College. Students should provide their own instruments.
Enrollment will be capped at 12.


Three certificate programs are open to freshmen who wish to develop competencies beyond their classroom and student-life experiences. Each program will be held during the two days before Matriculation (August 16-17) and consist of a series of workshops. During each semester, four additional workshops will be held (eight for the year), leading to a Certificate of Competency. Further details regarding the cost of these programs, along with the forms for Application, will be available by March 1, 2017, for any enrolled student in the Class of 2021.
Enrollment will be capped at 35 for each program.

Students will join a select group of fellow freshmen in sessions which will provide them with opportunities, support, and motivation to make their career goals a reality. This program will provide participants with the tools and confidence to search and apply for internships, with the goal of landing a summer internship. Sessions include:

  • Professional Goals Focus
  • Professionalism and Work Ethic
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Information Technology Application
  • Leadership
  • Career Management

The mission of The Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest is “to develop men of character for lives of consequence.” In this program freshmen will have the opportunity to study leadership and develop and expand their leadership skills. Leaders from a variety of backgrounds in business, non-profit, government, public service, academic, and the military address these issues:

  • Ethics and Decision-making
  • Team-building
  • Communications
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Leadership and Values
  • Leader Development
  • Local Leadership Problem-Solving
  • Leadership Accountability

The Office of Academic Success assists students in setting and reaching their academic goals. In this program freshmen will have the early opportunity to develop skills for effective performance and positive adjustment to the college learning environment. In the two-day session and during the year, freshmen will hear from staff and faculty in these workshops:

  • Syllabi Understanding
  • Learning and Memory
  • Campus Support
  • Exam Preparation
  • Four-year Plan Development
  • Networking Etiquette
  • Personal Identity and Voice
  • Master Student '21 Wisdom